So here we are at Riverdale‘s “midseason finale” — technically we’re two episodes away from the actual midseason point, but who’s counting? — and the episode’s title refers to the classic Christmas slasher film “Silent Night, Deadly Night” which featured a murderous Santa. Okay, there’s absolutely nothing in this episode that bears any relation to that movie so let’s just focus on the episode’s biggest plot line: the reveal of the Black Hood.
Hopefully you’ve seen the episode because there’s no way this can’t be anything but “spoilery” so only proceed if you’ve watched the episode.
So after eight episode of wondering who is killing / attempting to kill / threatenting to kill the sinful citizens of Riverdale, we finally get to see the identity of the Black Hood. And it’s the creepy janitor Mr. Svenson, a character we only just met two episodes ago? Come on, Riverdale Powers That Be, you can do better than that! And I’m not buying it. I’m also not buying creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s proclamation that this is the end of the Black Hood storyline.
Why? Because there are just too many damn questions for this to make any sense whatsoever. How, for instance, would Svenson know that Betty had a fixation on Nancy Drew when she was a child? She was the only person who could have solved the code because of a Nancy Drew book. Please, how would he know that?! And for someone who seemed really fixated on Josie, why not choose her over someone he barely knows? And, come on, even Archie didn’t buy the eyes behind the mask when Sheriff Keller pulled it off. Svenson’s eyes are not green enough, his eyebrows aren’t bushy enough and he doesn’t have the same lines around his eyes either. Riverdale has done some terrific storytelling since it debuted but if this is the real closure to the Black Hood story, this is a complete fumble. But with Betty keeping the hood she was given and Jughead’s narration hinting that it’s not over, I’ll wait and see if the producers and writers are just trying to pull the wool over our eyes.
I was very happy though to see Nana Rose Blossom again, the first time since the fire that burned Thorn Hill to the ground … because she was never seen outside of the mansion while it was burning and hasn’t been spoken of since then. How did she get out? Where has she been? Why is she all of a sudden a convenient plot device? And just how old is she to have had that white hair with the shock of cherry red since Svenson was a child? Yes, Nana Rose figured into the Black Hood story. When the young Svenson fingered the person who murdered his family, she and a group of men took it upon themselves to serve some Riverdale justice (even if she wasn’t allowed to participate). While recounting the story to Betty and Archie, Rose dropped another bomb — Betty’s great-grandfather was one of the men who buried the accused man alive. But … young Svenson admitted later that he may not have been correct with his accusation.
So, this is why the Black Hood chose Betty? His riddle to her to find the truth of Riverdale’s “original sin” now doesn’t even relate to what her ancestor and the others did, it was about Svenson’s sin of wrongly condemning an innocent man to death. Okay, that explains why unless Betty found the answer, Archie was going to be buried alive, but it still doesn’t explain how Svenson knew so much about Betty. I also don’t buy that Svenson cut off his own finger and sent it to Betty as the Black Hood claiming he was holding Svenson hostage. It all just smells a bit fishy to me.
There were a few other developments this week. Jughead defied his father, who was now working for Penny Peabody to settle Jughead’s debt, gathered the Serpents and ran Penny out of town (or did they?). And brutally took her Serpent status away by slicing the tattoo off of her arm. Jughead! Meanwhile, Cheryl doesn’t seem to understand they have no money now so there is no Christmas for the Blossoms, but she bought a tree and then caught her mother in the middle of delivering some presents of her own to some unknown man.
The last major plot turn came when Veronica discovered her family actually owns Pop’s. She also learned from Archie that his dad’s $86,000 medical bill has come due and Fred has turned to selling Christmas trees to make ends meet (and he seemed to be giving more away than selling). Angry for being left out of the loop, Veronica took her mother’s Black American Excess card and paid off Fred’s bill, then demanded to be let in on the family business. Hiram agreed to tell her everything — which we did not get to hear, but Ronnie looked stunned afterwards. And then she said she was in, on one condition: she won’t do anything illegal. Hermione said that wouldn’t be a problem because they’re not doing anything illegal. Uh huh. And then Ronnie went and told Archie that she loves him too. But have the writers just set up the love triangle we hoped they wouldn’t? After being rebuffed for saying the L-word to Ronnie, it seemed that Archie found himself getting close to Betty again, so much so that she kissed him in a moment of weakness. She may have realized it was a heat of the moment thing, but can Archie forget just because Veronica came back and said she loves him?
Hopefully we’ll find out when the show returns January 17.
What did you think of this episode? Do you believe Svenson was the Black Hood? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.