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Riverdale: Is Hal Cooper the Black Hood Killer?

It's all in the family Betty.

Kase Wickman

Ever have that nagging feeling, between doing your trigonometry homework and editing your high school's newspaper, that all the males in your entire family are serial killers? Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) probably has.

Or if she hasn't, she sure should. Last week on Riverdale, the friendly neighborhood serial killer the Black Hood played phone tag with our favorite Girl Friday, Veronica (Camila Mendes) tried to reclaim her bad gal NYC cred when a sleazy past pal and his dad's wallet rolled into town, and the Pussycats plus V gave the same turdbucket his comeuppance when he drugged and tried to sexually assault queen Cheryl Blossom (Madeline Petsch).

At the top of the episode, when Betty came clean to the po-po about receiving a Black Hood letter and cypher of her very own, it was revealed that the handwriting and other CSI nonsense didn't match up to the screed sent to Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick) a few episodes ago. That could mean one of two things, a copycat killer, or, at the very least, a co-conspirator. Which, duh, as we pointed out previously , teen gun nut Dilton Doiley is truly, madly guilty of stirring ish up in the old RD. (Additional shadiness revealed: Sweet Pea shares that Dilton stabbed himself in the rumble we saw in the last episode, maybe in a further attempt to convince the Red Circle cohort that he's team North Side?)

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But riddle me this: What if some of the Black Hood activity is coming from within Betty's very own family, either in cooperation or not with Dilton? Creepy letters and voice distortion: this fall's hottest new trend! For your consideration: Hal Cooper (Lochlyn Munro) and Chic Cooper (Hart Denton) for the latest inductees to the Black Hood Society.

"But we haven't even met Chic Cooper yet!" you cry. "And why would Betty's long-lost super-secret older bro be all about the serial killer life anyway? And...DAD? DADDY?"

Throw away that "What we know about the Black Hood" list and look to your own fam, Betty.

Think about it: If Betty is meant to realize that she's also the Black Hood, it would make sense that it's a family game. When the Black Hood instructed Betty to put on the mask and look in the mirror, then said that that was her answer for who he was, it wasn't just for chills and ~drama~. Combined with him saying she'd recognize his face, this seems like a strong argument for some family resemblance. You wouldn't necessarily have to have knowingly met a relative to be like, hmm, he looks a lot like he's related to me (Chic), and she's obviously seen her dad's face (Hal). Step into the family business, it's the Riverdale way!

Betty's Biggest Mistakes After Receiving the Black Hood's Letter

But why Chic, you ask. Easy. Chic could hate older sis Polly for getting to stay and be raised with the Coopers in Riverdale, and Alice for giving him away (which would also explain why Alice has suffered the most, after being outed in her own paper as a South Sider). Chic presumably hasn't been too far away this season, and we know he'll be showing his face sometime soon (thank you, Instagram stories and casting news). It could be that a delayed big brother instinct combined with a past checkered with abandonment and betrayal has led him to believe that Betty is pure and worthy of protection, while Alice is a bad person for giving him to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy for adoption and Polly is a jerk for getting to stay and using that privilege to gestate her incest twins. Hence, a twisted protection of Betty at all costs.

Hal also has an interest in protecting Betty (he is her dad, after all), and did some serious soul searching last season. Dude has also been notably soft-spoken this season, which is a big change after season one's outbursts and alpha male eyerolliness. It could be that he's had an off-screen transformation and now has a new project: Vengeance and Sons, Ltd. Assuming he's Chic's biological father, his midlife crisis could have involved tracking him down, reconnecting and trying to make good in his own bloodthirsty way.

It's worth noting that Hal also knows where the incest farm Polly ran away to (the same farm she was planning to live happily ever after on with Jason last season), and could have used that info to dark ends. Let's not forget he seemed mysteriously quiet when Polly headed out.


Hal and Alice Cooper, Betty's parents on Riverdale.


Not to mention, there's something extremely iffy going on between Hal and Alice. Before Alice showed up at the open house in all her Rent the Runway formal romper glory, Hal said that Alice was upset by the story of her Southside past and arrest cropping up and had decided to sit this one out. Which is clearly a lie, since she blows him off when she makes her big entrance, unsubtle snake choker and all. It would seem their marital issues from Season One haven't been entirely resolved. Could part of Hal's controlling behavior include releasing her d-d-dark sssssecrets? He would, after all, have access to the old newspaper clips as the co-owner of the town paper, even if Alice had ripped them all out like she claimed.

And let's not forget that Riverdale is at its core a show about bad dads. Last season was all about the sins of the father, from F.P. Jones' serpenting around, Cliff Blossom's straight up murder, Fred Andrews' business practices and Hal's super-iffy parenting. It would make sense that season two would carry on in this vein, though perhaps in a less obvious way.

On a more meta note, far from the fictional bounds of Riverdale, Season 2 has already drawn comparison to Scream and Shadow of a Doubt, which are worth taking a look at while we discuss who may be wearing that hood.

The Scream slasher franchise is known for its use of serial killer as an honorary title, as opposed to one specific person, a set-up that would definitely make it easier for the Black Hood to get around and carry out vengeance all over town. Additionally, show runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told EW earlier this year that Season 2 would be something of an homage to the film Shadow of a Doubt. In the movie, the killer ends up being (spoiler) the protagonist's beloved uncle. The main character ends up getting pulled into his dark secrets and being torn between family loyalty and, you know, bringing a murderer to justice. Sound familiar?

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)