SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for "Silent Night, Deadly Night," the midseason finale of Riverdale Season 2.
At long last, Riverdale's Black Hood has been unmasked. In "Silent Night, Deadly Night," the midseason finale, Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper had a deadly encounter with the Black Hood, which led them to discover that he was in fact Joseph Svenson, the high school's janitor.
Over the last few episodes, Svenson's tragic story began to unravel when Archie, Betty, Jughead and Veronica started to look into a decades-old murder mystery. As it were, a family of four had been randomly slaughtered in their home one night years ago. However, they soon learned that the family of four was actually a family of five; the surviving son had been left out of the story to protect his identity, so that he could heal from the trauma of witnessing his family's murder. The son's name was changed from Joseph Conrad to Joseph Svenson, and he was moved to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy to recover.
"Joseph Conway -- Joseph Svenson as you know him -- was a troubled youth. There was no saving him," one of the sisters explained to Archie and Betty. "After his family was massacred, young Conway -- young Svenson -- identified the man responsible. Then a small group of Riverdale's citizens took matters into their own hands and executed him. It was only later, when he was with us, that Joseph admitted that in his terror and shock he may have pointed a finger of accusation [at the wrong man]."
The Black Hood's trail led them to the place the innocent man had been buried by Riverdale's well-meaning vigilantes. The serial killer had lured them there under the false pretext that he had buried Svenson alive. However, when they turned up, all they found was an empty coffin, and the Black Hood showed up soon after. He ordered Archie to get in and for Betty to bury him, but the sight of approaching cops startled him long enough for Betty to get the upper hand and smack him with her shovel.
As Betty helped Archie out of the grave, the Black Hood took off, leaving his gun behind. Archie snatched the gun and they ran after him. The chase led them to a bridge, where the killer attempted to jump off to save himself. Before he could escape, a gunshot rang out; Sheriff Keller had arrived just in time and took the Black Hood out. Keller then approached the dead body and removed his mask, revealing Svenson underneath.
"Mr. Svenson accused an innocent man of murdering his family and got the man killed. Maybe, in some backwards way, he thought that targeting sinners would balance the scales somehow," Betty reasoned as the episode wrapped up.
However, this may not be the end of the Black Hood overall. As the very end of the episode, Jughead's narration suggested this story wasn't completely done. "Throughout the Black Hood's reign of terror, Betty had stared into the blackest of voids, the place where Joseph Conway's soul had once perhaps existed, and -- in that void -- she'd seen a dark reflection, a truth that could not be burned away," he said. "A truth that whispered to her, 'This isn't over.'"
Returning Wednesday, January 17 at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW, Riverdale stars KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Casey Cott, Ashleigh Murray, Mark Consuelos, Madeleine Petsch, Marisol Nichols, Madchen Amick, and Luke Perry.