Now that Season 4 of Riverdale is a few episodes in, it's time to ramp up the theorizing to high gear. Weirdly, the new season still has not introduced a major villain yet — there's no Black Hood or Gargoyle King terrorizing the town like in seasons past. But many fans think the big bad could be hiding in plain sight... and even disguising himself as a good guy. The question of whether Riverdale's Charles Smith is evil is what lot of fans are asking right now, and those who think he is a baddie might honestly be onto something.
Spoiler alert: This post contains plot details from Riverdale Season 4, Episode 4, "Halloween." Charles Smith has been a shadowy figure looming large in Riverdale for the whole run of the show, despite never appearing in person until recently. In Season 1, Alice Cooper told Betty that she had given birth to a son while in high school, and as the show went on, fans learned that Charles is the son of Alice and F.P. Jones, and that he was raised in the Sisters of Quiet Mercy orphanage until he turned 18 and was kicked out. In Season 2, Chic impersonated Charles to get close to the Cooper family, but in the end, he revealed the real Charles Smith had died while they were living together.
Since Chic was definitely not a very trustworthy character, Riverdale fans continued to theorize about Charles throughout Season 3 — and finally, Charles made his big debut in the season finale. Charles introduced himself as an FBI agent who was working undercover with Alice to take down The Farm, and in the first few episodes of Season 4 he took his half-sister Betty under his wing to help him with the operation. But now that The Farm has apparently been vanquished forever, it's starting to seem like Charles may be too good to be true.
In the Halloween-set fourth episode of the season, viewers saw Charles secretly monitoring a private phone call between Betty and Jughead — not exactly stellar behavior. Throughout that episode, Betty got phone calls from someone claiming to be the Black Hood, and Charles was the one who showed up and offered to track the calls. He informed Betty the calls were coming from the mental-health facility Polly was staying at, and though it seemed like Betty was convinced her sister was the one behind the calls, it just did not add up for most fans. Why would Polly be prank-calling her sister as the Black Hood?
In fact, many viewers instead thought that Charles actually seemed to be the more likely culprit. As the most prominent new character this season, Charles should definitely be looked at very suspiciously right now, especially since he was the one who suggested tracing the calls and pinned them on Polly. When Betty called to confront Polly, the elder sister seemed genuinely confused about the allegations... almost as if Charles had given Betty the wrong information.
There is a bit of a hitch in this theory, though. As fans pointed out on Reddit, Charles was sitting next to Betty during one of the "Black Hood's" calls, meaning he could not have possibly been the person making on the other end of the line. Still, that could easily be explained away as Charles having an accomplice.
Now that Edgar has been taken down and Alice is free, Charles really does not have a mission anymore, but fans (and Betty, it seems) still have no idea where he's been all these years and how long he has been in communication with Alice. Right now, he seems intent on getting Betty to join the FBI with him... but his motives may turn out to be more underhanded than anyone expected.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.