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Is Hal Cooper The Black Hood On 'Riverdale'? The New Episode Makes It Clearer Than Ever

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After months away, we are finally back into the Black Hood mystery on Riverdale, and Wednesday night's new episode was absolutely packed with clues about the serial killer's true identity. In fact, the ending of the episode seemed to make the number one Black Hood suspect very clear. So, is Hal Cooper the Black Hood on Riverdale? It's a theory that has been around for a while, but the latest episode made the theory even more convincing.

Spoiler alert: This post will discuss details from Riverdale Season 2 Episode 19, "Prisoners." Riverdale's new episode was all about the Coopers. I mean, sure; there was that whole thing about Cheryl teaming up with the Lodges to get Sheriff Keller fired, and Nick St. Clair came back to town to kidnap and torture Archie, but really, the juicy stuff was going down in the Cooper family's basement.

After paying a visit to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, Betty and Jughead made the bombshell discovery that Chic is actually an imposter. They wind up tying Chic up in the basement, and he reveals that although his name really is Chic, he is not the baby that Alice Cooper put up for adoption. He says that he met the actual Charles Smith on the streets and they moved into that shady motel together, where Charles told Chic about the Cooper family that rejected him. After making one last attempt to reconnect with Alice, Chic says that Charles overdosed on jingle jangle and died.

The truth may be more complicated than Chic is saying, though. Betty and Jughead snoop around the motel, and a neighbor says that she heard Chic and Charles fighting constantly in the other room, and that bloody sheets appeared in the trash the day that Charles went missing. But when Betty accuses Chic of murdering Charles, Chic won't admit it. Finally, Betty decides to secretly give Chic over to the Black Hood for execution.

And that brings us back to the big question: Who is the Black Hood? Well, the last few minutes of the episode show Betty putting together the popular fan theory that Riverdale viewers have been going on about throughout the entire second season. When she returns home from handing Chic over to the Black Hood, Betty notices that her dad is nowhere to be found, even though he was in the house when she left. When she asks her mom about him, Alice responds:

He went looking for you. Why do you ask?

The episode then ends with a worried look on Betty's face, as she comes to realize that her dad may actually be the man behind that black hood.

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This is probably a good time to go over all the clues that have pointed to Hal Cooper being the Black Hood. The first thing was physical appearance: We know the Black Hood is a stocky, middle-aged man with green eyes, and Hal is one of the few men in town who fits that description. The next major thing we learned is that the Black Hood has a strong connection to Betty — he knows which Nancy Drew book she grew up reading and tells her that they have a strong bond. Yet again, all signs point to Hal.

Finally, we know that Hal hated Chic from the first second he saw him, later admitting that it was because he knew Chic wasn't his son. While motives for going after his other victims are unclear, it is definitely telling that the Black Hood was gunning to kill Chic right after he returned.

The only sticking point is, now that it seems clear that Betty suspects Hal of being the Black Hood, is it too obvious? This show loves an unexpected twist, and the big reveal probably won't come until the finale, which is still a couple episodes away. So could it really be Hal, or is Riverdale setting us up for another fake-out?