Phew. Riverdale finally cleared up a very pesky mystery that's been plaguing audiences the entire season thus far. On Wednesday's midseason finale, "Silent Night, Deadly Night," The Black Hood's identity was revealed just in time for the holidays. Spoiler alert: Don't read on if you don't want to know what happened in the Riverdale midseason finale. So, all is calm and all is bright now, right? Wrong. Because if we know anything about this show, when one door closes in this town a window opens and lets in a strong gust of new threats, especially when it comes to Betty, Veronica, Archie, and Jughead. The Black Hood isn't the only murderous menace out there. Who is the Riverdale Reaper? It appears that just because the one killer is dead doesn't mean there aren't new perils lurking in the shadows.
Now that we know Janitor Svenson had a homicidal side gig that included executing Riverdale's sinners, we can cross that particular puzzle off our list. But Svenson's past is wrapped up a lingering dangerous riddle that still has us hiding under beds and shaking in our boots worrying about the safety of our beloved Core Four. As we learned in previous episodes, Svenson was the only living survivor of the deadly Fox Forest slaying of his entire family. The culprit was the maniacal "thrill-seeking sicko," the Riverdale Reaper. And he's likely still out there.
We now know that Svenson wrongfully accused the person who took his family from him, pointing a finger at a man who was ultimately buried alive as punishment. "The town demanded blood for blood," he said. The so-called survivor's remorse and guilt from that fatally consequential action led him to go out for sinners' blood to supposedly "balance the scales," according to Betty's analysis. If that's the case, the real Riverdale Reaper is probably still walking the streets somewhere scot free. We also know that Betty is fully aware that despite all the evidence burning and trying-to-forget-this-ever-happened, she can't deny the darkness that's come to light. "A truth that could not be burned away. A truth that whispered to her, 'this isn't over,'" Jughead narrated ominously in the last scene of the midseason finale. We didn't expect this to just start being your typical murder-free high school drama, so duh.
There are also hints that someone is watching citizens without their knowledge, and we've got the pictures to prove it. Well, someone's got those pictures — because as Archie and Veronica exchanged I love yous, photos of them were being snapped from afar. That could very well have something to do with something else entirely (cough, Hiram Lodge, cough), but at this point we're rightfully paranoid, OK?
Riverdale doesn't return to our TVs until Wednesday, Jan. 17, so we'll have to wait over a month to find out what new dangers are creeping in the corners. It looks like the winter premiere, "The Blackboard Jungle," will be focusing on a one Ms. Cheryl Blossom, so we're cool with it.
What we do know about the second half of the season is that Betty's brother Chic is coming to town, Cheryl's getting an "unexpected" love interest, and the "unlikeliest return of all" is on the horizon. We're not 100 percent sure that we are going to have to fear the reaper when the next installments roll around, but we can pretty much count on the fact that someone is still after the sleuthing gang. Their demons just don't stop following them around, and that includes their personal lives too.
Whether it's a Black Hood copycat, Black Hood unknown partner, or the OG town murderer in the form of the Riverdale Reaper himself, something wicked this way come.