A Secret Santa Gift from The Black Hood Sends Betty and Archie off to Uncover a Dark Secret about Their Beloved Town.
It’s a face-off with the Black Hood on the mid-season finale of Riverdale, “Silent Night, Deadly Night,” after another one of the town’s dark secrets is uncovered. Betty and Archie team up to take down the Black Hood once and for all. They find the answers they seek to solve his latest riddle from an unexpected source. Their search leads Betty and Archie to a dangerous and fatal showdown with the Black Hood. Meanwhile, Cheryl insists on having a Christmas despite her mother’s warnings they cannot afford it this year. Veronica finds a huge secret her daddy dearest has been keeping from her while snooping around in the Christmas presents and confronts him. And elsewhere, FP and Jughead are still at odds from the fallout of Jug’s deal with Penny Peabody. Jug decides to take measures into his own hands to take care of the Serpents’ ‘Snake Charmer’ problem. Wow, what an episode! A lot went down. Here are the top moments of the season two mid-season finale.
Betty Has a Christmas Nightmare
Polly comes into Betty’s room and wakes her telling her “he’s here” and Betty of course asks, “Who’s here?” She gets up and follows her sister downstairs where she finds her standing alongside her parents. It seems like a picture-perfect family Christmas morning until Betty discovers the man she believed to be Santa Claus putting down gifts is none other than the Black Hood dressed in a Santa suit. He comes towards Betty, crawling over the sofa with a huge knife. Now in a panic, she looks over to Polly and their parents but she sees they’ve been slaughtered. Betty freezes and all she can do is stand there as the Black Hood gets closer and closer. Thankfully, Betty wakes up safe in her room and it was all just a horrible nightmare. Sure gave me a heart attack as well.
It’s Not Christmas without Secret Santa
In the student lounge, Archie, Betty, Reggie, Cheryl, Kevin, Veronica, Jughead, and Josie gather for a Secret Santa gift exchange organized by Kevin. Things get a bit awkward as Veronica gets a gift certificate for a couples massage bought by Josie before she and Archie broke up. She attempts to make it a little less awkward by suggesting she could go with Betty or maybe her mother. Betty’s is next and just by the wrapping, she can tell the gift is from Archie. Inside, is an old read-a-long “The Swiss Family Robinson” record she and Archie used to listen to when they were five years old. Archie says he and his dad found it cleaning out the garage. It’s a very cute exchange between the lifelong friends.
Janitor Svenson isn’t Working
Archie has to get up and leave the festive gathering as Moose and Midge surprise everyone. Betty follows to check on him and Archie explains how all he can think about is the Black Hood and all the pain he’s caused everyone in Riverdale. He and Betty discuss the fact the Black Hood is still free while Archie is filled with rage and is making Betty paranoid and having nightmares. Then they notice there’s a new janitor instead of Mr. Svenson mopping the floors of Riverdale High. Betty asks him what happened to Mr. Svenson, but he has no idea. He’s been out for the past couple of days and just a replacement. Of course, Betty and Archie worry about Mr. Svenson because it was only recently Archie and Veronica discovered and questioned him about his connection to the Black Hood. They fear in doing so, that perhaps they led the Black Hood to him and got him killed.
After inquiring with the secretary in the front office, Betty and Archie learn Mr. Svenson has been out with a cold and she dropped off some soup for him. She also divulges he often gets depressed over the holidays because he has no family to spend them with. So Betty and Archie decide to go check on him themselves, but just find the chicken soup still sitting on the porch in front of the front door. That certainly doesn’t ease their worry about Mr. Svenson.
Betty Gets a Secret Santa Gift from the Black Hood
When Betty comes home after she and Archie fail at finding Mr. Svenson, her mother mentions another gift supposedly from a Secret Santa was left for her on her front steps, which is now waiting in her room. She goes to her room to open it and finds a severed finger inside. Terrified she throws the box down, which I would’ve totally done too, then calls Archie and they examine the gift and find a note claiming the finger belongs to the sinner, Joseph Conway aka Mr. Svenson. The note continues to challenge them to uncover a dark truth that may save his life.
Betty’s phone rings. Of course, it’s the Black Hood. For a second they hear Mr. Svenson in the background begging to be saved. The Black Hood tells them he’s lost a lot of blood, but smugly says it is nothing compared to the blood of the town on their hands. He instructs Betty to look into the past and find the primal sin and where it was committed. And there they might find Mr. Svenson alive. Another riddle from the Black Hood leaves Betty wondering what he’s referring to. She remembers before Svenson was adopted he lived at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy as Joseph Conway and decides that she and Archie start their investigating there.
Ronnie Makes an Angel Donation
After her parents refuse to help with Fred’s medical bills, Veronica creeps into her dad’s study to do some snooping. While looking through the desk drawers, she discovers Lodge Industries secretly purchased Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe. Ronnie also finds a super expensive bejeweled egg for Hermione for Christmas. She’s pissed, so she decides to use her mom’s credit card to make an Angel Donation settling Fred Andrew’s account at Riverdale General Hospital. Go, Ronnie! That’s the real spirit of Christmas. All that money, Hiram, and Hermione could have made more of an effort to help the Andrews out.
The Sisters Lead Betty and Archie to Nana Blossom
From Betty and Archie’s visit to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy group home, they learn that Mr. Svenson/Joseph Conway was a troubled youth. The Sisters don’t seem to want to divulge any information. Betty isn’t backing down and threatens to reveal what she learned from Polly all about the corporal punishment the Sisters handed out. So Sister Woodhouse explains while Mr. Svenson was at Quiet Mercy, he confessed that he wrongly identified the man responsible for the massacre of his family. A group of Riverdale citizens decided to take matters into their own hands and took care of the alleged killer. What guilt he must feel sentencing the wrong man to death, his primal sin. The only thing Sister Woodhouse could remember about the group of citizens is that is was a group of men with one woman, who had a cherry-red stripe in her hair…creepy Nana Rose Blossom.
So Betty and Archie pay Nana Rose a visit at Thistlehouse assuming she was present for the execution of an innocent man. Cheryl invites them in and they ask Nana Rose if she was present when a group of Riverdale citizens executed the Riverdale Reaper in the name of justice. She wasn’t there as she was told to stay home while the men took care of things. But when asked where he was hung, Nana says he was given a proper burial and buried alive. The location? Like before, Nana mistakes Betty for Polly and tells her to ask her grandfather who participated and mentions a photo taken of the men smiling, standing at the location of the burial under “The Devil’s Hand”. Damn the Coopers and the Blossoms history runs deep, literally.
Didn’t See That Coming…
Archie and Betty sit outside Thistlehouse in the car after talking to Nana Rose Blossom. Betty is freaking out at the possibility that her own grandfather might have helped murder an innocent man. Archie questions the truth of Nana’s story trying to calm Betty down, but she’s pretty sure she’s seen the same picture mentioned while packing up her grandfather’s house after he died. Betty’s mind spins out. She wonders if her grandfather’s involvement is why the Black Hood chose to call and torture her as a way of revenge. But for something Betty had nothing to do with. Arch grabs her hand as he assures Betty that maybe they’ve finally uncovered the final part of the story. Maybe now they can put an end to the Black Hood for good and save Mr. Svenson. He needs Betty’s help. Tonight he needs her by his side and tomorrow things would be back to normal. Betty looks into Archie’s eyes, she leans in and surprisingly they share a kiss. Didn’t see that coming. But what they didn’t see before driving off is Cheryl was watching from her bedroom window above. Uh-oh. That kiss isn’t going to go under the radar.
Jughead Rallies the Serpents to Fix Their ‘Snake Charmer’ Problem.
The tension between Jughead and FP continues to grow as FP and the Serpents are forced to serve drug mules for Penny Peabody. FP ices Jug out and keeps him from pulling his weight, but can’t see his dad is only trying to protect him. Sick of Penny’s hold over the Serpents, Jughead decides to take matters into his own hands and rallies the younger Serpents and explains what Penny has been forcing his dad and many others to do. Jug doesn’t want the Serpents to end up like the Ghoulies and wants to take out Penny before she takes them out. There’s hesitation at first, but Toni reminds them the first law of being a Serpent, “No Serpent stands alone” and they all agree to help Jug stop the Snake Charmer.
Jughead and the Serpents surprise Penny while she’s loading the drugs at the warehouse in Riverdale and waiting for FP. She warns him that his dad isn’t going to be very happy with him, but Jug doesn’t seem to care one bit. He says neither of them will be at the warehouse when he arrives and when Penny turns around there’s a group of Serpents donning their snake masks that approach her, put a black hood over her head and carry her away. They take her to Greendale, her new residence, where she can do whatever she wants but is banned from Riverdale. Penny laughs at them and reveals her Serpent tattoo to remind them that Serpent law prohibits them from hurting one of their own. But she hasn’t been honoring the Serpent ways and it’s time she learns, so Sweet Pea and Toni hold her down as Jug cuts out her tattoo with a knife. Wow. Jug isn’t playing and is taking his role as a Serpent very seriously.
The Time of Being Daddy’s Little Girl is Over
Hermione and Hiram discover their daughter’s good deed while Christmas shopping when the bank calls confirming the large charge. Needless to say, they aren’t the least bit happy with her. When her parents returned to Pembrooke to confront Veronica about it, she makes it known she knows they lied to her. She’s pissed. If they had enough money to secretly buy Pop’s, they could certainly cover Fred’s medical bills. The Lodges are at a crossroads. Hiram understands Veronica wants a more active role in Lodge Industries but informs her there’s a lot she doesn’t know. Ronnie doesn’t get how she can be part of the family when they continue to keep things from her. She wants to know the whole truth and believes she deserves to know because her name is on all the documents in Hiram’s desk. Hermione agrees with her, but warns her ‘the time for being Daddy’s little girl is over.’
Veronica and her parents go into her father’s study. There, Ronnie learns the truth regarding everything about Lodge Industries. Of course, we have absolutely no clue what was said. We just see Ronnie, with a wide-eyed, shocked expression, a glass of whiskey or bourbon, and agrees to join her parents. Her one rule; she refuses to do anything illegal. Both Hiram and Hermione agree and her mom offers her words to live by; ‘plausible deniability.’ That’s a bit sketchy. Ronnie also demands Fred’s medical bills remained covered and Hermione believes she can find a way to smooth things over with him. So Veronica fully agrees to work with her parents, but needs a stiff drink after learning the truth and agreeing, which makes the Lodges and their business seem very shady. Oh, Ronnie, what have you gotten yourself into?
The Black Hood Puts Betty and Archie in Grave Danger
Back at Betty’s house, she and Archie find the photo Nana Rose mentioned in her grandfather’s old photos. It’s her grandfather and his friends in Pickens Park where they supposedly planted some trees, but Betty sees they’re standing behind the burial site presumably of the falsely accused preacher. And the tree behind them resembles the devil’s hand that Nana Rose referenced in her story. Arch believes this might be where they can find Mr. Svenson and if they’re lucky, alive. So Betty and Archie rush to Pickens Park hoping to find Mr. Svenson alive and well. But thank god they have got enough sense to call Sheriff Keller to fill him in on the plan because they have no clue what they’re getting themselves into.
At Pickens Park, Betty and Archie, find a shallow grave that says “here lies Joseph Conway”. Archie rushes to dig up the grave, but when he and Betty open the coffin only to find it’s empty. And before they know it, the Black Hood has them at gunpoint. He insists Archie get inside the empty coffin or he’ll shoot Betty. So Archie does and then the Black Hood orders Betty to close him inside and bury him alive just like her grandfather did to the innocent preacher years ago. As she does, Betty attempts to rationalize with him by explaining she and Archie uncovered Mr. Svenson’s sin and is more than willing to expose him if he allows Archie and Mr. Svenson to live. But the sound of nearby police sirens distracts the Black Hood which gives Betty the opportunity to take full advantage. She takes the shovel, hits the Black Hood, disarming him and then frees Archie. Damn! You go, girl!
While Betty unburies and frees Archie, the Black Hood takes off. Arch discovers he left his gun behind and grabs it before he and Betty chase after the Black Hood. They follow him to the Sweetwater River bridge, where he tries to jump over, but Archie stops him threatening to shoot him. Archie finally has the Black Hood at gunpoint like he’s wanted for some time now after all the pain he’s caused his family and friends. Archie is hesitant to shoot him despite wanting to for so long. The Black Hood attempts to jump and then we hear a gun go off, but it wasn’t Arch who fired the gun. It was Sheriff Keller. He killed the Black Hood. He has Archie drop the gun and then they are able to finally see who the Black Hood is. It’s Mr. Svenson. WTF?!? He’s missing a finger, which they suspect he cut off himself to make it look like he’s the Black Hood’s victim. Or maybe Mr. Svenson really was a victim and the real Black Hood forced him to hold Betty and Archie at gunpoint and act as the Black Hood…
It’s Christmastime in Riverdale
Christmas arrives and everyone is with their families. Veronica wakes to find a gift Archie dropped off for her under the tree. She unwraps it and once she sees what’s inside a huge smile comes on her face. Archiekins gave her a heart-shaped necklace with a picture of her on one side and his on the other. While at the Andrews, Archie and Fred take turns talking to Mary on the phone, when Arch gets a message to meet Ronnie outside. She waits for him on the front porch under the mistletoe, which she hung. She tells Archie they have no choice but to kiss and do. After, Ronnie tells Archie it’s as if he’s filled with goodness and she needs him in her life. Then she finally tells him she loves him too! Squee!! They continue to kiss on the porch but little do they know someone is photographing their happy Christmas moment.
At the trailer, Jug unwraps his gift from Betty with a huge smile on his face. She got him a Vintage Underwood typewriter. But when FP suggests he stop by to thank her, unfortunately, he’d rather call or text her rather than in person. Meanwhile, at the Coopers, Betty opens her present from Jug and his gift is just as thoughtful. He gave her a novel by her favorite author, Toni Morrison, entitled, “Beloved.” Along with it came a note that reads, “A signed first edition for my beloved. Thanks for introducing me to your favorite writer. Love Jug.” How cute! They still obviously love one another.
Have We Seen the Last of the Black Hood?
At the end of the episode, Betty takes the box with all the evidence she collected in her Black Hood investigation from under her bed and takes it downstairs by the fireplace. She tosses the newspaper articles, files and more into the flames. Why would she need them anymore? The Black Hood had been killed by Sheriff Keller. The final thing from the box is the black hood. Betty initially throws it in the fire but quickly retrieves it. She can’t bring herself to burn it. The expression on Betty’s face turns grim and almost anger as she remembers the dark truth the Black Hood had forced her to see in herself making her look at her reflection wearing the black hood.
I have to wonder though, are we seeing Dark Betty taking the black hood out of the fire because there’s a change in her eyes? Or is she simply terrified knowing as much as we do that Riverdale hasn’t seen the last of the Black Hood. It’s only a matter of time until the Black Hood continues his twisted mind games with her.
Riverdale returns January 17th at 8/7c on The CW