Is The ‘Riverdale’ Janitor The Black Hood? Mr. Svenson Is A Valid Suspect
Last week, an unlikely suspect emerged in Riverdale's hunt for the Black Hood: Mr. Svenson, a high school janitor with unexpected ties to the rogue murderer. Veronica thinks he could be the killer; Archie says he's not. So, let's look to the evidence: Are there any clues Mr. Svenson is the Black Hood on Riverdale?
As with any murder mystery — well, any good murder mystery — viewers won't know whodunnit until the final, official reveal, but for a town as small as Riverdale, there's an impressive pool of suspects. Many have pointed toward the Cooper family — either to Hal, who bears a close resemblance to the Black Hood, or to Chic, Betty's long lost (and potentially vengeful) brother — while others think it could be an entire group of people. Alice, ever the moralist, has also been touted as a prospect, as have Hiram Lodge, Tall Boy, Smithers, Dilton Doyley's dad, a somehow-still-alive Clifford Blossom...the list goes on. Even Sheriff Keller was once in the running, but recent episodes have discounted that theory. After he found Betty rooting around his home office, the Sheriff coughed up alibis for each of the murders.
So sure, let's throw Mr. Svenson in the mix. There's actually a few compelling hints.
He's Connected To The Killer
In Season 2, Episode 8, it was revealed that Mr. Svenson is actually Joseph Conway, the only surviving member of a family slaughtered by the Riverdale Reaper decades prior. Conway says he escaped through his bedroom window after hearing shot, but not before catching a glimpse of the murderer: a con man passing through town under the guise of a preacher. The man was never officially caught, but Conway says he identified him to a group of townspeople the next day, and that he believes they killed him.
That might seem like an unrelated (though still horrific) story, except for one thing: the Conway house is the same place the Black Hood led Betty during one of their illicit calls. Whoever the Black Hood is, it's clear the house means something to him. Could it be that Svenson is terrorizing the town as some kind of latent revenge?
He's Concerned With "Justice"
When Veronica and Archie confront Svenson, he says his family's murderer has already been brought to "justice." It's not word-for-word terminology, but it does fall in line with the Black Hood's mission to right the wrongs of sinners. After the Riverdale Reaper killed Svenson's family, he was forced to pay for his crimes with his own life, eye-for-an-eye style, and perhaps that gave Svenson a perverted sense of justice.
He's Someone Betty Would Recognize
When Betty asked the Black Hood if she'd recognize him, he said yes, and her high school janitor is definitely someone she would have seen before.
He Could Be Privy To Sensitive Information
Not to knock Mr. Svenson, but people don't seem to take much notice of him — that is, unless he's accidentally scaring the hell out of Josie during a late night songwriting sesh, or bumping into her and Cheryl while trying to clean the women's locker room. But up until recently, he seems to have just blended into the background. How else would no one realize his true identity for however many years? It's possible, then, that he's seen more than people realize — including Midge and Moose buying drugs, Archie and Ms. Grundy's affair (they were hooking up in school), and maybe even Fred and Hermione's fling.
Of course, there are also some contradictions. Svenson doesn't look at all like the Black Hood viewers have seen, and when Archie looks into his eyes — just as he looked into the Black Hood's — he's adamant that Svenson isn't the killer, though it's also possible that, given the trauma of his father being shot, Archie is misremembering.
For now, who's behind the mask is still anyone's guess, but at the very least, Svenson makes for a damn convincing red herring.