Move over, Clifford Blossom: Now that Black Hood has officially descended upon Riverdale, all eyes have turned toward the race to unmask the town's newest killer. Three episodes into the seson, his identity is still unclear, but fans have certainly caught on to the Zodiac Killer theory about Black Hood on Riverdale — so much so that creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa had no qualms about confirming the connection.
Like the series, the character is a nod to the Archie Comics mythology — he takes name from the Black Hood in the original comics — but with a modern spin. As Aguirre-Sacasa told MTV:
"In the Archie comics, the Black Hood is much more an urban vigilante. He's a little bit like The Punisher. Our Black Hood is much more like the Zodiac Killer."
The creator went on to note that David Fincher's 2007 thriller — a dramatized retelling of the manhunt for the still anonymus real-life murderer — is one of his favorite movies of all time, and it heavily influenced Season 2's trajectory. "I love the idea of a small town being in the grips of a killer," he continued to the outlet. "The way that Zodiac was a portrait of San Francisco, we're really focusing on Riverdale High and what it's like to live in the icy grip of a serial killer."
With that in mind, it isn't difficult to retrace the connections between Black Hood and Zodiac, one of the country's most notorious serial killers. He terrorized Northern California throughout the late 1960s, leaving behind a trail of unresolved murders and taunting police with coded messages. As reported by BuzzFeed, Zodiac claimed to have killed 37 people, though investigators only linked him to five deaths between 1968 and 1969. Two of his alleged victims survived. Many of these attacks included targeting couples at known make out spots, much in the way that Black Hood shot Midge and Moose in their parked car at Lover's Lane on Riverdale. Also of note? Zodiac sent a series of handwritten letters to local newspapers and demanded they be published, just as Black Hood did with the Riverdale Register. Plus, according to multiple witness accounts detailed in the book America's Jack The Ripper, Zodiac was said to have worn a homemade executioner's hood akin to the one donned by Riverdale's assailant, though the original "Black Hood" character had one, too, so that reference serves double purpose.
Still, Black Hood isn't an exact replica of this infamous killer. Zodiac's motivations weren't made entirely clear by his communications, but according to letters published in Robert Graysmith's Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killer Revealed, he seemed to be driven simply by the thrill he took from killing, and his desire to "collect slaves" for the afterlife. Black Hood, meanwhile, appears to fall more in line with a mission-oriented killer on the hunt for those he perceives as sinners: He went after Fred because he had an affair with Hermione while she was still married to Hiram, Ms. Grundy because she was sleeping with underage students, and Moose and Midge because they were drug users. And, while Zodiac has yet to be identified nearly five decades later, it's likely that Riverdale will reveal who Black Hood is by season's end. The series may have no shortage of mysteries, but thus far, it's followed through on its promise to tie up loose ends, and Black Hood should follow suit.
Of course, the Zodiac theory doesn't lend viewers many clues about who Black Hood could be, but it does provide some insight into how he operates, and this early on, fans should take all the information they can get. Besides, if he's anything like Zodiac, there will be many letters yet to come, and hopefully they'll have some bigger clues.