SPOILER ALERT: This article (especially the LAST PART) contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for the Season Two premiere of ‘Riverdale’. If you are behind in watching, turn back now!
Since the show ‘Riverdale’ was first announced, fans have wondered if somehow the teen drama would incorporate an unlikely cast member, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, another Archie Comics character. The answer to that is no. Instead, the creators are developing a separate series for the supernatural star. But in the Season Two premiere, entitled ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’, it appears the show is throwing in an even more unlikely character from the publisher’s roster.
Fans were shocked when in the final moments of the Season 1 finale, another tragedy struck, setting up the sophomore season. Archie’s sometimes-stern, mostly upstanding dad, Fred (Luke Perry) was the victim of what appeared to be a random shooting by a disguised figure who was holding up Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe. The assailant escaped and viewers were left to speculate on Fred’s fate over the summer.
During the S2 opener, Archie (K.J. Apa) had to give his best description of the shooter to Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins), who asked about his “black mask.” Archie corrected him by stating that it was actually a “black hood.” This mystery figure is set to be the major threat this season, but who is he? Archie’s emphatic insistence on referring to the mask as a “black hood” appears to be a major clue. Actually, it kind of gives it away!
While Archie Comics are best known for their teen comedy titles, they have published other types of books over their many years including superhero fare. Though their super folk never achieved the popularity of those from DC and Marvel, they have been part of their line off and on since the 1940s and one of them just happens to be named– what else?– The Black Hood.
The original (to the right), who debuted in 1940, was named Matthew “Kip” Burland, who learned his crime fighting techniques from a hermit. In 1979, Matthew Burland passed the mantle of The Black Hood to his nephew Thomas, who also had the nickname “Kip.” (There were a couple more Black Hoods following this.)
The most recent debuted in 2015, written by Duane Swierczynki and illustrated by Michael Gaydos. In this story, Thomas Burland is accidentally shot and killed by police officer Greg Hettinger, who was himself shot in the face. Due to his disfigurement and resulting speech impediment, Hettinger took to wearing Burland’s Black Hood and sets out to carry on his fight against the mysterious crime boss The Connection.
It’s never been clearly established whether the superhero characters (usually lumped together under the imprint Red Circle Comics, more recently Dark Circle Comics) actually exist in the same world as Archie and his pals, or if they are just fictional comic book characters. Either way, Archie and his friends are often shown reading their comics or with posters and other merchandise in their rooms.
MASSIVE MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
But how does a comic book superhero go on to gun down Fred Andrews and later kill off another unsavory character at the episode’s end?
One major loose end from last season was the fate of Miss Grundy (Sarah Habel), the music teacher that was having an affair with Archie at the start of the season and who was implied to have also possibly had a fling with Jason Blossom. Thanks to Betty and Veronica’s sleuthing, they discovered that Geraldine Grundy’s real name was Jennifer Gibson, but that she had no past prior to her arrival in Riverdale. (She explained to Archie that she was a battered wife who was on the run, thus her assumed identity.)
Once confronted by Alice Cooper and Fred, Grundy/Gibson agreed to leave Riverdale for good and wasn’t seen again in S1. But viewers finally caught up to her in the S2 premier and she was up to her old tricks, seducing another student. But after she returned home, she was confronted by “The Black Hood”– if that’s who he really is– who ended up killing her as the episode faded to black!
Since the newest version of The Black Hood was a grittier vigilante type, unlike the grinning acrobat from earlier times, his killing of Grundy, a serial seductress of underage boys (yeah, they look a lot older, but y’know, television) makes sense. But what about Fred? He seems to be an upstanding citizen, despite his inadvertent alliances with the Southside Serpents and the Lodges. There was a mention in S1 of a DUI in his past. Could there be more to that story? Could there also be more behind his split with his wife Mary (Molly Ringwald)?
Well, we have an entirely new season to find out. Does this open the door for more characters from Archie’s superhero side? (Because if there’s one thing The CW needs it’s more superheroes.)
‘Riverdale’ airs on The CW on Wednesday nights at 8pm EST.