The identity of The Black Hood was revealed, Cheryl tried to share the holiday spirit with her family, and Fred was sinking in medical bills on Riverdale Season 2 Episode 9.
Below, TV Fanatics Jack Ori, Paul Dailly, and Justin Carreiro debate the severity of Jughead kidnapping Penny Peabody, Betty kissing Archie, and Veronica learning the truth about her parents' business.
1. Mr. Svenson was revealed as The Black Hood and killed while escaping. Share your thoughts of the killer's identity and conclusion.
Jack: I had predicted a couple weeks ago that Mr. Svenson was The Black Hood. I would have preferred he have been around earlier than the three weeks prior to the conclusion, which made him a way too obvious suspect.
I tend to agree with Jughead's narration that this isn't over, and I have a feeling Jughead was going to say something that he thought better of when he said at Pop's that he had nothing to say. If this is the real Black Hood, though, that was kind of rushed, as if they just wanted to wrap everything up before Christmas for some reason.
Paul: I thought it was awful. I expected a whole lot more, and the character was ruled out just a few weeks ago, so it seemed very anticlimactic to have a character we've known for a few weeks be the killer.
Justin: This was a poor climax. Having Mr. Svenson be introduced only to be the killer felt rushed; it was almost as if a killer had not been decided until later in the season. There was so much potential, but not it all seems wasted in hindsight.
2. Jughead kidnapped and removed Penny from Riverdale with the help of the Southside Serpents. Did Jughead go too far in solving the Penny situation?
Jack: I think Jughead is in too deep with the Serpents at this point to have done anything else. It would have been better for him to distance himself from his dad, got back together with Betty and avoided future Serpent business, but at this point I don't think he can.
Plus, he's been the picked on kid his whole life so he probably is now addicted to the power that came with ousting Penny. So yes, he went too far and there's going to be some big consequences (I think FP is right that Penny is far from done), but it was pretty inevitable that he did it.
Paul: I don't think he went too far. Penny would have done the same to him and threatened those closest to him. He did what he needed to do in order to get his father off the hook and continue with his life. Penny will be back, and she will have revenge in mind.
Justin: I think he went too far. FP could've handled the situation, but Jughead got involved and now Penny will no doubt seek revenge in the future. It's only going to get worse for him because of what he did.
3. The students of Riverdale High held an uncomfortable game of Secret Santa. Who would you have loved to get a gift from or who would you have loved to give a gift to?
Jack: Well, it's no secret I'm a Jughead fan, so I would have wanted to give a gift to Jughead. Betty's gifts are heartfelt so I wouldn't have minded getting a gift from her.
Paul: I would have loved to give "Sleuthing for Dummies" to Archie. I don't even know if that's a real book, but I'm sure I could find something similar if I was put in the situation.
Justin: A gift from Cheryl would be so interesting. You never know where her mind is at and what she has up her sleeve. I bet it would be a mix of glamorous and sarcastic.
4. Betty and Archie kissed before Archie and Veronica got back together. React!
Jack: Ugh. Enough with the contrived drama. I would have rather seen Betty and Jughead be the ones going after The Black Hood together. I prefer stories about couples facing something TOGETHER to this on-again off-again nonsense, and OF COURSE Betty and Archie had to kiss to up the love triangle drama.
Paul: This was the scene that really changed my perception of the show. I thought the show was ditching all of the convoluted teen drama in favor of better storylines. Clearly not.
Justin: I'm surprised because EVERYONE said this love triangle would be removed. It was an idea they would stay away from since it was clear Archie and Betty were friends. I'm interested to see what happens because she threw her heart out there before only for him to hurt her.
5. Hiram and Hermione came clean to Veronica about their true plans. What are your predictions for their secret business dealings?
Jack: I have no idea, but I'm sure that they are going to be rivals with the Blossoms and wreaking havoc with innocent people's lives soon.
Paul: I'm with Jack on this one. There are so many different possibilities that it's difficult to conclude what will happen. Veronica will continue to try and get the upper hand now that she's had a taste of power.
Justin: This must have something to do with retail property and development in Riverdale. I wouldn't be surprised if Hiram OR Hermione try to run for mayor in town.
6. We've reached the midseason finale of Riverdale Season 2. Share your thoughts of the season thus far.
Jack: I'll give it a B+. The first few episodes were can't-miss but the unnecessary teen love triangle drama and how obvious a suspect Svenson was really detracted from the season overall thus far.
Paul: B-. It came back roaring and went out with a whimper. Maybe 13 episodes would have benefited the show more because I'm already bored.
Justin: I'm going to give this a B. The season started off strong but the last few episode have declined a bit, with the final conclusion of The Black Hood being a disappointment.
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Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.