Spoiler alert: This post contains plot details from the May 9 episode of Riverdale. Read at your own risk.
After a slew of attempted murders (and a few successful ones), some creepy phone calls to Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), and nearly a year (we guess? We’re never quite sure how time functions in Riverdale) of havoc and fear, the Black Hood has finally been revealed and arrested.
Or, at least, one of them has.
Following a heap of misdirection, the 21st episode of the second season brought the bombshell that, as Betty and fans had suspected, Hal Cooper (Lochlyn Munro) was the man under the hood. But he’s not the only one — because he also told Betty and Alice (Mädchen Amick) he was not the man wielding the gun in last week’s episode during the mayoral debate between Fred (Luke Perry) and Hermione (Marisol Nichols).
According to Hal, Grandpappy Cooper actually killed Grandpappy Blossom (not the other way around as Hal once told it) and took the Cooper name as cover. Hal’s father was the man responsible for the Conway murders that left Joseph Svenson the only surviving member of his family massacre, and Hal was raised to believe that the sinners in Riverdale needed to die. Betty’s impassioned speech at the Riverdale Jubilee triggered Hal to remember the promise he once made his mother and set him off on his path of deadly righteousness. (And we finally know why a serial killer would use a Nancy Drew codebook to write secret messages.)
Now that Hal has been safely locked away before he had the chance to enact his plan to murder Alice and Betty, EW called up Lochlyn Munro, the man behind the
mask hood (despite the fact he’s never actually worn it), to get the details on his reaction to the big reveal, how long he’s known he was Riverdale’s Most Wanted, and what the future might hold for Hal. Munro warns fans that the case might not be completely closed just yet.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: From pretty early on, at least since Betty started getting closely involved, fans have speculated Hal was the Black Hood. How long have you known you’re the one?
LOCHLYN MUNRO: [Laughs] Well, you’re going to be shocked when you find out. Episode 21 is when I found out I was the Hood. I had my theories on who it was. I was starting to sweat when we started reading 19 and 20, but I thought, “It can’t be me, it’s just too on the nose.” And then episode 21 [happened], so that was a big shock to everyone. What’s cool about the writers is they keep everyone guessing all the time right up until the end.
Did you think it might be you and at what point did you start thinking that?
I didn’t. I never ever ever thought it was me until all of a sudden episode 19 had Betty being very suspicious of Hal, and I was like, “Hold on a second, why’s she so suspicious of me?” Because I totally thought I had it nailed as far as who I thought it was and then boom! It became a whole different thing. At first, I thought maybe I’m the red herring, something’s going on, but yeah, I never ever thought it was Hal.
Who did you think it was?
Well, I gotta say, I kind of suspected it was Keller all along, especially when he shot Svenson at the bridge. I thought that’s just too convenient that he shot Svenson. Maybe I’m not the [only] Hood though. Maybe there’s three or four. I really don’t know. I have no idea what they have planned from here. It would be a really interesting character to play; it’s got a lot of depth. Being able to play this guy now knowing if, why, and how he became this person would be cool. I’m really hoping to explore that if, in fact, I get to be the only Hood.
It’s been a great misdirection to have another actor under the hood. In this episode, did you actually get to wear it in the scenes with Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch)?
I’ve never worn the Hood. I’ve never put it on. It’s funny to me when people put my face next to the Hood and they’re like, “It’s Hal for sure! It’s exactly him.” I don’t know how people think that’s me, but that’s a stunt actor playing all of that stuff as the Hood. Hopefully, I get a chance to now. I guess everyone would know it was me, right? The hard thing about wearing that hood is no matter who wore it who would have been the Hood, it’s so obvious. If I put on that hood, you would still be able to tell it was me. So, no matter what they did, they needed to figure out a way to have a stunt actor play the Black Hood.
Last season, Hal was one of the top suspects for Jason’s murder and all season he’s been a top suspect behind the Black Hood – what has that been like for you to be at the center of this mystery two seasons running? Are you ever like, can I just not be a murder suspect?
Hal goes about things in the wrong way all the time so his anger comes through, and so, his personality lends to it. But there are moments when we get to flesh him out a little more. I had great moments in the first season. I remember one of my favorite episodes was episode 5 where I got to actually have nice moments with Betty when I was working on my car, and she came home from a date and we chatted about Polly, stuff like that. I really enjoy that stuff. Trying to flesh out every character on our show is really difficult for the fact that there are so many characters and, of course, being a parent, it’s a B storyline. The kids are the stars of the show; I totally get that. What I’m really hoping [is] that in the third season, now that this has happened to Hal, maybe I can flesh some dimension out with him and see what makes him tick and why he ended up being the person he did. Maybe there’s a way for him to exonerate himself and/or become a person that he wishes he was. That’s what I’m kind of hoping happens, but I can see why people would always think he was a little bit of a suspect for the things going on in town.
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The lead-up to your reveal was very intense, with the creepy home movies and a clear intent to murder your wife and daughter. When you got the script, what did you think about how the Black Hood’s sort of last hurrah was set up through the episode? How did you approach it on the actual day of shooting?
Sometimes it’s hard for me to separate myself from characters. I’m such a family person. I didn’t know at first because I really want to be part of the Cooper dynamic and I thought, “Okay, so now that I’m about to do this scene, how does that affect the Cooper family dynamic now?” Cause I always wanted there to be some bright days. I know it’s Riverdale and all, but I thought if just one day Hal and Alice could actually smile at each other and maybe have an interesting conversation at dinner without everything being so dark and moody, that’s what I wanted. And then when I got 21, of course, that’s when I found out I was the Hood and then I had this scene. I had to separate myself from the character and what drives the plot and the story. So then I embraced it and had fun with it. It was actually kind of fun to play the menacing. Now when he goes into his dark past, we have to [wonder] did he just create Hal Cooper? How did he pull the wool over Alice’s eyes for that long? That’s what I had to think [about] and where it went, but it was crazy because I had to come up with a lot of stuff. The fact that I’d never played the Hood, I never played Hal as the Hood ever, and so then boom! All of a sudden I had to go into this transition with the character and go, “Woah, what do I draw upon now to be this guy?” It was challenging.
Do you think Hal would have been able to go through with it if it came to killing Betty?
In my heart of hearts, I would hope that Hal wouldn’t ever actually do that. But obviously, he was very traumatized as a child and how he was brought up. I think how he was brought up will be fleshed out a bit more in the third season — who actually raised him, and who taught him his values and stuff. I’m hoping that all comes to fruition. I want to hope in my heart of hearts that he wouldn’t harm his family, but I’m not sure. I’m not sure what they’re going to determine his backstory is.
Hal isn’t dead, just under arrest. Will we continue to see a lot of him? And with Hal seemingly in jail, that seems to clear the way for more Alice and F.P. love — what do you think about that pairing?
As an actor, [Alice and F.P. together] means I have less of a job to do. So I guess I’m not all that happy about it. Right away, I thought I was done. I thought, “Okay, so that’s my last season of Riverdale and my last two episodes.” And Roberto came up to me and adamantly said, “No, it’s not over [for] Hal. We have a whole different story arc planned for that.” I’m really excited to see what they come up with, so I can really jump into it. Because I now have really embraced this situation with him, and I want to see why he became the guy he is. It gives me more to do, and I look forward to it.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.