One of this episode's unexpected stars was the bright red cable knit sweater Archie wore to work his short lived shift selling Christmas trees in front of Pop's to help his dad pay his exorbitant hospital bills. That hefty bill is probably one of the most plausible things to ever happen in an episode of Riverdale and for that, I am thankful to the show's creators for injecting that small dose of reality into the show.
And now, a seamless transition into talking about someone else who makes bold sartorial choices, the Black Hood! He haunts Betty's dreams, her phone, and now her mail. He deems it on brand to send her a severed FINGER in a little box addressed from her "Secret Santa." The nerve.
But fear not, because before Betty even gets this gift she and Archie have re-joined forces to find the Black Hood ASAP. As in, it would be very nice for him to not kill anyone on Christmas. This leaves Veronica and Jughead to deal with their own issues.
Veronica suggests to her parents that they pay Fred Andrew's hospital bill because they clearly can. They're buying "Bifanny's" Christmas eggs for Christ's sake. Then her mom is all like, "since when were you a Communist?" -- this immediately gets filed into the folder of Hermione Lodge's best one liners. Yet when Veronica's snooping in her dad's study leads her to learn that her beloved parents had enough money to buy Pop's, she promptly makes an anonymous donation/payment to the hospital on behalf of Mr. Andrews.
When her parents confront her about it, credit card bill in hand, she lays out all of her cards on the table. She wants in on all of her parents' business dealings but under one condition, that she does nothing illegal. Oh, mi hija, there's no such thing as illegal when you're technically not doing anything wrong...
Then there's Jughead. Our favorite affable Serpent is "pissed" that Penny Peabody really meant what she said when she told Jughead that he'd owe her a favor for helping his dad get out of jail. But also that his dad's warning about her was very warranted and now he's getting dragged into a mess that he wants to protect Jughead from. Jughead's solution is to band all of the young Serpents together to drive Penny out of town. They succeed only after Jug has employed the unorthodox method of removing Penny's Serpent tattoo by basically skinning her arm.
In the meantime, Betty and Archie find out that the nuns at Sisters of Quiet Mercy are in possession of some shady information that could be of use to them. Betty gets them to confess that a group of Riverdale residents killed the man that Mr. Svenson/Joseph Conway identified as being the person who murdered his family. But wait, they did it by burying him alive. Nana Blossom was there, too. So was Betty's grandpa. Is that why the Black Hood is targeting her?
Betty and Archie leave the Blossom residence and hop in their car. The sexual tension is high, I guess? Betty kisses Archie and they go on to act as if it never happened. Kudos to Betty though. They go to where the "grave" is and find a sign saying that Mr. Svenson's body is buried in that spot. At this point, they still think they're trying to save him. But this is very clearly a trap because the Black Hood interrupts their digging with a gun to Betty's head commanding her to bury Archie otherwise he'll shoot her.
This is the point where I catch my breath too. So Betty and Archie had tipped off Sheriff Keller on their whereabouts as they figured they would be encountering the Black Hood IRL. As Betty is adding dirt to the hole, Keller arrives (sort of) just in time to distract the Black Hood long enough for Betty to knock him in the head with her shovel. Archie scoops up the gun the Black Hood leaves behind as he starts to run away from them and just as he is about to jump on the bridge we hear a gunshot. It's not Archie's but it's Sheriff Keller's -- and that's that. The Black Hood is dead. AND IT'S MR SVENSON. He cut off his own finger to plant a red herring.
Betty and Archie meet up with Veronica and Jughead at Pop's and as they all sit in their booth, heads sulked, they can't help but feel that this isn't quite the victory that they were envisioning. It most likely isn't because this is Riverdale and there is definitely more to this than we're being lead on to believe. But it's still Christmas and they have to spend time with their family sometimes.
Veronica's parents watch on as she opens a very sweet gift from Archie, she goes to his house to tell him that she loves him and they kiss under a mistletoe in front of his door while someone takes a picture. More on this soon I guess.
Jughead opens Betty's amazing gift (a vintage typewriter) and tells his dad that he'll "just text her" to say thank you. JUG!!!! You kill me.
As for Betty, in the episode's final scene we see her burning almost every trace of the Black Hood. All with the exception of one thing: the actual black hood that he left for her in the Conway house.