Riverdale: 22 Crazy Things That Absolutely Happened on the Show

2022-08-08 16:08:52 By : Mr. Ken Wong

When Riverdale began, it was a simple story about Archie, a high school sophomore, banging his music teacher and everyone else trying to find out who killed Cheryl’s twin brother Jason. Little did we know what madness would follow , or how delightful it would be. In honor of the end of the show’s utterly bananas sixth season , here are 22 wild truths about Riverdale, a list we had to cut down so much it doesn’t even mention the teacher who jumped out of a window because of a secret children’s book scandal.

Note: this is by no means exhaustive—I could have had 22 entries just from season six, but I wanted to spread the wealth, as it were. Feel free to craft your own sentences in the comments!

This scene has long been overshadowed by the rest of Riverdale’s craziness, but I remember staring in shock at Jughead using a switchblade to remove a Serpents gang tattoo from the traitorous Penny Peabody. In another show, a protagonist literally flaying the skin off someone would be an incredible act of evil, but no one in Riverdale gave it a second thought. (s2, ep9)

While the Black Hood was rampaging through the town, Midge Klump made a grievous error in impersonating the killer when threatening Keven Keller, who was directing the school’s musical, that he would die if he didn’t recast the lead role. But Midge certainly stole the show when she got murdered by a grumpy Black Hood who took a lot of time and effort to make sure her ad-hoc crucifiction would be revealed on stage, during the production, in the most theatrical manner possible. (s2, ep 18)

Maybe I’m the only one whose jaw dropped upon seeing the imprisoned Archie (it’s a long story) get branded by the warden as the sort of prisoner abuse that can be easily proven in court. But what’s far weirder is that the warden was doing it as part of the incomprehensible table-top role-playing game/LARP/death cult Gryphons & Gargoyles, marking Archie as a “sacrifice” for the game’s acolytes to murder. (s3, ep5)

Archie fought a bear. Unrelatedly, he later fought a large man in a bear costume. (s3, ep9)

The Sisters of Quiet Mercy were a group of nuns who were feeding their students? captives? test subjects? the hallucinogenic drug Fizzle Rocks supplied to them by Veronica’s father Hiram. Why? Well, it had something to do with Gryphons & Gargoyles and worship of the Gargoyle King, although I couldn’t explain what that was if I tried. However, I can tell you about the time Betty walked into their secret shrine room and found a pile of dead nuns, all of whom had committed suicide to avoid being forced to confess that Hiram had supplied them. (s3, ep 9)

This perfect moment of television is when the rails Riverdale had long since gone off finally disappeared out of sight. Edgar was the leader of a cult—not Gryphons & Gargoyles, an entirely separate one—that Betty’s mom Alice had infiltrated and discovered was a secret organ-harvesting operation. After getting busted, Edgar planned to “ascend” using this rocket clearly ordered from the Acme Corporation of Looney Tunes fame. Why did he need to be dressed in an Evel Knievel costume? Because then it wouldn’t have been perfect. Alas, Alice shot and killed him before he could touch the sky. (s4, ep3)

Cheryl thought her haunted doll was possessed by the spirit of her dead brother Jason, only to be informed by her grandmother that it was Julien, a triplet that Cheryl had absorbed while the trio was in the womb. A therapist later told Cheryl this was just PTSD from Jason’s death, but given this is Riverdale, we all know the truth. (s4, ep 4)

The documentary Tickled explores the mysterious world of tickle videos, where barely clothed men are filmed getting tickled (it’s not explicitly pornographic but it feels like it is). It’s absolutely fascinating because the origins are both shockingly weird and more than a little sinister, which made it perfect for Riverdale. Kevin Keller is first approached to make the tickle vids, but brings in Reggie and Fangs, at which point they decide to go pro themselves. (s4, ep18)

Season five introduced aliens to Riverdale in the form of Mothmen, one of which Cheryl’s Nana Rose casually admitted to having stored in a barrel of the Blossom family’s famous maple syrup quite some time ago while Jughead was investigating them. Jughead and Tabitha couldn’t figure out for certain if it was an alien—it could have been a mix of animal and human parts—but it was certainly sticky. (s5, ep7)

When searching for the murderer of her sister Polly and other women traveling along the Lonely Highway, Betty captured a man who was definitely murdering some people, and attempted to murder Betty as well. The man refused to confess after Betty captured him and tied him up in Riverdale High’s shop room, at which point Betty’s mom give her daughter permission to murder the man with a chainsaw. Alas, when Betty returned with the tool, the man had intentionally bitten off his tongue, swallowed it, and choked to death. (s5, ep14)

This is self-explanatory. (s5, ep14)

Jughead and Betty managed to track down Polly’s real killers, an incestual off-shoot of the Blossom family who had been living secluded in the woods, venturing out solely to dress as alien Mothmen, abduct people, and murder them for decades. Their discovery absolutely does not explain whatever Jughead and Tabitha found in Nana Rose’s syrup barrel or the time Jughead was approached by a bright light in the sky and came to hours later with no recollection of what happened. (s5, ep17)

As Hiram was finally forced out of Riverdale, he decided to give Archie a parting gift of a bomb under his bed, which exploded just as Archie and Betty were about to hanky-panky on it. Rather than killing them, the show just transitioned to an alternate dimension where Riverdale was named Rivervale and everything was darker, more supernatural, and more twisted. For example... (s5, ep 19)

The first episode of Rivervale, as it were, really set the bar for how bananas the arc was going to be. Archie was, unbeknownst to him, chosen as the human sacrifice to ensure the Blossoms’ maple syrup yield, which was somehow so important that the entire town came to watch the ritual, including Betty, Veronica, and Archie’s uncle Frank. Literally, the only person upset about this was Archie. Then Cheryl not only killed Archie, but cut out his heart and held it aloft to the cheering crowd. (s6, ep1)

When Rivervale became Riverdale again, things stayed nearly as weird. Rivervale’s version of Jughead changed the timeline by calling Riverdale’s Betty and warning her of the bomb. Archie and Betty were able to escape death, but got a bonus in the form of superpowers. Archie became super-strong and invulnerable, Betty got the ability to see auras, and Jughead received the ability to read minds. Later, main characters like Veronica (secretes poison) and Tabitha (time-travel) who weren’t near the explosion got powers as well. (s6, ep6)

Superpowers are one thing, but in the same episode it was revealed that some things that happened in Rivervale also happened in Riverdale, such as the soul of Cheryl’s dead great-aunt Abigail possessing the body of Cheryl’s young ward Britta. When Riverdale returned, Abigail was still there, so Cheryl performed a ritual to transfer Abigail’s soul into a doll. Alas, Nana Rose secretly said a different incantation that sent Abigail’s soul into Cheryl’s body, where it stayed for quite a few episodes. (s6, ep6)

This is the real sentence I wanted to write, but it was far too long: “After failing to stop Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, Tabitha travels to 1999 where her guardian angel, a literal angel, notifies her that the Holy Grail and the lance that pierced Jesus’ side while he was nailed to the cross are in a pawnshop and will be needed to stop Riverdale’s upcoming destruction.” (ep6, s11)

Who was going to destroy Riverdale? Why, that one would be Percival Pickens, an immortal sorcerer who was later revealed to have accidentally entered the Riverdale universe from Rivervale when that bomb went off. Percival did a lot of ludicrous things, but the most ridiculous one was definitely when he brought armed cops to demand the return book to the library from Archie and the gang. Since these books were years overdue, Percival took a meaningful item from each person as collateral, which he then used to cast a spell that mentally tortured them by forcing them to relive their worst traumas. (s6, ep13)

In what was arguably the great flex ever seen on a CW show, Percival sent a series of biblical plagues upon the town, including killing every first-born person in Riverdale. Sons, daughters, the elderly, etc.—all of ‘em. Archie, Jughead, Toni, and Fangs all died, leaving Betty, Veronica, Tabitha, and Cheryl wondering what the hell to do next. Please note that I almost certainly have done a “22 Insane Things That Happened on Riverdale” list on the last five episodes of season six alone. (s6, ep18)

What they did was call Sabrina Spellman, of the recently in-Riverdale-continuity Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV series, to help resurrect their fallen friends. To do this, they would need to travel to “The Sweet Hereafter” and convince them to leave heaven where they were each enjoying their own perfect paradises. To do that, Betty, Veronica, and Tabitha had to become witches which required they sign their names in a witch book, swear allegiance to the goddess Hecate, and then... dance. To the 1958 bop “Splish Splash.” Just so you know, the corpses of their friends are in this room. (s6, ep 19)

Intriguingly, the dance/go-to-heaven/convince-their-friends-to-leave plan didn’t work out in the slightest because no one wanted to go. So Cheryl dragged all their corpses into a Palladium mine where she set all of their corpses on fire with her Phoenix magic, which of course has the power of resurrection. Slightly before this shot, a phoenix made of these same blue flames burst from the fire and flew over Cheryl’s head, and I want you to remember this show started with a single murder and an inappropriate student-teacher relationship. (s6, ep19)

Cheryl’s Phoenix Force powers came in useful again when she dressed like Jean Grey from X-Men: The Last Stand and destroyed Bailey’s Comet which Percival redirected to fall on Riverdale as he was being escorted away by the devil, as one does. For reasons unknown—well, other than that the writers of Riverdale are utterly insane—this rebooted the show so it was taking place in the ‘50s , all of the main characters were de-aged, in high school again, and dressed like their comic book inspirations. Actually, everything about the new Riverdale looks like it’s out of a classic Archie comic, with no darkness or murder or evil sorcerers to be seen. Only Jughead remembers what happened in the real(?) Riverdale. Since the show’s cast has already talked about how they wish they were done with the show, I’d like to think this picture of Jughead isn’t actually Jughead, but the expression of actor Cole Sprouse after he discovered he’d have to wear another ridiculous hat for season seven. (s6, ep22)

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