We recently said goodbye to teen drama Riverdale after seven seasons of out-there plots and 30-year-olds playing teens. Over its six years airing on the CW, there have been a string of wild plots that have included serial killers, organ-harvesting cults, time travel, and aliens.
What started as an eery whodunnit based very loosely on The Archie comics soon evolved into TV’s most outlandish teen drama. As the seasons went on, the show became more outlandish and the plots more convoluted.
Here are just some of the wildest plots to happen to Riverdale over its seven seasons.
Timetraveling To Stop The Death Of MLK
When a near-death experience triggers Tabitha’s (Erin Westbrook) “chronokinetic” abilities, she is sent through town to deal with different versions of the villainous Percival Pickens. She travels to the 1940s, ‘60s, and ’90s to stop Pickens from destroying Riverdale.
The show uses her time travel abilities to have a social conscience, showing how Pop’s acted as a safe space for the marginalized. In season 6, Tabitha heads to 1968 and tries to save Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. Ultimately, she doesn’t succeed because that was a fixed point in time that could not be changed.
Tabitha even manages to grab a glimpse of the future of Riverdale, after it becomes a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Whilst it fails to handle the sci-fi aspects, it actually does a good job of showcasing the history of the marginalized in America. This plot may have been triggered by various cast members complaining about the show’s depiction of the black cast.
Jason Blossom’s Corpse
The first season of Riverdale centered on this Twin Peaks-esque mystery about the death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines). In season 3, there is a graphic reveal that Jason’s embalmed corpse is sitting in the basement of Thistlehouse.
The shot of Jason’s corpse propped up is one of the most disturbing in the show’s history. It turns out that a cult leader dug up and stole his body from his grave before his sister Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) took it back home with her.
It becomes even more disturbing when his grieving twin sister sits and casually chats to the corpse. Cheryl does eventually come to terms with his death and gives him the proper send-off, Viking style.
The Gargoyle King
The mystery of the Gargoyle King was part Stranger Things, part True Detective. This creepy-looking monster stalked the players of Gryphons and Gargoyles (Riverdale’s version of Dungeons and Dragons), provoking players to make sacrifices and take part in cult-like rituals.
We soon learn Gryphons and Gargoyles was created many years ago by patients at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, who used it as a way to cope when the cruel sisters would throw them into a room with a terrifying gargoyle statue. Suspend your belief that people would be lured into a cult via a board game.
The Gargoyle King and his disciples lure teenagers into the woods, hold them hostage, and brand them. It was ultimately revealed Chic (Hart Denton) was the Gargoyle King working with Cheryl’s mother Penelope (Nathalie Boltt).
The Appearance Of Rivervale
In season 6, we spent five episodes in Rivervale, an alternate version of Riverdale when supernatural happenings are normal. Archie becomes a victim of a ritual sacrifice, Cheryl Blossom becomes possessed by the evil spirits of her magical ancestors, and Betty (Lili Reinhart) is forced to hunt down La Llorona. That is all before the devil rocks up to make some sinister deals with the locals.
Rivervale’s version of Jughead (Cole Sprouse) suddenly realizes there are cracks in the foundation of this parallel universe and works out the connection between the two realities. He hides in the bunker to continue writing Rivervale’s stories on his typewriter, helping hold this universe together.
Each Rivervale episode ends with a major character dying before that character wakes up in the Riverdale universe. Many believed it was just a dream world, but the showrunners did ultimately confirm it was an alternate universe.
Everything was rectified in the end by recreating the explosion that led to the creation of Rivervale. Riverdale has always leaned into the supernatural, but Rivervale was an all-out onslaught of murder, death, and rituals. Think David Lynch at his most confusing.
The farm was led by Edgar Everneer (Chad Michael Murray) who brainwashed teenagers and vulnerable Riverdale citizens in order to harvest their organs. His wife Everlyn (Zoé De Grand Maison) posed as his teenage daughter to infiltrate Riverdale High and lure teens into the cult.
Betty’s mother Alice (Mädchen Amick) was originally thought to be a member of a cult, but she was working with the FBI to try to stop this black-market organ harvester. Cheryl is even lured in by Chic posing as her dead brother.
The whole plot ends with Edgar trying to shoot himself off a rocket whilst dressed like Evil Knievel. There are references to Waco, Patty Hearst, and even Scientology over this arc.
Chic and Charles
Betty discovers that her mother had a secret child that was given up for adoption. She and her mother track down her older brother, Chic, who instantly gives everyone the creepy. They soon discover he is not quite who he says he is.
Betty starts to believe he killed her real brother, so she hands him over to be dealt with by the town’s serial killer (who is revealed to be her father, but that is another story). It turns out Chic wasn’t her brother but was in love with Charles (Wyatt Nash), her true sibling. Chic and Charles made sporadic appearances throughout the show, usually causing trouble and pain.
Archie Goes To Jail
Unhappy with Archie’s (KJ Apa) relationship with his daughter Veronica (Camila Mendes), Hiram (Mark Consuelos) frames the teen for murder and has him sent to jail after a fast trial. For some reason, an innocent Archie pleads guilty to the death of Cassidy Bullock and ends up in juvie.
Archie becomes targeted by the warden before being forced into a prison fight club, which leads to him becoming stabbed. He later encourages the prison gangs to play football and calm down their turf war. If this isn’t absurd enough, the school cheerleading team turn up to perform ‘Jailhouse Rock’ through the prison fence.
Luckily, Archie manages to escape prison through the sewers and into a bunker somehow only the teens know about. His dramatic escape is narrated by Jughead, who is playing a game of Gryphons and Gargoyles.
Another dive into the supernatural came when Jughead discovered a Mothman sculpture in Old Man Dreyfus’ yard. Dreyfus believes that the Mothmen were a group of aliens who lived in caves and abducted his friends on their ship many years ago. He also believes that many cursed events in the area or due to this mysterious Mothman.
Although skeptical of this tale, Jughead became convinced that he had seen a bright beam of light outside Pop’s. He also starts to hallucinate the Mothman whilst under the influence of maple mushrooms and starts to belief he was abducted.
Even stranger than the Mothman being real is the fact it was ultimately a story created by a group of illegitimate Blossoms who had been living in the woods for generations. This story was pretty unpopular, especially due to Jughead’s involvement with drugs.
Betty’s Serial Killer Genes
Betty learns that she has evil literally coded into her DNA. During season 3, Betty discovers that doctors ran medical tests on her as a child and she has a serial killer gene. No one else in her family has them, not even her father who is uncovered as a serial killer.
Betty also realized that her father has tried to groom her to be his serial killing protégé from childhood. These dark genetics can be seen throughout the show when Betty gets fiery against the bad guy.
The actress who plays Betty, Lili Reinhart, requested the show drop this storyline as she felt it led to her being sexualized. There were an awful lot of BDSM outfits and that one very strange striptease to ‘Mad World.’
“I think it kind of became a mockery of itself,” she said. “It was supposed to be this dark side of her that she wasn’t able to express otherwise, and it just became this weird sexual thing that people didn’t really understand,” Reinhart told Teen Vogue in 2018, ahead of the show’s third season.
Everyone Gets A Superpower
After a bomb explodes under the bed Archie and Betty are lying on helps create Rivervale, the gang recreates it to get back to Riverdale. The bomb explosion gives the lead characters different superpowers.
In this Arrowverse-inspired plot, Betty can sense the auras of others, Jughead becomes telepathic, and Cheryl pretty much becomes the Scarlet Witch. The best power has to be Veronica’s kiss poisoning people, which she soon learns how to reverse engineer.
After they become superheroes, Archie and his new suped team must stop a comet from crashing into the town and he only has 24 hours to go. This comet will ultimately send the team back to the 1950s.