[Ed. note: This piece contains extreme spoilers for all of the very wild — and often very plot relevant — moments that made Riverdale such a delightfully unhinged piece of television.]
The world changed forever on Wednesday, Aug. 23, as Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s camp masterpiece Riverdale came to an end. The nostalgic finale played into the strangeness the show has always trafficked in, and had offered some pretty satisfying payoffs, too. Now that the entire seven-season masterwork is available on Netflix, it’s the perfect time to look back at what made Riverdale so special: the ridiculous storylines that have to be seen to be believed.
So we’ve done the hard work of finding the wildest Riverdale sequences and the shocking events they inspired, and we’ve ranked them using highly scientific techniques and fancy decimal points. Get ready as we break down the sexiest, deadliest, and most ridiculous moments from Riverdale.
An important note: There is a lot of crossover between these, so please go in with an open heart, open mind, and your most weirdo sensibilities front and center. Our unconventional ranking method reflects an attempt to mirror the depth and intricacy of any decision on Riverdale.
Riverdale’s sexiest moments
Are any of these actually sexy? It’s unclear, but there are some horny folks in Riverdale!
10. Archie trying to win over Veronica’s dad by wrestling him. Now that’s hot!
10a. When that didn’t work, Archie tried to get into the “family business.”
10b. Alas, he failed. So he tried to “make his bones” with the family mob business??
10c. In case you aren’t aware, that means he was willing to kill a man to get Hiram to like him.
9. Betty pole dancing in front of the whole town and her mom to join a gang
9a. Don’t judge her, it was an initiation to join the Southside Serpents gang!
9b. And yes, she did sing “Mad World” (the Gary Jules version) while doing the striptease.
8. Archie founding a topless vigilante crew
8a. Yes, after his dad was shot, Archie brought together hot Riverdale teens to fight crime.
8b. They made threatening videos wearing balaclavas and no shirts.
8g. He named them the Red Circle, which was an old Archie Comics line.
8x. In a perfectly meta twist, they’d change their name to Dark Circle, which the Red Circle comics line was renamed in 2015 when it relaunched. Sexy and comics-accurate!
7. When an underage Veronica opened a speakeasy for teens
7a. Every night, there were guaranteed sultry performances by Veronica and friends, like Josie McCoy’s opening night performance of “Anything Goes.”
7e. Or how about the time that Veronica delayed her Columbia acceptance interview — in the club — because she “had promised the crowd a floor show” and then she performed “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” in front of the Columbia recruiter? Television!
6. Veronica going full John Waters for Archie and his juvie friends
6a. When Archie was framed for murder by her dad and stuck in prison, Veronica decided to cheer him up. The full cheerleading squad went and did a Cry-Baby-inspired performance outside of the jail — which, of course, was just separated from the parking lot by some mesh fencing.
5. Toni and Cheryl having their first kiss, but first: a jailbreak!
5a. In order to save her lover from conversion therapy-obsessed nuns, Toni staged an action-packed breakout, freeing Cheryl from the Sisters of Perpetual Mercy. While the conversion therapy aspect of this is decidedly unsexy, your hot gang member girlfriend breaking you out like she’s Sarah Connor and then having your first kiss is definitely hot!
4. Veronica making a legendary attempt to have a multiversal threesome
4a. Thanks to the multiverse being real in Riverdale, two Reggies appeared in the same timeline. Veronica did what anyone would do and tried to have a threesome with both Reggies.
4c. Though her plan failed, one of the Reggies would later have a threesome... with Archie.
3. Archie and Reggie watching a horny gay wrestling movie
3a. The queer 1950s stag movie inspired them to question their sexuality.
3c. So they had an (off-screen) threesome with a sex worker.
3f. Then they finished off their night by saying they loved each other. Aw, romance.
2. The endgame reveal that Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica were in a “quad”
2a. We learned this through some flashbacks that showed multiple hookups between the four.
2b. This led to Betty and Veronica making out in front of a fire.
2c. And Veronica broke everyone’s heart by moving to LA to take over Hollywood.
2z. This doesn’t make it to No. 1 simply because Riverdale, in a rare moment of cowardice, chose not to show or confirm that Jughead and Archie were hooking up too!!
1. Cheryl and Toni making out as Harley and Ivy thanks to the joys of corporate synergy
1a. In case you were worried that this wasn’t part of some larger shenanigans, don’t, because the pair were dressed that way as part of their Halloween seance to contact the spirit of the triplet that Cheryl’s grandma claimed that our fave redhead had absorbed in the womb!
Riverdale’s deadliest moments
From bear fights to poisoned Kool-Aid, it’s hard to stay alive in the Town with Pep.
10. Season 1 beginning with the murder of possibly incestuous twin Jason Blossom
10a. So, of course, his sister, Cheryl, made a dramatic entrance at his funeral.
10b. To which Kevin Keller basically said “Yes, girl!” at a FUNERAL of a murdered teen.
10j. But things got even weirder when it was revealed Jason was murdered by his dad.
10x. Why did he do it? In order to cover up his maple syrup drug-smuggling business! Duh!
10z. But that wasn’t the last we’d see of Jason. (More on that down the list.)
9. The time jump leading to wedding bells (and disaster) for Veronica
9a. After the time skip, it’s revealed that Veronica is a business maven and (un)happily married.
9b. Her abusive husband Chad Gecko tried to kill her and Archie more than once.
9c. His final attempt to murder Veronica goes wrong when she kills him in self-defense.
8. Remember when Cheryl kept Jason’s dead body in her basement for literal months?
8a. We’re not joking — she hid it in the chapel and regularly visited.
8d. She even tried to gaslight her girlfriend into believing they were being haunted by him so that she didn’t have to get rid of his — very well-preserved — corpse.
8z. In the end, logic prevailed, and Cheryl gave him a casual Viking funeral at the lake.
7. Archie fighting a bear
7a. Sure, he didn’t die... but he absolutely should have.
7b. Instead, he dragged himself back to the safety of the cabin.
7c. And he was walking upright and doing his SATs before you could say “bear attack.”
7f. He did have to fight a bear again, as part of a whole overnight test of the core four by Cheryl’s mom. But again, he survived and did more fighting that night, so it’s not like we have to rank this higher on the list.
6. Riverdale’s Canadian-themed mob boss trying to take over the town
6a. Ah yes, Papa Poutine, one of Riverdale’s most legendarily named characters.
6b. Over a poker game with Hiram, the pair got into a feud because of Pop’s poutine. Papa Poutine thought it was disrespectful that Pop didn’t use cheese curds. Hiram didn’t like Papa Poutine disrespecting Pop or his diner.
6c. So, Hiram (allegedly) had Papa Poutine shot in the head after Veronica’s confirmation.
5. When the gang did Carrie the musical and things went very, very badly
5a. You’re like, Wait, that doesn’t sound very deadly? Big “well, actually” for you coming up...
5b. Well, actually, the musical ended with Midge being murdered onstage.
5m. The cheerleaders showed up to her funeral in special black cheerleading costumes.
5v. Who murdered sweet old Midge? Funny you should ask...
4. Betty’s dad being revealed as one of Riverdale’s many, many serial killers
4a. Not only that, but he was just following in his dad’s footsteps, ’cause he was also a murderer.
4b. Both of the killers were driven by a moral crusade to rid Riverdale of sinners... lol.
4y. But, in a shocking twist, we learn Cheryl’s mom, Penelope, was masterminding the crimes the whole time.
3. A D&D knockoff — created in a convent— inspiring multiple deaths over decades
3a. Known as Gryphons and Gargoyles, the game made kids kill themselves with Kool-Aid.
3b. Both the kids of modern Riverdale and their parents played and lost friends to the game.
3c. Gryphons and Gargoyles also inspired the terrifying Gargoyle King serial killer.
3d&d. The costumed killer was later revealed to be none other than Chic, Betty’s fake half-brother.
2. Jughead’s private school teacher defenestrating himself in the middle of class
2a. Why did he do it? Because he was blackmailed by a secret society, the Quill and Skull.
2b. By the way, this society only existed to write Riverdale’s “in-universe” Hardy Boys books, known as the Baxter Brothers. It’s all very Donna Tartt’s Secret History, dahling!
2e. The Quill and Skull then tried to kill Jughead because he won a writing competition.
2o. So literally every major player in Riverdale helped Jughead fake his own death.
2x, y, & z. That storyline went on all season with Betty, Veronica, and Archie accused of his murder.
1. Veronica taking out a hit on her dad for trying to kill Archie
1a. And then was incredibly surprised when he was actually dead.
1b. Like, literally crying and in shock that his burned, bullet-ridden body was found.
1c. Even though she took out the hit!!!
1x. RIP to that hunky, terrible man.
Riverdale’s most ridiculous moments
It is literally impossible to cover them all, but here are some of the most memorable.
10. Veronica’s dad framing Archie for murder
10a. Then Archie took a plea deal for manslaughter.
10b. So of course Archie went to jail and joined the juvie football team...
10c. ...where he gave his extremely iconic “epic highs and lows of high school football” speech.
9. Jughead’s iconic “I’m a weirdo” speech
9w. In case you haven’t noticed, he’s weird. He’s a weirdo.
9x. He doesn’t fit in. And he doesn’t want to fit in.
9y. Have you ever seen him without that stupid hat on?
9z. THAT’S WEIRD!
8. Hiram getting put in jail by Veronica
8a. Sure, this wouldn’t be that ridiculous, but then he literally just left because he owned the jail.
8b. Once out, he decided to ruin his daughter’s life via cease-and-desist orders for her rum brand.
8c. While also revealing he had a secret daughter no one knew about called Hermosa.
8h. This would lead to a father-daughter business battle.
8k. The battle only stopped when Hiram revealed he had a degenerative disease.
8t. But Hiram quickly beat the terminal illness by beating up men in the street.
8z. I am aware this sounds absolutely fake, but this really showcases how quickly the show moves through this plotline: His recovery is revealed at the dinner table with a single flashback to him beating up men while he talks about how he’s beating his illness through exercise. lol.
7. The introduction of Dark Betty in an episode named after a Brian De Palma film
7a. We met her when the dark version of Betty covered a creepy football player in maple syrup.
7b. Then she tried to drown him in a hot tub at a pool party while dressed in lingerie.
7c. Dark Betty would appear throughout early seasons, representing Betty’s dark side. But it didn’t stop there…
6. Betty getting diagnosed with the very real, totally not made-up “serial killer gene”
6a. After her father was outed as a killer, Alice revealed to Betty she had “the serial killer gene.”
6b. This would haunt Betty and lead her to recall being trained by her father to be a serial killer.
6f. So she did the only logical thing and joined the teen FBI at her school.
6n. The teen FBI was led by her real half-brother, Charles.
6q. But surprise! He was a serial killer and was dating her fake half-brother, Chic!
6w. Charles and Chic would ask Alice to marry them.
5. An organ-harvesting cult led by Edgar Evernever coming to Riverdale
5a. They quickly brainwashed almost the whole town into joining “The Farm.”
5f. Soon kids were having operations to remove their “sins” (aka, their organs).
5h. Betty tries to take them down to save her mom but gets imprisoned by The Farm.
5m. Luckily, Betty’s mom, Alice, isn’t really indoctrinated... She’s an undercover FBI agent.
5w. Then Edgar tried to escape in a homemade rocket wearing an Evel Knievel costume.
5x. But his reign came to an end when Alice killed him in cold blood, because she’s in the FBI, obvz.
3. That time Hiram Lodge put a bomb under Archie’s bed that created a pocket dimension
3a. No, seriously, at the end of season 5, Hiram tried to kill Archie but instead created Rivervale.
3b. Rivervale was a different universe where everything was the same but different.
3f. Archie was almost immediately sacrificed by Cheryl and a coven of witches.
3j. To escape, Jughead had to find a multiversal version of himself to make Riverdale comics for all eternity to allow everyone to make their way back to the main Riverdale universe.
3x. Oh! And let’s not forget, when they made it back to the main universe, Archie, Betty, and Jughead had all gained superpowers! Because in Riverdale, anything can and will happen.
2. When a comet cursed by a wizard was going to hit Riverdale
2a. The only way to stop it was for Cheryl to channel the spirits of her dead ancestors.
2b. But that wasn’t enough, so Veronica had to give Cheryl everyone’s superpowers.
2c. How did she give them to Cheryl? Via a kiss, of course, which led to the iconic Veronica line: “It’s not queerbaiting, it’s saving the world.”
2f. In a shocking twist, the plan led to the crew ending up in the 1950s for the final season.
2z. Why? Well, Tabitha Tate had to send them there to save them from the comet...
1. Tabitha becoming the guardian angel of Riverdale
1a. Then she became a multiversal time traveler to save the town.
1b-z. Ultimately, she managed to save the multiverse by streamlining all universes into one.
1fin. She peaked when she gave the residents of 1950s Riverdale their memories back by making them binge-watch every single episode of Riverdale! That’s meta magic!