Riverdale’s 10 Wildest Storylines

Kelly Martinez
TV Comics
TV Comics

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time to say goodbye to Riverdale. Loosely — okay, very loosely — based on the beloved Archie Comics, The CW series first launched in 2017. Over the course of six seasons, we’ve seen Archie and his pals get into some of the wackiest shenanigans imaginable. What started off as a quirky teen drama murder mystery eventually became a totally unhinged show involving parallel universes, aliens, superpowers, and time travel.  As Jughead once succinctly put it, “It’s a universe of high school dances, and masked serial killers, of football, and milkshakes, and musicals, and cults, diabolical board games and murderous nuns.”

The seventh and final season is set to premiere March 29. In the Season 6 finale, a deadly comet raced towards the town and everyone had to band together with their superpowers (we told you it got weird) to stop it. Instead of completely destroying the world, the comet sent all of the characters back to the 1950s as high school students, with everyone’s memories wiped except for Jughead’s. By this point, fans are pretty sure this show couldn’t get any more bizarre. “I don’t think anything could possibly be wilder than the fact that riverdale has a whole MULTIVERSE and that they’re all magically in the 50’s and back in high school,” wrote Keels033 on Fandom’s Archieverse Wiki. Somewhere in the distance, the Riverdale writers are laughing ominously.

Now felt like the perfect time to take a trip down memory lane and look back on the show’s most unhinged moments so far. So grab a milkshake, get comfy, and enjoy our list of the ten wildest storylines in Riverdale history!

Betty and Jughead’s
Long-Lost Brother

Betty’s mother Alice gave birth to Charles when she was just a teenager, placing him for adoption through the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Although Alice was in a relationship with Hal at the time, F.P. is actually Charles’ biological father. Needless to say, it was a bit awkward when then-couple Betty and Jughead discovered they shared a brother. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s truly wild about this storyline, though.

The first supposed brother who showed up, Chic, turned out to be an imposter — and he also turned out to be, uh, the Gargoyle King (more on that later). When Betty and Jughead’s real brother showed up, it was revealed that Charles and Chic were actually dating. Oh, and it turned out that Charles was both an FBI agent and a serial killer. Yeesh!

Archie Being Framed for Murder

Poor Archie sure didn’t get to bask in the glory of winning the student body presidential election for very long. Police officers abruptly interrupted his swearing in ceremony when they burst into the auditorium and arrested the teen for the murder of Cassidy Bullock. Veronica’s father Hiram framed his daughter’s boyfriend for the murder as revenge for threatening him.

Archie’s case ended in a mistrial, prompting him to take a plea deal. He spent some time in juvenile detention, giving us classic Riverdale moments like the “epic highs and lows of high school football” and the River Vixens performing “Jailhouse Rock.” Fortunately, Archie was ultimately able to break out of there and be granted freedom — but he did suffer from a rather unfortunate encounter with a bear shortly afterwards.

The Gargoyle King

Things truly took a turn for the weird when the Gargoyle King began wreaking havoc on the town in Season 3. It all started with a little game called Gryphons and Gargoyles, basically an extremely creepy version of Dungeons & Dragons. The game was first invented many years ago by patients at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, who initially used it as a way to cope when the sisters would throw them into a room with a horrifying gargoyle statue.

The Gargoyle King seemed to spend most of his days among his equally creepy disciples in the woods, attempting to lure teenagers in to hold them hostage and “brand” them. He also led a lot of his victims to their gruesome deaths (R.I.P. Dilton Doiley). In the end, it was revealed that Chic was the Gargoyle King, working under Cheryl’s mother, Penelope.

The Farm

This one actually might be one of the wildest storylines in all of television history, period. The “farm” was a cult led by Edgar Everneer (played by none other than Chad Michael Murray), who was literally brainwashing teenagers and other vulnerable townspeople in order to harvest their organs. He preyed on Riverdale High students with the help of his wife Evelyn, who posed as his teenage daughter (ick) and recruited members. The brainwashed farm victims, including Kevin and Cheryl, would show up to school dressed in creepy white robes, raving about Edgar and trying to convince others to get baptized. Edgar even held Betty hostage and tried to perform “surgery” on her!

Alice was initially thought to be a member of the cult, but it turned out she was actually working with the FBI to stop them instead. Oh, and the whole thing ended with Edgar attempting to shoot himself off a rocket like the prophet Elijah — luckily, Alice stopped him. What a freaking roller coaster!

Jughead Faking His Own Death

When Jughead didn’t appear in an ominous scene in the Season 3 finale, in which Archie, Veronica, and Betty were suspiciously tossing his beanie into a fire and vowing to never speak of what they’d done again, it naturally set off some alarm bells in fans’ heads. Things got pretty wild when the three of them were arrested for Jughead’s murder. Luckily, it turned out that Jughead was merely pretending to be dead in order to outsmart those evil Stonewall Prep students who were actually trying to murder him.

Although his loved ones knew what was really going on (the gang was in on the plan), Jughead was still pretty freaking dedicated to making his death seem convincing — the town even held a funeral for him! Oh, and let’s not forget that this storyline also gave us that glorious Betty and Archie fake dating era.

The Tickle Videos

Where do we even begin with this one? Kevin began starring in these bizarre tickle fetish videos after a guy named Terry offered him thousands of dollars for them. Soon, Fangs and Reggie decided they also wanted in on the money. They convinced Kevin that they could make more profit if they started their own business and cut Terry out of the picture. This didn’t exactly please Terry, who brutally attacked the boys (like, he literally bent Kevin’s fingers backwards) in retaliation for getting screwed over by their business plan.

“Let the tickle games begin!” is certainly a Riverdale quote none of us will ever forget.

Cheryl Keeping Jason’s Corpse

Poor Cheryl has been through so much, from her father literally murdering her twin brother to her homophobic mother sending her to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy to be subject to the nuns’ horrific conversion therapy. Jason truly was, as Cheryl put it, her “only light,” and it’s completely understandable why his death had such a lasting impact on her. But can we all agree that keeping your dead twin brother’s corpse and pretending he’s alive is not a healthy coping mechanism for dealing with grief?

With the support of her girlfriend, Toni, Cheryl was eventually able to lay Jason to rest for real, thank god. Unfortunately, that image of his rotting corpse just sitting casually in the Blossom dining room is seared permanently into my brain.

The Mothmen

Riverdale dipped its toes into supernatural territory when Jughead came across a Mothman sculpture in Old Man Dreyfus’ yard. Dreyfus claimed the Mothmen were a group of aliens who dwelled in caves and abducted his friends on their ship many years ago. Although initially skeptical of the story, Jughead became convinced when he witnessed a mysterious beam of white light in the middle of the night outside Pop’s. He also hallucinated a Mothman while under the influence of maple mushrooms, much to Tabitha’s concern.

After a series of suspicious disappearances, more hallucinations by other members of the gang, and a little investigation, it was revealed that the existence of Mothmen was merely a story made up by a secret group of illegitimate Blossoms who had been living in the woods for generations. Thank goodne- wait, what?!


Is it really surprising that Riverdale has a parallel universe? Following a cliffhanger where a bomb went off under Betty and Archie’s bed (!), Season 6 got off to quite the bonkers start. The show introduced us to a creepy parallel town called Rivervale where Archie was… being sacrificed as part of a ritual led by Cheryl? Eventually, Jughead was able to connect the dots between Rivervale and Riverdale, thanks to a collection of comic books.

This universe saw Betty and Archie prepare to get married, only for Betty to end up killing Archie on their wedding day after discovering he was responsible for strangling half the town. There were also two Reggies — Ross Butler, who played Reggie in Season 1, appeared alongside current Reggie actor Charles Melton. Everything got “fixed” in the end by recreating the explosion that led to the creation of Rivervale in the first place, but there truly aren’t enough words to adequately describe how absolutely unhinged this plot was.

Everyone Getting Superpowers

This won our poll for “wildest Riverdale storyline” for a reason!

“The farm is my favorite outta these, but the superpower one was the craziest one…” JanoPotato01 explained.

We’d say this plot was the show jumping the shark, but that shark got fed up and swam out of the building about four seasons ago. In a weird (and honestly fun) twist, the latest bomb explosion left the group with superpowers: aura reading for Betty, enhanced strength and pain tolerance for Archie, mind reading and telepathic erasure capabilities for Jughead, poison generation for Veronica, and time traveling for Tabitha. Hey, we’ve already done cults, killers, and teenagers running speakeasies — why not throw in superheroes too? Plus, soon after everyone gained their powers, a comet hurtled towards the world and reset the whole universe back to the ‘50 anyways!

Riverdale Season 7 premieres March 29.

Kelly is a freelance entertainment writer based in Los Angeles. She was a Staff Writer for BuzzFeed for over three years, and her work has appeared in The Daily Beast, WIRED, Primetimer, and The Nerds of Color.