Riverdale is absolutely off the trails most of the time. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but you just sort of have to know what you’re going into when you’re watching it. A show that brings together musical moments and comic characters that have a cultural importance, the CW hit has gone through quite the journey since it began, and while if you told me then that Betty, Archie, and the team from Riverdale would eventually have superpowers back, then I wouldn’t have believed it, now? It makes sense.
So let’s break down a bit of what makes Riverdale wild and explore 10 of the weirdest things they’ve done on the show!
If you stop and think about the weirder moments on Riverdale, this might be something you forgot happened, but if you recall, Nick St. Clair tried to drug and assault Cheryl, and when the girls found out, they went to beat Nick while singing “Out Tonight” from the musical Rent. Yup, all that happened on this show was in season 2, so that’s when things were relatively tame compared to where we are now.
Basically, the girls go to get revenge on Nick St. Clair and are singing the Mimi song from Rent while beating him up. While it is a message of strength against those trying to hurt others, it is a group of teenage girls singing Rent and beating up a man for abusing their friend. The key part in this is that they’re singing a song from Rent, so whatever message the scene did have got a bit lost in everyone screaming “WHAT?!” while watching from home.
The Next To Normal Episode
As a fan of the musical Next to Normal, I was not excited for Riverdale to tackle the show. I was right in that feeling. Smashing the themes of Next to Normal in one episode, Riverdale focused on the death of Polly Cooper and how Betty and Alice were coping with it. The problem is that Next to Normal is about Diana Goodman refusing to accept her son's death years after his death as a baby and how it affects her mental health and that of her marriage.
Famously, Alice Cooper’s husband was the Black Hood killer and is dead. So it meant that Betty had to play not only the part of Natalie Goodman in the musical but also basically every other character for Alice. It barely worked and led to weird changes to some of my favorite songs in musical theatre for no reason other than they just liked the musical.
Aggressively Singing Sugar Daddy at the Principal
The show Hedwig and the Angry Inch is an interesting one, to say the least. The John Cameron Mitchell masterpiece had a cult following until it finally got a Broadway run starring Neil Patrick Harris a few years ago. So, a bunch of teenagers wanting to do a song from it at their school talent show isn’t unheard of. But what made the situation oh so very Riverdale was that their solution to their principal telling them no was to sing “Sugar Daddy” at him aggressively.
Now, if any song in Hedwig and the Angry Inch would turn some heads in a high school setting, it’s this one, and Cheryl Blossom sings it at their principal to try and help. Which is odd, given the song that Kevin wanted to do is a sweet song! All they had to do was show him the lyrics, maybe, but this made it worse, and then the entire school just kept singing the songs at the principal, and it was an odd one!
Betty Going to Work for the FBI
Riverdale loves to sort of half commit to an idea. I wanted them to commit to doing American Psycho the Musical, and all they gave me was a knock-off name of Brett Weston Wallace, but what was really weird was their maybe attempt at Silence of the Lambs, where Betty suddenly worked for the FBI and would profile killers like Clarice. Why? I don’t know if it’s Riverdale. But the show focused Betty’s energy on being a detective as if they didn’t also establish that she had the serial killer gene seasons prior. Again, it's a very real thing on this show.
Is it just that her working for the FBI makes no sense, given that she was set up as a reporter for most of the first half of this show? Yes. That’s exactly it, but then suddenly she’s an FBI agent who has a headquarters out of Riverdale because that’s high up on the FBI watch list, I guess!
Opening a Speakeasy as Teenagers
Veronica Lodge loves to get revenge on her father, Hiram. As a smart and savvy businesswoman, she started her capital long before graduating high school. This includes a speakeasy in the basement of Pop’s that everyone just lets happen despite Veronica is supposed to be in high school. I honestly couldn’t ever figure out if it was an actual bar with alcohol, but they did have gambling there that just continued on despite the sheriff's son being there all the time, so probably.
The thing is, Riverdale relies heavily on the lot of us just running with whatever nonsense they present to us. And for the most part, we do. Like Veronica running a speakeasy at 16 or however old she was. And the fact that sometimes the parents are there? Just accept it! And we did!
The Weird Cult With Chad Michael Murray
So, just so you’re all aware, Chad Michael Murray had a cult. One that he tried to escape from by Evel Knieveling his way to the moon on a rocket. But he has a “daughter” who goes to high school and recruits people into the cult that preys on their secrets to keep them all there and part of it, and Betty is seemingly the only person who sees it as a bad thing for a while and everyone else just thinks it’s a cool fun cult.
Honestly, the part of this that made the most sense was Chad Michael Murray trying to ride a rocket to space. Still, it’s all just part of Riverdale’s weird need to have an overarching odd story each season when the town of Riverdale is funny enough without an out-of-town cult rolling in to disrupt their high school problems and love triangles.
Cheryl Keeping Her Brother in Her Home Even Though He’s Dead
Cheryl Blossom struggled with the death of her twin for a lot of the show thus far. While it was understandable for quite a while, it then took a twist that no one really wanted for her or us as an audience: She suddenly had Jason Blossom’s dead body she would talk to like he was still alive and well.
In retrospect, Cheryl had a lot of issues she needed to work out, but rather than show her going to get help and have someone listen to her, the show had her put Jason’s dead body in a chair, and she got to pretend like her brother was alive and well still. Honestly, this is not that shocking for Riverdale, but it is just one of those things that you go to, “Oh right, Cheryl used her dead brother’s corpse to talk to for a while” while talking about the show.
Maybe Killing Jughead?!
For an entire season, we thought Jughead was going to die. We should have known better. It’s Riverdale. They won’t kill him off. But they sent him to some weird private school where his “friends” maybe took him into the woods and killed him, and everyone went along with it. Basically, they were all trying to get the kids from his new school in trouble for attempting to hurt him, and it turned into the most confusing season of television I have ever watched.
They were trying for mystery but then also brought in a whole new school of characters that no one cared about, making everyone confused as to why Jughead was there in the first place. And I am still unsure if he was ever almost dead or if he did die, or maybe the show died, and we’ve just been dreaming it up ever since.
Betty Killing Archie To Have a Baby
Just when you think that Riverdale has done it all, Betty Cooper sacrifices Archie Andrews so that she can have his baby. Not even lying. Granted, it happened in whatever weird timeline they did where everyone slowly got killed, but still, Archie Andrews was murdered so that Betty Cooper could have a baby. She instantly lost the baby, so Archie died for nothing, but the show did take us on this journey with Betty, where no one seemed to care that Archie was murdered.
The mirror universe was filled with questionable storylines, but the fact that Archie was just killed so Betty could start a family on her own is…certainly a choice! Again, none of this matters because it was all some Twilight Zone experiment for the show. Archie was killed in a ritual, which happened in the parallel world of Rivervale (yes, it had a new name).
The Multiverse of Riverdale
The town of Rivervale brought us into an alternate reality where Jughead was maybe living out the play Bug with Tabitha. Still, everyone dies, and they have to bridge the timelines together, or the universe as we know it will collapse. Aside from that, the mirror universe included a Veronica Lodge Uncut Gems storyline, the Archie sacrifice, Jughead thinking he had bugs, and more!
Oh, also the devil. Lucifer came to town, and Veronica made a deal with him at one point after Reggie tried to give her up instead, so it was a sea of everyone dying for one reason or another. Why did they do this? I don’t know if it’s Riverdale. I had entirely given up trying to understand what happened seasons ago. But the multiverse of madness therein was arguably the weirdest thing this show has chosen to do. And remember: Chad Michael Murray tried to ride a rocket to the moon.
Rachel Leishman is a writer based in New York City. She specializes in yelling about her favorite properties. A real-life Leslie Knope, she loves her fictional characters and knows probably too much about Harrison Ford's career.