The craziest things to ever happen in Riverdale

Since premiering on the CW in January of 2017, Riverdale has established itself as one of the craziest shows on the air. Adapted from the adventures of characters featured in Archie Comics, Riverdale has turned up the sex appeal and added murder mysteries, making it like a teenage version of Twin Peaks. Changing the comics' geriatric Ms. Grundy into a mid-twenties sexual predator, casting a bevy of actors from your favorite teen dramas as been-there done-that parents… these are only some of the ways that Riverdale has proven so consistently audacious and bizarre that it's almost hard to believe it exists at all.

But even for a show that involves mobster crime families and multiple serial killers, there are some moments in Riverdale that stand out from the rest. From Betty solving her problems with maple syrup and a very hot hot tub to Jughead slicing a rival gangster's arm open, here are the craziest things to ever happen in Riverdale. Spoilers ahead.

Dark Betty and the maple syrup torture

While multiple murderers haunt the grounds of Riverdale, sometimes the most insidious predator is misogyny. Case in point is football star Chuck Clayton's continued slut-shaming of the women he's hooked up with (as well as the women he hasn't). When Veronica finds herself the target of Clayton's public mockery, she teams up with Betty to teach him a lesson.

Lesser shows would have featured a violent retribution or some other form of familiar vengeance. Instead, Betty invites Clayton to a hot tub with the promise of a hookup with her and Veronica. Wearing a severe bowl-cut wig and black lingerie, Dark Betty (as she likes to be called) handcuffs Chuck to the side of the tub and turns up the heat until he agrees to recant his lies about the women of Riverdale High. Afterwards, Dark Betty pours maple syrup all over Chuck as a symbolic gesture of sexual dominance in one of the strangest torture scenes to ever make it to air. That's one way out of a sticky situation.

Burn, baby, burn

If there's one constant in Riverdale, besides all the murder mysteries and dangerous liaisons, it's that Cheryl Blossom will find a way to completely surprise you. A perfect example arrives at the end of season one when the mystery of Jason Blossom's killer is finally revealed. After the shocking discovery that Jason was actually shot by his father Cliff as part of a complicated scheme to protect the sanctity of his maple syrup/drug-running business, Cliff Blossom hangs himself in his syrup refinery.

Infuriated by the betrayal that she feels toward her deceased father and lying mother, Cheryl does the only logical thing: cover the grounds of their palatial family estate with gasoline, drop a burning candelabra to the floor, and tell her mother that it's only through fire that their family can truly start over and be purified. The cherry on top, as it were, is Cheryl watching the flames with a hungry joy in her eyes as her mother weakly slaps Cheryl's hair. Cheryl's always been a fiery redhead, but this scene truly made good on that descriptor.

The kiss of life

It wouldn't be Riverdale if a season didn't start with a mystery involving someone getting shot, and the season two opener revolves around Fred Andrews, Archie's father, who gets laid up in the hospital after being plugged at Pop's Diner. While other characters worry about who shot Fred and wonder whether he'll recover, it's Cheryl who once again steps up to the plate. After a quick detour to her mother's hospital room to torture her into agreeing not to talk about how the mansion got burned, Cheryl heads to Fred's room to give him the kiss of life.

In her mind, kissing his comatose father is Archie's reward for punching through a frozen river to pull Cheryl out of a failed suicide attempt in the previous season; just as Archie gave her mouth to mouth to save her from a watery grave, she brings Fred back from his gunshot injury with a forehead kiss. While it seems like yet another act of megalomania from Riverdale's resident redhead, Fred actually does recover from his injuries shortly after, implying that Cheryl does have a degree of control over the forces of life and death.

A shirtless boys' club

Nothing is ever simple in Riverdale. What seemed like a random robbery gone wrong in Pop's Diner is quickly revealed to be the first act of a serial killer haunting Riverdale: the Black Hood. Understandably upset that his dad was shot and nearly killed, Archie decides to start a vigilante group of shirtless red-masked high schoolers called the Red Circle, dedicated to bringing down the Black Hood. To make things even better, Archie shoots what basically amounts to a wrestling promo, promising to find and "end" the Black Hood as his mask-wearing friends flex their abs menacingly in the background.

Even crazier, Archie actually got the idea to start the Red Circle from some old comics that he read about a superhero group by the same name. What makes this so wild is that Red Circle Comics was a real publishing imprint of Archie Comics that also published a comic called Black Hood. The level of meta-text here is unreal. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Riverdale Red Circle vigilante group is promptly shut down by the Riverdale High principal not long after the threatening video goes out. You really have to be careful what you put on the internet.

The Serpent King

The Jughead of Riverdale doesn't have much in common with the Jughead of Archie comics. Despite their shared predilection for shirts with an "S" on them, the TV version of Jughead doesn't have the all-consuming lust for burgers and complete absence of lust for anything else that his comics counterpart is known for. Riverdale's version of Jughead becomes even more distinct when he officially joins the Southside Serpents, Riverdale's local gang of bikers and no-goodniks.

The Serpents are a tough gang full of hardened criminals with names like "Mustang," "Tall Boy," and "Sweet Pea." In order to join these hallowed ranks, Jughead has to do more than just be the son of the former Serpent King; he'll have to pass "The Gauntlet," comprised of three challenges: Take care of "The Beast," which is a very cute dog; memorize all of the Serpent rules and shout them in a bar; and touch a snake. Somehow, Jughead manages to pass, earning the right to a Southside Serpents tattoo, which gives him full rights as a gang member.

Jingle Jangle madness

Sometimes the craziest parts of Riverdale aren't the ways the show diverges from the comics, but rather are in the moments when it pays homage to America's favorite teenager. Case in point is Jingle Jangle, the hot new drug that sweeps across Riverdale faster than you can laugh at the idea of a bunch of teenagers getting hopped up on a drug called "Jingle Jangle." The name actually comes from one of the singles from the (real-life) chart-topping fictional band the Archies that originated from the '60s animated series The Archie Show.

Turning a wholesome song into a drug sold in Pixie Stix is classic Riverdale, but it goes even further than that. Most of the cast has a wild night of Jingle Jangle-themed debauchery after Veronica's old New York friend, Nick St. Clair, buys some off Reggie. But it turns out that Jingle Jangle isn't just any drug; it's actually part of a brand new operation controlled by the Sugarman, Cliff Blossom's former right-hand drug lord, who's moved in on Riverdale following the Blossom patriarch's suicide. Thankfully, the day is saved when Cheryl is able to work through her childhood trauma and realize that the Sugarman isn't a Boogeyman-esque stalker of her nightmares, but a title bequeathed to whichever current drug kingpin is currently in control of the operation.

Jughead's bloody mess

Remember when Jughead joined the Southside Serpents? Well, he ends up being surprisingly popular with the younger members, becoming a leader for the gang. Unfortunately, he also gets blackmailed into delivering a shipment of Jingle Jangle by Penny Peabody, a Serpent who is much less cuddly than Sweet Pea and the rest. Penny's blackmailing escalates to the point that even FP, Jughead's dad, gets drawn into it, which forces Jughead to do something drastic.

Jughead shows up to Penny's hideout, kidnaps her with the help of his loyal serpents and drives her out to an abandoned ditch outside of town. When she protests that she's a Serpent too — with the tattoo to prove it — and thus untouchable according to Serpent laws, Jughead pulls out a switchblade and slices the tattoo off of her arm, leaving her to bleed out in a ditch. In perhaps the most realistic depiction of a teenager's thought patterns that Riverdale has ever aired, Jughead considers the matter absolutely solved until Penny returns leading a rival Riverdale gang intent on murdering him. Classic teenager problems.

Archie Andrews, FBI

While Hiram Lodge, Veronica's dad, spent most of season one in prison, the implication seemed to be more on the side of the comics' shady businessman brand of embezzling. In season two, it's revealed that Hiram is a full-on mob boss out of The Godfather with an interest in corrupting everyone's favorite pure-hearted redhead, Archie. As if he didn't have enough to deal with between his dad getting shot by a serial killer and his struggles dating Veronica, Archie is approached by an FBI agent named Adams, who wants him to go undercover in Lodge's mob organization in order to bring him to justice.

After Archie spends a few episodes trying to get by without causing waves between the FBI and the Lodges, he finds out the truth: there is no Agent Adams and there is no FBI sting operation for Hiram Lodge. Instead, Adams was one of Hiram's minions whose job was to test Archie to see if he was a worthy candidate to become one of Hiram's capos (hitmen). Since Archie didn't break Omerta, the code of silence, he gets to join the organization in between his school life and his extra-curricular activities of wrestling, playing music, and trying to murder the Black Hood. Who doesn't remember dealing with these types of problems as a high school sophomore?

It really is a Mad World

While Jughead embraces being a Southside Serpent without reservations, his dad, FP, has a slightly more nuanced relationship to the gang. He was the leader of the Serpents for a while, but became such a toxic alcoholic presence that Jughead's mom and sister left town rather than stay with FP. Worse, FP's dirty dealings under Cliff Blossom in season one landed him in jail for part of season two. It makes sense, then, that Jughead would want to celebrate his dad's release from jail with a "retirement" party. What doesn't make sense is why the party for his recovering alcoholic dad who's trying to distance himself from the Serpents is thrown at the White Wyrm, the Serpents' bar hangout. Or why he enlists his girlfriend Betty to plan the party around karaoke.

Still, if Jughead's plan of action seems strange, that's nothing compared to what happens at the actual event. Archie and Veronica sing the world's saddest duet to Tears for Fears' "Mad World" before running off without finishing the song. Deprived of their entertainment, the bikers start booing, until Betty Cooper (who's still in high school) leaps onto the stage to perform a striptease/pole dance to the remainder of the "Mad World" karaoke. As for FP, it turns out that being surrounded by some of your closest friends who all want to honor the work you've done with them in a bar when you're a recovering alcoholic is a bad idea since he pretty much immediately rejoins the Serpents at the end of the party. It's kind of funny, but also kind of sad.

Chic Cooper: video gigolo, webcam boy, cyber trick

Jughead isn't the only Riverdale character with a complicated family life. Betty Cooper spends most of season two trying to figure out the true intentions of her brother Chic, given up for adoption by their mother when she was still in high school. Betty manages to track down Chic and get him out of a bad situation after he's stabbed, but there's something suspicious about him.

Thankfully, Kevin Keller, Betty's gay best friend, is there to reveal the truth with one of the best lines ever said on television: "I just remembered where I know Chic from. He's a video gigolo, a webcam boy, a cyber trick!" As it turns out, Kevin is both right and wrong: Chic is all of those things, but he's not actually Betty's brother. It turns out that he was romantically involved with Betty's brother, possibly killed him, and then definitively stole his identity. Luckily, this is Riverdale, where no evil deed goes unpunished; Betty sics the local serial killer, the Black Hood, on Chic after giving him a ten-second head start just to be fair. Of course, that's after Chic taught Betty how to be a cyber trick herself, so we'll have to see if season three can somehow come up with a better line than "a video gigolo, a webcam boy, a cyber trick!"

Lesbian love and the Sisters of Quiet Mercy

Cheryl Blossom spends most of her time in a universe that seems just shy of the one that the rest of Riverdale inhabits. Sure, she's as bizarrely involved in all the murders and secret affairs as the rest of the teenagers somehow are, but she also exists in a world that's at least eighty percent comprised of gothic tropes. That percentage gets swung up to 100 when Cheryl's mother has her committed to a gay conversion camp secretly hidden in an orphanage/nunnery as revenge for ruining some of her latest evil plots (and for Cheryl's sapphic desires). While there, Cheryl's experiences are straight out of Bronte, as she's forced to perform backbreaking labor under threat of further punishment from the nuns that run the place.

Luckily, Veronica and Toni Topaz, a Southside Serpent interested in Cheryl, team up to break her out through a secret tunnel used by the inmates to sneak out and hook up with the denizens of Riverdale. Strangely, despite the fact that Penelope Blossom was so intent on sending Cheryl away in order to finally get rid of her, it's never really discussed how Cheryl was able to avoid getting sent back afterwards. True love conquers all, we suppose.

Carrie: The Musical

Plenty of shows have musical episodes, but there's never been one quite like Riverdale's tribute to Carrie: The Musical. The themes of Stephen King's original work certainly line up fairly well with Riverdale: both are about high school cliques, overbearing mothers, and occasional explosions of horrific violence and bizarre events. Still, leave it to Riverdale to pay tribute specifically to the musical so infamously plagued by disaster that it's almost an act of willful spite to put on a high school production of it.

Arguably the most bizarre part of the episode is that Betty's mom stars in the high school musical as Carrie's overbearing mother. It's a fun contrast to the slightly different kind of overbearing mother that Alice Cooper normally is, but what is an adult doing starring in a high school play — especially an adult that isn't a teacher or anyone else on staff? It's probably for the best that the actual production gets interrupted by yet another murder committed by the Black Hood.

Little red Robin Hood

If it hasn't already been made abundantly clear, Cheryl Blossom's shenanigans are almost always a standout even among the crazy happenings in Riverdale. And even with that, the climactic events of season two stand out as an all-time craziest moment.

When the Black Hood attacks Cheryl with an axe, she escapes out the window of her bedroom before immediately reappearing dressed in a red (of course) hunting cape with a bow and arrow at the ready. She shoots a warning shot at the Black Hood before telling him "I suggest you run whilst you can. I only miss when I mean to." When the Black Hood ignores her advice, she shoots him in the shoulder before following him into the woods to make sure he's dealt with properly. Cheryl nearly single-handedly stopping Riverdale's most notorious serial killer like some sort of combination between Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood is amazing, but she pulls double duty just a few moments later when she and her trusty bow and arrow arrive just in time to stop Jughead from getting attacked by Penny Peabody. Hey, if Riverdale can have a serial killer derived from one of their superhero characters, why not an Arrow-themed vigilante, too?