Riverdale has had so many great moments that the real challenge is how to pick a mere ten moments from a show that revels in its pure camp and offers one twist after another. But we managed to push on, so before season three premieres, here are the times when Riverdale has truly outdone itself. Warning: contains spoilers.
10. Archie and Hiriam wrestle
Within this deeply baffling, regressive episode we got Riverdale‘s volleyball scene, complete with a whole lot of homoerotic undertones… or overtones? Archie was trying to become a champion wrestler to impress Veronica’s father Hiram, who decided to suit up and take on Archie himself, just to show him how good enough he wasn’t for his little girl. The show’s regressive message was thankfully rebuked by Veronica, who always knew how to treat the casual misogyny she frequently encountered, even from the men she loved.
9. Cheryl shoots the Black Hood
When the Black Hood showed up on Cheryl’s doorstep with the intent to kill, it looked like Cheryl would need saving. But she quickly proved why she has become a standout. When she ran upstairs, it looked like the kind of wrongheaded move every other horror film heroine made, but Cheryl decided to bust out her “archery set and hunting cape” and give the Black Hood more than he bargained for.
8. Cheryl threatens her mother covered in blood
The Carrie musical episode was always going to be a catalyst for the many issues the Riverdale teens had to face and Cheryl feared that she was breaking under the weight of hers, with her mother embodying the many forces trying to keep her down. As Cheryl hilariously put it to would-be girlfriend Toni Topaz , “I’m not the same girl who burned down Thornhill and cut off her oxygen.” Ever supportive, Toni encouraged Cheryl to show the icy matriarch who was in charge. Cheryl took Toni’s words deeply to heart, grabbing a candelabra and showing up to give her mother the business while covered in blood.
7. Alice Cooper goes into full Serpent mode
After relentlessly putting the Serpents down, it was revealed that Alice Cooper grew up on the Southside and used to be a Serpent herself. Many (including her husband) assumed she’d withdraw until the storm quieted, but the Cooper matriarch proved Betty wasn’t the only badass in the family when she showed up to a Lodge event in full Serpent mode. We’re talking that dress that looked like it was made of serpent scales, scaly high heels, a snake necklace around her neck. Everyone turned to stare at what became Alice’s best entrance ever (possibly the show’s too) and her telling Hal to shove it was just an added bonus.
6. Polly learns the incestuous truth
We all knew Polly going to stay with the Blossom family was one of the dumber ideas she had. She had all of her sister’s zeal for discovering the truth, but none of her sleuthing skills. She wasn’t even the one who discovered the big incestuous twist, that apparently the Cooper and Blossom family were distant cousins. More creepy was the fact that one family didn’t seem to mind. “Nothing could be more purely Blossom than those babies,” Penelope Blossom purred.
5. Jughead puts on the Serpents jacket for the first time
Jughead had been trying to escape the world the Serpents embodied throughout much of the first season of Riverdale. But when his father was jailed and the Serpents showed up to offer support and membership, Jughead put on the jacket, and it quickly became clear just how well it suited him. He would go on to become deeply invested in the Southside and save it when the much more privileged North tried to tear it apart.
4. The first appearance of Dark Betty
Betty Cooper was literally the girl next door to her best friend Archie and the immaculate image of the good daughter and perfect student image she was expected to uphold at all costs was already beginning to take its toll. When she and Veronica teamed up to punish Chuck for his sexist treatment of the girls at her school, her inner darkness came out to play for the first time… and went a bit too far, holding Chuck underwater in that hot tub longer than necessary.
3. Veronica and Betty try out for the Vixens
This moment did so much to solidify the tone of the show, and the Betty and Veronica friendship that would turn out to be the heart of Riverdale. It would also confirm Cheryl Blossom’s status as scene stealer and certified mean girl who also showed glimmers of the more complicated character she would turn out to be. Veronica standing up for Betty and getting Cheryl to back down is the kind of high school moment we all wish we had.
2. Veronica and the Pussycats save Cheryl
Nick St. Clair embodied the darkness Veronica wanted to leave in her past, but it turns out he also sported the kind of dangerously toxic masculinity that believed women were objects to be used and disposed of at will. When he zeroed in on Cheryl, drugging her and taking her to a hotel room, Veronica and the Pussycats quickly came to Cheryl’s rescue and gave Nick a beating he’d never forget.
1. Cheryl burns down her house
When a girl finds out her father murdered her beloved twin brother, then committed suicide by hanging when his dirty deeds were discovered, she’s entitled to let off a little steam. In Cheryl’s case, she decides the family needs a bit of a cleansing to get a fresh start, so she burns down their home. We’ve all been there, right?