Riverdale has grown to be much more than the average teen drama. Based on the Archie Comics, the series takes the original characters and places them in larger than life storylines in their small town. Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica have a lot more to worry about than the average teenage worries of getting to school on time or remembering to do a homework assignment.

In a town filled with gangs, murderers, and drug lords, it is a miracle anyone manages to survive to the next day. Given the day to day lifestyle of what it takes to make it in Riverdale, often, the main characters spend their time doing unexpected activities. While some character arcs only benefit the series, others do nothing but drag it down.


The first time we meet Jughead, it is clear that he and his father are estranged. Jughead lives at a drive-in movie theater to avoid being near F.P., his drinking habits, or his gang, the Southside Serpents. Over time as F.P. improves himself, Jughead finds it in him to give F.P. another chance.

Since then, F.P. has become the town Sheriff, and Jughead has taken F.P.’s place as the Serpent King. These changes allowed them to grow closer and brought a new sense of trust in their relationship. Their dynamic has flourished where others have faltered.


Archie’s thirst for vengeance is one of the most significant complications of the second season. He will stop at nothing to take down the Black Hood, and his willingness to do this puts not only himself but many others in danger. Archie’s big idea to prevent the Black Hood from continuing to hurt people in Riverdale is to gather his football teammates to join a group called the Red Circle.

They make a video in an attempt to look intimidating and secure to the public. The storyline itself is awkward as it suggests that a group of teenage boys could be threatening to a known murderer running around with a gun.


Jughead was initially one of the loudest voices against the Southside Serpents. He was not happy with his father’s involvement or the Serpents’ reputation. However, the Serpents prove themselves to be a family that protects their own. Jughead joins the gang in the second season, and through him, Serpent members such as Sweet Pea, Fangs, and Toni are brought into the fold. As they develop more, these people are shown to be more than mindless gang members.

They believe in unity and will stand by each other no matter what. Cheryl, another loud mouth against the Serpents, eventually joins them as well. They ultimately team up with the Sheriff’s department.


After trying to help her brother escape Riverdale, Cheryl was heartbroken to discover that Jason was genuinely dead, and not just on the run like she had thought. Following this, Cheryl fell deep into sadness, eventually literally falling through a crack in the ice in her desire to drown and join her brother. This moment marked a real change within the character of Cheryl (which was thrown aside with her newfound obsession.) At the end of season three, everyone is horrified to find that Jason’s body had been dug up from its grave.

After believing Cheryl had been communicating with Jason when the farm was brainwashing her, she takes it a step further in season four. Hiding in the basement of Cheryl’s house, where no one is allowed to go, is Jason’s dead body. While losing her brother was tragic, there is no excuse for Cheryl continuing to keep and speak to Jason’s body.


Archie and Jughead were at a crossroads at the beginning of the series. After Archie skips out on his and Jughead’s planned Fourth of July road trip so he can stay in Riverdale to spend time with Ms. Grundy, their friendship is on the rocks.

They are uncertain how to treat each other but later decide that their friendship is worth working out. They have their ups and downs during the series, as friends, allies, enemies, and everything in between. When Hiram is after Archie, Jughead joins his best friend on the run. While they may not always agree, they will stand by each other when it counts.


As far as uncomfortable locations go, the Farm is about the most discomforting place on the series. Lead by Edgar Evernever, The Farm hosts a group of people that feel lost somehow, and Edgar preys on this, appearing as a kind man who only wants to help. To gain more followers, Edgar sends his wife Evelyn to Riverdale High to pose as a student. From the brainwashing to the harvesting of organs, the Farm is all over the map of disturbing behavior.

Edgar manages to brainwash fan favorites such as Kevin, Cheryl, Toni, and Fangs. Loyalty to The Farm had a way of turning people against their closest friends as well. To make it worse, every member of the Farm vanishes at the end of season three, leaving only Kevin behind.


Betty, Veronica, and Cheryl tend to be allies, friends, or enemies, depending on the situation. They are never always on the same side of an argument even when they need to be. Part of what makes their dynamic so interesting is that the individual relationships between the three are different.

While Betty and Cheryl share years of history and relatives, they were never friends. Meanwhile, Veronica manages to find an ally in Cheryl and become close friends with Betty. As a trio, they work because when they are on the same side, odds are their opponent is not getting off easy.


The Red Circle is not the only time Archie pushes the limits of what he is capable of doing. He has his sense of morals and justice, and those around him do not always match his own opinions. Archie tries to work out a deal with Hiram Lodge to make his bones by killing the Black Hood.

He gets a gun to prepare for a fight. In the episode “Chapter Sixty: Dog Day Afternoon,” Archie goes out alone against a man named Dodger and four of his men. However, Archie only has one baseball bat to protect himself and is just fine with the odds of a five to one fight.


When Hiram returns to Riverdale, Veronica hopes that Hiram will give up his mob connections in favor of rebuilding their family. However, she is uncertain if she should pursue reconciling with him. Looking for answers, Veronica turns to Jughead, and he encourages her to try to work it out with Hiram if there’s even the smallest chance he is trying to improve. However, Hiram has no intention of turning his life around. Instead, he makes Riverdale his new playground.

While Veronica intended to make the Lodges a legitimate family business, she finds that Hiram will always connect himself to power. Veronica’s desire to be good wins out, and she turns against Hiram to stand with her friends and try to protect the people of Riverdale from Hiram’s plans.


Betty was never the perfect girl next door that Alice wanted her to be. She had her own opinions on who was worth being friends with and how she wanted to spend her time. Dark Betty felt like an attempt at showing that there was more to Betty than “the good girl.” However, the persona never manages to land right.

Instead of character development to the dark side, Dark Betty is an uncomfortable collage of black wigs and costumes. Nothing is ever made clear about why that side of her exists in the first place, nor how the audience or other characters are meant to take it. Not to mention the fact that, as the series darkens in tone, Dark Betty seems to disappear and Betty is seen as a paragon of morality by the end of the third season. Almost as if she caught wind of what real darkness was and abandoned her emo phase immediately.