Riverdale, a popular teen drama for The CW and Netflix, is a dark version of the Archie Comics that follows the story of a group of teens, including Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead, living in a fictional town of Riverdale. But there’s nothing innocent about their world. They deal with unusual and scary circumstances, from drug lords to mafia bosses and gangs, serial killers, and a weirdly demonic game called Gryphons and Gargoyles that’s causing high school students to do scary things, like murder to suicide.
This isn’t your average teen drama - there’s more blood and gore than romantic hookups and love triangles. So much so that a number of characters have already died on the series. Here are 10 of the saddest deaths. (Note: there are obvious spoilers ahead, right up to the penultimate episode of season 3.)
10 Jason Blossom
This is the death that kicked everything off: the young, handsome jock went missing, then turned up dead after supposedly trying to flee from the town and his family’s dirty deeds. Almost as sad as learning about this young man’s life getting cut short was seeing his sister Cheryl deal with the aftermath.
Turns out that Jason didn’t die from a random shooter or drowning, but rather at the hands of his own father, execution style. Or did he? In the latest development, Jason is believed to be the Gargoyle King, a mythical creature that has been terrorizing the town.
9 Clifford Blossom
We can’t say we were sad to see Clifford go once it was revealed that he murdered Jason. A terrible man who used his family’s maple syrup business as a front for running drugs, he purportedly killed his own son to stop him from revealing the truth about his illicit dealings.
Clifford was found hanged, and it was presumed to be a suicide. But it was later revealed that it was his wife, the man-hating Penelope, who gave him pufferfish poison before staging the death as revenge.
8 Midge Klump
Young and innocent, Midge was the first staged murder from the serial killer Black Hood, and it shook Riverdale to its core. She was shot at while in a car with her boyfriend Moose, who bravely shielded her from the shots and ended up in the hospital because of it.
But sadly, the Black Hood wasn’t going to let the sweet girl get away. She was stabbed multiple times and crucified to a wall in Riverdale High School, then savagely revealed to everyone when the curtain came up for her to perform in the musical Carrie. The Black Hood left a bloody message behind her confirming that he was back and ready to punish all those who escaped him before.
7 Dilton Doiley
Teenagers are so young and impressionable, and this smart and studious student got too caught up on the lethal game, Gryphons and Gargoyles, and sacrificed himself in order to “ascend.”
He drank a combination of cyanide and blueberry “Fresh-Aid”, then passed away in a ritualistic pose in the forest. It was the sad end to a young man who had so much promise.
6 Ben Button
Even though the kids tried to save Ben after discovering Dilton’s body and realizing what the game was doing to people, they couldn’t. While in the hospital recovering from being saved in the nick of time before he “ascended” as well, Ben declared that he wanted to be with Dilton and ascend to the kingdom.
Before anyone could stop him, he promptly jumped out the window. He wasn’t a pivotal character, but the death was a tough blow to the crew who were trying desperately to stop the madness from overtaking Riverdale.
5 Warden Norton
What makes this death “sad” is that it didn’t happen sooner. A despicable human being, this warden of a juvenile detention centre wasn’t just fanatically playing the lethal G&G game, but also forcing his inmates to fight against one another for sport within his illegal underground betting ring.
He finally drank the Kool-Aid, so to speak, and went down in his office as soon as he realized it was game over.
4 Joaquin DeSantos
Such a sweet soul, this loyal member of the Southside Serpents was killed by former member Tall Boy to make an example for the rest of the crew. To make it known who was behind the murder, a symbol was carved into Joaquin’s forehead.
Cause of death: drinking the cyanide-laced blueberry drink. A good member of the team, we were sad to see the light leave those bright blue eyes.
3 Sister Woodhouse and The Sisters of Quiet Mercy
Sure, she was a proclaimed woman of God. But she was also part of the whole Gryphons and Gargoyles obsession, and used her home for troubled youths, The Sisters of Quiet Mercy, to test drugs on innocent young women in partnership with mob man Hiram Lodge.
How despicable! The deaths of Sister Woodhouse and all of her fellow sisters were sad because they were nuns, after all. But clearly troubled ones who were caught up in a deadly game. So like many others in Riverdale, they decided to “ascend” and drink the poison once the jig was up.
2 Brandon “Baby Teeth” Morris
The most recent death in season 3, Brandon wasn’t a major character, but his death was sad all the same. The young boy had just gotten out of a juvenile detention centre, where he served time with Archie, and was quick to stick his neck out to help his friends.
They dangerously tried to run a drug-dealing gang, the Gargoyles, out of an apartment complex. Shots were fired, and when all had calmed down, Baby Teeth was missing. And so were his teeth, as they had all been pulled out. A Maple Lodge matchbook was shoved in his mouth and symbols were carved into his back.
1 Fred Andrews
Fred hasn’t officially died on the series yet, but we know he will. Sadly, Luke Perry, who played Fred, passed away in early March, and his last episode aired in April. His character has only appeared sparingly in the last season, and the show has dealt with his absence thus far by saying that he’s traveling.
Archie’s mom, played by Molly Ringwald, has come back to Riverdale to spend time with her son. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa says that Fred’s death won’t be addressed until the beginning of season 4. Nonetheless, we know it’s coming, so even though it hasn’t happened yet, his is still one of the saddest the show has, and likely will, see.