Riverdale: 15 Biggest Character Deaths (& Which Episode They Died In)

Content Warning: This article contains discussions and references to homophobia, suicide, and murder

Who could have thought that Riverdale, a show based on the Archie Comics universe, would get so dark? The CW series, which also streams on Netflix, has had a ton of deaths throughout its four seasons to date. As the core group has tried to hunt down sinister groups, cults, gangs, and people infiltrating Riverdale and giving the town a bad name, many people have been lost in the shuffle.

RELATED: The 10 Saddest Deaths on Riverdale

Some were villains and viewers were happy to see them go. But others didn't deserve it. So, who were the biggest character deaths thus far? Here they are, along with the exact episode they died in, as a recap.

Updated Nov 5th 2021, by Kayleigh Banks: With the announcement that Riverdale will now be crossing over with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, many fans are excited to see what Sabrina Spellman will bring to the show. Since Cheryl has now begun exploring the occult and inadvertently set a curse upon the town, it's likely that fans will see an increase in the number of supernatural instances. However, since the curse is designed to get revenge on the Andrews, Cooper, and Jones family, is it possible that another well-loved main character could be killed off? Anything is possible when it comes to Riverdale.    

15 Clifford Blossom: "Chapter 66: Tangerine" (Season 1, Episode 12)

Clifford Blossom was a huge part of the initial plot that kicked off the first season. It begins following the tragic death of Jason Blossom and how his mysterious passing rocked the town of Riverdale and traumatized the students at Riverdale High.

It was even more shocking, however, when it was revealed that Jason's own father, Clifford, murdered him because Jason discovered that Clifford was trafficking drugs through the family's maple syrup business. How did Clifford die? Just before he was caught and brought shame to the family name, his equally malicious wife Penelope poisoned him with pufferfish then staged a suicide by hanging. This wouldn't be the last time that Penelope killed someone in Riverdale either.

14 Jason Blossom: "Chapter 1: The River's Edge" (Season 1, Episode 1)

Technically, Jason was dead before the show even started, though he was seen in various flashback scenes. The handsome water polo star and twin to Cheryl was part of the most powerful family in Riverdale (so it seemed he had it all).

While the entire first season centered around finding out who killed him and why, it was revealed at the end that Jason died at the hands of his father. He discovered the truth about the family business, and after attempting to fake his death and run away with Polly to start their family together, he was caught and murdered. It was a huge betrayal that none of the Riverdale fans and characters saw coming.

13 Dilton Doiley: "Chapter 37: Fortune and Men's Eyes" (Season 3, Episode 2)

While Dilton was only a recurring character, a loner kid in school who led the boy scouts, his death was a pivotal point for the series. At first, it seemed Dilton was only important because he knew about the gunshot Archie heard on the day Jason went missing.

RELATED: 5 Best (& 5 Worst) Riverdale Episodes So Far, According To IMDB

But Dilton then became even more critical to the plot as one of the first to introduce the group to the sinister role-playing game Gryphons & Gargoyles (G&G) and the Gargoyle King. In the end, Dilton takes his own life via cyanide poisoning after getting far too involved in the game that would soon wreak havoc on Riverdale.

12 Warden Norton: "Chapter 40: The Great Escape" (Season 3, Episode 5)

This death came so suddenly after a lot of build-up around his character as a terrible villain. The warden of the juvenile detention center where Archie was sent to serve time, it was revealed that he was running an illegal underground fighting ring, forcing inmates to fight for sport (and money).

But then the group came to discover that he, too, had gotten caught up in the G&G game and was completely at the behest of the Gargoyle King and his mission to take down Archie. When he was finally caught, he drank his potion of cyanide to "ascend." And there went another villain.

11 Rupert Chipping: "Chapter 63: Hereditary" (Season 4, Episode 6)

When fans first met Rupert Chipping, they felt like he was one of the only people in the town who actually cared about the teens. He seemed to care about their education and would do his best to encourage them to go after their dream. However, fans soon learned that he, too, was keeping a deep and dark secret.

As season 4 progressed, it appeared that Chipping could feel the secret was about to be let out. With so much guilt on his conscience over his part in the Stonewall Prep murders, Rupert ended up dying by jumping out of the window. It did disappoint Riverdale fans that he left the show too soon as Rupert could have certainly been used in future storylines.

10 Joaquin DeSantos: "Chapter 41: Manhunter" (Season 3, Episode 6)

Joaquin went on the run after helping to cover up Jason's murder and making a minor appearance in season 2, so fans were quite surprised to see him get a more prominent role in season 3. Since he had some unresolved history with Kevin, many viewers believed that the writers were possibly trying to integrate him back into the series and give that relationship another try. However, this did not prove to be the case.

RELATED: 5 Ways Riverdale Is Different From The Archie Comics (& 5 Ways It's Similar)

With much of season 3 surrounding the Gargoyles and Griffins game, Joaquin sadly ends up being another victim in the game as he is murdered in the name of a sacrifice. This did disappoint fans quite a lot as Joaquin had an interesting background and great chemistry with the other characters. It felt more like the writers were using it for shock value.

9 Midge Klump: "Chapter 31: A Night To Remember" (Season 2, Episode 18)

Midge didn't deserve what happened to her. A kind, joyful soul, she became a public victim of the Black Hood, who stabbed then crucified her for all to see during a school concert production of Carrie White.

What's more, Midge wasn't even supposed to play Carrie: she had to fill in for Cheryl as her understudy when Cheryl was spooked out of participating. And seemingly for good reason, as Midge met her gruesome end that episode.

8 The Sisters Of Quiet Mercy: "Chapter 44: No Exit" (Season 3, Episode 9)

It was terrifying to discover that Sister Woodhouse and her entire establishment had become merciless minions of the G&G game and the drug trade, issuing "candy" to the women there in an effort to keep them in line as they conducted their gay conversion therapy, and to maintain funding from Hiram Lodge.

In the end, all of the sisters died by self-inflicted cyanide poisoning in an effort to "go to join thee." Did Sister Woodhouse kill them? Probably, as it is revealed that she was the woman who mentored Penelope Blossom and taught her everything she knew about poison.

7 Bret Weston Wallis: "Chapter 78: The Preppy Murders" (Season 5, Episode 2)

Considering he was one of the main antagonists of season 4 who made life difficult for Jughead and his friends, it's safe to say that Brett didn't have the biggest fanbase. He was arrogant, rude, and extremely pretentious. Brett was also quite creepy and calculating too. Therefore, when Charles announced that he would be going to prison, fans thought they had seen and heard the last of him.

RELATED: Which Riverdale Teen Are You Based On Your Chinese Zodiac?

However, this did not prove the case as Betty and Jughead later discovered that Chic had murdered Charles in revenge for the crimes he committed. While Brett wasn't loved by fans at all, they were still shocked to hear about his brutal and violent death. It just wasn't something they were expecting.

6 Hal Cooper: "Chapter 57: Survive the Night" (Season 3, Episode 22)

In one of the strangest, yet also somewhat predictable twists, it turned out that Betty's own father was the mysterious and murderous Black Hood.

RELATED: Riverdale's 7 Best Couples & Their Most Iconic Scene

He wasn't killed immediately, though. He went to jail, then got out of jail, faked his own death, and became a part of Penelope Blossom's sick game. Penelope gives Betty the opportunity to kill her father, but when she can't bring herself to do it, Penelope shoots him in the head without a second thought.

5 Edgar Evernever: "Chapter 60: Dog Day Afternoon" (Season 4, Episode 3)

Initially appearing as a caring, charismatic head of a farm that serves as a safe haven for people looking for somewhere to go and a purpose in life, it's clear Edgar wasn't everything that he seemed. Not only was he running a dangerous cult, but he was also manipulating people to harvest their organs to sell on the black market.

It took a while for Betty and Alice to get their head-to-head with Edgar, after Alice had secretly infiltrated the farm for some time for the FBI. But Alice finally closed the chapter when she shot him right before he was able to escape on his private plane with his legion of followers.

4 Jughead: "Chapter 70: The Ides Of March" (Season 4, Episode 13)

It was the biggest shocker of the series: is Jughead dead? It seemed pretty definitive that he was, his body discovered in the woods with a bloody rock beside his bleeding head. It didn't help that Betty came to, holding said rock, wondering if she had blacked out and done something horrible.

The ruse continued in subsequent episodes, as the group and school mourned Jughead's death. They even had a funeral for him. As it turns out, however, Jughead was never dead. Everyone was in on the plot to fake his death and finally bring the kids from Stonewall Prep down for their dirty, underhanded tactics.

3 Chad Gekko: "Chapter 93: Dance Of Death" (Season 5, Episode 17)

When the Riverdale writers announced that they would be doing a time jump, fans were excited to see where their favorite characters had ended up. For Veronica, they discovered that she had become a successful businesswoman and had been married to Chad Gekko for years.

While Chad did seem to be a nice person upon first impression, he soon revealed his true colors when he continuously looked down on Veronica and Archie, and even tried to kill them. Therefore, when he decided to make a final attempt on Veronica's life, fans were delighted that to see that the She-Wolf of Wall Street had managed to get the upper hand and killed him in self-defense. The fans completely detested Chad, which is why they were glad to see him go.

2 Polly Cooper: "Chapter 93: Dance Of Death" (Season 5, Episode 17)

It's no secret that a lot of shady and horrific crimes take place in Riverdale, but one of the most devastating had to be the murder of Polly Cooper. One of the biggest plots in season 5 saw Betty investigate The Lonely Highway killer after it was revealed that many women were disappearing in Riverdale. With Polly having disappeared, Betty believed her sister was the next victim.

Sadly, Betty's inclination was right as she and Alice later discovered Polly's body in the trunk of an old car. Although Polly didn't exactly appear in many episodes, many fans were heartbroken by her end. Not only did she discover she was being used as a pawn in the Blossom-Cooper feud but Polly had also been indoctrinated into a cult and discovered her father was a serial killer. After everything she went through, she deserved a happy ending.

1 Fred Andrews: "Chapter 58: In Memoriam" (Season 4, Episode 1)

There's no question that, of all the deaths on the series so far, Fred Andrews', Archie's dad, was the saddest and most impactful - mostly because it wasn't supposed to happen. But actor Luke Perry passed away and the character's death had to be written into the show.

As the story went, Andrews stopped to help a woman having car troubles on the side of the highway and was hit by an oncoming car. The hit and run accident was caused by an underage kid who had made a terrible mistake, and Archie couldn't bring himself to press charges against the boy. Making the death even more emotional was the fact that Perry's former Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star, Shannon Doherty, played the woman who he helped. The episode included an emotional tribute to him that was clearly as much a tribute for Perry as it was for Mr. Andrews.

NEXT: Can The Riverdale Cast Really Sing? (& 9 Other Behind-The-Scenes Questions Answered) 

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