Riverdale Theory: What Secret Connects the Hot Parents?

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Everyone knows that aside from Varchie and Bughead, the real stars of Riverdale are the hot, slightly dysfunctional, parents. 

Come Riverdale Season 3, the writers are finally giving the people what they want -- more screen time for the aforementioned hot parents.

Hot Parents - Riverdale

Have you ever seen so many good looking dads in one little town? No, you most definitely have not. It looks like they've won the genetic lottery or something. 

It's obvious we're all secretly hoping that the parent-centric episode reveals the secret to those insanely good looks. 

Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa teased that this season, we’re going to learn about "a really, really dark secret in Riverdale that the parents have been keeping since their younger years."

Realistically, how many more secrets can they fit within this town’s constraints? Is Alice being a former Serpent, FP and Alice having a love child that they gave up, Hal being a Blossom and now, a murderer, really not enough? This town is too small for itself. 

The Breakfast Club - Riverdale

According to the official synopsis, Riverdale Season 3 Episode 4 titled “The Midnight Club” will be the show’s darker version of “The Breakfast Club,” a not-too-subtle-nod to Molly Ringwald who plays Archie’s mother. 

They also cast the Brat Pack’s original member Anthony Michael Hall as Principal Featherhead, "the longstanding principal at Riverdale High who gets caught up in the game the teenagers are playing in an unexpected way." 

Related: Get Shudder via Prime Video Channels for Spine-Tingling & Provocative Films, TV Series, & Originals!

We'll not only get to know the parents on a deeper level, but we'll also be treated to the on-screen children playing the high school versions of their parents!

Camila Mendes (Veronica) will be young Hermione, Cole Sprouse (Jughead) will be young FP, KJ Apa (Archie) will be young Fred, and Lili Reinhart (Betty) will be young Alice. 

Filling the young shoes of the villainous Hiram Lodge will be Mark Consuelos’s real-life son, Michael. Riverdale really is great about keeping it in the family.

Hiram's Mini-Me - Riverdale

But what games were the 'rents up to before they were involved in bribery, unlawful crimes, murderous tendencies, and generally bad parenting?

Let’s deconstruct the storyline a darker "Breakfast Club” can present.

The '80s classic focused on a group of polar opposite students who revealed their insecurities and dark secrets while spending an afternoon in detention together before stumbling upon the realization that despite their differences, they all share similar problems and struggles. 

Going off of that, maybe the big secret is more comprehensive, giving us an insight into what shaped the notoriously, and purposefully, mysterious parents. 

Maybe we find out why FP gave up his football stardom for a life in the Serpents? Or why Alice married Hal instead of FP? Was it a status boost? 

Do we find out more about Penelope's penchant for "entertaining men?" Or why “mean girl” Hermione chose a life of mobbing with Hiram over something real with Fred? 

Maybe we'll even get some clues as to why Hiram is a ruthless monster?

And hopefully, we’ll finally see what went down during the infamous argument at Homecoming between Alice and Hal!

I’ve always felt like there was an “unspoken” bond between the parents; like they had a code that they couldn’t break and no one else knew about it. 

Given that Alice never suspected Hal to be a cold-blooded murderer and was shocked when he was revealed to the be the Black Hood, I think it would be too obvious if they went the “I Know What You Did Last Summer" route and covered up something like accidentally killing someone.

Related: Riverdale Season 2 Episode 22 Review: Chapter Thirty-Five: Brave New World

Murder has lost much of its shock value in Riverdale to the point where I'd be more inclined to pose the question: "who hasn't killed anyone?"

Well, Fred Andrews, obviously. 

He may have had a few assholish moments when he attempted to persuade Archie to follow him into the family business and ditch his musical calling, but his conscience would never allow him to become a murderer. 

Secret Love Child - Riverdale

However, I could see the storyline revealing that Hal wasn't the actual Black Hood or that he wasn't working solo. There was something very open-ended about how his reveal and arrest transpired that makes me think there is more to this story. 

Maybe the real Black Hood has a vendetta against the town and the parents specifically and was pulling Hal's strings. It could be someone the parents all screwed over back in the day, bullied, or allowed to take the fall for a crime they committed. 

In addition to murder, Riverdale has a proclivity for incest, so I wouldn't be surprised if there are some more sibling reveals down the line. 

Imagine if Charles Smith, the secret love-child of FP and Alice, has been under our noses this whole time disguised as the red-headed boy-next-door.

Charles Smith - Riverdale

Could the real Falice baby be Archie?

Chic (RIP) revealed that the real Charles passed away before Betty reached out, but if you never wanted anyone, especially your children to know who Chic really was, you'd have people believe he was dead too. 

Picture this: Hal and Alice fought over the pregnancy during Homecoming which led Alice to give up the child to appease Hal.  Fred and Mary couldn’t have biological children of their own, so they adopted Charles and changed his name to Archie. And everyone swore to never talk about it again. 

Luke Perry did tell EW: "There is something in the past for Fred and for a few of our parental characters that we’re going to get to, and I don’t necessarily want anybody to know about it. Everybody’s got their secrets, right?”

In this town especially, Perry. 

It doesn't seem far-fetched to think Fred would want to keep Archie's birth parents on the down-low. 

And how juicy would it be if Betty and Jughead were to find out that their shared brother was actually their BFF Archie? It would change the dynamic between the core group indefinitely. 

Who Is Cassidy Bullock? - Riverdale

It's also possible that Cassidy Bullock, the guy who tried to rob the foursome while they were spending the weekend at the Lodge's lakehouse and who was murdered by Andre, was the real Chic. 

Bullock had reddish, curly hair and matched the pictures of young Charles the sisters at SOQM showed Betty. 

Hiram obviously had some kind of past with Cassidy, so maybe he saw this as an opportunity to get back at Fred for having a fling with his wife while in jail by having Archie arrested for the murder of FP and Alice's child.

Is Archie a Blossom? - Riverdale

In yet another version of the tangled webs Riverdale weaves, they could build upon the popular theory that Archie is a Blossom boy.

The most obvious clue giving the theory major momentum is that Archie is a dead ringer for Jason, something that struck me as deliberate when I watched the series premiere of Riverdale. Even Penelope admitted that Archie looks like her late son "when the light hits you just right."

Clifford's attempts to groom Archie to take Jason's place in the maple syrup business also raised some red flags.

If the theory holds true, I don't think Archie would ever be Penelope or Clifford's child. I simply don’t see Fred having a fling with Penelope since he was interested in Hermione, nor do I see Mary having a thing with Clifford because from what I've gathered, he was slightly older than the rest of the parents.

Much like Betty and Polly whose Blossom origins trace back to a deadly feud between the great-grandfathers of Hal and Clifford, I think Archie's mother Mary may have been a Blossom by blood, possibly Penelope's cousin or even sister? 

She could have hated the pressures that came with the family name so she opted to skip town, move to Chicago and wash her hands of it all.

If it’s as easy as changing your last name to avoid being associated with the family, then moving to a different city seems like a solid choice to protect your son from the tainted family history. 

Having Cheryl, Archie and Betty as cousins would also offer up an explanation for all the darkness that they’ve all felt within themselves. 

Riverdale Yearbook

There's also the theory that there was even more Blossom-on-Blossom action.

When the Riverdale Twitter account posted a “throwback” photo featuring real-life high school photos of the parents, I couldn't help but notice that Penelope's last name was already listed as Blossom. 

Did she marry Clifford while she was still in school? Was she related to Clifford beforehand? That would make Cheryl and Jason a product of incest much like Jason's children with Polly. 

Whatever the big secret is, one thing is for sure: nothing is off limits in this sweet and sticky town.

Prepare yourselves for Riverdale Season 3 and watch Riverdale online at TV Fanatic. 

Don't forget to comment below with your theories: what have these hot parents been hiding all these years?

Lizzy Buczak was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in June 2021..

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Riverdale Quotes

Cheryl: Ummm, did you have a lobotomy for breakfast? You’re wearing my signature color!
Toni: You don’t own the color red. Red existed before you.
Cheryl: Not at Riverdale High. Here, I invented red. I am red.
[Cheryl snaps her fingers and two girls stand behind her]
Cheryl: Sorry, but this school is not big enough for the both of us, faux-pink lady. And I was here first. Go to Centerville High or Westerberg, I don’t care. But you have until first bell Monday to clear every trace of yourself out of these halls. Copy?
[Cheryl flips her hair in Toni’s face and walks away]

I’m sorry, Donna, but I’m the ultimate wild card. I am the daughter of The Black Hood. The nightmare from next door. I’m training with the FBI and I’m coming for you, you psycho b****! Not Joan, not Jonathan, not even Brett. Just you.