Through four seasons of high school, Riverdale was full of terrible decisions. For the most part, these characters were unsupervised teen sleuths who took on more trauma than their underdeveloped brains could handle. But through trauma, they learned some valuable lessons.
One of the biggest lessons was learning that some people are worth redemption. While villains such as Hiram and Nick St. Clair obviously do not belong on that list, you would be hard-pressed to find someone in the town of Riverdale who hadn’t made a bad decision or two. Even for the parents, some instances merited and celebrated forgiveness.
10 Veronica Lodge
Veronica can be considered an anti-heroine of sorts with the number of times she swings back from her mistakes. She recovered quickly from her first crime. While kissing Archie knowing full well that Betty liked him was widely regarded as heartless, from then on she made a decent attempt to stop acting like a mean girl.
With the entrance of Hiram Lodge came more difficulties. Veronica was easily swayed by her father and was complicit in his crimes. Including keeping his secrets while it hurt the town around her. It was a long time coming but she was finally able to break free of her father’s spell. Though who knows how long that will last.
9 FP Jones
One of Jughead’s many traumas started with his father. FP was a textbook deadbeat dad to the point where Jughead became homeless. An alcoholic leader of the local biker gang, FP was not in a place to give the support that Jughead desperately needed. He had his slip-ups but after he returned from prison, he was a new man.
He eventually became town sheriff after Tom Keller was ousted. He was able to finally take care of Jughead and even Jughead’s sister, Jellybean. FP and Jughead’s growth together was one of the most compelling and moving relationships on the show.
8 Alice Cooper
Alice made many mistakes in her day. Her relationship with Betty was one of the reasons why the idea of forgiveness was so hard to come to terms with. When she wasn’t shoving Adderall towards her daughter, she was emotionally suffocating and tried to control her. One of her worst crimes was abandoning Betty to join The Farm.
Even though the road wasn’t easy, Alice was still a mother trying to do the best for her daughter. Though misguided, she loves Betty unconditionally. She protected her when she thought Betty had killed Jughead and continued to visit her serial killer son in prison. Alice became the sole caregiver to her grandchildren after Polly disappeared.
7 Chuck Clayton
Chuck Clayton committed one of the earliest social sins on Riverdale. After first moving to town, Veronica decided to try her hand at dating. Chuck seemed nice enough, but she found that was not the case when he gave her a sticky maple. After Betty and Veronica taught him a lesson, it seemed as though he was dispatched.
It is rare on television to see someone take responsibility for slut-shaming. However, when Chuck arrived back on the scene, he was fully repentant. He suffered the consequences and judgments of his classmates. But he continued to make amends and during the Carrie musical, he was forgiven in a surprisingly classy display.
6 Sierra McCoy
Unfortunately, Riverdale has a habit of sidelining the McCoys. Sierra was not always given her due. It was no secret how she used her power as the mayor to her advantage. She was one of the many people that were complicit with Hiram’s dealings. She accepted bribes and knew his plans for the town.
To redeem herself, Sierra had to get away from the Lodges. Thanks to a warning from Veronica, Sierra knew that the Lodges were planning on ousting her. She fell on her grenade by admitting publicly that she had an extramarital affair. After she had resigned from office she helped out the teen sleuths from time to time with her background in law.
5 Reggie Mantle
Reggie was often Archie’s foil. He was the violent football player that contrasted to Archie’s do-good attitude. He antagonized the core group and especially saw Archie as a threat to his status on the football field.
Reggie’s short-lived relationship with Veronica helped him sort out his issues. Though he made mistakes in business, he befriended those he used to target. His affection for Veronica made him a team player and he maintained his friendships with the rest of the group, even when he and Veronica parted ways.
4 Forsythe Pendleton Jones I
The Jones men were often haunted by demons. FP may have followed his father’s path in alcoholism, but he promised himself he would never be physically abusive. Forsythe Jones I was infamous for his treatment of his family and walked out on FP at a young age.
Jughead tracked him down, certain he was the key to the Baxter Brothers’ mystery. Once Jughead brought him back into the fold, he made amends with FP and went on the path to forgiveness.
3 Penelope Blossom
One of the most difficult people to forgive, Penelope’s road to redemption was long and arduous. This had to do with the fact that Penelope had little remorse for those she manipulated and at times murdered. Although it didn’t always seem like it, her one connection to humanity was her daughter.
After Penelope attempted to gaslight Cheryl, she was imprisoned in the teen sex bunker as her punishment. This imposed prison was the first step. Eventually, Cheryl released her, though kept her close by to keep an eye on her. For the time being, it seemed as though Penelope valued her freedom and would do as Cheryl asked.
2 Gladys Jones
The teens had bad luck with their mothers. Jughead’s trauma with his mother was no exception. From the beginning, Gladys was reluctant to be a mother to Jughead. She only decided he was worth her time after she had the opportunity to be the drug kingpin of Riverdale. She endangered Jughead and Jellybean and was forced to confront the fact that she may be worse than FP.
Jellybean was kidnapped and the rest of the Jones clan were forced to commit a robbery to get her back. Gladys realized the error of her ways and did the most selfless thing she could. She left her children with their father, knowing that she was an unfit mother.
1 Cheryl Blossom
Cheryl’s backstory was one of the most tragic and her misdeeds were a direct result of that. HBIC of the River Vixens, Cheryl suffered after her brother’s death. She would act out and her most disturbing act was to stalk Josie and send her a pig heart. Cheryl’s relationship with Toni was one of the ways she was able to redeem herself.
Even though she and Toni had their ups and downs, it gave Cheryl a sense of kinship that she never had before. She still fights against the trauma her mother loaded her with, but the road to redemption is a constant battle.
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