“Riverdale” Episode 405 Recap: Okay, Time to Break Down All The Characters By Tops, Bottoms, and Switches

You know what…I was going to write a traditional recap of last night’s episode that mostly hinged on the idea that the whole concept of a Serial Killer Gene is stupid (if you, like me, Googled the details of it after watching last night’s Riverdale, then you know it doesn’t make much sense scientifically but also beyond that it’s a narratively weird choice!). But last night’s Cheryl and Toni-less episode, while not all bad, was a bit blah and had very little of the content that I know you all come here to read about (gay stuff). So instead, let’s play a game of Top, Bottom, or Switch, shall we?

(There will still be light details from last night’s episode woven in, so if you’re worried about spoilers, beware!)


Betty Cooper
This one should be obvious or, at least, I think it’s obvious! Betty essentially repeatedly tops the entire town of Riverdale when she solves every years-long town mystery every time. On that note though, I am extremely disappointed in Betty for basically being a cop now (she joins Charles’ bizarre FBI training program for high school seniors). I am also going to take this time to reiterate that the serial killer gene storyline is indeed dumb! It’s a much more compelling angle to look at Betty’s intuition and darkness as a result of her upbringing and the way her father’s behaviors subtly seeped into her subconscious. The sci-fi-ish explanation of a GENE being the reason she can pick out killers from a lineup doesn’t hit as hard. Anyway, Betty is a ponytailed top.

Alice Cooper
Like mother like daughter! I maybe expect some light pushback on this one from bossy bottoms who want to believe Alice is also a bossy bottom, but nay. Alice Cooper was married to the freakin’ Black Hood, and the Black Hood was absolutely a bottom.

Hiram Lodge
Normally, I would say that someone THIS publicly interested in being called “daddy” could be a Fake Top, but there’s no getting around the fact that Hiram is Riverdale’s evil daddy and also a top who is way too into his daughter’s boyfriend!!!! Jail!! Oh wait, he just got out of jail because SURPRISE, he has another daughter who was helping him out, which is actually the most exciting development from last night’s episode. Hermosa is played by Mishel Prada (!), who makes a fabulous entrance and further shakes up Veronica’s family drama.

Kevin Keller
This might be controversial! But I think every character Kevin has ever gotten with (Moose, Fangs, Joaquin) are all bottoms! Bad boy bottoms! He has a type. He’s also a cop now though? Like, I know he’s mostly in the FBI training program to drool over Betty’s half brother, but shouldn’t these teens be more wary of the police state after the quarantine last season?!

Archie Andrews
Ugh, I hate thinking of Archie Andrews—who is newly a masked vigilante protecting Riverdale’s youth—as a top, but I know it to be true. As my girlfriend put it, hetero dudebro tops are just boring. He’s also very detached from the rest of the show right now, sectioned off into his own little world of beating bad guys up at night. All the other storylines in last night’s episode touch on the idea of inheritance—the things we get from our parents (or in the case of Jughead, grandparents) whether we want them or not. Archie’s plot doesn’t really fit into that.


Cheryl Blossom
Remember when Cheryl said she wanted Veronica and Betty to annihilate her at cheerleading tryouts in the pilot? Cheryl is the biggest bottom in all of Riverdale. Gonna slide this in here: Do we think Cheryl and Toni have experimented with a candelabra as a sex toy? Lmk.

Jughead Jones
The “I’m a weirdo” monologue screams bottom from the get. But Jug also seemingly actively seeks out being bullied? Sure, he’s ready to quit Stonewall Prep in last night’s episode after further harassment from the rich assholes at the school, but Jughead also kinda gets off on being roughed up.

FP Jones
He is both a bottom and also a bad sheriff. He’s pretty much letting Masked Archie run the town.

Hal Cooper
Like I said, the Black Hood is a bottom. A dead bottom but a bottom nonetheless.

Hermione Lodge
Here is where I get to reiterate my conspiracy/fanfic-inspired theory that Hermione and Alice were secret high school lovers. Also, wow, I did forget until last night’s flashback that Hermione shot a man. She might be unfairly tied up in a lot of Hiram’s shit, but she has done her fair share of crimes, too. Evil mommi bottom!

Veronica Lodge
Ah yes, the resident bossy bottom with daddy issues. Veronica spends much of last night’s episode trying to make sure her mother gets out of jail and her father stays there, and she fails on both fronts. She doesn’t see Hermosa coming, which, fair! Gotta love that this show just jumps at any opportunity to introduce a secret sibling. Anyway, Hermosa is a top. Veronica is a bottom.


Toni Topaz
She’s absolutely topping Cheryl on the reg, but I spy versatility in Toni. Although, maybe that’s because the writers have not done the best job at developing the character beyond her first season, so I’m able to just project anything onto her! Mostly, since we don’t check in on her in this episode, I’m just worried about Toni! She’s living in a freakin V.C. Andrews saga. Someone help her! Someone also please give her motive/purpose/stakes outside of Cheryl!

Penelope Blossom
I think Penelope just does whatever is most convenient at the time/whatever allows her to manipulate someone.

If there are any characters I didn’t do that you want me to do just let me know in the comments!

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Miami. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 305 articles for us.


  1. – I’ll go with Betty having the serial killer gene if it means that she starts walking down that terrible path. A Nancy Drew version of “Dexter”.
    – I don’t know if they’ve used a candelabra, but Cheryl and Toni have definitely done it in a burial casket.

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