There is still time for Riverdalethe annual musical episode of , an event which started in season 2 with a Carrie– inspired musical. This Sunday’s episode revolves around American psycho. Based on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, the material became a feature film in 2000 and a musical later, written by none other than Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, with music by Duncan Sheik. The Riverdale The TV version discovers that the gang is hosting a serial killer convention, Slaughter Con, to lure TBK into the open. What would such festivities be without some dazzling and breathtaking tunes?
Ahead of the final musical episode, Aguirre-Sacasa spoke with CBR about bringing American psycho at Riverdale. The showrunner also dove into the season finale and the show’s cancellation.
CBR: How did you land on a Slaughter Con set as a backdrop for this episode?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: It seemed both surprising and yet completely inevitable that there would be a serial killer fan convention in Riverdale, given the high concentration of serial killers in such a small town. It was inspired by real-life conventions. There is a real crime scam. There is a criminal scam. Obviously, there are killer tours. It came out of that. From time to time over the years we’ve talked about paying homage to a comic con in Riverdale. Somehow out of that stew, we decided to do a serial killer fan convention. It’s an idea that came out early when we started talking about resolving the TBK story. It looked like a great dramatic and fun backdrop.
by Riverdale first musical episode revolved around Stephen King Carrie. Now we have American psycho in this episode. Why do all roads lead to horror? What makes the genre perfect for song and self-exploration?
It’s a thin line. Horror, comedy and musical… All of these genres are extreme. Horrified, you scream. In musicals, you sing. You are usually in an intense emotional state that causes you to scream and sing. There is this resonance between genres. I will say that we landed on Slaughter Con before we had the idea of adding a musical to the episode. It wasn’t until we started talking about what that convention would look like. “Do we just see people dressed as serial killers in the casino?” Usually there are screenings or performances, and that led to this.
Then it’s like, “Are there any serial killer musicals?” Sweeney Todd is mentioned. There is a Thesilenceofthelambs musical, which I’m a big fan of, but it’s almost too campy. There is actually a great tradition of this. Then, of course, there is American psycho, which is obviously very near and dear to my heart. It felt like it could be fun. That’s how we got here. It was a bit different from the past, where it ended with “OK, what will our musical be?” It came a little differently this time.
Having worked on the American Psycho Musicalwhat kind of parallels have you drawn between the Riverdale and American psycho characters, if any?
Two things. There’s an amazing ballad in the original American Psycho Musical it’s simply magnificent, sings the secretary of Patrick Bateman. It’s a kind of The beauty and the Beast love song. The idea came like, “Well, what if Betty sang this song to lure TBK into a trap?” The song is sort of about Betty torn between TBK and Archie. It started like “OK, we’ll do a number. We’ll do this number.” Then we thought, “OK, Casey Cott could be a believable Patrick Bateman. He’s got this All-American good looks.” Clearly, Casey is a creature of American musical theatre. He loves doing musical theatre. In fact, he saw the original production of American psycho.
Then, a very late addition, while we were writing and realizing we were doing Toni’s bachelorette party, my favorite number from the musical is “You Are What You Wear.” This is where all the women of American psycho getting ready for a big party. “OK, we have to do this number. It’s the most fabulous.” We built it from there.
Archie and the gang resolved emotions and issues through song. In what ways will that be reflected in this episode?
It’s mostly in Betty’s climactic number. It’s all the emotion. That’s what this song comes from at this point in the episode. That’s why there’s really only Lili Reinhart, in that gorgeous dress sitting on a bare stage, making her way through her emotional landscape. The other numbers are a little different from what we did [in other] musical episodes, where they are more performative and entertaining. Of course, it’s wonderful when we have Casey as Kevin as Patrick Bateman, making a killing while Betty is on the club dance floor, looking for TBK. In terms of emotions, it’s mostly about Betty.
Between Black Hood and TBK, this convention hits a little too close to home for Betty. What does she finally get out of all this?
My favorite scene in the musical episode is a scene between Betty and Archie, especially Betty, who walks through her journey this season with what she learned about her father and mother and being prepared to be a serial killer – his feelings of being on this dark path. I think it’s a real turning point. This isn’t just an emotional turning point, but it’s also a big turning point in Archie and Betty’s relationship. As deep and close as they’ve become this season, there’s always been a bit of restraint. In this episode, there is a big confession that happens between the two of them. This is only possible with Betty taking on her dragon like she does with TBK in the garage.
Casey Cott rocks this opening number and another later. How fun is it to see him in all his glory, and how did you want to challenge him with these routines?
It’s funny. I texted Casey, and I said, “Hey Casey, how do you feel about singing a little Duncan Sheik?” Casey said: “Incredible. Spring awakening?“I was like, ‘No, we think more American psycho. “There was a pause and then he said, ‘I’m so depressed.’ He was really excited. I think Casey really got into it and made a very believable Patrick Bateman. I think he’s broke out. I think he’s always happy when he sings and dances.
There’s more to this episode than song and dance. As usual, Percival is up to no good. How does he double down on his efforts at this point?
The closer we get to our final battle, our endgame between good and evil, he becomes less subtle and more unbalanced and a bit bolder in what he does. At the end of the episode, he promises real trouble with our gang… All I can say is that he keeps his promises. This kind of episode prepares the next three. It only escalates from here. It lays the groundwork for a crazy series of episodes that bring this story to an end.
Have you ever considered giving Percival his own villainous solo?
Yes, 100%. Chris O’Shea was an incredible villain. Chris can do absolutely anything. We talked about it. He’s done quite a bit in the past. There were some great songs in this Union story, as well as some mean songs, which we talked about. We didn’t make it, but there’s a lot of crazy things to come in the next batch of episodes.
Let’s end with some sad news. It has been announced that next year will be the last season of Riverdale. How do you feel about that? Did it sink?
I’ll tell you, I consider it bittersweet. This show exceeded my expectations and aspirations so much. I wondered if it would ever see the light of day, so having seven seasons to tell the story…I think we all thought it would be seven seasons. I’m grateful we got the confirmation. It’s definitely bittersweet.
You already have to tell stories. Do you have any idea how this will all end?
Yes, we have an idea of how this is all going to end. The writers are on a break between seasons 6 and 7. We definitely have some ideas of where this will end. We have a big, big swing for what Season 7 will look like which I hope will surprise everyone.
Riverdale airs Sundays at 8:00 p.m. on The CW.