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Riverdale boss on choosing American Psycho for this season's musical episode

·4 min read
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As Veronica (Camila Mendes) prepares to help Betty (Lili Reinhart) put on a serial killer fan convention in Riverdale, there's really only one thing that needs to happen: It's time for Riverdale's annual musical episode!

With Betty trying to lure TBK out of the shadows with this fan convention called SlaughterCon, Veronica enlists Kevin's (Casey Cott) help with a few musical numbers. So which musical is going to get the Riverdale treatment this year? American Psycho!

EW has an exclusive clip from the episode below. Additionally, we spoke with showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa about what to expect from the hour and what went into choosing American Psycho, a musical that lists Aguirre-Sacasa as one of its writers. (He wrote the book, with music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I'm scared to ask this in case it's a real thing, but where did the idea for SlaughterCon come from?

ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA: In real life, there are true-crime conventions and there's something called CrimeCon. So it came out of that real-world phenomenon. We're fans of the show Dexter, and I said in the writers' room, "Did Dexter ever do an episode set at a serial killer convention?" And people were like, "I don't think so." So it started from there.

Riverdale
Riverdale

Colin Bentley/The CW Caroline Day, Erinn Westbrook, Madelaine Petsch, Camila Mendes, Lili Reinhart, Vanessa Morgan, and Sophia Tatum on 'Riverdale'

Honestly, it does make sense for Riverdale.

Completely. As we've said in the writers' room, "I can't believe it took us five and a half years to get to a serial killer fan convention."

As always, I'm sure when you all sit down to discuss your musical episodes, the big first question is: Which musical? How did you all decide on American Psycho?

It's funny. Because this season is so different tonally from other seasons, we actually weren't sure if we were going to do a musical episode. Our musical episodes in the past, most recently Next to Normal, that was so wedded to the emotionality of Polly's [Tiera Skovbye] death and what was going on between Betty and Alice [Madchen Amick]. Because of the supernatural elements and things like that, it felt like, "Maybe this year we don't do a musical episode." But then when we started talking about wrapping up the TBK storyline, which has been going on for over a year, and we landed on the convention. Then we thought, "Oh, there could be an opportunity to do some performance element to the convention. What if we combine our big serial killer fan convention with a musical?" And then from, it was like, "What are the serial killer musicals out there?" There are actually some, but it felt like the most apropos was American Psycho.

There is a line in the episode about Sweeney Todd. Was that the runner-up?

We talked about Sweeney Todd; we talked about Assassins. We talked about shows like that. I love Sweeney Todd but it almost feels too old-fashioned for Riverdale. But by the way, in an upcoming episode, we actually have a Sondheim number. But that would've been our runner-up, for sure.

What's the importance of this episode for Betty as we get back to the TBK story?

I think she's been haunted by TBK since the time jump. And as always with Betty, we're excavating these themes of darkness that she's wrestled with. We've learned about her being groomed to be a serial killer. So it felt like, both in terms of the plot of, "Oh, we've got this killer out there", and in terms of the emotional, psychological story we've been telling with Betty, it felt like those two threads drew together. In a weird way, this episode is a love triangle of Betty, TBK, and Archie. And does Betty see herself more aligned with someone like TBK or someone like Archie? So it felt a little bit also like a Beauty and the Beast story.

One other thing I have to mention: In the last episode, we saw Rivervale starting to bleed through a bit. As we head toward the end of this season, is Rivervale coming into play more and more?

The answer is yes. [Laughs] And Cole loves it, by the way, he really loves this kind of stuff. I told him, "Man, you and the bunker is gold." And he's happy playing it. Who knew that the bunker would survive as long as it has?

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Riverdale airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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