In a show full of “Glambergé” eggs, American Excess cards, and Vanity Flair magazines, it’s usually safe to assume the strangely named objects on Riverdale aren’t real. But in an unexpected twist, the show’s new favorite object with a weird name wasn’t concocted in a pun-loving writers’ room. In Season 5, the word on everyone’s lips is palladium. But what the heck even is palladium? Riverdale fans might be quick to assume it’s another made-up thingamajig, but if you recall learning the periodic table in high school chemistry, it’s actually a real element.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers for Riverdale Season 5, Episode 11, “Strange Bedfellows.” Palladium has been briefly mentioned earlier in Season 5, but it got an excessive amount of shoutouts in the show’s midseason premiere on Aug. 11, confirming the precious metal will be central to the story in the second half of this season. Hiram previously told Reggie that he found a palladium deposit underneath his prison and already mined all of it. Now, he has his sights set on the Blossom family’s maple grove, since he believes there’s more palladium hiding there. However, Hiram’s shiny little secret came out in Episode 11, when a hostage situation led to Veronica and Archie stealing Hiram’s palladium vault in order to rescue him from some escaped convicts. Mayor Dooley was also well aware of the palladium, as he attempted to blackmail Hiram into giving him a share, only for Hiram to respond with a deadly threat.
Unlike most things in the Riverdale universe, palladium is an actual element. It’s a silvery metal that’s closely related to platinum, and like platinum, it’s extremely valuable. In fact, it’s currently the most valuable precious metal there is, almost double the value of gold and more than double the value of platinum.
Palladium is widely used in automobile manufacture, but also has various uses in technology and electronics. Of course, a big part of its value is its use as high-end jewelry, since palladium can be used to make white gold.
Given how wildly valuable palladium actually is in the real world, it’s no wonder Hiram is hoarding the precious metal for himself and is dead-set on finding more. You’re sure to be hearing about palladium a lot more as Season 5 continues, so at least now you know it’s not just a Riverdale thing.