Why Riverdale just made a huge mistake with that shock romance

Riverdale -- "Chapter Seventy-Three: The Locked Room-" -- Image Number: RVD416b_0198b -- Pictured (L - R): Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge and KJ Apa as Archie Andrews -- Photo:Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Riverdale -- "Chapter Seventy-Three: The Locked Room-" -- Image Number: RVD416b_0198b -- Pictured (L - R): Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge and KJ Apa as Archie Andrews -- Photo:Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Riverdale finally pulled the trigger on a shock romance between Betty Cooper and Archie Andrews and it couldn’t have been further from what the show needed right now.

Riverdale returned to screens this week with its third-annual (and highly-anticipated) musical episode as the students of Riverdale High attempted to perform music from Hedwig and The Angry Inch in protest of their vile principal Mr. Honey.

However, in spite of the incredible musical numbers, the deliciously camp performances and the all-round enjoyable offering, the show’s return to screens was marred in controversy for what happened between Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper.

Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, four seasons in and the show is still baiting us with a romance that very few people actually asked for. With that in mind, let’s take a look at why Barchie never needed to rise and, perhaps more importantly, why it certainly didn’t need to happen now.

Riverdale isn’t the Archie Comics

If you’ve ever read any of the Archie Comics, you’ll know Archie Andrews has found himself stuck in the middle of a love triangle between Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge. That has understandably left fans wondering if we’d ever see something similar happen on Riverdale given how integral that three-way dynamic was to Archie’s comic book adventures.

However, Riverdale isn’t the Archie Comics, and the writers have no problem highlighting that on a weekly basis. The show has deviated from its source material more times than any of us would care to count and while that approach certainly hasn’t worked for shows like ArrowRiverdale‘s bizarre deviations are exactly what makes it stand out. After all, its grim premise couldn’t be further from Archie’s colorful comic escapades, and it’s all the better because of that.

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With that in mind, it’s understandable that fans are upset at the latest developments because all they feel like they are simply cheap attempts to capitalize on a comic book storyline very few people actually asked to see. Why is it now convenient for the writers to start following the comics when they’ve never needed to care about doing so before?

Sure, the show did a remarkable job of paying tribute to Betty and Archie’s comic book romance in the beginning as the former was suffering from a bad case of unrequited love and it was dealt with rather well as she moved on to find love with Jughead while Archie found Veronica. And yet, like everything else post-Season 1, every attempt to handle it after that just felt forced, contrived and completely uncalled for – and that includes the latest developments.

The (character) assassination of Betty Cooper

While Archie Andrews does have a bit of a reputation for falling for anyone who shows him a little interest, Betty Cooper earned her stripes as one of Riverdale‘s strongest characters by, well, being one of Riverdale‘s strongest characters. And, no matter how hard the writers attempt to make it seem plausible, this unexpected-but-completely-predictable “twist” is nothing like the Betty we know and love.

Making the character cheat on boyfriend Jughead Jones isn’t just a move that risks alienating the one fanbase that has stuck by the show through the epic highs and lows, it’s one that completely undermines the importance of the character arc they’ve crafted for her.

The town of Riverdale is full of ludicrous people who just don’t make any sense, and yet Betty and Jughead are the only two who do. It was only fitting that they found each other. However, forcing the former to cheat on him with her best friend’s boyfriend is a complete character assassination for the teenage detective.

We know that Bughead are soulmates. That said, the idea of Betty and Archie romancing it up could have been at least a little bit intriguing if it had been handled right. This right here, however, this was anything but right.

“Friends don’t kiss each other’s boyfriends.” Betty told Ethel Muggs in Season 3, and we can’t help but feel that even her own knowledge was completely lost on this travesty.

It completely undermines the importance of Season 4

Riverdale‘s fourth season certainly hasn’t been perfect, but it has been the very best that the show has had to offer since Season 1, and that alone made it worth viewing. Oh sure, it’s still bonkers as hell and pushes the boundaries of believability a little too far, but provided you can leave logic at the door, it’s a hoot.

With the flash-forwards genuinely teasing Jughead’s potential death, this writer has no problem admitting that he was on the edge of his seat waiting to see what came next. However, right around the time the narrative caught up with those flash-forwards, things began to unravel as nobody behaved like they actually thought Jughead was dead and the villains of the story (Stonewall Prep’s Donna and Bret) began to suspect that he was alive.

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While things did pick up again with “The Locked Room” providing us with a season-best offering, it wrapped everything up far too quickly and it soon became clear that the narrative was never designed to last the whole season. And the reason that it was ultimately handled with such a lack of care in the end was because Jughead’s fake-out death was merely designed as a way to make Betty and Archie fall for each other again.

The fourth season was indeed a high for Riverdale, but prioritizing a contrived romance risks undermining the importance of this year’s character journeys, the narrative and the show itself. And while that’s such a Riverdale thing to do these days, it doesn’t make it any less of a shame.

Next. 20 most shocking Riverdale moments. dark

Riverdale airs on The CW on Wednesday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET. Were you glad to see Archie and Betty kiss? Let us know in the comments below!