by Shannan Webster, VSC Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably binged all of Season 4 of Riverdale on Netflix already. If you’re not familiar, Riverdale is a teen drama TV show with characters based off of the infamous Archie Comics. Riverdale knows how to create compelling dramas with teen angst galore, and tons of teen lust. Throughout the 4 seasons, there have been new relationships, breakups, lasting relationships, and lots and lots of unhealthy relationships. We decided we wanted to take a closer look at some of Riverdales’s most popular relationships in season 4. WARNING: major spoilers ahead!! If you have not seen season 4 of Riverdale do not keep reading.
Betty and Jughead
Betty and Jughead have been pretty consistently together throughout the series, though at the beginning of Season 1 Betty was all about Archie. These two as a couple are featured very prominently in Season 4 as Jughead transfers schools and they see each other less as they were living together prior (Betty’s mom and Jughead’s dad are dating, and they share a half-brother, all too weird to get into right now!). While neither Betty nor Jughead I would say have a healthy lifestyle, these two do have a healthy relationship. This season Betty fully supports Jughead going to a prep school that will help him better his future and writing skills. She did not guilt him or pressure him, just fully supported and respected his decision and trusted him to be faithful while they see less of each other. As Betty starts to write for the school newspaper again Jughead is super nice and hypes her up while also doing what he can to help her—even if it means making his new school look bad. The major plotline of this season is what is at the center of Jughead’s new prep school, specifically with his 5 classmates and teachers. In order to solve the case Jughead puts all of his trust in Betty to help fake his own death to get answers. While they may not be perfect, Jughead being dishonest about Yale and his secret society and Betty kissing Archie, we know that these two have a great relationship and are #endgame (at least until we see what may change next season).
Archie and Veronica
Archie and Veronica are the twins to Betty and Jughead, but Archie and Veronica are not as #RelationshipGoals as their best friends. Archie and Veronica have been off and on a couple of times and their relationship’s core seems to be based off of sex and taking turns playing the hero to get the other out of whatever antic they have gotten themselves into. Instead of talking it through together and tackling the problem as equals, Archie or Veronica attempts to solve their problems, or their partner’s problem, all on their own regardless of what might be best. Archie is going through a lot this season: losing his father, trying to run a community center surrounded by homelessness and gang violence, win the football championship, run his late father’s construction company, reunite with his uncle, and we guess pass high school, though we never see him at school besides in the locker room (#eyeroll). Veronica is also tackling a lot: running Pop’s and the speakeasy, get into her dream schools, figure out her mother and father’s trials, handle her father’s illness, live with her newly found half-sister who is also in her business, run an underground and successful rum company, and help the quiz show win the championship. All of this, and yet we don’t see Archie or Veronica reaching out to their partner for help or even a much needed vent session. Independence in a relationship is great, but these two seem to exist on two separate planets. The most vulnerable we see these characters is when they speak with the school guidance counselor, or after they have exchanged a couple of sentences pre or post sex. While there is no relationship violence or major transgressions, we still don’t see this relationship as healthy or something that should last.
Hiram and Hermione
Veronica’s parents have been power players in Riverdale since they arrived. At the start of Season 4 we see Hiram and Hermione both in prison getting ready for trial while Veronica fights off the paparazzi and has to choose a side. Hiram and Hermione have a history of manipulating each other, threatening the other or their loved ones, and partnering and manipulating the town or daughter for their own benefit. Before prison Hiram and Hermione weaseled Hermione into position of Mayor so that she can better pull the strings around Riverdale, the two talked about divorce, Hiram cheated on Hermione (and Hermione has cheated before too), and Hermione literally tried to have Hiram murdered. Their past is more than enough to show this relationship is more than unhealthy, it is abusive. As they both get out of prison Hiram and Hermione are back living together. This time Hiram finds himself in the position of being Mayor. Hiram manipulates Hermione to get back together through sex and it seems Hermione feels guilty about their past and now his disease diagnosis and stays together with him throughout the season. They have too much of a past for us to know what the future of this relationship will look like, but we still know that together these two lie, cheat, scheme, and hurt each other. They are not a good couple.
Cheryl and Toni
Cheryl and Toni have been pretty strong since they got together. Cheryl can be very…direct to say the least, but around Toni she is vulnerable and trusting. Toni does her best to take care of Cheryl by hiring a nurse for the house to help take some responsibility off of Cheryl since taking care of her Nana and her twin niece and nephew as a high school senior is a lot. Cheryl quickly fires the nurse because of the secret she is hiding. The issues begin this season as it is revealed that Cheryl has her dead twin brother’s corpse in the house and speaks with it often, and also has a CREEPY doll that is “possessed” by her dead unborn triplet that she supposedly absorbed in the womb, and the doll moves around the house. When Toni, who is affectionately known as TT, discovers all of this she does not go running for the hills, or a mental health professional, but instead acts like everything is normal and stays by Cheryl’s side even helping to bury Jason’s body. TT tries to bring Cheryl back to reason and dispose of the doll, but it mysteriously ends up back in the house. Cheryl later confesses to moving it and gaslighting TT, which is definitely not okay!! Cheryl tries to make TT feel guilty about getting rid of Jason and then lies and manipulates her about the doll. We loved these two in the past (and their couple costume this season), but we think after this season this relationship has taken a turn for the unhealthy.
Archie and Betty
Lastly we want to take a look at a relationship that has been will-they-won’t-they since season 1 of Riverdale. As mentioned earlier, we think Jughead and Betty are a great couple, but as part of Jughead’s and Betty’s scheme to have Jughead play dead, Archie and Betty end up sharing a passionate kiss this season. While the kiss was meant to just lead others off their trail and make their lies more believable, the kiss contained very real passion that left these two questioning their loyalties. They start sending flirty messages behind their partner’s back, Archie writes a love song, and they even discuss the idea of them becoming a couple. We think this was a rushed decision hidden by lies and is not a good idea to pursue and begin a relationship in secret fueled by passion only. It seems the feelings started because of feelings of isolation from their current partners and their closely entwined childhoods, but the healthy thing to do is to be honest with your current partner about your feelings and not to let resentments fester that could lead to cheating or worse. Cheryl said it best to Betty, “You’ve been in love with the idea of Archie. The idea of a perfect romance. But…that wasn’t real. That was fantasy. But in this town of nightmares, you and Jughead found each other. That’s real.” We are glad this Archie and Betty relationship did get squashed, it appears for now anyways.
Riverdale and their romantic relationships are fictitious, but their feelings and actions can be seen in real relationships. If you see warning flags and unhealthy behaviors from your own relationships mirrored in the relationships of Riverdale, we hope that you can also look to the healthy behaviors and incorporate those, or can seek support to leave. Know that if you are in danger in a relationship VSC can help and provide resources too. Call our crisis helpline anytime 24/7 (407) 500-HEAL.
Resources and Help
Learn more about healthy vs. unhealthy relationships from these resources:
For help, see these resources:
VSC: (407) 500-HEAL
Harbor House of Central Florida: https://www.harborhousefl.com/ (407) 886-2856
Help now of Osceola: https://www.helpnowshelter.org/ (407) 847-8562
Safe House of Seminole: http://safehouseofseminole.org/ (407) 330-3933National Domestic Violence Hotline https://www.thehotline.org/ 1-800-799-7233