Riverdale may be inspired by the Archie comics, but it is certainly its own story. Characters who are happily married in the books are separated on the show, like Fred and Mary Andrews. Jughead’s father is a devoted family man in the comics, but on the show is an alcoholic criminal whose wife and children have all left. And of course, central to everything in the series, Jason Blossom was murdered. In spite of that, some things remain from the original stories in the comics. And one of the elements promised when the show began was that the central love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica would remain.
In the first episode, the love triangle was a huge plot point. Kevin Keller called Betty and Archie “endgame” when talking to Veronica. Archie had an instant crush on Veronica, despite Betty working up the nerve to express her true feelings. After Betty told Archie how she felt, he made out with Veronica before telling Betty that he didn’t feel the same way. The next episode largely dealt with Betty’s feelings of betrayal by both Archie and Veronica. And then… nothing.
Since the first couple of episodes, the characters all have moved on romantically. Veronica dated Chuck Clayton, Betty and Jughead have become an item, and after continuing his affair with teacher Miss Grundy, Archie now seems to be with Valerie. But according to an interview executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa gave EW, the love triangle is not forgotten:
“That will always be at the heart of any Archie story. It’s just finding the right way to play it at the right temperature so you don’t burn it out too fast. You invest in all the characters, and you want them all to be happy — to me, that’s when a love triangle’s at its best, when you want all of the couplings to exist.”
It’s true, in the comics the love triangle has always been a slow burn. If it gets answered too quickly or overtakes the rest of the plot too soon, there won’t be anywhere else to go. Aguirre-Sacasa also touched on one of the love triangle’s biggest obstacles — the budding romance between Betty and Jughead:
“I would say that it’s still a very new relationship. But given the circumstances of what they’re doing, which is investigating a murder, and given that they’re both from very different worlds — Betty’s the perfect girl next door, the cheerleader, and Jughead’s the outsider from the wrong side of the tracks, the misfit, the loner — their relationship is going to be tested sooner rather than later.”
Even if Jughead and Betty can manage their differences, her mother will probably not be all that thrilled with the relationship. Especially as more facts about Jughead’s father come to light. And at the end of the day, Betty still might not be over her lifelong crush on the boy next door, Archie Andrews.
Riverdale continues with ‘Chapter Eight: The Outsiders’ on Thursday, March 30 at 9pm on The CW.