As Riverdale heads into the back half of season 2, stars Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes have a few ideas about where they'd like to see for their characters, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge, respecitvely. Thus far, the show has centered around dark thrills and soaped up melodrama.
Season 1 traced a gripping murder mystery, while season 2 has so far tracked a moralistic serial killer out to wipe out the small town's sinners, all the while cycling through the star-crossed loves, hormone-fueled lust, and fraying family lives of the show's core teens.
The Black Hood killer was unmasked in the midseason finale, and creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa recently said that, for now, the series will strip back to the basics and let the kids of Riverdale be kids. That's good news for Reinhart, who told Cosmopolitan in a recent interview that that's exactly what she'd like to see for her character. She said:
"I want to see [Betty] have a good time. Maybe not having phone calls on the reg with a serial killer, you know? I want her to let her hair down—and not just as a reaction to being depressed and stressed out. Betty didn’t even do [Riverdale’s fictional party drug] Jingle Jangle… I also want to see her explore her sexuality. She never gets to—she’s always stressed! Poor girl."
Certainly, that would be a nice change of pace for Betty, who's spent the bulk of the show so far doing grisly police work. She helped uncover the family-shattering secret that it was Clifford Blossom who killed his own son, Jason, then sparred with the Black Hood as he manipulated her with daunting phone calls until confronting him head on. The girl could use a break, though with her long lost brother set to arrive, it isn't likely that she'll get one any time soon.
Mendes, on the other hand, said in the interview that she'd like to see more challenging storylines for Veronica. She's definitely been entwined with the same turmoil as Betty, but not as directly, and she's been more of a supportive shoulder than a driving force. She said:
“I want to see [Veronica] challenged—I want to see her at her breaking point… I love strong characters and they’re fun to play, but I think we’ve seen a lot of strong Veronica. It would be interesting to see her in a different light. I want to see her weak and defeated. I want to see her fail.”
Veronica's arc could easily give way to weightier material. Now that her father is back in town, he and Hermione seem to be wrapped up in some shady dealings, and as strong as Veronica may be, she may not want to know what they're hiding. Of course, it will ultimately be up to the writers, but Mendes and Reinhart have some strong suggestions, and for the sake of variety, it would be great to see them tackle new directions.
Riverdale season 2 returns to The CW on January 17.