ByS.C. O'Donnell, writer at Creators.co
"Zombies, exploding heads...creepy-crawlies and a date for the formal - This is classic, Spanky." Follow me on Twitter: @Scodonnell1
S.C. O'Donnell

Riverdale is officially off to the races — and if you hadn’t heard, Archie got hot over the summer. The show premiered to stellar reviews, and has become everyone’s next favorite TV addiction. The show follows Betty, Veronica, and Archie as they try to navigate high school, and make bad decisions that will compromise their very souls – maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic, but the show is bonkers.

Riverdale’s dark tone, mixed with its oversexualized characters and compromising situations, have already made it a bona fide hit. So far, Riverdale has covered topics such as murder, statutory rape, love triangles, and overt teen sexuality, and the show is just getting started.

On Episode 3, titled “Body Double”, Riverdale took on a problem facing young girls today — slut shaming – in the least subtle way possible. This issue should not be taken lightly, because it marginalizes women and treats them as objects, but the show ran in a completely different direction with it, and the result was absolutely bizarre.

"Body Double"

Riverdale [Credit: The CW]
Riverdale [Credit: The CW]

In this episode, we are introduced to Chuck, the all-American high school dream boat. After making out with Veronica in a car, Chuck takes to social media and posts a picture of Veronica that makes her appear to be one of his numerous conquests. The picture involves a photoshopped picture and maple syrup (as I mentioned before, bizarre).

After Betty and Veronica confront Chuck, they learn that he has done the same thing to countless girls before. They also learn of a book that the football team is in possession of, that keeps score of all the boy’s conquests. It's called "The Playbook", and it's basically the male equivalent to the "Burn Book" in Mean Girls.

The girls end up finding the book, and they decide to set up an elaborate trap to catch Chuck red-handed. With the use of Ethel’s (Shannon Purser aka Barb from Stranger Things) hot tub, they lure Chuck into their spider web. Betty and Veronica dose Chuck with booze and pills, then they handcuff him in the hot tub and crank up the heat. They torture him enough that he confesses on video that he lied about sleeping with several girls, including Veronica.

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This scene is insane — Betty is wearing some sexy outfit, she has a wig on, and is stepping on Chuck’s head to submerge him in water while he’s handcuffed. On top of that, she is screaming at him and pouring maple syrup all over his head. In the end, the girls get punished by the principal, but all the boys who participated in the “playbook” are suspended.

The Best Laid Plans Of Betty and Veronica

Riverdale [Credit: The CW]
Riverdale [Credit: The CW]

Chuck, our main villain, is the leader of the “alpha males”, and displays all the characteristics of a sociopath. Chuck has little to no concern for other’s feelings, and is generally apathetic to anything that does not affect him directly. These traits make him very easy to hate, and as an audience, we feel no compassion when bad things happen to him.

Due to Chuck’s treatment of the ladies of Riverdale High, we want him to answer for his actions. Early on, Betty suggest that the girls report Chuck and let the principal sort it out. Veronica opposes this idea, and the two become justice-seeking vigilantes – which is fitting, because Chuck has the personality of a low-level Batman villain. Betty and Veronica’s plan quickly gets out of hand, and it turns into a Hard Candy situation.

This whole scenario is beyond absurd. Riverdale exist in a world where the only way that someone can level the playing field is to become the same thing they oppose. At this point, the show isn’t even dealing with slut-shaming – if it ever was in the first place. It is presenting a scenario that could happen in real life, then they allow it to spin out of control until Betty becomes a woman who tortures people with no remorse.

Why Did Betty Go To The Dark Side?

Riverdale [Credit: The CW]
Riverdale [Credit: The CW]

“Body Double” takes everything we know about Betty, and completely throws it out the window. We see her completely disassociate, to the point where she says, “Betty couldn’t make it, she sent me instead”. The question now becomes: why did Betty turn to the dark side?

The answer to this question is simple; it’s because the show is built on the premise of having a secret dark side. In the first episode, the voiceover tells you that Riverdale looks like a quaint little town, but it holds deep dark secrets. Therefore, every one of our characters – if pushed too far – can change into something unrecognizable at any minute.

There is also the mystery of Jason Blossom, and the show wants us to believe that anyone could have done it. Judging off the first episode alone, you wouldn't think Betty was capable of any violent act; but now, we know that her repressed anger can explode at any moment. As an audience, we begin to ask ourselves: could Betty be Jason’s murderer?

Riverdale is the epitome of teenage soap-operas. It takes popular social issues and skews them beyond sanity. Slut-shaming was the vehicle this week; next week it will be something else. The narrative serves the bigger picture, and we are sure to dive deeper into each character, until everything we thought we knew about them is in question. It is all leading to the identity of Jason Blossom's killer, and I can’t wait to see where it leads. Riverdale continues its sexcapades on Thursdays 9PM/ET on The CW!

Sound Off! What are your thoughts on Betty turning to the dark side? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below!


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