Riverdale’s Core Four have been doomed ever since Archie and Betty got caught up in the adrenaline of going after the Black Hood and relieved their sexual tension with a kiss. Jughead and Veronica’s cross-couple payback kiss at Lodge Lodge only further sealed the deal, and now, with dueling student council campaigns looking like peanuts next to Archie literally cutting off Jughead’s protests against Lodge Industries, we’re seeing a couple-versus-couple divide between the group like we’ve never seen before.
"It was just a matter of time before that happened,” KJ Apa (Archie) told MTV News at L.A.’s PaleyFest over the weekend, adding, “But our show is about the friendship between those four and no matter how bad those things get, they’ll always be friends.”
It’s true that these four have weathered storms much bigger than what Apa hopes was just a “stupid kiss” in the past, having each supported one another during treacherous times with their families (including imprisonment, manipulation, and gun violence). Unfortunately, this time, things between the friends aren’t going to clear up overnight, as they so often do in this town. “I think there’s still some stuff they need to uncover and get through before that happens,” Apa said.
Considering they’ve already uncovered the mystery of Jason Blossoms’s murder and at least one piece of the Black Hood saga together, this doesn’t sound good. According to Cole Sprouse (Jughead), their problem is going to further explode beyond their group before we will see these four back together.
“Even more than just the couple versus couple, it’s about the Lodges versus the town and Archie’s sort of manipulation from the Lodges … and wanting to be this strong figure for his girlfriend, and Jughead also holding onto the stubbornness and nobility of a town that’s changing and rapidly being gentrified and turned into a for-profit prison and trying to fight for what’s right,” Sprouse said.
While Jughead has been able to offer Archie alternate points of view in the past, with Veronica’s devilish parents whispering in Archie’s ears, it’s going to take more than an intervention from his lifelong best friend to turn this whole thing around. “Until [Archie] makes his own decision, I think Jughead can lay the groundwork and they can eventually come around, but this is a pretty big split between them right now, and I think it’s going to take a lot of reparation,” Sprouse assessed.
Fortunately, something we don’t have to worry about in the midst of the chaos is rising tension within the couples. “I know Archie loves Veronica and I know Betty loves Jughead a lot,” Apa said, and even though Archie and Veronica are preparing for their parents to go head-to-head during a mayoral election, Apa is confident that they’ll continue their “mature” handling of all things parental.
Of course, this is Riverdale, where nothing is ever as it seems, and as we get closer to the end of Season 2, Sprouse teases, “There is slowly but surely a recognition for every person involved that maybe a chess game is being played that they’re not aware of, and it all comes to a head in the finale episode.”