You think you know Kevin Keller, but you have no idea. Sure, you might know him as Betty's "gay best friend," or the only other person at Riverdale High who can rival Cheryl Blossom's perfect one-liners, but prepare to see a whole new side to Kevin in Wednesday night's episode of Riverdale, "Chapter Sixteen: The Watcher in the Woods."
For actor Casey Cott, who was promoted to a series regular ahead of Riverdale's second season, Kevin's expanded role meant finally getting to explore the character on a more personal level. Who is he when he's not making obscure pop-culture references with Veronica? Or wrapped up in Betty Cooper's occasionally suffocating orbit?
"You see what's been bubbling inside him since the first season," Cott told MTV News over the phone. "He's been lonely. He feels trapped with all of these insane relationships around him. All of his friends are dating each other, and at the end he's just kind of sitting there and watching it all unfold and ready for something of his own."
According to Cott, this leads Kevin to make some pretty "wild and dangerous" decisions in the Kevin-centric episode. But can you really blame him? (Yes, we're talking to you, Betty.)
For Kevin, being the only openly gay kid at Riverdale High has been extremely isolating. In the pilot episode, he and football star Moose Mason have a moonlight tryst in the woods. "For the record," Moose reminds him, "I'm not gay." Then, when Kevin does experience his first real love, his boyfriend turns out to be complicit in the murder of Jason Blossom. And now he has to watch Betty moon over Jughead? No thanks.
"Betty really left Kevin hanging in Season 1," he said. "She got a boyfriend, and Kevin started to feel lonely." All that unspoken tension between Kevin and Betty finally reaches a boiling point in "Chapter Sixteen." "It's time for Kevin to say something because he was really upset for a long time," Cott added.
But Betty isn't the only person Kevin confronts throughout the episode. He also comes face-to-face with the darkness brewing beneath Riverdale's picture-perfect surface. With a killer on the loose, it's understandable that everyone in town is on edge. Of course that doesn't stop Kevin from venturing into the woods for a little fun anyway.
"Each character has this weird moment where they realize everyone is in danger and no one is safe, and there comes that moment for Kevin in Episode 3 towards the end, when he encounters someone that could very well be the Black Hood," Cott teased. "It snaps him out of a dangerous situation."
Still, it doesn't necessarily deter Kevin from his search for human connection. "Kevin is clearly ready and searching for love," he said. "He's just got to find the right place to find it."
And maybe a midnight rendezvous, in the middle of the woods, is not where one finds true love. (Unless you're some Disney Princess.) Knowing Riverdale, however, it is where one might find a serial killer lurking in the shadows. Run, Kevin! Run!
"Kevin always finds himself in the middle of something," Cott said. "I'm sure he's going to be surrounded by mass drama and hysteria at all times."
And if you're Kevin Keller, you wouldn't want to be anywhere else. He lives for drama.