On paper, Betty Cooper is a dream girl. She’s the sugar to Veronica Lodge’s spice. In the original Archie comics, she’s presented as the perfect girl next door, as sweet as apple pie and as interesting as vanilla ice cream. In prolific comics writer Mark Waid’s current Archie run, Betty is a pretty tomboy with big dreams who’s still hopelessly hung up on her best friend and ex, Archie Andrews. But The CW’s Riverdale gives us a version of Betty we haven’t seen before, one with depth and a whole lot of darkness.
Last week on the show, Betty (Lili Reinhart) went “full dark, no stars” on football player Chuck Clayton, nearly drowning him in a hot tub after losing her grip on reality. Of course, this isn’t the first time Riverdale has unleashed Dark Betty; she also snapped in Episode 2, when she threatened to kill Cheryl Blossom for making fun of her sister, Polly, who’s currently being treated in a mental hospital. The cracks in Betty’s perfect facade are worsening by the week, and the profundity of her misery is becoming clearer. This is not the Betty Cooper of yesteryear.