Betty finally faces the Trash Bag Killer on Riverdale

Riverdale -- “Chapter Eighty-Four: Lock & Key” -- Image Number: RVD508b_0107r -- Pictured: Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Riverdale -- “Chapter Eighty-Four: Lock & Key” -- Image Number: RVD508b_0107r -- Pictured: Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Riverdale finally dealt with its long-standing villain, the Trash Bag Killer, during “American Psychos.” However, the featured songs from the musical American Psycho are a backdrop to something far more intriguing, Riverdale’s first Serial Killer Convention.

The convention is a ploy to trap the Trash Bag Killer after all those he had killed and all he had done to Betty. But, “American Psychos” does not entirely turn this into a heist episode. Instead, one of the goals is to examine Betty’s connection to darkness and how she feels about it.

Betty has had to realize that her father had groomed her to become a killer, which is a scary reality she has been trying to face. Betty has always struggled with her inner darkness, but “American Psychos” kicks it up a notch, having one person wish for Betty to write her autograph on the Black Hood’s murder weapons. Betty is even referred to as being close to being a serial killer herself.

Betty’s self-examination is crucial, especially after Agent Drake admits her attraction to Betty. Although Betty is in a committed relationship with Archie, in the aftermath of Agent Drake’s confession, Betty examines her own behavior, discussing with Veronica how she compartmentalizes her conversations with Archie to avoid darker topics. Since Betty does not do the same with Agent Drake, it gets her thinking. However, Veronica shuts her down right away.

Veronica, from personal experience, knows how fast relationships can implode by not having the conversations that need to happen. But, Betty and Archie’s talk happens in two parts. The first half comes in the form of what their future may look like.

Archie wants the picket fence and children, while Betty is still unsure. But, they do not get to the root of the discussion immediately. Instead, they focus on if that is a breaking point for them, as it had been one of the final straws in Archie’s romance with Veronica. Betty and Archie’s first talk also focuses on Betty’s willingness to place herself as bait if it means catching the Trash Bag Killer, something Archie must accept.

However, the more emotional part of Betty and Archie’s conversation occurs after Betty finally faces off with the Trash Bag Killer. After finding Alice and Charles in a deadly situation, Betty saves them before hurrying to the garage for her final confrontation with the Trash Bag Killer.

Their last discussion goes similarly to how they have always seemed to go. TBK encourages Betty to give in to her dark side and join him. He believes they are soulmates and kindred spirits. But, Betty will not be swayed by him. So, rather than join him or give into his games, Betty pulls the trigger using her father’s gun, finally killing TBK.

Riverdale avoids having the serial killer rip off his mask, choosing instead to have viewers recall when TBK’s natural face had been shown back when Betty and Archie were still figuring out their superpowers.

The ending finally has Betty tell Archie what she has felt for a while. Betty is terrified she may give in to her darkness one day. Betty does not want to hurt Archie or their friends and is scared that one day she may be unable to stop herself from giving in to darker impulses. Betty fears for the day Archie is scared of her or what she may do. However, Archie is not.

While Betty focuses on the dark parts of herself, Archie remembers the light. Archie remembers a younger Betty rushing to find a shoebox so they could watch over an injured bird until it could fly again. Archie sees the good, whereas Betty is scared of the bad.

Allowing Betty and Archie to have an open and honest conversation about Betty’s concern for her inner darkness allows the two to grow stronger as a couple. Riverdale does not throw a wedge between them, forcing Archie to understand the truth about Betty’s fears in the season finale.

Instead, by allowing them to work through it, their conversation gives Betty a more vital understanding of where they stand. Betty’s journey in dealing with darkness may not be over, and it could continue to play a role in her storyline. However, allowing Betty to explore it heavily throughout “American Psychos” also creates space to show Betty she is not alone.

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