Riverdale: New Pairings Take Center Stage In “Sex Education”

Riverdale -- “Chapter One Hundred Nineteen: Skip, Hop and Thump!” -- Image Number: RVD702b_0172r -- Pictured: Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Riverdale -- “Chapter One Hundred Nineteen: Skip, Hop and Thump!” -- Image Number: RVD702b_0172r -- Pictured: Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

As original as Riverdale’s storylines are, the show’s central romantic pairings have grown stale over the years. Mainly sticking to Veronica and Archie or Jughead and Betty had gotten old. Switching it up to introduce Betty and Archie as a couple had been a welcome breath of fresh air. They had barely been explored as a couple, so when Riverdale started taking them seriously, it felt like things were finally taking a new turn.

Sadly, that was not the case for everyone. Veronica was still stuck between being in a relationship with Reggie and pining for Archie. Tabitha and Jughead’s relationship also added something new to the show. However, Fangs and Toni’s romance had been met with uncertainty, especially as Toni and Cheryl’s relationship had been a fan favorite.

However, for anyone wanting to see Riverdale mix things up one last time, season seven examines and teases unexplored relationships from new angles.

Betty and Archie have reverted to best friends instead of the engaged couple they had been at the end of season six. However, rather than make them entirely platonic, season seven has hinted that some of those feelings have remained in their relationship.

In the meantime, Betty and Kevin are one of the prominent couples in the 1950s, which while an unexpected choice, gives Kevin more to do in season seven than he has had in years. Kavin and Betty will not end the series together, but pairing them up allows each to experience a new side of their character.

Kevin knows he is attracted to Clay but struggles with how or if to continue his relationship with Betty. Meanwhile, getting nowhere with Kevin plays a role in Betty’s growing questions about human sexuality, which continue to increase.

Archie and Cheryl’s romance introduced in “Sex Education” is more meant to get Archie out of the way as a potential love interest for Veronica than anything else. Penelope wanting Cheryl in a relationship with a nice boy leads Julian to seek out Archie and encourage him to ask Cheryl, killing two birds with one stone.

Although Cheryl agrees to go out with Archie, it is clear her interest is far more in Toni. Cheryl and Toni had not been together for a while on Riverdale, but their mutual attraction came back in full force in the 1950s.

“Sex Education” also teased one of the show’s most unexpected pairings. Veronica’s party features most couples going off on their own for privacy. When Julian makes it clear he wants to pair off with Veronica, she jumps at the first opportunity to avoid pairing up with him. Jughead being the only other guy in the room, allows him to be her escape hatch as she quickly claims Jughead as her partner.

Veronica and Jughead have barely spent time alone together. But, when they are left to talk, they discover they have books and movies in common. Later on, Veronica admits to Toni that she and Jughead spent the night together talking and that he is not out of the question as a romantic prospect.

Jughead and Veronica’s relationship has never been allowed to develop. Riverdale’s decision to take the opportunity to potentially give the duo a stronger bond in whatever way it chooses works positively for the series. They are one of the most underdeveloped duos, and it is time for them to be placed in more storylines together.

The fact that Riverdale chose to have them connect early on with things they have in common rather than jump immediately into pointing out their differences already works out in their favor as a new change of pace.

Regardless of which couples end up together or how things will go when the group may eventually return to their own time, at least Riverdale is offering the audience the chance to see all the familiar characters in new settings and dynamics that allow things to feel different, unique, and exciting, rather than repeating old storylines.

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