Archie Andrews is problematic.
You would think that the lead character of The CW's dark and sexy teen drama Riverdale would have his act together. That Archie, with his cute boy-next-door smile and endless guitar tunes, would be the TV equivalent of our Peter Kavinsky-level hopes and dreams.
But we would be wrong.
Archie looks like our swoon-worthy dream guy, but for the last two seasons of Riverdale, he's actually the worst. He needs to change for the better, and we're going to break down how he can be fixed.
Before we dive in deep, let's remember that this change is about his character development.
Archie, from the surface alone, looks like a leading man. He's a leader in his group of friends, he has that all-American boy-next-door quality to him that exudes "Archie Andrews." And sporadically, he is the sweetheart jock you'd want to trust.
The problem, however, is that Archie has gone off the rails. He's made plenty of decisions that have left us as viewers scratching our heads and going, "Why, Archie, why?!"
And here is where our issues emerge.
HIS LOVE LIFE IS A MESS
Archie's relationship status is currently shipping #Varchie. (Archie + Veronica Lodge = fire!) But, the waters are rockier than ever.
Even with their steamy shower sessions and couple cuteness, Archie is still, well, Archie. He's never content with having a healthy relationship that isn't plagued by drama or selfish motivations.
More often than not, something bad came up and ruined his love life.
Arguably, Veronica is the longest relationship he's had on Riverdale. They've spanned one full season, a break-up, a make-up, and the weight of the lies they kept from each other.
Veronica balances Archie's inconsistencies and they make a sweet couple. However, his past player behavior can't be ignored.
He harbored a torrid love affair with Ms. Grundy (his older teacher; remember, he's 16!), and he defended it as his "true love." But, after less than a week when she left town, he moved on to someone else.
If he truly was in love with Ms. Grundy, he wouldn't be that quick to date the cool musician. Like, it was one episode!
This goes to show Archie's fatal flaw in dating: He's easily impressed at the prospect of something new and more interesting. And he's done it multiple times now.
He basked in the love affair of Ms. Grundy and got over it to be with Val. He ignored Val in favor of being Cheryl's kept man. He's been on-again, off-again with Veronica by keeping her in an emotionally distant roller coaster.
And, to make matters worse, he broke Betty's heart and only became interested in her once his best friend Jughead started dating her. He made some foolish excuse, but let's be real here, Archie wanted Betty because he couldn't have her.
The nerve on this boy!
Archie will never have a seamless love life. Riverdale is a dark drama, after all, and perfection is dull.
On the other hand, Archie's treatment of his romantic partners, and his attitude toward dating can change. He needs to value his significant other and not focus solely on HIS wants/needs.
He started to turn things around by making sure Veronica was safe in his mob dealings/killer hunt. (But, that's another matter wrapped in a whole bigger mess we'll discuss below.)
If he's down for Varchie as much as we fans are, Archie's love life can be fixed. There is the potential.
He needs to develop more of thinking about others so that he can value relationships more than passion.
THE KING OF BAD DECISIONS
Riverdale Season 2 is Archie's yearbook of terrible choices.
In his pursuit of hunting down The Black Hood, Archie's behavior took a rapid spiral into dark territories. Fans theorized it was due to the PTSD from Fred being shot, and it made sense as a good explanation since the attack left him affected.
However, Archie rested on that moment to keep making bad moves even after his breakthrough.
Some were laughable, like the shirtless Red Circle video, and others were alarming, like his need for murder.
This is a message for the coward calling himself, “The Black Hood”. You think you can attack us from the shadows? But Riverdale is a lot stronger than you, and we’re not afraid. You see there’s only one of you, but we are legion. We’re called “The Red Circle” and we’re coming for you. We will find you. We will hunt you. And we will end you.Archie
Archie stopped using common sense a long time ago.
Creating The Red Circle, and then The Black Circle eventually became nothing more than a destructive vigilante group. For all the vandalism and gang fights the group started, he could've been arrested as the ringleader. But the eye-roll mockery of those threatening videos, which he'll never live down, is punishment enough.
His biggest boneheaded move, though, was bringing the gun to school. Seriously, what was he thinking?!
His vendetta against The Black Hood could've ruined his entire life had Principal Weatherbee, Sheriff Keller, or anyone discovered his concealed weapon. There's no amount of excuses he could've made that would fix that lapse in judgment.
Archie had already pointed the gun at someone, so he was feeling trigger-happy. And, he bought an illegal weapon from Dilton Doily; that would've added even more strikes against him.
Those particular moments are just the tip of the iceberg, especially when you consider what he did for Hiram. (You guessed it, he made A LOT of them!)
Archie needs to stop, focus, and think clearly of a situation before reacting. He's too spontaneous and reactionary whenever something bad happens.
Then, when he does make a choice, his actions usually led to even worse consequences.
Like, for instance, him getting the Ghoulies arrested during the drag race. That move only propelled them to destroy the Southside Serpents and team up with Hiram for a Batman-level evil group. Archie didn't need to get involved, but he did and made it worse.
It sucks that it took actions like a break-up and a town riot to provide clarity. More people could've been harmed in his pursuit of revenge.
He can't continue acting this careless and stupid, especially now that he's being framed for murder by Hiram Lodge. Archie has to step up and think clearly.
A GOODFELLA IN THE MAKING? REALLY?!
Speaking of Hiram Lodge, the entire plot of Archie being a capo needs to end now.
Archie's descent into the mob world changed the tone of Riverdale, and it changed Archie as a character. He became more focused on revenge and conducting underhanded tasks for the Lodges. A lot of his motivations were to further Hiram and Hermione's goals than his own.
Plus, his actions hurt those he loved, like Fred, his mother, Jughead, and Veronica. The old Archie wouldn't have sided with someone else over his father. He loved Fred more than anything.
Archie refusing to attend the mayoral announcement was a low moment for the character.
What made this storyline hurt Archie, even more, was that he abandoned sound reason in favor of honor and power.
Many of his duties to Hiram were to prove himself to someone who would never fully respect him. Hiram always had the upper hand, and whatever he dangled in front of Archie, like killing The Black Hood, were just to pull him in deeper.
Archie fell under his spell.
He wasn't thinking clearly even when the obvious was right in front of his face. Being "the king of bad decisions" only made it worse for him.
When he still sided with Hiram/Hermione after escaping his kidnapping, all hope seemed lost.
There should've been no reason for him to trust the Lodges after discovering they were leaving him to die. Archie made another bad move to push the plot when a smarter person would've walked away.
Luckily, his capo career might be a thing of the past. Hiram framed him for murder. That betrayal could be what cements their mistrust going forward.
However, we're talking about Archie here, so anything is possible.
Their partnership and criminal training should NEVER be a concept again. Hiram brought out the worst in Archie's judgment. It's hard to root for someone when they keep making destructive choices.
Our hero should be overcoming a villain, not tearing themselves down like one.
And Archie has done the damage. The Black Hood and the capo plots pulled him down deeper to the point that we don't know Archie anymore.
We want to start rooting for him again. We NEED to start believing in Archie.
You can't have Riverdale (or Archie Comics) without the titular character. Archie Andrews should be that boy-next-door leader who makes us dream of milkshakes and '50s charm. We should be connecting to Archie's main journey.
Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and Cheryl, on the other hand, are the ones leading the charge since they're more grounded and consistent characters.
Archie needs to be fixed. We've joked about it for too long, but we're ready now, and we're hoping for it.
Mary: I don’t suppose you can tell me: What was so important that you couldn’t be there for your dad?
Archie: Believe me, I had every intention of going.
Mary: You used to worship your father. You used to play music. You, Jughead, Betty...you were inseparable. But I’m looking at you now, and I don’t know who you’ve become.
[His phones rings]
Mary: Who are you, Archie?
Now it's your turn, Riverdale fanatics!
Are you a fan of Archie Andrews? Has he ever made you question his decisions? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Don't forget, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic to get caught up on all the past drama.
Riverdale Season 3 premieres Wednesday, October 10th at 8/7c on The CW.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.