Gather ’round Barchies (and visitors to the Barchie table), it’s time to speculate about Betty and Archie’s rise in Riverdale season 5.
To be honest, I was expecting a moderate pace for the pair’s romantic journey this season, but the writers clearly had other plans with a hot and steamy agenda that kicked off in “Chapter Eighty-One: Homecoming.”
Barchie went from agreeing on pizza for lunch to shower sex in a matter of moments, setting the two on a course of sneakily hooking-up in this week’s episode–“Chapter Eighty-Two: Back to School.” But is this golden pair that checks all the girl-next-door/boy-next-door boxes only destined for a burn bright and fizzle out quick union?
Sure, anything’s possible in a show like Riverdale but all signs are pointing to Barchie being around for the long haul of the season.
Could Barchie be the main couple of Riverdale season 5?
Fans of Betty and Archie have been waiting since season 1 of Riverdale for the writers to make good on the sparkling chemistry between Lili Reinhart and KJ Apa. It’s been a slow crawl to getting the pair to a place in the story where their relationship could be developed romantically.
Last season set-up the possibility of Barchie rising with a controversial fake dating turned cheating plot that had fandom atwitter and critics unpacking the bomb the writers dropped into the Riverdale ecosystem.
Anyone who had been comfortable in the notion that Barchie would never happen not only had their table shook but they also had to contend with the reality that Betty had never fully gotten over Archie, and it seems he’d been in love with her for awhile. He even went as far to write Betty a song called “Carry the Torch.”
Betty, however, put a stop to their straying, choosing to honor her relationship with Jughead and pushing Archie to honor his with Veronica. But the framing of the scene also positions her as running away from her feelings and hiding behind the idea that she and Archie are responding to the end of senior year and their world changing by falling into something familiar and safe i.e. each other.
The problem with Betty’s statement is what prompts it: the memory of her heartache when Archie rejected her the first time. It’s sets up a roadblock in a possible future for Barchie by not-so-subtly hinting at a potential fear of Betty’s which is that Archie doesn’t actually feel the way she does or at least not as strongly.
Why does that matter seven years down the road with Barchie being adults removed from their teenage feelings? It inserts an unresolved history into their relationship that complicates their newly established friends-with-benefits situation.
We know this because they’re both visibly happy after their moment in the shower but hesitant in defining what’s happening between them outside of friendship. They’re also cognizant of their past romances with Jughead and Veronica. Betty even says, “I think it’s okay.” A comment that acknowledges the fraught circumstance of their previous slips into desire.
But when Jughead lands on Archie’s doorstep seeking refuge with his high school best friend, Archie is visibly uncomfortable. Yes, that could be the passage of time in which their camaraderie deteriorated apart from one another. But, it’s just as valid to interpret Archie’s swallow and peering behind Jughead as guilt and a need to make sure Betty wasn’t making her way over.
Prior to Jughead making an appearance, Betty and Archie had been texting. Out of the core four, Barchie has been the most in communication. Their storylines have been intertwining which hasn’t been the case for Jughead and Veronica individually, together, or with their previous partners.
That’s not to say that won’t happen in the near future, but it’s telling that so far in the seven-year time jump, it’s Betty and Archie who are being paired together. Bearing all of this in mind, it seems unlikely that Barchie is going to have a three episodes top romantic arc. They are not, and have never been, a throwaway relationship in Riverdale.
Not to mention the show’s high school era escaped a Veronica and Jughead meltdown over Barchie which could rear its head now passive-aggressively. The “maturity” the writers went with in the aftermath of both hurt parties finding out their significant other’s cheated on them with each other didn’t ring true to the situation.
I’m hoping we circle back even if it’ll be seven years too late. I say this because Veronica told Archie a devil-may-care hook-up never hurt anyone, and Jughead slept with an NYU grad that visually alluded to Betty when she was in his ‘S’ shirt. Those don’t seem like coincidences.
But even if we take the romance out of it, here’s how closely Betty and Archie are being tied together in the time jump:
- Betty was the first person Archie called home to help him save Riverdale. Aside from Toni, she’s the main character that knows the most about his plan to take the town back building by building.
- Archie spotted Polly in the Ghoulies’ drug den and was the one to tell Betty. It resulted in both of them going to raid his house showing that Archie did take her up on her offer to aid him as an FBI trainee.
- The two were the only ones cleaning up Archie’s place despite Kevin, Fangs, Sweet Pea, and Sheriff Keller assisting them in the raid.
- Archie’s the one who offered Betty his shower which prompted a scene that will go down in Riverdale history. He’s also the one who wanted to define what they’re doing and went with Betty’s explanation that they’re friends who had some adult fun.
- Betty was the first of the core four to sign onto Archie’s plan of being interim teachers at Riverdale High.
- Betty told Archie that Polly disappeared, further involving him in the coming abduction plot brewing for her family.
In the coming episodes, there’s the potential for Barchie to discuss trauma since Archie was recently in a war zone and Betty suffers from PTSD due to being abducted by the Trash Bag Killer. There’s also Betty’s lackluster romance with Glen, something she didn’t mention to Archie at all. How, or if, that comes into play for the two will certainly be interesting.
There’s a lot to mine from Barchie this season, and it seems to me that they are being set-up to be the main pairing, if not the main couple, of season 5. Nowhere in what’s been shown to us so far is there any indication that the Barchie train is slowing down anytime soon.