Riverdale season 2: The quiet heroics of Lili Reinhart’s Betty Cooper

Betty CooperWhen you look at the tapestry that is Riverdale season 1, it might be clear in some ways that the alignment of many characters is not a straight line. There are many people who often act in a self-interested manner, do bad things, and display their dark side more so than they do their light. We’ve seen Jughead be part of a group that cut a tattoo off the snake charmer, and Archie and Veronica are fairly deep into Hiram’s shady dealings.

When it comes to Betty Cooper, she certainly has her fair share of dark moments — yet, we do think that she is one of the series’ more well-intentioned characters at heart and with that, she is the perfect subject of today’s edition of CarterMatt’s Unsung Heroes article series.

Just in terms of actions alone, look at the laundry list of what Betty has done since the start of the series: She helped catch Clifford Blossom, the Sugarman, and also the Black Hood. Now, she’s also looking into what’s going on in regards to Chic. She’s extremely loyal to her friends and the last thing that she wants to see is something happen to them that will cause them to be torn apart. She’s driven, ambitious, and certainly could grow up to be some sort of gumshoe on the other side of this. She’s incredibly good at uncovering the underbelly of Riverdale.

While Betty is still a teenager and therefore prone to making mistakes, you can also make a case that she is caring in a way that few other characters are and the history of Bughead is a good place to start with that. When that relationship is going strong it’s one of the most beautiful things about Riverdale. Betty puts her heart into what she does and who she cares about; maybe her emotional investment does at times put her in a position where she’s much more likely to get hurt, but that comes with the territory. Jughead is a good man at heart (despite the impromptu tattoo removal) but his stubbornness and strong-willed nature has gotten him into some difficult situations – and Betty has never turned her back on him. Even when the black hood was threatening her, she did the one thing she never wanted to do to protect him – break up with him. Betty is in some ways a representation of most of the audience in terms of her actions, her spirit, and how deeply she does care for her friends. The fact that she’s seen her world turned upside down so many times is one of the reasons why you root for her even more. She’s experienced so much at a young age and after all of the hardships and hurt, it’s inspiring that she still has a positive outlook on life.

The joy of Lili Reinhart

Betty is arguably one of the toughest characters on Riverdale to play, largely because she enters the series with the reputation of being the girl next door from Archie Comics and being at times a representation of much of what is good. Reinhart has been nothing short of spectacular bringing this part to life, taking traditional comic elements while also still injecting her own energy and vulnerability. You see the cracks underneath the character’s surface but also the optimism and sense of fun so many comic readers loved in the first place. Without Lili in this role it is hard to imagine Riverdale being even remotely the same show.

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