So far, Riverdale has done a fairly good job of making us sympathetic toward a character who's pretty easy not to like. Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) is a spoiled only child who grew up in New York City with a lot of money. But she's more than that, too — she's a scared teen who misses her dad, and she's a former mean girl who wants to make a fresh start helping Riverdale's underdogs.
There's a lot to praise about Veronica's character. We cheered when she tackled slut-shaming head-on, and when she chose her budding friendship with Betty (Lili Reinhart) over a potential relationship with Archie (K.J. Apa). But the way Veronica acted toward her peers, especially Kevin (Casey Cott) last night gave us pause.
In the show's seventh episode, "In A Lonely Place," we learn that Veronica's preferred method of retaliation against her mother is going clubbing, ideally on a school night. Her nights out require accompaniment by a set group of people: a celebrity (in this case, Riverdale High's resident celeb, Josie), a piece of arm candy (here, Reggie), and, as Veronica words it to Kevin, "my best gay." He's happy to partake in the vengeance plan — but the way she worded it was outdated and uncomfortable.
As we saw Veronica's ragtag crew head out dancing, it was obvious she was using treating them as objects as part of the greater scheme against her mom. Their conversation revolved entirely around Veronica's issues, and her mom's actions (namely, forging her signature on a contract with Andrews Construction). She never stopped to consider the fact that, say, Josie's mom would be in serious trouble if photos of the mayor's underage daughter drinking in a very public place were leaked. And she definitely didn't see a problem with treating Kevin as her token gay best friend.
And, as some Twitter users pointed out, this isn't the first time Veronica has treated Kevin as a stereotype. When the Lodges first arrived in Riverdale, Veronica seemed eager to make Kevin fit into the gay best friend mold.
Veronica isn't a bad person, but last night's episode did make her character less likable. (Aside from the Kevin and Josie situation, I can't imagine anyone addressing their mom the way Veronica does, as a teenager or as an adult.) Hopefully, as Riverdale continues, we'll see Kevin's character continue to evolve — and Veronica's treatment of him become more nuanced.