Is Riverdale Setting Up Another IRL Couple For An On-Screen Romance?

Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW.
Amid internet rumors of an imminent Varchie breakup, Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) kicked off Riverdale season 3 by surprising audiences and pledging to wait for boyfriend Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), no matter the outcome of his murder trial. Veronica proved she wasn’t playing around in last week’s “Fortune And Men’s Eyes,” when she arrived at a convicted Archie’s juvenile detention center multiple times: once with new sneakers for her beau, another time with a full pep squad in tow, and a third time under an alias. Despite the split buzz, Veronica truly was in it for the long haul.
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But then Ronnie’s BFF Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) reminds her pal in Wednesday night’s “As Above, So Below” that she can't keep her life on hold while Archie suffers behind bars.
By the end of the latest Riverdale installment, it sure seems like Betty’s advice is unwittingly sending Veronica into the arms of Reggie Mantel. Reggie just so happens to be played by Charles Melton, newly promoted series regular and newly announced real-life boyfriend of Ronnie’s portrayer, Camila Mendes. For proof of yet another IRL-and-on-screen Riverdale relationship heading to our televisions — here's to the OGs, Lili Reinhart and Cole Spouse of Bughead fame — we simply need to look at all the La Bonne Nuit scenes between Ronnie and Reggie (whose names already sound great together, to be honest).
First of all, there is absolutely no explanation given for why Reggie is working at Ronnie’s super-secret speakeasy. While we can probably chalk that development up to narrative ease, it’s also a major signal that at this point in the series, Reggie and Ronnie are already so close that such clarification isn’t necessary. Of course Reggie would be Ronnie’s sole employee and Bonne Nuit confidant, the CW soap seems to say.
This suggestion speaks to the larger reason a Ronnie-Reggie relationship seems to be on the forefront: Their scenes together feel like a real partnership. Not only is Reggie walking around La Bonne Nuit inexplicably shirtless like he couldn't be more comfortable, but he and Ronnie are working together as a true team. When Ronnie finds jingle jangle stuffed into inventory boxes at the club — part of a set-up from Ronnie’s dear old dad Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) — the football player doesn’t hightail it out of there when Sheif Mineta (Henderson Wade) shows up. Instead, Ronnie distracts the police officer long enough for Reggie to hide the incriminating evidence.
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You could say Reggie did Ronnie’s dirty work to cover her his own behind, but the athlete could just have as easily ratted Veronica out to save himself. As Reggie complains, “My mom would kill me.” So, Reggie taking a chance to protect Ronnie is actually quite meaningful.
Keeping in line with Reggie serving as the most trusted man in Veronica’s life right now, he is put in charge of watching Hiram during his surprise appearance at La Bonne Nuit's opening night. After episodes upon episodes of bad Hiram behavior, we all know Ronnie wouldn’t have confidence in just anyone to keep an eye on her constantly scheming dad.
If you think back, Reggie and Ronnie’s friendship is growing along the same lines as Ronnie and Archie’s romantic relationship did back in season 1. After episodes of flirting, the two most important events in their coupledom was Archie telling Veronica vital information about Clifford Blossom’s (Barclay Hope) involvement in Hiram’s imprisonment and then consoling Ronnie after Hiram sent her a threatening letter. In this new season 3 world, Reggie is fulfilling similar tasks.
If Archie and Veronica were going strong right now, there would be no reason to suspect a Roggie coupling in the future. But, they’re not. Even KJ Apa himself admits Varchie has been weakened by Archie's imprisonment. “Their relationship is put to the test … with [Archie] in juvie and not being able to see her, and with her focusing on her own stuff that she has going on, it’s inevitable for… ” Archie’s portrayer told reporters at New York Comic Con before trailing off with a hand gesture. The unsaid suggestion was the “inevitable,” to use Apa’s word, is some sort of romantic catastrophe for Veronica and Archie.
Well, it looks like Reggie Mantle might just be there to pick up the Varchie pieces for Veronica.
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