Things could get darker for all of the Coopers on Riverdale Season 3

Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Diyah Pera Image Acquired from CWTVPR
Photo Credit: Riverdale/The CW, Diyah Pera Image Acquired from CWTVPR /
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The town of Riverdale continues to resemble the twisted backdrop for a Bret Easton Ellis novel more than the idyllic “Town with Pep” from the comics.

As Riverdale devolves into a cesspool rife with gangsters, drug dealers and other unsavory characters, no family has fallen further from grace than the Coopers.

On Riverdale, Hal Cooper, aka “the Black Hood,” may be tucked away in a Hannibal Lecter-esque cell, but Betty, Alice and Polly are still dealing with the fallout of the Cooper patriarch being exposed as a cold-blooded serial killer. But the Coopers picture-perfect family façade began crumbling long before Hal went on his violent rampage, and if the season 2 finale is any indicator, they have yet to hit rock bottom.

It seems like forever ago that Betty Cooper, the quintessential girl-next-door, donned a black wig and some slutty lingerie and partnered up with bestie Veronica to take down Chuck, Riverdale’s version of Harvey Weinstein.

“Black Betty” appeared to be a one-time manifestation of a psychotic break, but once Betty’s alter ego was unleashed, it became her own dirty little secret. Other revelations about the Coopers proved Betty wasn’t the only Cooper with issues. Her sister Polly, is a dim-witted, emotionally unstable teen mom whose baby daddy, the deceased Jason Blossom, was a blood relative. And mommy dearest, Alice Cooper, a (formerly) self-righteous, viper with an affection for pearls and matching sweater sets is a reformed Southside Serpent — the scourge of Riverdale — had a secret lovechild with FP and gave the baby up for adoption.

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Betty spent season 2 struggling to be a good girl while being pulled to embrace her dark side by the Black Hood whose reign of terror included recruiting Betty to help him purge Riverdale of sinners. With the Black Hood threatening everyone close to her, Betty was forced to play the Black Hood’s twisted game of cat and mouse.

But even after Betty and Archie believed they’d caught the Black Hood, and the residents of Riverdale went back to business as usual, things continued to unravel for the Coopers. Betty couldn’t shake those icky feelings deep inside, a part of her that liked being a bad girl, a very bad girl. The urge to understand her more unsavory urges led her to locate her long-lost brother, Charles, aka “Chic.” At last, Betty found a Cooper family sheep darker than herself (little did she know he was just a run-of-the-mill scumbag who killed her brother and stole his identity.)

Betty’s doubts about whether evil is the result of nature or nurture linger. She worries her niece and nephew may be the next generation of Cooper psychos, until Jughead reassures her the babies aren’t evil, and she’s not the bad seed. So, Betty pays one last visit to Hal to let him know that the Coopers are done with evil and darkness. Hal screams at his daughter as she walks away that she’ll never escape the family legacy.

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That Blossom blood is tainted to be sure. There’s the doe eyed Betty, the pony-tailed perky blonde who is true blue to her pals. There’s also the Betty who disposed of a dead body, handed over Chic to the Black Hood, enjoyed a brief tenure as a webcam girl (still unbeknownst to Jughead), did a seductive pole dance and who has a knack for deception and manipulation (even for a “good” cause.)

That same Betty promised the Black Hood she would hunt him down, and she made some pretty nasty threats to Chic before his disappearance. And the Betty who likes to pull out the black wig for some sexy role-playing is poised to become the Serpents HBIC, of course, she may have to fight Cheryl Blossom for that honor. Good Betty can only dig her fingernails into her palms for so long before something brings Black Betty back to the surface (like trying to prevent Archiekins from going to jail.)

Riverdale creator and showrunner, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told EW that he’d like to see Betty “a little more in control,” but also acknowledged, “That darkness in Betty will always be part of her character, and that will always exist.”

Betty may have come to terms with the family drama, but Alice, still reeling from the news that she was indirectly responsible for the death of the real Charles, now has to live in a house of horrors. Tourists obsessed with the macabre gather outside to gawk, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Black Hood’s wife and progeny. This is not a burb that forgives or forgets easily (the Riverdale riots rival the aftermath or Rodney King which is saying something in a town where people are named Weatherbee, Fangs, Midge and Moose), and Alice’s days of PTA meetings, making chocolate chip pancakes and running the local paper are behind her.

Polly is back from the ‘Farm” which is obviously some sort of cult, and she’s foaming at the mouth to introduce Alice to a “friend” who “healed her” after Jason, and when a beaten-down Alice agrees, Polly responds with a rather sinister grin. Betty’s been consumed with fear about her own questionable DNA, but the utterly clueless Polly may not be as innocent as we’ve been led to believe. The one consistency about Riverdale is that nobody is who they seem to be.

There are two other Coopers whose fates aren’t sealed: Hal and Charles. Hal’s in jail, but he will be back for season 3. Maybe the Sisters of Quiet Mercy have a wing for the criminally insane. Movies and TV have taught us that just because someone’s locked up somewhere, it doesn’t mean they can’t find a way to wreak havoc on the outside.

Chic may have confessed to accidentally killing Charles, but the imposter was under duress and would have said anything to appease Betty. Even though Charles isn’t Hal’s biological son, that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be willing to pick up where Hal left off. And speaking of Chic, his body remains MIA.

We’ve got all summer to come up with some crazy theories about what’s next for Riverdale’s answer to the Manson family, but we do know their troubles are far from over.

Next: Best and worst moments of Riverdale Season 2

Will Hal see the error of his ways or continue to torment Betty? Has Polly been brainwashed? Do you think Charles is still alive? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Riverdale Season 3  premieres this fall on The CW.