RIVERDALE: The Cast Talks Episode 2, the Group Dynamics and Unlikely Friendships

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It’s clear that the gunshot that Archie and Miss Grundy heard in the premiere of RIVERDALE is weighing heavily on the ginger high school student as we move into the second episode. Tormented, he’ll be reaching out to BFF Betty, who isn’t that happy to talk to him after his recent rejection. When he starts insisting to Miss Grundy that they should tell the police about what they heard, she puts the kibosh on that quickly, afraid that they’ll both be punished for their illicit affair.

Meanwhile, Betty is licking her wounds after the event of the pilot — upset that Archie didn’t return her declaration of love and annoyed at Veronica for her little closet kiss with Archie. Her mother, Alice, feels vindicated because she’s convinced that she was proven right about Veronica, Cheryl (who orchestrated the closet stunt) and Archie. Both Archie and Veronica are trying to repair their relationship with Betty in episode 2, but is Betty ready to forgive and forget?

During a visit to the set of RIVERDALE in Vancouver, we spoke to the cast about the group dynamics between the kids and more of what’s to come on the show.

Archie’s Guilt. “[Archie] and Miss Grundy, obviously with the whole murder of Jason Blossom…. everyone is a suspect. That is a big storyline for me and Sarah [Habel], who’s playing Miss Grundy,” KJ Apa (Archie Andrews) said. “Archie is so torn with this guilt that he needs to tell someone about it, and at this point it’s just him and her who were there at Sweetwater River when they heard the gunshot. He just feels really isolated in that sense, and it’s just him talking to her about it, and she’s like ‘You can’t tell anyone.’ Then eventually he just can’t handle it, and he breaks down in a few episodes, like episode 3 and 4 you really see him finally….he just has enough and he just breaks down about it all. It’s a lot for him to handle.”

An Unlikely Truce…For a While. Beginning in tonight’s episode, we’re going to see Veronica (who stood up to the Queen B in the premiere) actually show some sympathy towards Cheryl as she publicly grieves her brother. Camila Mendes (Veronica Lodge) said that the two girls will come together occasionally….though usually only for a short time: “I think it’s one of those things where we will be friends sometimes, but that’s only going to be so short-lived. We’ll probably always resort back to the rivalry.”

Related: The RIVERDALE cast talks about the Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle

Integrating Herself With the Group. In addition to occasional truces with Cheryl, Veronica will be making herself at home in Riverdale, according to Mendes: “She kind of jumps in pretty quickly, in terms of making new friends, and already feeling [like she’s] a part of the gang, you know. We’re on Episode 7 now, and I already feel like she’s already immersed herself entirely in the friend group, and you know, she’s Veronica, she’s popular, it’s easy for her to make friends. Because especially, in this version of Riverdale, she has made herself very likable.” We’re also going to see an interesting friendship develop between Veronica and Kevin, according to Mendes: “I love her friendship with Kevin. I don’t know what really to say besides that it’s just a friendship that works. Their characters really understand each other, and whenever Betty’s too busy dealing with all of her family drama, me and Kevin come together, and we kind of have our own little stuff.”

Lonely Cheryl. Cheryl may rule Riverdale High with an iron fist, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t lonely. Losing her twin brother allows viewers to see a vulnerability in Cheryl and other than her interaction with Veronica and Betty, we’re going to see that Cheryl doesn’t have a lot of genuine friends according to Madeline Petsch (Cheryl Blossom): “She’s kind of a standalone character, and she kind of pops in and out as she pleases and just causes trouble wherever she can. But you do get to see a really beautiful opening of her parents’ relationship with her, and it is very eye-opening to why she is who she is and why she hates half of her life.”

Pop’s as HQ. Cole Sprouse (Jughead Jones) said that we’re going to see Jughead writing at Pop’s in a lot of the establishing shots for each episode, but he’s not the only person who will use the diner as an HQ. “Pop’s is not just Jughead’s haunt. Pop’s has really become the main set in terms of….it’s a comfortable place and it’s well lit and in contrast to some of the darker tones and the darker sets that we have on this [show], to have this well-lit familiar diner location is a nice way to bring the audience back to a more comfortable palette cleanser of the tone. And I think that’s what we’re using Pop’s as.”

Reggie Mantle, High School Jock. We met Reggie briefly in the RIVERDALE pilot and while Moose will be more prominently featured in episode 2 as a result of his tryst with Kevin Keller and their discovery of Jason’s body, we will see Reggie again as well and he has a strong opinion about who may have killed Jason. Sprouse explained that “Reggie Mantle right now has been a kind of complicated character to pursue in my opinion. He is played by basically our favorite guy, Ross Butler, but Ross is a talented working actor on another show, so we don’t want to sacrifice him playing that character and it’s kind of been a juggle between when he’s available to come on to the set to play Reggie and when he’s not. He’s still very much an antagonizing character. He’s wealthy and large and imposing and he certainly doesn’t like Jughead because Jughead is quick-witted, and that has never really been Reggie’s strong suit. So, we play that a little bit. As of now, he’s not really been a primary antagonist — because Reggie, from what I’ve read of the digests and of the comics, Reggie’s not a hated character. I know that Ross is going to eventually going to wrap the season of the other project that he’s working on and that’s going to free him up for some more time on this show, which I think is going to be nice.”

Related: The cast of RIVERDALE teases the murder mystery, the Blossom-Cooper feud & parental secrets

The Musician and the Rich Girl. Josie and Veronica didn’t interact in the pilot, but their budding friendship will get some attention as the show goes on. “I think it comes down to the fact that both have daddy issues, and they bond over that. It’s actually one of my favorite scenes in the show — the scene with me and Josie at Pops, and it’s a really sweet girl talk. It’s really nice,” Mendes said. Ashleigh Murray (Josie) went on to explain that “It starts to develop a little later on and it’s interesting how they kind of come to be. As Veronica was kind of an elite back in New York and came to this small town, those type of people kind of gravitate to each other. It’s fun to see how it develops. I don’t want to give anything away because it’s actually very sweet and interesting. It’s like if Barbie was in a town with Kate Beckinsale and they’re both super different and super spectacular and everyone else around them is incredibly plain. They just kind of fall into each other and wouldn’t normally under other circumstances be friends. But they find out they’ve got a lot in common.”

Jason’s Killer. Alice Cooper’s position as the editor of the local paper comes up in this episode as she tries to get to the bottom of Jason’s death by bribing city officials to get information before it’s released to the public. And, as Jughead teased at the end of the pilot, someone will be arrested for Jason’s murder in episode 2. Of course, given that we’re so early on in the series it’s unlikely that the crime has been solved so easily, but what we learn does change our perspective on how Jason actually died.

Don’t miss an all new episode of RIVERDALE airing on February 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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