Warning! The following contains spoilers for the midseason premiere of Riverdale! Read at your own risk.
Last night's midseason premiere of Riverdale showed many crazy things, but the headline many should talk about today is the menace that is Archie Andrews. Last night Archie paid a visit to Nick St. Clair, and despite Nick already getting his just desserts for his sexual misconduct towards Cheryl and Veronica in the form of two broken legs, Archie decided it wasn't enough. As I watched Archie beat a vile, but helpless, kid senseless, one point became clear. Archie Andrews is out of control and needs to be stopped if Riverdale ever hopes to get better.
That's meant both within the context of the fictional town as well as the show's literal quality as Season 2 has gone off the rails with Archie's actions. This season alone has seen Riverdale's main man start a gang, engage in street fights, buy a gun, bring that gun to school, threaten Serpents with that gun, and use illegal drugs. Even in the context of this show where teens get away with things a real-life teen would never walk away from without consequences, it's a lot. And still, in spite of all these things, Riverdale characters continue to praise and forgive Archie as though he's the infallible moral compass in a town gone wrong.
Archie Andrews shouldn't be the moral compass. In fact, Archie is the perfect example of why things are so messed up in Riverdale. If Archie is the baseline for the average teen living in this town, is it really that surprising someone like the Black Hood would be attracted to it? If the kid in this town that most characters view as a "good guy," is doing these types of things no matter his justification for doing so, it's a problem.
If Archie's behavior continues, it wouldn't be surprising if his actions became a problem for the Riverdale audience as well. How can an audience realistically view a gang like the Serpents misguided when the whole town seems to be no better? Admittedly, that might be the theme Riverdale is fleshing out while the Southside High kids integrate with Riverdale High, but with the series' main characters constantly doing questionable stuff every episode, it's going to be hard for this series, going forward, to establish real villains without literally making them mass murderers like the Black Hood.
If Archie Andrews is the hero of Riverdale, he should be a bit better than everyone else. That doesn't mean he has to be a saint, of course, but maybe at least let Archie show a bit of restraint in the illegal things he does, if only for the sake of making sure we know he's supposed to be a good kid. Creating an Archie that's just a little bit less Riverdale and a little bit more like the character of the comics would go a long way in improving his character, and make the situations he's caught in more interesting if he couldn't just do whatever he wanted without fear of repercussion.