This is far from your typical high school problem, but it's what happens when you're dating the daughter of a mob boss. Even though you've probably never met a teenager in real life who was recruited by the government to find evidence in a federal investigation, this actually isn't the first time the storyline has occurred on a teen soap opera.
During the second season of Dawson's Creek in 1999 (which was also produced by Riverdale EP Greg Berlanti), Dawson Leery (James Van der Beek) decided to team up with law enforcement instead of his girlfriend Joey Potter's (Katie Holmes) family. That storyline did not end well, friends, and frankly it has us worried that Archie is heading down the same path.
Like Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), Mike Potter (Gareth Williams) also had a criminal past and entered the show late due to a prison stint. Joey's dad was in the drug game and returned to his hometown of Capeside, Mass. allegedly clean after spending a few years locked up for conspiracy to sell marijuana in excess of 1,000 pounds. He, also like Hiram, was making an effort to reconnect with his daughter when he got swept back into the criminal life that lead him to jail in the first place. Dawson witnessed Mike selling drugs and took it upon himself to make sure the man paid for his crimes, eventually pushing Joey into wearing a wire to get the testimony that would send her dad back to jail. While she went along with Dawson's plan, it was the end of their romantic relationship and a rekindling didn't take place until Season 5.
It's safe to say that Dawson and Joey did not become Capeside High's couple of the year after that catastrophe. Archie, like Dawson, is taking the self-righteous route and trying to do the "right" thing, but he, also like Dawson, is naive to think that Veronica (Camila Mendes) will only see the morality of the situation instead of being devastated to lose her father, again. If Archie is the one responsible for Hiram's return to prison, his relationship with Veronica will not survive. (Bughead fans, you know you want it to survive).
The saving grace here is that Archie seems to have a better understanding of the moral grey area than Dawson ever did. While he wants Hiram to be punished for his financial crimes, he isn't willing to see the man murdered by his mob friends. As he grows closer to Mr. Lodge, he's also developing a respect for him that is making him question whether turning Hiram in is the best course of action. (Let's face it, if the FBI has to rely on the detective skills of a 17-year old boy who wears his letterman jacket on an undercover trip to a biker bar, they are not the people you should trust to protect you, your father or your girlfriend.)
Archie's change of heart could save him from becoming hated on Dawson Leery levels, but he's playing a very dangerous game with his heart and the welfare of those he cares about the most. He needs to get out of the middle of this terrible situation if he wants his relationships to survive unscathed, but Archie may not have the savvy to extricate himself from the crosshairs. Start binge watching Dawson's Creek on Hulu, Archie. Learn from Dawson's mistakes, abort mission and save yourself.
We're rooting for you.
Riverdale continues Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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