There's a new Cooper in town on Riverdale and he's a dark one.
Betty's (Lili Reinhart) long lost brother Charles, aka Chic (Hart Denton), was living only two towns away. After a little pushing, Betty was able to convince her mother Alice (Madchen Amick) that they needed to reach out to the son Alice gave up 20 years ago. It wasn't a smooth introduction, but Chic ended up sleeping under the Cooper roof after Betty saved him from a violent encounter with a brawny stranger.
However, Chic is not what he seems. To be honest, not much has been revealed about the lost Cooper sibling, so TV Guide talked to Denton about what Chic's real motives are and why we should trust him after he creeped over a sleeping Betty for no known reason.
The last scene makes you seem like a serial killer. Why should I not be afraid of you?
Hart Denton: This is the thing with Chic: It's a character that's coming to Riverdale that's got a lot of layers. It's not black or white. It's not good or bad. It's somebody that has had such a difficult upbringing who has had to learn how to make his way in the world on his own. It's not normal, per se. His actions don't come from a place of understanding from anyone else on the show. You wouldn't say Archie or Betty or Veronica or Reggie -- you wouldn't see them do this type of thing. That's apples and oranges. These people grew up in such a different way than Chic did. You can't pin him as a good or bad guy just yet. You kind of have to wait and see because he's definitely not boring.
We got a brief preview of how rough things have been for him, but what can you tell us about his upbringing and what he means by his job is "fantasy fulfillment"?
Denton: I think with Chic having to make his own way in the world he has had to learn to do whatever it takes to survive. He didn't have anyone helping him or giving him money or showing him the way. He kind of had to learn to scrap a bit and that leads to him diving into this world of "fantasy fulfillment." You have someone who has a wonderful heart and is a charismatic, sweet person, but then you apply the rough upbringing and that makes for sort of a beautiful disaster. You've got somebody who at their core might not be who they are now. If you saw the way he was brought up, I think you'd see a totally different Chic. I think it's that way with anyone in the world, if you take that same person and put them in a different environment of raising them then you get someone totally opposite. He's willing to do whatever it takes...No one has ever been there for Chic except for Chic and that's the most important thing about who he is.
He just got scooped up by the Coopers. Does he feel like, "Oh, finally my dreams are coming true," or does he have ulterior motives because they abandoned him?
Denton: Chic is very smart. He plays around with people in the sense of not revealing too much of himself. That's out of fear for how he was raised, but I think Chic knows every move he makes. Everything is calculated, at least that's what I've seen so far. Every single thing is calculated. He's very intelligent but he has a way of delivering certain actions that are going to leave it up to the viewer to question, "Do I like this guy or not?" There's a lot of mystery towards who he is, what he does and what he gets involved with. It's going to be interesting to see how people judge him.
He's kind of looking at Betty like she's a chicken dinner at the end of this episode. What is his relationship with her going to look like as they get to know each other?
Denton: I think this is just the strangest thing for him to be involved in. It's just so foreign to how he grew up. Being detached from most human connection and then being plunged into this sort of doll house -- this fairy tale, perfect place. He's very out of his element. When you're out of your element, a lot of defensiveness or fear or confusion can erupt. That's where he's at right now just trying to figure out, "What on Earth? Where am I? What is going on and how should I feel about these people?" As much as they don't know who Chic is, Chic doesn't know who these people are. He knows about them from afar but not in a sense of really knowing who they are.
Betty struggles with her light and dark side. Is Chic going to bring her dark side out?
Denton: They embark on an amazing relationship. It's got a lot of different elements to it. Chic has a crazy upbringing and Betty has her battles that she fights with herself. I think she's really going to enjoy seeing that relationship unfold a bit. They both need each other in a very different way. It's very interesting to see how one helps the other.
We know that Betty and Alice really wanted to reach out to Chic and have him be part of the family. Hal was not as excited about it. What can we expect from Hal now that Chic is living in the house?
Denton: Hal has been man of the house for a very long time. You start to see him losing his tight grip on the family in Season 1 and into Season 2. Hal is definitely timid. He doesn't know who I am. Hal is happy with the life that he has had with the Coopers. It's had its ups and downs, but he's happy with how things are. Alice's guilt over the situation really comes to the surface and Hal wants to suppress that. That's where you see this push and pull of him not necessarily wanting them to do this but Alice saying, "I don't care. I need to see my son." You see that motherly instinct finally kick in where guilt just floods her heart...It's beautiful. I think that's a very human element, a mother and her children. It's a bond that is intense.
Why shouldn't Chic be No. 1 on my Black Hood suspect list?
Denton: You have to give Chic some time. Watch and see how he is in different situations. It will be pretty easy to see whether he should be or not.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies)