Why A Polyamory Group Criticized Riverdale's Finale 4-Way Relationship
There was no other way Riverdale could’ve ended than by stirring up a bit of controversy. The teen drama’s spicy relationships have constantly been a source of contention — from the first season’s illicit student-teacher fling to those weird incest theories about Cheryl and Jason. And in its final episode, Riverdale took another big swing by revealing its four leads ended up in a quad relationship. Despite the representation, a polyamorous advocacy organization bashed how the show portrayed its four-way relationship, saying that it lacked necessary substance.
The Riverdale series finale was a trippy experience, as expected. In it, a now 86-year-old Betty traveled back in time to spend one last day reliving her senior year at Riverdale High in the 1950s. As she slowly regained her memories of her final year in high school, she gleefully recalled that she, Archie, Veronica, and Jughead had spent the entire year in a polyamorous relationship with each other. The quad relationship was a clear response to the passionate ship wars that fans had waged over the show’s seven seasons, with the primary question being which of the ever-changing couples would be “endgame.”
Betty remembered that the polyamorous relationship only lasted a year before the four lovers went their separate ways after graduation and were never all together again. The show also didn’t delve into the details of the relationship too much, which is something that frustrated the polyamory advocacy group OPEN.
Brett Chamberlin, the executive director of OPEN (Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-monogamy), told TMZ that Riverdale’s portrayal of a four-person relationship was irresponsible and uninformed.
“It's frustrating that Riverdale used its characters' non-monogamous relationship as a 'shocking twist' rather than engaging with an authentic portrayal of non-monogamy as simply being part of people's identities,” Chamberlin said. “We didn't see or hear anything about why these characters practice non-monogamy, what it means for them, the substance of their relationship agreements and communication practices, or any of the other underlying motivations and work that makes relationships of any type function.”
It just feels correct that Riverdale ended the way it began — with a ton of controversial dating discourse.