Nothing is as it seems in the town of Riverdale... and that includes a simple board game. In the most recent episode of Riverdale, Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead spend a weekend away in the Lodge family's cabin in the woods, where hook-ups abound and surprising revelations shake the group. Amidst all the drama, the foursome play a game of Monopoly. It looks like just a normal game, but upon closer inspection, the Monopoly game on Riverdale has a hidden meaning that reveals the truth about the relationships between the core four.
There are actually a couple layers to this symbolic game of Monopoly, so let's start with the first one. Midway through the game, Betty gets the news that Hiram Lodge has bought out the town's local paper, The Riverdale Register. Jughead also learns that Hiram has bought out the Southside trailer park. These are just the latest in Hiram's shady moves to acquire land in Riverdale, following his purchases of the drive-in theater, Southside High, and Pop's Diner earlier this season. While we are still unclear on Hiram's end-game, it is obvious why Monopoly is such an apt game to be on the screen when the news about Hiram's latest acquisition reaches the group. Hiram is playing a real-life game of Monopoly with the town of Riverdale right now... and he seems to be winning.
But actually, the symbolism of the Monopoly game goes much deeper than just alerting us to Hiram Lodge's parasitic hold on the town. If you look closely at how the game is actually unfolding, it gives fans some very illuminating insight on what is actually occurring in the relationships between Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead under the surface. Take a look at the game board:
Notice anything? Well, if you are familiar with Monopoly, then what probably jumps out at you right away is that Veronica is clearly ahead. Veronica owns the most properties and has fully developed nearly all of them, and her properties are the ones considered most valuable to many fans of the game.
The game also really illustrates how well the two couples work together. Jughead has the least properties in the game, but the few that he does have really only serve to block Betty from fully developing her monopolies. On the other hand, Archie is just focusing on his own game and steering clear of Veronica's path to solo victory. These strategies would seem to suggest that Jughead may be hindering Betty in some way in real life, and they could also underline the suspicion that Veronica is stringing Archie along on her family's quest to take over Riverdale.
However, these analyses change if they are playing as teams — Varchie vs. Bughead. Working together, Betty and Jughead actually have the upper hand, with Jughead complementing Betty's properties rather than blocking them. This could mean that as long as Betty and Jughead stay together, they can take down anyone who opposes them, but if they stop working together, they will only wind up ruining one another.
In an episode that was so focused on the ever-changing relationships between the core four characters, it is hard to imagine that this Monopoly game wouldn't also be playing into the group's romantic dynamics as well. Although Betty and Jughead were on the rocks after finding out about Betty and Archie's kiss, they tenuously made up... but not before Veronica insisted that she and Jughead make out in order to even the scales. Yeah... this groups is getting super incestuous super quickly. And on the Varchie side of things, although that couple seems secure after the Barchie kiss, Archie's increasing involvement in the Lodge family's mafia activities definitely seems to be putting a strain on things. We'll have to see how things shuffle around romantically over the next few episodes.