I will continue my ran about this show by focusing on Veronica Lodge. While her character isn’t incredibly unique, I believe she experiences the most growth in the first season. Of course, this is quickly thrown out the window once Archie’s dad gets shot. Her story is one of redemption. She is this forlorn woman who needs to clean her clean up a reputation that was sullied by her father. It is clear from the beginning that her name and status is incredibly important to Veronica.
When she moves to Riverdale, she has none of the status or social standing that she inherited in New York. She easily sticks out against the sleepy Riverdale backdrop. She is not tied down by the norms set by the town and disrupts the long-established order of the town. Despite the small towns obvious disdain towards her and her family, she is determined to make a name for herself. Most of her motivations are tied to her image. She wants to be seen apart from the sins of her father and a lot of what she does will be to achieve this goal. But, there is a small part of genuine kindness that seeps through in the first season that is lost in later seasons. In the first season, she helps others for the sake of helping.
The clearest example of this is when she helps Cheryl grow as a character. Cheryl is Veronica’s foil and when Veronica gets to Riverdale, Cheryl and Veronica will constantly butt heads because they are essentially the same character. The only difference is, according to the show, Veronica is a more sympathetic character. I will talk about Cheryl in a later post because her transformation is a lot more interesting until the show ruins it.
In a conversation Veronica has with Betty, Veronica admits how she used to be the same shallow mean girl that Cheryl is in the first season. Because she feels this empathy towards Cheryl, Veronica will work tirelessly to save Cheryl from herself. It works for the most part but the important detail to remember is that Veronica wasn’t able to learn this empathy until she lost everything. In this way, it can be said that her motivations seem to be fueled by a self-inflicted sentence of penance. But this only lasts one season unfortunately and her motivations later are motivated by this odd obsession she has with her father. I will talk about that in a later post as well.
The most important aspect of Veronica’s character to consider from season one is that this is the first time in her life where she has to work to achieve anything. Throughout the series, the audience will constantly be reminded through exposition that she has always been given everything she wanted. Her status and lifestyle are all possible because of her father’s shady actions. She never questions it until her friends start to and even then she accepts the benefits that her father readily hands out to her. A lot of her motivation is fueled by her father.
But in the first season, you don’t really get the weird obsession and it works. She gets to town and fixes whatever she can in order to salvage her shattered reputation. More importantly however, she is able to make meaningful relationships in Riverdale that she couldn’t make in New York. In the same conversation mentioned previously she mentions how her father’s scandal affected her life. She talks about how when the scandal hit, all the people she thought were her friend abandon her. Everything she has is taken away from her and she realizes how dependent she is to her father. This will later turn into a weird obsession, but in the first season it is cathartic. It is the reason why she is so motivated, so she can’t be dragged down by someone else’s mistakes.
I think in the first season, Veronica has the biggest change in character because of how much she learned from the adverse situations that she is put in. As generic and overdone as this plot is, it is the most compelling in the context of this show. But all good things don’t last in Riverdale. They ruin Veronica’s character when they bring her father back and her narrative becomes this weird dance fueled by this almost incestuous obsession they have with one another. It is uncomfortable at points and all of the character development that the first season creates is slowly destroyed by this weak mobster plot they will shove down the viewers throats until we are all sick of the roaring 20’s.
Until next time!