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Riverdale: Veronica’s Marriage Is Just as Toxic as Her Parents’

Veronica’s marriage on Riverdale is not only toxic, it’s tragically reminiscent of the relationship between her parents when she was growing up.

As teenagers growing up in the not-so-friendly small town of Riverdale, Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead struggled to embody the better aspects of their parents without repeating their mistakes or falling into the same harmful cycles of behavior. That continues to be the case following the seven-year time jump in Season 5, with all four characters reuniting in an effort to save their home from being destroyed by Veronica’s father Hiram Lodge. At the same time, however, Veronica is waging a far more personal battle against her toxic marriage to Chadwick “Chad” Gekko.

It was clear from the beginning Veronica’s marriage to Chad was an unhealthy one. In the first episode after Riverdale’s time jump, “Purgatorio,” Chad maintained the pretense of being a supportive husband while not so subtly trying to control Veronica’s career ambitions, which led her to lie to him about where she works. If that wasn’t enough, Chad also put pressure on Veronica to have a child and used an incident where the pair were nearly killed as a means to guilt her into starting a family. And if that sounds familiar, it’s probably because Hiram used similar techniques to try to emotionally manipulate Veronica into doing what he wanted when she was growing up.

Veronica and Chad’s marriage sadly echoes that of Hiram’s to Veronica’s mother Hermione, which was more of a battle than a romance. Hiram was always using his power to pressure Hermione into serving his purposes; even when Hiram was locked away in Yonkers Penitentiary in Riverdale Season 1, he kept a close eye on his wife and soon uncovered her affair with Archie’s dad Fred. Hermione regained the upper hand by arranging a business deal between Fred and Hiram upon the latter’s release from prison, allowing Hiram to use Fred as a way to bring legitimacy to Lodge Industries. The peace didn’t last, though, and it quickly became apparent all Hiram really wanted was for Hermione to be his faithful servant, not his equal. Things only got worse from there, to the point where Hermione conspired to kill Hiram more than once before the pair finally split up for good.

Veronica and Chad might not be actively trying to murder one another, but their relationship has already gone from bad to worse. In the latest episode of Riverdale, “The Homecoming,” Veronica discovered Chad had frozen her credit cards and hired someone to follow her during her reunion with her high school friends. After pawning some jewelry for cash and a gun, Veronica responded by confronting Chad about his actions and accepting a job to temporarily teach at Riverdale High, despite Chad’s protests. With Veronica working closely alongside her old boyfriend Archie and Chad on his way to Riverdale, it seems their marriage won’t last long.

The question of how someone as independent as Veronica could end up with an abusive romantic partner — one, ironically, it turns out Hiram actually warned her against — has a tragically simple answer. Veronica no doubt saw Chad as a kindred spirit whose ambitions matched her own, which is why they got married in the first place. This probably made it easier for her to normalize the toxic side of his behavior before it began to manifest itself in their relationship, much like Hermione did when she got together with Hiram so many years ago. It just goes to show: the teens of Riverdale might be grown-up now, but that doesn’t make it any easier for them to avoid committing the same missteps as their parents.

Riverdale stars K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, Casey Cott as Kevin Keller, Mark Consuelos as Hiram Lodge, Charles Melton as Reggie Mantle, Vanessa Morgan as Toni Topaz, Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper and Erinn Westbrook as Tabitha Tate.

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