Chapter Forty-Four: No Exit
Credit: Shane Harvey/The CW
Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter

Warning: This story contains plot details from Wednesday’s episode of Riverdale, “Chapter Forty-Four: No Exit.”

Isn’t it romantic?

On Wednesday night’s midseason premiere of Riverdale, a new relationship bloomed in the final moments of the episode. After singing the Kander and Ebb classic “Maybe This Time” to the crowd at La Bonne Nuit in what was apparently a bit of foreshadowing (“Maybe this time he’ll stay”), Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Reggie (Charles Melton) shared a steamy first kiss in the deserted club after hours.

Veronica and Archie (KJ Apa) are technically broken up, and Reggie has been her right-hand man at La Bonne Nuit, helping her with everything from breaking Archie out of prison to making secret beer runs through the woods to fill the club’s stores (the legal drinking age in Riverdale remains a mystery to us all). So, it’s fair to say that much of season 3 has been building to this moment by playing up Veronica and Reggie’s palpable chemistry (aided no doubt by Mendes and Melton’s Instagram-official offscreen relationship).

Melton, who has played Riverdale’s resident jock since season 2, tells EW he thinks this moment was something Reggie has wanted for awhile. “I think Reggie secretly has a thing for every girl on the show,” the actor jokes. “But I think this has been something that’s been a long time coming.

“It was something [I] anticipated through doing my research and reading the comics, and seeing there was a lot of back-and-forth and a lot of different relationships between the core four and Reggie,” Melton adds. “I kind of anticipated it, even in season 2. I found out before we started filming season 3 that there was going to be some sort of relationship between Reggie and Veronica.”

For those wondering if that kiss was just a heat-of-the-moment thing after they successfully turned the tables on Veronica’s father, Melton says it’s not — and that there’s still more to come. “You’ll definitely see this relationship grow,” he teases. “Not only will you see this relationship grow, but you’ll see their working relationship and how that all ties into everything.… I think fans are going to be excited to see the evolution of this new relationship.”

Riverdale fans can be quite vocal about their shipping, sometimes taking things to the extreme. But Melton says he’s not too worried about the wrath of Varchie lovers. For one, he largely stays off social media, and for another, he hopes the storyline will convince some to come around. “Hopefully we can turn some Varchie fans into Veggie fans after they see the kiss and really see how much Reggie cares about Veronica,” he says. Yes, this ship name is really Veggie. Just accept it now.

That said, Melton does hint that Archie might not be happy if he survives to learn about this new development. “When you’re in a relationship and it’s endgame, and then something happens, I wouldn’t suspect anybody would be happy about that,” he says.

Mostly, Melton is excited for fans to get to see a softer, gentler Reggie they haven’t fully encountered yet. “I knew [the storyline] was going to allow me to show a different layer of Reggie, a different side of Reggie that people hadn’t seen,” he says. “This sensitivity, this vulnerability that we have yet to see.”

For those who question Reggie’s motives — he did, after all, once sell Jingle Jangle and help Archie start a gang war with the Serpents — Melton says that’s all in the past. “Reggie’s support for Veronica will not waver. Reggie is very honest, and maybe he might be a little bit more reactionary than most,” he says. “But, yes, we can definitely trust Reggie.”

That’s good because things are about to get even more intense in Riverdale. While this week found Reggie sporting a black eye and bruises at the hands of the Gargoyle gang and later helping the Serpents rough up some Gargoyles, Melton says there’s plenty more action in store. “With the crime rate rising in Riverdale and all these moving pieces that are happening, I think we can definitely expect more of that,” he hints.

The Serpents are now in Veronica’s, and by extension Reggie’s, employ as protection at her nightclub. At this point, there are only a few members of the original Riverdale crew who haven’t been officially inducted as Serpents, and Reggie has already been in on one of their jobs, so can a Serpent tattoo be far away? “Oh my gosh, wouldn’t that be a dream?!” Melton muses. “You’re just going to have wait and see.”

One thing he can guarantee: Fans will have the chance to connect with Reggie in new ways in upcoming episodes. “You’re going to really see a vulnerable side of Reggie,” Melton concludes. “I think people are really going to empathize with what he’s going through.”

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.

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Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
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