So as my friend was watching tonight’s episode (wide eyed and sending me through snap her entire horrified reaction from beginning to end) she paused and told me. “How convenient it is for Betty to have used the same words “Riverdale must do better. We must do better” at her Jubilee speech that Hal’s mother chanted at him when he was a boy, that triggered Hal into his homicidal twisted crusade.
No it’s not. It’s not convenient. It’s tragic.
Because that phrase “We must do better” so easily slipped out of Betty’s mouth.
She probably used those exact words, because she’s heard them a million times before.
“You must do better.” “We must do better.” Are probably the disciplinary phrases Hal has used on his daughters since their childhood.
Imagine a nine year old Betty Cooper bringing home a grade 3 test with a 75% grade. She comes home and Hal looks it over, unimpressed and says “That’s not good enough Betty. We have to do better than a 75%. Do you understand? We must do better.”
Imagine her at 11, trying to clean her room as spotlessy as possible and her father walks in halfway through the work telling her lightly, “I still see dust on your bookshelf, Betty. You must do better than this if you want to have that birthday party tomorrow.”
Imagine Hal working on their family car with Betty and Polly, looking at their day’s worth of work on the engine only to shake his head and tell his girls “There’s still a lot left to do before this car will be up and running. I know you’ve been trying your best to help, but we must do better if we want this car done by tomorrow’s trip to Greendale.”
Imagine Alice, being so used to hearing this from her husband, adopting the phrase herself to be directed at Polly and Betty with their appearances, reputation, their morality and performance in every aspect of life. Alice probably even whispered to herself after years of Hal saying this to her masked as “encouragement” when they worked at the Register together.
We all know Betty has anxiety. She hates the word “Perfect”, her mother from the very beginning of season 1 would micromanage her life to the point Betty felt like she could barely breathe.
Because she’s been told her whole life she wasn’t good enough. That she must do better. Not that she can, or she should. She must. No exception. No forgiveness.
Polly hiding her pregnancy and plans to elope from her father make more sense now. It makes even more sense why she ran away and determinately refused to raise her children in the toxic Cooper household. Not necessarily because she knew her father was psycho. (I’m sure she would’ve warned Betty and her mother if she had—But something has felt off about her family life for a LONG time, and she knew she didn’t want to be a part of it.)
—> Also remember Polly was convinced she would be a target. Imagine how terrifying it would be if Hal agreed and followed through on attempting to murder his daughter and grandchildren. As a note, he never had shown any interest at all in Polly or her babies after their birth. Sure, we know he’s disgusted by their lineage, but wouldn’t you think any first time grandfather would at least want to see his grandchildren? Not if he’s planning on killing them. I mean, he was planning on killing both Alice and Betty in a double homicide-suicide attempt.
The name of this episode was called “Judgement Night,” however it seems like Betty (and Polly) have been subjected to the judgement of their parents for their entire lives.
Alice is going to regret this forever.
Betty is going to remember this forever.
Anyways so that was my ted talk. If you excuse me I’m gonna cry now in my lil corner.
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Posted on by Incorrect Riverdale Quotes Posted in Alice Cooper, betty cooper, hal cooper, not an incorrect quote, polly cooper, riverdale, riverdale meta, riverdale season 2, The Black Hood, The Coopers