What Is Chic's Endgame on 'Riverdale?'
What Is Chic's Endgame on 'Riverdale?'
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
When Alice revealed to Betty there was a lost Cooper out in the world, Riverdale fans knew it was only a matter of time before he resurfaced. But if they were expecting a well-adjusted, all-American hottie, they were surely disappointed. Betty and Alice tracked down Chic Cooper only to find him living in a scuzzy hostel and in no mood for a heartfelt reunion with his mother. Betty, determined to use Chic to replace Polly, refused to give up on a happy ending. After rescuing Chic from his pimp, Marcel, she brought an injured Chic home, and it doesn't look like he's going anywhere soon. Riverdale is doing a good job in keeping us wondering who Chic is at his core -- good, bad or misunderstood -- and where he fits into the Cooper family, or what his plans are moving forward.

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The Rocky Return of the Mystery Cooper

Chic had a less than fairytale childhood, bounced from foster home to foster home, until making his way as a sex worker. Alice, racked with guilt over giving Chic up in the first place, is so desperate to bond with her estranged son, the usually highly-critical and judgmental mom continues to adopt a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy about the specifics of Chic's past and present. From the jump, Hal had zero interest in welcoming his long-lost child into the family fold, and after learning about Chic's chosen profession, Hal has been openly hostile and combative, determined to vanquish Chic from the Cooper home.

Hal's and Alice's personal dynamics with Chic have been firmly established: Alice is offering unconditional love, and Hal sees Chic as a threat (does Hal have deeper reasons to distrust Chic that have yet to be revealed?) Betty and Chic's relationship is murkier. She did see him as a fill-in for Polly, but she was -- and possibly still is -- drawn to Chic's dark side. Here's someone with shared DNA who might help her figure out why she felt compelled to don a dark wig and torture a football player, and was so at home on a stripper pole. 

The Black Hood Conspiracy

Chic's first night in the Cooper home included a creepy moment where he snuck into his younger sister's room and loomed over her while she was sleeping. At the same time in the house next door, Archie told a fake FBI agent that he thought the Black Hood might still be at large. This was obviously meant to introduce the possibility that Chic isn't just a troubled young man but a serial killer as well.

The Black Hood plot has been abandoned for now, and Chic even confessed to Betty that his curiosity about her led him to that weird peeping-Tom moment. He revealed that his desire to become someone else is what attracts him to being a webcam boy. Chic's life choices may be unsavory, but his conversation with Betty made his motives more understandable, adding a new layer of depth to Chic.

Sibling Revelry

Betty accepted her brother's lifestyle, which is odd since she took the moral high ground when she learned Kevin was trolling for sex in the woods. Instead of trying to convince Chic to consider career alternatives, she asked him to show her the ropes. They forged an odd camaraderie, with Betty unleashing her inner seductress online as she overlooked Chic's midday sex romp with the local movie theater manager in exchange for a job. In return, Chic supported Betty's new hobby (she needs something to do now that she's not running the Blue and Gold), even giving her helpful hints. Betty's familial connection with Chic could be summed up with "If you can't beat them, join them."

But after Betty discovered Alice leaning over the body of a man known only as the "Shady Guy," Betty's starting to rethink what she may have unleashed on her family. Viewers learned that the dead man was a drug dealer, and he had some sort of relationship with Chic. Betty assumed Chic was a customer, but that hasn't been confirmed. It's also unclear why the guy showed up at the Cooper home, what events led to his demise, and, most importantly, who killed him?

What's Looming Under the Surface?

Chic looked traumatized as Alice hurried to clean up the mess, but was he freaked about because he committed the murder or because he witnessed his mother do it? Or was Chic really upset at all? One evident thing about Chic is that he can act. He faked some tears when confronted by Betty about being a drug user, but those tears were replaced by a wicked grin when he overheard his mother come to his defense while she chastised Betty for going off the rails..

It would be easy to assume Chic is a straight-up villain, particularly after he cut Hal out of a family photo, but Chic didn't directly have anything to do with Hal leaving. Alice and Hal's marriage has been shaky for some time, and Alice has always made it clear that she'll choose her children over her husband. Ultimately, it was Betty who cast her father out after she walked in and witnessed Hal terrorizing a cowering Chic about a missing watch and demanding to know what's been going on during his absence. Betty, determined to protect Alice, threatened to tell her mother about Hal's affair with Penelope Blossom if he didn't hit the bricks.

It's reasonable that Chic would be relieved Hal's out of the picture for no other reason than Hal treated Chic horribly. It would also make sense that Chic is glad the only person who posed an immediate threat to whatever he's got planned for the rest of his family has been exiled.

If Chic murdered the drug dealer, he can still take Alice and Betty down with him since they helped cover his tracks, and if Alice did the deed, he can testify against is mother and send her to prison. Chic could also easily blow up Betty's world since he's the only one who knows about her secret life. One looming question is whether or not Polly will return and be dragged into all this intrigue or remain happily brainwashed at the Farm.

What is Chic's endgame? Right now, it looks like revenge. He's a hustler, and anyone with a double-digit IQ can tell the Cooper family is hanging on by a very thin thread, and it wouldn't take much to obliterate them. Maybe he really does want love and acceptance but doesn't know how to get it without duplicity and dysfunction. There are bound to be more revelations about Chic and lots of twists and turns before fans get a clearer understanding of what Chic's return means for the Coopers and the town of Riverdale, but, so far, it doesn't look good.

Do you think Chic is strictly bad news or simply misunderstood? Will Betty try to uncover whatever else her brother is hiding? What do you think Chic has planned for the Coopers? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

A new episode of Riverdale airs Wednesday, March 7 at 8/7 on The CW. Want more news? Visit our Riverdale page on Facebook.

(Image courtesy of The CW)