ok I’m doing it, I’m going in:
all intense feelings about the actual bughead break up aside, Archie’s delivery deserves WAY more understanding than it’s being given here. it’s not a matter of “oh Betty asked Archie to be gentle and he can’t even get that right ahaha fuck Archie am I right?”
Betty asks for Archie’s help because she couldn’t do what needed to be done. she couldn’t put on the savagery like she did with Veronica because it’s too painful. She may have asked Archie to avoid cruelty because she hates the thought of Jug hurting, but I think they both knew what it would take.
Archie knows his friend and knows how to hurt him. You think Jug would have stayed away with a gentle break up? Come on y’all. This isn’t an issue of Archie being a bad friend or an idiot, he’s playing to Jughead’s insecurities. And it works.
if Archie hadn’t come round the trailer at the literal exact moment as the serpents, who knows how it would have gone. But them showing up when they did actually gave Archie an opportunity to play up the division between them all. Not only can he use the serpent excuse to drive a wedge between Jughead and Betty, he can use his own anger to make the moment that much more dramatic.
And not only that, what was Archie supposed to do in that instance? “Oh no, it’s okay dude, go join your gang, I’ll be here when you get back.” ???? It was a perfect moment to deliver the precise blow he and Betty thought was necessary.
Anyways. It’s not like Archie delighted in this moment. However you may feel about him, it’s a complete disservice to his character to claim that he didn’t do his absolute best with the shit storm he was handed.
I really appreciate the direction that this season is taking. There is a much bigger story to be told here, bigger than bughead (even though y’all know I love bughead and I am of course anxious for their reunion) or any other ship. Don’t take a perceived slight against your ship as a reason to write off a character. The narrative gets so much weaker that way.