'Riverdale' Makes A Major Change to Chuck Clayton in "Tales From the Darkside"

objected to the way Clayton was portrayed on TV, which was a huge change from the comic book [...]

chuck-clayton
(Photo: Warner Bros. TV/The CW)

Jordan Calloway returns to Riverdale in tonight's episode, "Tales From the Darkside," but there's a twist: Chuck is, or at least claims to be, a changed man -- and that has some potentially interesting story implications.

In the show's first season, Chuck showed up a few times -- and it was always bad news. After lying about how far he went with Veronica on a first date, it turned out that Chuck and other members of the Riverdale football team had been keeping "score" of their sexual conquests. This led to Chuck and a number of his teammates being thrown off the team, and embarrassed his father, the team's coach.

Fans of the character (and of Calloway, who has previously appeared on Freakish, Beyond, Unfabulous, and ER) objected to the way Clayton was portrayed on TV, which was a huge change from the comic book version of his character.

According to Archie Comics, aspiring cartoonist Charles "Chuck" Clayton is known for his terrific sketching skills. The son of Coach Clayton, Chuck is one of Riverdale High's top athletes. He plays on all of the school's sports teams. Chuck spends most of his time away from sports practicing comic book illustration. A true artist at heart, his skills have come in handy in several adventures with the Archie gang. His girlfriend Nancy is often the inspiration for his drawings – even though she believes Chuck should concentrate more on her at times. Many of their arguments stem from the inability of Chuck to step away from his art. Everyone who has seen his work realizes the legend in the making.

A complex and driven young black man with few serious character flaws, Chuck has a fan base in the comics who see him as a positive role model for children of color who might read the adventures of the Riverdale gang, and as such, his handling on Riverdale has drawn some criticism.

Along with Miss Grundy, Chuck -- a potential date rapist with violent tendencies -- is one of the only characters whose changes for TV have been almost uniformly rejected by longtime readers and even many casual fans.

There have been numerous pieces from sites like Bustle and Just Add Color that have argued there is a racial undertone to his despicable character arc that raises the frustration level -- an argument that fans on Twitter have found compelling, leading to heated conversations every time Chuck comes up in a Riverdale thread.

So when he showed up this week, asking Josie on a date, it was easy to suspect him. Along the way, though, he seemed to be true to his word: he has accepted responsibility for his reprehensible behavior and is trying to be a better person; he is going to church (as evidenced by his quick chat with Pop Tate), and he was genuinely not responsible for the invasion of Josie's space and "pseudo-stalking" seen in this week's episode.

He even talked about his artistic aspirations.

He suffered a little bit for having been the kind of person that he was, when all it took was a tiny nudge and both school and local authorities took for granted that he was guilty. With some luck, though, Chuck Clayton's road does not end here and the version of him fans see going forward will have a little more in common with his comic book counterpart.