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Erinn Westbrook on Tabitha’s Trip Through ‘Riverdale’ History

[Warning: The below contains spoilers for Season 6, Episode 11 of Riverdale, “Chapter One Hundred and Six: Angels in America.” If you don’t want to be spoiled, maybe go Google “transtemporal” and come back later.]

Like Invoice & Ted with a social conscience, Riverdale revisited vital moments in Black heritage tonight, by means of the eyes of Tabitha Tate (Erinn Westbrook). As the supernatural year has unfolded, it’s been uncovered that a variety of inhabitants of the town with pep are building powers and it turns out, Tab is now a person of them. Her present: Time journey.

Brought on by an endeavor on her lifetime by a goon operating for Percival Pickens (Chris O’Shea), the potentially Evil-with-a-capital-E land developer who desires to tear down Pop’s, Tabitha located herself leaping from 1944 to 1968 to 1999. In every era, she witnesses racial injustice, detest and oppression, although getting steering from a collection of angelic advisors. Sure, it was bonkers, but it was also a beautifully handled exploration of how, even in a fictional area, hate has triggered serious tragedy.

In this article, Westbrook walks us by way of the episode’s manufacturing and its likely to open up some eyes.

Riverdale - Vanessa Morgan + Drew Ray Tanner = Erinn Westbrook + KJ Apa

Colin Bentley/The CW

Alright, so I 1st want to know: Did they teach you at Harvard to respond to lines like “Your brain will split in two and your eyes will start to bleed”?

Erinn Westbrook: [Laughs] Unfortunately not! That is this kind of a funny query. People lines, they just capture you off-guard in some cases.

Yeah, that was not what I was expecting at all. And this was just after hearing Jughead (Cole Sprouse) say “Oh, I’m an angel.” Like of system you are, Jug!

Because why wouldn’t you be, ideal? [Laughs]

The exhibit has gotten so ridiculous and it would seem like you came on just as it was embracing that.

Certainly. And I was recreation. Yeah. And I’m however game for this experience. It’s an experience for positive. And they threw me right in. Proper in! It feels like Tabitha has been below for the full time.

You have secured a person of the easiest costume situations…it’s just a Pop’s waitress uniform for so several scenes.

I know. I am likely to check with Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa [the showrunner] if I can consider a person of the waitress outfits when we wrap. I have several, due to the fact of training course, you know, you want many different outfits in circumstance anything comes about to one of them. So I am undoubtedly likely to consider one of them at the end of this journey, since it is, that is what Tabitha lives in.

Riverdale - Erinn Westbrook

The CW

Great. Now, this is a major episode, and chatting about costuming… who saved monitor of all the looks you experienced to get into for this episode?

That was hair and make-up, the assistant administrators and myself. I come to feel like it was a real collaboration mainly because there were a whole lot of moving pieces. We attempted seriously tricky to have times the place I would just be in the ’40s glance or just be in the ’60s. But you know, it didn’t generally do the job out like that so there were moments when I experienced to swap concerning, say the ’40s and the ’90s. And that essential like braiding my hair, it was a entire thing. But it was a good deal of fun and it turned out genuinely perfectly. I watched it and we did not miss a appear.

We’re gonna run this right after the episode, so I want we can chat about what individuals have just viewed. Initially of all, creating Pop’s an entry in the Inexperienced Guide (a segregation-period travel guideline that detailed firms that accepted African American customers) is such a intelligent thought since race in Riverdale is extremely almost never addressed.

Ideal, ideal. And you know, that was one of the points that I so cherished about this episode. All over the episode, we see that Tabitha is a time traveler, see her jumping by way of time, we see her battling Percival. But then we also see her and we see the story confront the very serious challenges of racism and racial stress in the course of the occasions. I was really thrilled and very pleased of the reality that we did not ignore those troubles, simply because when you have a character like Tabitha Tate, who was an African American female traveling back in time, you just can’t just disregard that all those matters have been taking place. A little something like the Environmentally friendly E-book would have existed and Pop’s would have been provided, provided its legacy. Definitely we did not have sufficient time in a just one-hour episode to do a legitimate historic deep-dive but you do listen to of the green guide, you listen to mention of sundown cities [all-white communities that either formally or informally kept out African Americans or other minorities].

And you know, we talk about Martin Luther King and we witness the instant when individuals find out he’s been assassinated. So there are times, important moments, that we hope will get started conversations or at minimum at the incredibly the very least force individuals to just consider.

It’s attention-grabbing due to the fact, when certainly, these points are in the background textbooks, they may possibly not be activities or activities some of the Riverdale viewership would be conscious of. Like sundown cities.

I consider which is this sort of a good stage, I seriously do. My hope is that they hear the phrase “sundown town” and assume, “What is that?” And you know, we all have our phones and everybody’s really connected, so I would hope that they would search it up and notice, “Wow, that was awful.” And to search at Tabitha or a character on a person of your favored reveals and see that it is some thing that she is dealing with, this situation, I assume it is impactful.

It’s very impactful because you realize it was not that long ago.

Correct. It was not. I assume that this will start some conversations, that is my hope. And and once more, I’m grateful. I think the writer of the episode, Evan Kyle, who’s an African American, and Roberto and the relaxation of the staff did a really fantastic job of such as these references and conveying the value of these moments in time.

In the middle of these incredibly authentic historical occasions, we have the fantastical…as you pointed out, Tabitha is a time traveler! When did you come across out that you had been having powers?

[Laughs] I identified that I was acquiring powers when I received the script for this episode, “Angels in America.” I pretty much found out at the instant when most people else did, at least amongst cast and crew. But that is variety of how issues work on this clearly show, you know? You discover out very last moment and you roll up your sleeves and you get enthusiastic to do it. And I was definitely thrilled…I feel Tabitha has one of the cooler gifts. I signify, who would not want to time leap? It is really convenient and you are going to see it enjoy out in fact a very little little bit all through the season.

Excellent, because I want to know if she can like, go back to Period 2 and witness anything that she wasn’t there for, you know?

That’s a great question! You would imagine that she could, she’s absolutely equipped to do that. But you will have to see. In terms of all of the items that we all have, they absolutely are gonna engage in a element. The hope is that we form of mix these items and powers to defend not only Pop’s — which is Tabitha’s most important problem — but also Riverdale, which is naturally an additional substantial precedence. And which is the thing, we’re guarding our city from this evil power and this antagonist Percival Pickens, so there’s a explanation for all of our powers.

At what position do we discover out what his endgame is? Or is that the trace at the finish of this episode? Like, does he approach on bringing the apocalypse?

In this episode, you do see Tabitha say that she saw the foreseeable future and it was apocalyptic. And so that is 1 truth. She does not know, none of them know if it is for certain, but they are gonna do all the things in their electrical power to make certain it doesn’t happen. We’re continue to filming, so guess what? I definitely don’t even know. [Laughs] I’m like, “OK, what is gonna transpire?” We all get our scripts the 7 days in advance of we film them and so anything, all the twists and turns, we’re locating out, right prior to we shoot them. We continue to have a few episodes to movie and I’m excited to see how this all performs out as effectively.

Riverdale, Sundays, 8/7c, The CW