Erinn Westbrook portrays Tabitha Tate on The CW’s Riverdale, which is based on characters from the Archie Comics. The show is currently on its sixth season and has already been renewed for a seventh. This interview will include spoilers for episode 6×11, “Chapter One Hundred and Six: Angels in America.”
RIVERDALE THROUGH THE YEARS — After learning that Percival’s (guest star Chris O’Shea) plan to reinvigorate Riverdale would lead to the demise of Pop’s, Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) searches for a way to fight back. But when she is targeted by one of Percival’s accomplices, the incident sends her back in time and searching for answers.
In honor of tonight’s incredible episode, I spoke with the actress about what Tabitha’s centric storyline meant to her, how the elements of Rivervale will continue to pop up in Riverdale, and all of the episode’s different looks. For more of our discussion, check out the first part of my interview here.
There was pure excitement from every single Riverdale viewer, myself included, when it was revealed that Tabitha would be getting her own episode. “Chapter One Hundred and Six: Angels in America” allowed the character to discover some of her family as well as Pop’s history, while also focusing on how everything continues to affect the present and future. “I will say this episode meant a lot for me. It was beautifully written by Evan Martin, an African American writer, and directed by a strong female, Claudia Yarmy. So I felt like it was a true collaboration from all involved, and leading an episode like this, it was important to feel seen and I feel like I really was,” Westbrook shared with me.
While the episode was special in so many ways, one of the highlights for me was all of the important and real issues it tackled. The actress spoke on that as well, telling me, “In terms of what I loved about the episode, obviously, like you said, we do deal with a lot of very real issues. Aside from Tabitha learning that she’s a time traveler, her figuring out that new skill and jumping through time, and of course, helping people along the way, fighting Percival Pickens, we do really confront some very important and very real issues, including racism and racial tension throughout the times.”
She continued to say, ”I do think that it’s easy in a world that’s make-believe or especially a world that is dealing with a lot of supernatural elements to just gloss over certain things or pretend like they don’t exist. But I was really happy that we didn’t ignore those issues, especially, given the fact that we do have Tabitha Tate, who is an African American character, traveling back in time. I was so happy that Evan, Roberto, and the rest of the team chose to confront those realities through Tabitha and her journey. So that to me was really powerful.”
Since we returned to Riverdale, fans have noticed certain parallels and nods to the show’s five-episode event, Rivervale. This episode included one for Tabitha and, of course, I had to ask Westbrook about it. So is Tabitha the only one who can see angels? “Tabitha is the only one at this point who can see the angels,” she confirms. In terms of more crossovers from Rivervale, the actress answered, “I know Roberto mentioned that we’ll continue to sort of get ripples reverberating throughout Riverdale that have come from Rivervale. So I guess it’s all beautifully intertwined in some way, shape, or form, but we’re still actively filming so I’ll keep my eyes peeled. It does seem like there will be some elements of Rivervale that pop up from time to time, but we’ll just have to wait to see what those are.”
In the storyline, Tabitha jumps through time to December 24, 1944, April 3, 1968, and November 1999. Westbrook perfectly transforms into all of the different time periods, so we also took the time to discuss the amazing costumes. “I love all of the looks, but I loved the hair in the ‘40s and I also loved the lip of the ‘60s. So there are a couple of different things that I take from each one, but I would say hair of the ‘40s, the lip of the ‘60s, and maybe the hoops of the ‘90s cause I still wear hoops. I feel like they’re timeless,” she expressed.
“It was fun to play dress up. I really had a great time dressing up in all of the different looks from all the different time periods. So I hope viewers enjoy witnessing the transformations as much as I enjoyed going through them,” Westbrook also added.
New episodes of Riverdale air on Sundays at 8 PM ET.