Riverdale delivered its creepiest hour yet with a special trip inside the Blossom mansion.
The richest family in town buried their eldest son in Thursday night's episode as the audience got a bird's eye view into Cheryl's (Madelaine Petsch) home life. It turns out the queen bee of Riverdale High is the low on the totem pole in her own home. The icy relationship between Cheryl and her parents has gone sub-arctic in the days since Jason's death as it's obvious that the Blossoms blame their daughter for the death of their son.
Jason's memorial didn't help to smooth things over as Cheryl disobeyed her mom's direct order and delivered the eulogy for her twin wearing the same white dress she was wearing on the Fourth of July morning when Jason disappeared. We can definitely see where Cheryl gets her mean streak from, but it's obvious that the Blossom family is full of secrets that even Cheryl is just discovering.
TVGuide.com talked to Petsch about what seeing Cheryl's home life means for her character and what's next for her as the Blossom secrets begin to come to light.
We finally got a look at Cheryl's home life and it is seriously rough. Can you explain why Cheryl has such a contentious relationship with her parents?
Madelaine Petsch: From the day she was born, her parents always threw her off to the side. Jason was always the golden boy and he always got all of the attention. He was the loved one and Cheryl was very much neglected. As she got older, she took all of that neglect and turned it into an anger and a meanness towards others at school. That's why her mom and her dad hate her even more. It turns into an abusive relationship, especially with her mom, who is very emotionally and physically abusive towards Cheryl. It stems from a place of misunderstanding, I believe. They had a very obvious favorite at a very young age.
You teased at the beginning of the season that Cheryl's home life would help explain why she's so evil at school. What is it about the Blossoms that make her as mean as she is when we see her at Riverdale High?
Petsch: It's 100 percent a facade. It's a wall that she's put up to not let anyone in. For most people, thier closest comrades are their family and their mom and their dad. For a young girl to not have a mom as a role model and to have her mom be the meanest to her and emotionally abuse her made [Cheryl] put up some very high walls at a very young age. The only way she thought she could protect herself from being hurt was if she could hurt people first and doesn't allow anyone in.
One of those people that she wants to hurt the most, but ironically seems to be connecting with the most, is Veronica. What is it about Ronnie that she's drawn to?
Petsch: I think it's beautiful. More than anything, Cheryl wants to be apart of a group of friends. She wants to be understood. She's so lonely, miserable and broken. Veronica sees right through her facade. That's why I think Cheryl and Veronica connect on a deeper level. Everyone else in Riverdale just thinks Cheryl's a b---h and doesn't think much more than that. They don't know her home life and Veronica can see that she's broken because Veronica has been broken too. Time and time again, [Veronica] goes to try and help Cheryl. It creates this very interesting bond in a way where every couple of episodes you see them kind of team up and do something together, create a relationship. It's very important for Cheryl to have someone like that in her life and it's really, really noble for Veronica to put herself on the line like that for such an awful person.
There's a lot of people already shipping Betty and Veronica — platonically and otherwise. Are you hoping that Cheryl and Veronica become their own awesome duo that people are rooting for?
Petsch: So many people are tweeting "Cheronica." I think that's so funny...I don't have any preconceived notions for what's going to happen with Cheryl. She's so wild. Every episode that I read I go, "Oh, she's going there this time." I just hope that Cheryl gets a friend. She needs an ally. I think the gang, the main four, kind of are her friends. In her mind, they are her people. She's always showing up at their lunch table. She's always there with them.
Speaking of going there, how would you define Jason and Cheryl's relationship? It seems to get more ambiguous with everything we find out about him.
Petsch: A lot of people have taken away from it that there's some creepy twincest. It's a funny joke, but at the end of the day, she really was emotionally abused by her parents her entire life. She always saw Jason on this pedestal. Jason did his best to protect her and he was the only person who loved her, who cared about her. He was her only friend, her only ally, her person. She was so spiky and had so many walls up by the time she went into school that she kind of always only had Jason. It's not anything creepy or romantic. It's this love that you feel between a brother and a sister. They are also twins. He is the only person who shared that he cared about her. She really feels an extremely close bond to him. When that's ripped away form her, she's shattered, even more broken than she is. She truly has no one.
I imagine that bond makes her think she knows everything about Jason, but we found out this episode that he and Polly were engaged. How is Cheryl going to react when she finds out?
Petsch: Just like in episode 3 she found out Jason wasn't as great as she thought he was, as the season unfolds she's going to find out more and more about Jason and that he wasn't the person she thought he was. That genuinely breaks her down even more. It makes her realize that the world is the cruel place that she thought it was. Jason was her light at the end of the tunnel. Now that he's gone and he wasn't even the safety net she thought he was, she doesn't have anything to base her life off anymore. It's worthless to her.
Do you think that if she got involved with Betty and Jughead's investigation into the murder that it would help to give her some closure and purpose again?
Petsch: I think it definitely think it would help her get out of this funk that she's in. At the end of the day, it's understandable why she's so sad and why she talks about him all the time. She just lost her twin brother. I think to get her out of it, it would be so helpful for her to be involved and helping Jughead and Betty find the killer, or anything! She just needs to immerse herself in something else.
How is Cheryl's relationship going to change with her parents as she looks to get closure and finds out more about Jason?
Petsch: She definitely has a huge change in her relationship with her parents and how comfortable she is at home. It ends up becoming her own version of purgatory as opposed to being at home. I think she's scared to be at home, the more she learns about Jason.
At this point in the series, who do you think killed Jason?
Petsch: In episode 5, I don't think it's a focus of [Cheryl's]. She's focusing on getting closure and doing what she needs to do to stand up to her parents. That being said, in episode 4, I think Cheryl strongly thinks it's Grundy.
Riverdale airs Thursdays at 9/8c on the CW.
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