Wednesday's episode of Riverdale, "Chapter Eighteen: When A Stranger Calls," took Madelaine Petsch's character Cheryl to a very dark place.
While at a party, Veronica's visiting Manhattan friend Nick (Graham Phillips) drugged Cheryl's glass of champagne, and then carried Cheryl over to his hotel room in order to sexually assault her. However, before he could take advantage of Cheryl in her vulnerable state, Josie and the Pussycats arrived to beat Nick to a pulp and get Cheryl out of the dangerous situation.
As empowering as it was to see women rescue one of their own from a dangerous situation (especially someone like Cheryl, who is often on the outskirts of the crew's group), it was also a particularly disturbing plot point. Yes, Riverdale leans into pulpy elements like the town's current masked murderer and its brewing feud between the north and south side, but this? Well, it felt a little too...real.
That was Petsch's reaction when she initially read the script, the actress revealed on Entertainment Tonight's YouTube series Sweetwater Secrets.
Petsch told ET that she "cried" while on the phone with her mother, though she couldn't reveal the exact plot point of the episode.
"[What happened to Cheryl is] so close to home and it's so important to portray it properly. I felt a huge responsibility to make it real, but then also there was a part of me where my heart was breaking," the Riverdale star confessed to the outlet.
This isn't the first time Riverdale has dealt with issues that young women face. In the season 1 episode titled "Chapter Three: Body Double," the women of Riverdale High School stand up against slut-shaming after the football players pass around a book "ranking" the girls on their previous hookups.
In an interview with Forbes, Petsch teased that more real-world issues would be making their way onto Riverdale for its sophomore season.
"It's important that we go back to the things we discussed in the last season and that includes a lot of social justice issues," the actress told Forbes of where Riverdale would be heading for season 2.
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