SPOILERS for Riverdale premiere!
With Riverdale's debut pushing the world of Archie comics into a dark murder mystery, the biggest question going forward is obviously 'Who killed Jason Blossom?'
After the pilot episode, one of the most suspicious figures surrounding the teen's death is his twin sister, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch). After the pair embarked on an early morning boat ride, Cheryl told everyone that the boat had capsized and Jason had drowned.
But with the reveal of the bullet hole in Jason's head at the end of the pilot, Cheryl's original alibi becomes increasingly complicated, and there's a chance that the rest of Riverdale's residents will grow even more suspicious of her.
As Petsch hinted during a set visit in November, these assumptions "affect Cheryl very deeply."
"People do obviously assume that [she] did it," Petsch explains. "The majority of the town does. And so that does effect very poorly on her."
That being said, fans shouldn't expect Cheryl to be entirely innocent in the event, as later episodes will reveal. "There's a lot more that Cheryl hasn't told everybody that she does know about Jason's death."
According to Petsch, Cheryl's emotional turmoil will be explored in detail over the course of future episodes, turning her into a much more nuanced antagonist than in her brief appearances in Archie Comics.
"I think the beauty of my character specifically is that she's not a typical villain. Most villains are there to serve their purpose and that's about it. Cheryl gets the emotional side as well. So you get to see where she comes from and why [Jason's murder] effects her so much."
With Cheryl and Jason's relationship venturing romantic prior to his death, Petsch says that the magnitude of his loss will really be prominent. "Cheryl is so broken up about the loss of her brother, and the person who loved her more than anybody. He's the only person she's ever emoted unconditional love to."
In the teen drama world of Riverdale, many viewers will expect the cast of characters to develop romantic entaglements over the course of the season. But Petsch says that might not be the case for Cheryl. "Throughout the season, I think you'll see a hint of her maybe slowly transitioning out of her depression. But you won't see any love interests."
That doesn't mean that Cheryl's parents, Clifford and Penelope, who Petsch says Cheryl "does not have a close relationship with, will not try to set her up with one of Riverdale's other redheads. "Because our family is so redhead focused, I wouldn't be surprised if you see Cheryl's parents forcing her into some interesting situations with Archie."
And in the upcoming episodes, viewers can expect even more to be revealed about Cheryl and Jason's story. Petsch says there will "absolutely" be more flashbacks of the pair. "You saw some in the pilot, and that will be a continuing motif until I think you find out who murdered him."
Petsch also has hope for another motif that could show a different side to the deceased Jason. "I love Afterlife with Archie," she explains, referencing the ongoing comic series that depicts an alternate reality in which Riverdale is plagued with a zombie apocalypse.
"Knowing [Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa], and knowing that he is the writer of Afterlife with Archie, he would love to do that." She adds that if an Afterlife-inspired Riverdale episode were to be done, "you might see a zombie Jason."
Riverdale airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
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