Riverdale's Cheryl Blossom will apparently be channeling a fellow strong-willed heroine in season 2, Mad Max: Fury Road's Furiosa. In The CW drama's freshman run, Cheryl had to grapple with an increasingly tragic storyline. First, her beloved twin brother, Jason, was murdered, forcing her virtuous small town into a harrowing whodunnit. As the season wore on, it also became clear her parents had favored Jason, leaving Cheryl starved for love and attention. In the penultimate episode, it was revealed that her father had killed her brother Jason in order to cover up his secret drug ring, shattering both the Blossoms' reputation and Cheryl's spirit. He subsequently committed suicide.
The Riverdale season 1 finale found Cheryl emotionally broken and harboring her own suicidal ideations, but after being saved by Archie from an icy death, she seemed to find a newfound vengeance. In the end, she torched her family's palatial mansion, telling her mother it was "the only way" they could start over.
Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Comicbook.com in a recent interview that he saw that moment as a major character shift. Now, he explained, Cheryl has nothing to lose, and that's where the likeness to Furiosa comes in. As he told the outlet:
“What happens to her in the finale is sort of the most elemental, primal thing. She’s baptized in a river of ice and then she steps through and rises from the fires like a phoenix, and I think it absolutely changes her in that she has nothing to lose now. She’s burned away what she thinks was her weakness — her love of Jason, her respect of her family. That’s all been burnt away now. She’s almost like Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road, Furiosa. That’s Cheryl, I think, on the other side of the finale. It’s a harder, much darker, much more powerful character because her mom was quite cruel to her in season 1 — really cruel to her, and they withheld love from her.”
It's an apt comparison. Both Cheryl and Furiosa are audacious, strong-willed women with dark histories of familial loss. And despite their hard exteriors, they each have a kindness to them. Furiosa is slightly more enigmatic - the whole town now knows the Blossoms' deepest secret - though Cheryl is surely harboring some unknown demons. According to Comicbook, Madelaine Petsch, who plays Cheryl, also suggested on set that Cheryl's mother had beaten her - something Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed was cut, but essentially true.
Cheryl was far from inhibited in season 1, but she certainly seemed beholden to her family's power. Now, perhaps, she'll finally be able to forge her own path, and in the process, stir up some more drama in Riverdale season 2.
Riverdale season 2 airs this fall on The CW.