Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) has always been a stand-out character on The CW’s Riverdale. But this week’s episode, “Chapter Ninety-Nine: The Witching Hour(s)” was on another level entirely. Written by Arabella Anderson and directed by James DeWille, over the course of three different time periods we learned the truth about Cheryl, her history, and why she thinks she’s cursed.
“I think for the first time we truly see a full Blossom, Cheryl moment,” Petsch told Decider. “Of watching her love, loss, heartbreak and harden. If anything, you get a further understanding into the way Cheryl is today.”
Spoilers past this point, but in the hour, we meet Abigail Blossom in 1892 and Poppyseed Blossom in 1957, both played by Petsch, who ultimately turn out to be… The same person. In 1892, we learn, Abigail fell in love with a woman named Thomasina Topaz (Vanessa Morgan). In order to be with her, she killed a powerful warlock named Fenn Fogarty (Drew Ray Tanner), who cursed her to be immortal and forever alone. In 1957, the pattern repeated when Poppy (really Abigail in disguise) fell in love with Bitsy (Lili Reinhart), who was forced to reject her by her abusive husband, Jack (Cole Sprouse).
But the cycle finally breaks in 2021 when Cheryl — who is also Abigail — recruits none other than Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) to perform a spell of transference. As Bailey’s Comet passes overhead, “Cheryl,” Sabrina and Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace) chant magic words, and transfer Abigail’s spirit from Cheryl’s body, into Nana’s. As Nana’s body dies, Abigail is able to finally rejoin Thomasina in the afterlife, while Nana Rose lives on in Cheryl’s body.
Oh, and probably pretty important to mention: this all takes place in a dark, alternate universe called RiverVALE, not RiverDALE. It’s also currently unclear exactly how this all might impact the show when it returns to quote unquote normal when the series continues on March 6, 2022; though showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has assured Decider in the past that all of this is in continuity, and it all matters.