WARNING: We're about to discuss the most harrowing moment from this week's all-new episode of Riverdale. If you have not watched the episode or do not want to be spoiled, leave now – but stay the hell away from Nick St. Clair! For everyone else, grab a box of tissues and read on…
Will Cheryl Blossom ever catch a break?
That the question on all of our minds after this week's terrifyingly timely episode of Riverdale, "Chapter 18: When a Stranger Calls," when Cheryl was roofied and nearly date-raped by Veronica's ex-boyfriend, Nick St. Clair. Thankfully, Veronica and The Pussycats stopped Nick just before he was about to sexually abuse Cheryl in his hotel room, but the haunting moment will certainly have lasting consequences for Riverdale's ill-fated cheer queen.
ET sat down with star Madelaine Petsch for ourRiverdale-themed YouTube series, Sweetwater Secrets, and the 23-year-old actress revealed her initial reaction when she first read about Cheryl's "brutal" moment in the script.
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"I'll be honest, I cried," Petsch tells ET exclusively. "I cried and I called my mom. I didn’t tell her what happened, obviously, but I was like, 'This is a really heavy episode.'"
"This is a huge topic, especially right now with what's going on in the world," she added. "And it's 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. So it was a very interesting moment for me to get that [script] and there was no warning coming."
Cheryl Blossom has been through an unfathomable amount of tragedy in Riverdale's short on-screen history. From losing her brother to finding her father's lifeless body hanging in the family barn, not to mention her her icy suicide attempt, Petsch reveals that this latest incident with Nick is the cherry on top of a truly tragic sundae.
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"[When I was] reading it, I felt like it was just another thing for Cheryl to deal with, and this is a huge thing," she stresses. "It makes sense for us to be bringing these [issues] to light and I think it's very rare for TV shows to be doing that -- especially ones that are more geared towards younger fans."
The red-headed beauty continues, "I think it's important to kind of let them let [Riverdale's young audience] know what's going on in the world and all that kinds of stuff, but at the same time, it's just hard. As the person who plays the character and as somebody who roots for the character every single time I get a script, it's brutal."
What did you think of this week's events on Riverdale? Tweet your thoughts to @Leanne Aguilera on Twitter and don’t miss Sweetwater Secrets airing every Wednesday and Thursday on Entertainment Tonight's YouTube Channel.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.