You were cruel to me, mother. It was abuse, plain and simple. So henceforth, if you breathe, it is because I give you air. If you drink, it is because I poured your cup myself. And if you move, it is quietly, and with my blessing. Things are going to be different now, Mommy. Better. You'll see.
The mother-daughter relationship between Cheryl and Penelope Blossom is quite strained due to Jason's death. Penelope blames her daughter for taking Jason out to Sweetwater River that fateful morning. However, it seems that their relationship may get better throughout Season 2 after Penelope realized that she should be a better mother to Cheryl, burning the hush check from the St. Clair’s, following Cheryl being sexually assaulted by Nick St. Clair.
Although Penelope and Cheryl never had a good mother-daughter relationship, it became a lot more strained and abusive after Jason Blossom's death and Cheryl's involvement in his plan to run away from home. It has even further strained after Clifford's death, with Penelope making little effort to comfort her, and Cheryl burning down the family mansion.
Upon being alerted of the drowning of her son, Jason, during a boating accident with daughter Cheryl, Penelope and her husband Cliff Blossom joined the local authorities at Sweetwater River to retrieve Cheryl.
When Jason's body was eventually discovered, Cliff, Penelope and Cheryl arrived at the morgue to positively identify him. As the coroner revealed the body, Cheryl and her mother both turned away in horror, while Cliff mutely stared at the corpse of his son.
The night of Riverdale High School's annual fall Pep Rally, Penelope sat in the front row of the bleachers with her husband as Mayor McCoy dedicated the event to the memory of Jason and watched Cheryl perform with the River Vixens. Shortly after the performance Penelope became concerned as Cheryl raced off the stage crying, after she had seen Archie in Jason's football jersey enter onto the field.
When Sheriff Keller interrogated Cheryl about the lies she had told regarding her last encounter with her brother, Penelope and Cliff interrupted in a state of anger and abruptly ended the meeting. Penelope brusquely ordered her daughter not to say another word and rushed Cheryl out of the office. She queried why Cheryl didn't contact them, and told her she would be telling them everything when they returned home, to which Cheryl remained silent.
After having fallen asleep in her brother's bed, Cheryl woke from a nightmare to find her mother watching her from the doorway. Penelope told her there would be no more sleeping in Jason's bed. Cheryl explained that she dosed off while working on her eulogy, unfortunately, Penelope abruptly put an end to that, and told Cheryl that she would not be allowed to speak at the Jason's memorial, as she would only run the risk of embarrassing the family.
That evening, the Blossom family ate diner together and were joined by Veronica Lodge at Cheryl's invitation, yet Penelope remarked had no idea why she was there. Cheryl commented on the subject of her being prevented from speaking at Jason's memorial, which caused Penelope to remind her that she already said her goodbyes to Jason, when she rowed him over Sweetwater River, to his death. At the memorial the next morning, Penelope looked on angrily as Cheryl hijacked the service to speak to the guests about Jason. Furious with Cheryl over her disobedience, Penelope explained to her that, as punishment, she'd no longer be on the River Vixens, and if not for the fact that no one wanted Cheryl, she'd be shipped off to boarding school in Europe.
With the discovery of Jason's getaway vehicle on route 40, Penelope went down to the Sheriff's Station to inquire whether they had made any headway in Jason's case. Cheryl unexpectedly showed up and offered some new information, but only if Penelope allowed her back on the River Vixens, to which she exasperatedlyagreed. Cheryl revealed that Polly Cooper had escaped the Sisters of Quiet Mercy group home the very same night the car had been set ablaze. She thought it was very likely that Polly was the culprit of both the fire and her brother's murder. Following the revelation, the Blossom's orchestrated a search party throughout Eversgreen Forest to locate Polly, however, witch hunt would appear to be the more accurate term, during which they ran into the Coopers who had organized a search of their own. With the search unsuccessful, Cheryl, Penelope and Cliff attended a press conference held by Alice Cooper, where they were shocked to learn that Polly was pregnant with Jason's child.
Through Cheryl, Penelope and Cliff arranged a meeting with Betty Cooper at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe hoping to further discuss the plans for Polly and the baby and were relieved to learn that both were safe. Penelope told Betty they wanted to offer emotional support and Cliff assured Betty that money would never be a problem for them. Penelope asked where Polly was residing, but Betty refused to answer, so she reminded her that she and Polly were members of the Blossom family now, and they'd be ferociously protected, as long as they all trusted each other to which Cheryl looked uncomfortable. Back at Thornhill, Penelope asked Cheryl if she had ever seen Polly take drugs, which Cheryl wasn't sure. She then asked why and Penelope explained that she wouldn't want an unfit mother to raise her grandchild.
Surprisingly, even after she was accused of being an unfit mother, Polly invited Penelope and Cheryl to her baby shower, held at The Pembrooke by Betty and the Lodge's. Penelope began the event with an apology for embracing the child and not her, and hoped Polly could forgive her. During the gift portion of the shower, Penelope and Cheryl presented Polly with a miniature rocking horse, and explained it was a family heirloom that great-grandfather Blossom had played with. Cheryl then excitedly extended an invitation to Polly for her to stay with them at Thornhill, which Penelope assured her was genuine and that she and the child would want for nothing. Unsurprisingly, this didn't go over well with Alice, which led to an argument between the three. Polly screamed at them to stop and claimed their non-stop fighting is what led to Jason's death. The next morning, Penelope and Cliff welcomed Polly to their home as she had accepted their invitation to stay at Thornhill.
In aftermath of Thornhill burning down, it was revealed that Penelope had gone back inside the house only to salvage the Blossom family portrait, suffering major third-degree burns and acute smoke inhalation in the process. However, the truth never came to surface, as Cheryl created a cover story to cover up for the fact that she burned down their home in an attempt to start over. As the story went, Cheryl was asleep after the incident at Sweetwater River, the breeze probably knocked a lit candle over, setting fire to the curtains. After Penelope returned from the Jubilee, she ran headlong into the blaze to save Cheryl, leaving her severely burned.
As Penelope was left in a critical condition on the hospital bed, bandages coating her entire face and body, Cheryl taunted her. Blackmailing her mother, Cheryl warned her that if she told everyone the truth about the incident at Thornhill, she'd tell everyone about what really happened to Cliff in the barn, implying that there was a dark secret surrounding Cliff's death. When Cheryl made it very clear that the abuse of the elder Blossoms had come to an end and that she now had control over the family, Penelope's dominance was reduced to a mere shadow of the ominous woman she once was.
With Thornhill deemed uninhabitable, after being released from the hospital, Penelope and Cheryl relocated to Thistlehouse. Once there, they were joined in the conservatory by Betty and Jughead. They were hoping that Penelope and Cheryl could help FP Jones escape spending the rest of his life in jail. If the family of the victim showed mercy in front of a judge, then the case could shift in his favor. It was an appeal of leniency in order to reduce FP's sentence, Jughead explained. Penelope, however, refused to do so, stating that, if it were up to her, she would let FP fry in the electric chair. Cheryl also wanted that sordid chapter of their lives closed forever; FP was the last loose end to tie up.
In the night that followed, Cheryl returned home with what she referred to as a present; the video surveillance of Clifford murdering Jason, which she had earlier gotten from Betty in exchange for testifying on FP's behalf. As the the two of them watched the video together, Cheryl commented that it might bring Penelope peace.
Tales of the Sugarman
Penelope headed over to the Pembrooke after learning that Cheryl was assaulted by an out of town teen named Nick St. Clair at the Lodge's open house. There, she met with Hiram and Hermione to discuss how they would proceed. While she appreciated the Lodges calling her over to talk, she wished that they had stopped Cheryl from filing a report with Sheriff Keller, given that she likely provoked her attacker, so Penelope believed. However, Hermione informed Penelope that Cheryl did nothing wrong, at least according to Veronica. Penelope then told Hiram that she wanted the incident handled discreetly, which was fortunate, considering that the St. Clairs felt the same way. With that being said, Penelope would inform Sheriff Keller that they no longer sought to press charges. After all, nothing really happened to Cheryl, Penelope said with a dismissive tone.
The next morning, Cheryl approached Penelope at the breakfast table with an old picture that she had drawn as a child of herself and Jason, along with a man that she only knew by one name: "The Sugarman". Cheryl reminded Penelope of the tales she would tell her and Jason when they were younger, about the Sugarman being a friend of their father, and how they were to stay up in their rooms whenever he visited Thornhill. Was he one of daddy's drug related business associates, Cheryl asked. Penelope glanced up at Cheryl with a look of irritation, though she did not answer the question, which upset Cheryl, especially with all that had been kept from her in the past about her father and Jason's death, leaving her to wonder if the Sugarman was just another piece of her mother's cryptic puzzle. Penelope slammed her fist down on the table in frustration, claiming that she had no idea what Cheryl was talking about because she never told her any such stories. As for her father's business dealings, all his records were either seized by the police or burned in the fire that Cheryl started.
The following day, while applying ointment to her partially healed burns, Cheryl confronted, who after a fascinating chat with Nick St. Clair, discovered that her mother had taken a check from the St. Clairs as "hush money". Cheryl had even found the check in her mother's bedroom. Before she started casting stones, Penelope informed Cheryl that the Lodges were still accepting money from the St. Clairs for their SoDale construction, though Cheryl made it clear that the Lodges involvement with the St. Clairs was no concern of hers. She merely cared about Penelope, her mother, who would defend the man that killed her son, yet she wouldn't stand up for Cheryl, not even against her would-be rapist. Penelope dismissed Cheryl's claim, telling her not to be so absurd, just before demanding that she hand over the check. However, Cheryl refused to do so, at least until Penelope agreed to tell her the truth about the Sugarman. They both knew he existed, and that he worked with Clifford, who Cheryl concluded was an awful human being. So she was grateful for his passing. However, she was very much alive, and from daughter to mother, Cheryl was begging her to be honest with her, to care about her more. With tears running down her face, Cheryl finally understood that Penelope's silence had been bought by the St. Clairs. However, before leaving with the check, Cheryl told Penelope that she would only get paid once the truth has been revealed.
Penelope sat by the fire place as Cheryl returned home from the street race. Having thought it over, Penelope decided to be truthful with Cheryl about the Sugarman, per her request. He was a story that she had concocted to turn an all too real monster into a child's boogeyman. It worked for a while, but now Cheryl needed the truth behind the tale. Over the years, there were many Sugarmen, each taking over for the last. When Clifford decided to groom Jason to take over the family business, he wanted Jason to meet the current Sugarman. Penelope protested, but Clifford insisted. So began the terrible series of events that led to Jason's death. The mere mentioning of Jason's death caused Penelope to weep. She then looked up to find Cheryl standing before her, returning the check as promised. Penelope took it, though it would appear that she no longer had any desires for it, disposing of the check in the lit fireplace. Cheryl thanked her for burning the hush money, before asking one last thing of her; who was the current Sugarman. Penelope revealed that his name was Robert Phillips, and he was a teacher at Southside High.
A Hard Candy Christmas
Upon joining her mother and grandmother in the dining room by, Cheryl immediately noticed that Jason's stocking wasn't at the table. Penelope explained that she couldn't find it, not that it mattered considering that they had nothing to put in it. Aligned along the table were candy canes, which none of them were accustomed to. Penelope told Cheryl that it would be a "hard candy Christmas this year" and that they had to face the fact that they had no more money.
Despite learning earlier that day from her mother that her family had run out of money, Cheryl headed down to Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe, where Archie and his father had set up shop for the selling of Christmas trees. She approached Archie and asked for their finest tree. Unfortunately, he was about to leave. So he pointed Cheryl into Vic's direction, who was assisting with the tree sales.
Penelope returned home to Thistlehouse that night to find that Cheryl decorating the large Christmas tree that she had purchased despite their recent money problems. Penelope was irate, referring to Cheryl as a spoiled and wretched brat. However, Cheryl wasn't too concerned given that her actions seemed to please Nana Rose. How were they supposed to pay for it all, Penelope wondered. Cheryl suggested that she ask Hiram Lodge for a job, though that would force Penelope to admit that the only skills she possessed was being a terrible mother. So, Cheryl advised her to get creative in the new year. As Cheryl exited the room, Penelope was told by Rose that she should've drowned Cheryl and Jason at birth, "like a basket of kittens".
On Christmas morning, Cheryl came down the steps, calling out to her mother and Nana, excited to open her presents. Imagine her surprise and disgust when she caught her mother on the couch, making out with Vic, the very same man who had sold her the Christmas tree from Pop's lot.
The Life of a Courtesan
With Christmas behind them, the Black Hood dead and Riverdale regaining a sense of normalcy, per her prior dispute with Cheryl, Penelope went to work in an effort to pay the debt left behind from the Christmas tree and the ludicrous presents that Cheryl had purchased for herself. She came downstairs that morning before Cheryl headed off for school to inform her daughter that after last night, she had nearly enough money to pay everything off. While Cheryl was pleased to learn that her debt would be covered, she couldn't move past the fact that for the past two weeks, she'd been living in a bordello with a woman of the night. Penelope explained that her latest sexual escapades don't strange far from her youth, when she had her pick of gentlemen callers, lining up every evening. Cheryl became disturbed as she couldn't believe that Penelope sounded, dare she say, proud of her promiscuous past. Penelope reminded Cheryl that it was her who suggested that she get a job. She had since found one in providing comfort and companionship to the lonely men of Riverdale.
Later that week, Cheryl told her mother that she had solved all their problems with the check that Archie had gotten from Nick St. Clair. Cheryl gave Penelope her blessings to deposit it into a bank, rather than in the fireplace, as before. Cheryl hoped this would bring an end to her mother's days of being courtesan, though this didn't seem to be the case as Penelope took the check and put it away for safe keeping. Unfortunately, Penelope had no desire to stop as she was having such a good time.
Penelope visited General Pickens' statue in Pickens Park to pay respect and lay red roses at the statue's feet. She was then joined by Cheryl, who questioned the sincerity of her gesture. Cheryl asked if there was any validity to Jughead's published article from the Blue and Gold which accused Barnabas B. Blossom i.e. Cheryl's great-great-great grandfather of hiring General Pickens to steal land from the Uktena. Penelope confirmed the articles' report by asking Cheryl how did she think their family got started in the maple syrup business. Their family was responsible for killing hundreds of people. More than just maple syrup, this gave them access to dark, fertile earth and Sweetwater River. Back in those early days, they had a hand in everything. Building the railroads, operating the saloons and, yes, even a brothel. Old ways die hard, it seemed, given Penelope's recent escapades.
Cheryl and Penelope attended the Pickens Day celebration in Pickens Park, where the two of them watched from the crowd as Veronica and the Pussycats performed on stage. However, half way through their performance, the Southside Serpents unexpectedly arrived protesting the celebration with duct-tape over their mouths as they held signs that read 'honor this land' and 'sacred land'. Cheryl handed over her candy apple to her mother before joining in on the protest. The Serpents represented the dead and the silenced. Pickens Day was a lie. General Pickens slaughtered the Uktena tribe. And the land in which they were standing on, would soon give way to a new Southside, which was stolen from them. While the Serpents couldn't bring them back, they could at the very least honor them. Veronica's father then got on stage in an attempt to defuse the protest. He applauded the Serpents for standing up for justice, as well as the honor and legacy of the Uktena, who contribute to the rich tapestry that is Riverdale, that is the Southside and that will be SoDale.
A couple days had passed since her last evening with Hal when Penelope was confronted by Cheryl who accused her of being a homewrecker given that she was sleeping with him. Cheryl explained that Betty was literally sick to her stomach at school the day before. Cheryl surmised that it was about this. Penelope told her that it was different with Hal because he wasn't a client. What she felt for him was real regardless of the fact that he had a wife. Alice was far from a victim, so Penelope asked Cheryl to stay out of it.
No, Cheryl. As always, it's what you wanted. I hope you enjoyed yourself, 'cause after tonight, there will be no more River Vixens. And if not for the fact that no one would have you, I'd be shipping you off to a boarding school in Europe tonight.
If you tell anyone the truth about what happened with the fire, I’ll tell everyone about what really happened in the barn with Daddy. You were cruel to me, Mother. It was abuse. Please, Mom.
[Cheryl starts squeezing Penelope’s breathing tube and she whispers]
So, henceforth, if you breathe, it’s because I give you air. If you drink, it’s because I’ve poured your cup myself. And, If you move, it is quietly and with my blessing.
[She releases the breathing tube] Things are going to be different now, Mommy. Better...you’ll see.