Cheryl's Gay Conversion Therapy On 'Riverdale' Is All Too Horrifyingly Real

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Cheryl Blossom may have thought her slumber party on Riverdale was The Beguiled themed, but a couple other Gothic horror tales come to mind after Wednesday's episode. Even before her Uncle glided into her life, Cheryl's life was in a downward spiral, and now she's facing a true nightmare. Where is Cheryl on Riverdale? Most likely she's with the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, and that is some very bad news.

“Nana, then Cheryl,” the ginger anti-hero heard in last Wednesday's episode. Whatever plan Fester and and Penelope have is certainly underway. Nana drank tea that was obviously poisoned, and not just because poison has been used as a plot point in several recent films, from The Beguiled to Lady Macbeth, My Cousin Rachel, and Phantom Thread, but because Fester was so extra that he had to say it was "special" tea brewed just for her. Clearly "so extra" should be the official words of House Blossom. Anyway, a drugged up Nana Rose fell down the stairs, and ended up in the hospital. Still not hiding a dang thing, Fester looked surprised and disappointed that she's still kicking.

Meanwhile, Cheryl was starting to feel as though someone in the house was trying to get to her too. After putting the pieces together about Nana and telling her mother that she suspected what was up — a terrible idea, as Cheryl also suspected that she was next, just not that her mother was colluding with her uncle — Penelope insisted that she needed to be sent away. When Toni Topaz came calling at Thistle House, the matriarch said that Cheryl had left for boarding school in Switzerland without a word.

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Cheryl is next seen crying alone in a stark room, with pigtails replacing her typical menacing side part. A nun who seems way more like Nurse Ratched wheels a cart down the hall and injects Cheryl with a mysterious substance and some words of comfort that seem more foreboding — especially because she mentions that a "conversion" is about to happen. The sister tells Cheryl that she plans to rid her of her "nasty" thoughts.

That has to mean her attraction to women, right? This is a gay conversion therapy situation? It seemed at first like Penelope Blossom sent Cheryl away under the guise that she was making up lies about her family's sudden plot to kill Nana, but it seems heavily implied that what she is trying to "fix" in her daughter goes further back, and is deeply depressing. Cheryl has mentioned her mother's homophobia before, but conversion therapy is next level cruel.

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Despite the fact that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and many other organizations/studies find that such therapies have no impact, lack credibility, and often harm patients, this is still legal in many states. According to a 2018 New York Times op-ed that compares gay conversion therapy to torture, it's legal in 41 states. There are plenty of other horror stories about religious conversion efforts out there, too — so while what Cheryl is about to go through may seem like science fiction, it's actually very, horrifyingly real.

Honestly, the Scooby Gang of Riverdale really needs to devote more of their attention and energy towards whatever is going down at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. So many characters, mostly Coopers and Blossoms, have been put away to hide a seemingly "scandalous" secret with disastrous results. Sure, Polly seems to have made it out unscathed, but Chic turned down a dark path very quickly. Lest we forget, Joseph Conway/Svenson was sent there when his parents were murdered and (allegedly) became the Black Hood. Why is this place still open? What else do they do there? Will Toni and the others be able to rescue Cheryl? The Blossom family gets creepier by the minute, but Cheryl is in real danger here, and hopefully the others will be able to get her out.