Riverdale Rewind: Cheryl’s top six scene-stealing moments

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4. “What [she] craved”

While Cheryl and Toni’s first kiss is without a doubt one of the best scenes in Riverdale‘s second season, and even in the series as a whole, their almost-kiss in episode 16 stands out to me as one of Cheryl’s best scene-stealing moments.

While Toni takes the lead more in their first kiss, cupping Cheryl’s face, Cheryl initiates their near-kiss during the sleepover at Thistlehouse by opening up to Toni. It’s a huge moment for Cheryl, even though it gets interrupted. As I’ve written about before, Cheryl is more complicated than people might think:

"Kids like Cheryl who are raised in traumatic environments often exhibit distinct affects such as extreme aggressiveness or extreme openness. Aggression arises as a protective mechanism. Kids don’t want to risk being hurt again, so they instinctively push people away, even those who may want to help them. Openness, or a kind of lack of inhibitions, results from an overwhelming desire to be loved. Kids form deep attachments very quickly, even with relative strangers, to compensate for their lack of such close relationships. Cheryl actually displays both affects, though aggression is her default."

Thus, Cheryl instinctively pushes Toni away when Toni tries to reach out in episode fourteen but only until she realizes that Toni genuinely cares about her. Cheryl then becomes deeply attached to Toni very quickly.

Cheryl boldly admits her feelings for Toni at the “Inner Circle/Cousin Betty” sleepover: “I knew my hideous mother would never allow me to invite just you… which is what I craved.” Fortunately, Toni is equally as smitten.