The Sandman & Cheryl Blossom Summer Special!

This week’s topic is The Sandman’s surprise episode & Cheryl Blossom in Riverdale season six. Why? Because there’s no overlap, that’s why! I was so preoccupied with whether or not I could, I didn’t stop to think if I should combine them! I’ve gone mad with limited power! Since virtually nobody else will be writing up the particular combo, it saves me the trouble of writing a less basic headline too. SPOILERS ahead for the combo you never knew you needed!

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TheSandman_Cats

The humans would get revenge by creating The Adventures Of Battle Cat’s Pal, He-Man.

Naturally Netflix’s The Sandman adapts “A Dream Of 1,000 Cats” the day after I publish my annual cat blog. I expected this story was fated to remain comics exclusive, but I’m happy to have been wrong. Now I understand the Cats referenes I missed when I read it! Animating all those moggies was worth every penny! It makes me wish the stop motion animation plans hadn’t be scrapped decades ago. Sandra Oh has a great voice for prophecy. David Tennant & Michael Sheen are cat owners on opposite moral poles.

This episode has been a great tool for disseminating the prophet’s feline supremacy propurrganda. My  pussykins was too sleepy to watch it. If 1,000 cats dream Legends Of Tomorrow hadn’t been cancelled, we’ll likewise get season eight. (Motherland: Fort Salem may’ve ended sooner than it most would’ve preferred, but at least it got an ending. They could do a crossover where The Fountain Of Imperium meets The Mother Mycelium.) Give your neko the dream!

It also adapts “Calliope” in live action, although it could’ve captured the spooky gloom of Kelly Jones’s artwork if it were also animated. I often fear this story is a literal explanation for why Neil Gaiman is so prolific. Don’t rape or kidnap!

While Sir Derek Jacobi continues to be sinister, Arthur Darvill shows why writers are below contempt by playing Ric Madoc as the anti-Rory Williams. The eponymous abused Muse is portrayed by Melissanthi Mahut with more dignity than was afforded her in the comic. While seeing Calliope being ravished would be tastelessly gratuitous, it sometimes feels like it’s too respectful to convey the horror of her situation (to someone without similar trauma). Was Madoc returning with a scratch on his face & his mentor casually mentioning the efficacy of force too subtle? Viewers that don’t connect the dots may presume she was merely being imprisoned like her ex-husband. The comic wasn’t explicit, but  its atmosphere was much more dreadful.

The episode makes a point of Madoc demanding an inclusion rider for his film adaptation be publicized so the studio can’t renege on it. Unlike Madoc superficially namedropping women writers, this would constructively get a jobs for a wider array of talent. Since Madoc is a cad, is it trying to say inclusion riders are bad? Or is this supposed to convey that sex offenders, like The Deep from The Boys, can still support worthwhile causes rather than being monsters constantly?

The bonus eleventh episode guest-starring even more Doctor Who & Good Omens alumni was dropped a fortnight after the rest of the season. If it takes years to produce another, it’s a bit early to sate the appetites of eager fans. It’s more of a means of goosing its numbers to get a second season renewal. Despite being the #1 show in multiple countries for weeks, it’s still not guaranteed for season two? How much more does Netflix want? If you don’t finish watching The Sandman within the first month of release, Netflix’s algorithm will decapitate Morpheus & stick his head in Gaiman’s bed.

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The conclusion of Riverdale’s sixth season is thematically great for showing Cheryl Blossom’s character development. In the first season finale, Cheryl’s friends had to rescue her from an icy suicide attempt. Now she protects her friends by melting the comet before it collides with the town. Rather than sinking below the ice, she rises into the sky to thwart it. Cheryl finally uses her destructive impulses for others’ benefit. This heroic moment cements her redemption arc. (She was described as a villainess early on, whereas the real hero wrote this newspaper graphic.)

Although her archery skills were useful in the second & third season finales, Cheryl was kept an outsider to the inner circle. She ended season five by declaring herself an enemy of the town (Five may be slightly better than season four because the Cheryl subplots were superior.), particularly the descendants of her identical ancestor’s executioners. (When did Abigail Blossom pass on her top shelf DNA?) It was a petty motive that could’ve been resolved without murder attempts had any of them just apologized before she escalated to witchcraft. She & Abigail were so similar that nobody noticed she’d been possessed. Once she  was excorcised, Cheryl made amends. (Can they do something about getting Abigail’s soul into The Sweet Hereafter since she was executed for hompohobia, religious intolerance, & palladium envy?)

She became more involved with the new “core four” (featuring Tabitha Tate instead of Veronica Lodge) this season, mostly because her powers were necessary to thwarting Percival Pickens. Cheryl saves the town she’d previously seceded from.  She was arguably the instigator of season one via the Jason Blossom death hoax, & now she saves the day. I wouldn’t say she’s literally a Deus ex machina since, unlike most things in this series, the supernatural powers were actually well established by this point. Cheryl was introduced as a meaner Veronica in the comics, but Riverdale makes Lodge look like bargain Blossom.

This external threat could’ve also been symbolic of Cheryl’s inner struggle since ice can symbolize repression. Cheryl’s icy facade in season one was crushing her spirit. After her rescue, her passion to stand up against her domineering family ignited. Then this ignited her overall empathy. Cheryl went out to fight the comet alone after being told Toni Topaz is her soulmate despite Toni not admitting she’s receptive to reuniting. (Cheryl had even graciously resurrected her beloved’s husband despite him being a great impediment to her desire.) So it could be a grand romantic gesture to save her soulmate as well as her town. Will Toni finally be written like she reciprocates the soulmating? (After Thabigail used their bodies for coitus, Cheryl can technically change her middle name from Marjorie to Motherfucker.)

Choni

Wheyfu Cheryl, nicknamed unstoppable Juggernaut, is endgame for Toni.

In addition to having the most engagingly arch personality, Cheryl absorbing all the powers (except Bingo’s) supports my theory she’s the ensemble cast’s true protagonist. She became a bulletproof lesbian to avoid being fridged. While it’s likely killing the comet burnt out her powers, it’d be cool if she retained them in the new timeline. Plus they’re required for keeping the reanimated half of the cast alive. Since she wasn’t in the comics by 1955, it’d be meta for this Phoenix to sense time is out of joint. Since her actress isn’t interested in doing a spinoff, Cher-Bear better rescue TT from terrible storylines next year! Unless nobody else survived & the final season is really CherylVision?

Madelaine Petsch decided that Cheryl is a lesbian. (Archie didn’t need another romantic interest, so Cheryl dodged be redundant like her comics counterpart.) Not only did she convince the showrunner to canonize this in season two, she also persuaded him to cast her best friend, Vanessa Morgan, as her girlfriend. She is the captain of the Choni ship! Petsch & Morgan have smokin’ sexual chemistry for people supposedly just gals being pals. Acting: How does it work?

There ought to more tribute videos of Cheryl on YouTube focusing on her being a pyro. It wouldn’t be that big of a change. There are many quasi-romantic songs about arson. Some of them were even recorded this century.

Unfortunately her climax cosplay got more attention than what the moment represented. While I’m glad she got dressed up, however, I was disappointed by how basic her outfit was. It would’ve been more unique if she wore The SuperTeens costume. Her earlier floral shirt had more personality too. On the upside, it makes it easier to customize a Cheryl action figure if you have a spare X-Men 3 Phoenix or MCU Scarlet Witch.

The problem is a Cheryl custom needs an excellent likeness to build off. Petsch is one of those celebrities whose unique features are much more stunning when combined than isolated. (Aren’t most faces greater than the sum of their parts?) Since she hasn’t been in a Star Wars, the odds of finding custom head-sculpts of her on eBay are against us. (If Disney is going to continue deepfaking Luke Skywalker so the age gap wouldn’t be the creepiest thing, she could play Mara Jade.) Even the parts for making her vixen fursona aren’t that readily available. While it’s good they haven’t wasted plastic on fake retro Re:Action figures, the only toy-adjacent merch Riverdale has gotten is dead-eyed mouthless Funko Pops! American Girl Dolls would be superior.

Riverdale has afforded Petch more opportunities to evoke DC & Marvel superheroines than I would’ve expected from a series where Archie doesn’t meet Batman or The Punisher. It’s both a good demo reel if she does apply for such roles, & fun peak into an alternate world if she doesn’t. She says she’d like to do an action movie, so why not a more toyetic comic book adaptation? (Thespians used to be content playing one iconic character & letting others have a shot at the rest.) Petsch missed out on Titania & is probably aging out of Jean Grey for the MCU, but Tigra, Angela, or Mystique could fit her. Thunderbolts doesn’t have its Moonstone or Songbird yet either. She’d be perfect for Poison Ivy in the current crop of DC movies, providing David Zaslav doesn’t destroy WB trying to save a nickle. Now she’d actually be older than both Margot Robbie & Cara Delevigne were when playing doctors in Suicide Squad. Third time wearing leaves is the charm!

The Red Sonja ship has sailed, but maybe she’ll be a badass in Netflix’s Masters Of The Universe movie.  Although she looks more like Teela, Petsch would have more fun vamping it up as Evil-Lyn with a cool headdress. Then Netflix can cast somebody more diverse as Teela so racists can freak out over redheads being replaced despite the character’s hair color being inconsistent with each iteration. The only Eternians that must be ginger are Fisto & Beast Man, either of who ought to be played by Sheamus. Not only did MOTU Revelation’s Teela have the same haircut Cameron Esposito used to have, both have identical cheekbones. So if Esposito gets jacked, Netflix should cast her. Let He-Man’s girlfriend be a ThunderCat cougar! King Hiss would obviously be portrayed by Snizzard.

In the meantime, the Madelaine Mafia or Petsch Posse can catch her & her co-stars in a variety of romcoms & thrillers this year. Cheryl’s & Toni’s movies are titled after names whereas Betty’s & Veronica’s are commands. About Fate should end with Madelaine Petsch & Emma Roberts marrying each other. Jane isn’t playing near me. This is Petschophobic!

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