It wasn't just trees. Dark, fertile earth. A mighty river. Back in those early days, we had a hand in everything. Building the railroads, operating the saloons and, yes, even a brothel. The old ways die hard, it seems.
She suffered severe third-degree burns when running back into Thornhill to save the family portrait after Cheryl set fire to the house in an effort to "start over" with a clean slate. This gave Cheryl the opportunity to control her mother the same way she controlled and abused Cheryl.
In adulthood, Penelope and Cliff Blossom had a set of twins, named Cheryl and Jason. Throughout the young years of Cheryl and Jason's lives, Penelope sought to protect her children from her husband's illegal business, specifically supplying drugs. She did this by turning an all-too-real monster into a bedtime story, a child's Bogeyman, and sent them to their rooms whenever "The Sugarman", Clifford's drug associate, came to Thornhill. She would later come to learn of Clifford's plans for Jason, to groom him to take his place after him. Despite her efforts, Clifford's actions set in motion the events that ultimately lead to Jason's death as well as Clifford's.
Upon being alerted of the death of her son, Jason, she and Clifford joined the local authorities in retrieving their daughter, Cheryl, who had also been involved in the accident, from the edge of Sweetwater River. She attempted to calm Cliff down as he became verbally aggressive towards the police as they failed to find her son, despite dragging the river. Eventually, Jason's body washed up on the shores of Sweetwater, which forced her and Clifford to stand aside as their son's body was taken to the ambulance. As the body bag passed her, Penelope reached out to her son's lifeless body.
Penelope, Cliff and Cheryl were brought down to the morgue in order to identify Jason's body. As the cloth was pulled off his head, both Penelope and Cheryl turned away in horror. In spite of all that has happened, she and Cliff decide to attend the football game, they sat in the front row of the bleachers during the pep-rally as Mayor McCoy dedicated the night's event to the memory of Jason. Shortly after the performance of the River Vixens and Josie and the Pussycats, she became concerned as Cheryl ran off the stage in tears.
Penelope and Cliff interrupted Sheriff Keller's interrogation of Cheryl in a state of anger, Cliff demanded to know why his daughter is a suspect in his son's murder case. As they rushed Cheryl out of the office, Penelope asked why Cheryl didn't contact them, yet she did not answer and her silence spoke volumes. Despite the recent tragedy, the couple decided to attend the first annual Taste of Riverdale event, in which Penelope had a brief, but violent run-in with Alice Cooper. Penelope slapped Alice on sight, appalled that she would dare print Jason's autopsy in the Register.
The Blossoms were interviewed by Sheriff Keller as he continued his investigation of Jason's death. Everyone in town had their own suspicions, neighbor suspecting neighbor. During which time, Riverdale bared a striking resemblance to Salem, during the witch trials.
Investigating Jason's Death
Penelope stood in the doorway of Jason's room, where she watched Cheryl while she slept in his bed. As her daughter awakened, she told her there would be no more sleeping in Jason's bed. Cheryl explained that she dozed off while working on the eulogy, unfortunately, Penelope abruptly put an end to that, she told Cheryl that she would not be allowed to speak at Jason's memorial, as she would only run the risk of embarrassing the family.
The next day, Penelope led Sheriff Keller into the room in which Jason's memorial would be held, afterward, they would bury him in the cemetery on Thornhill ground. She then informed the sheriff of the list that she and Cliff composed, which consisted of all suspects in the murder of Jason, she believed there was a very strong possibility that the killer would be in the room for Jason's memorial.
That night, the Blossom family ate dinner together, they were joined by Veronica Lodge, Cheryl invited her, yet Penelope has no idea why. 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.
The day of the memorial, Penelope stood by the door, greeting each guest as they entered, when face to face with Hermione Lodge, things took a nasty turn, she accused Hermione of being happy over Jason's death. Before the service began, Archie Andrews approached her, offering the family Jason's old jersey from his time on the Riverdale Bulldogs, she couldn't help but notice the similarities between Archie and Jason, brushing his hair back, and caressing his face, then accepting the jersey. Furious with Cheryl over her disobedience, Penelope explained to her that 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. As planned, Penelope laid Jason to rest in the cemetery, following the memorial.
With the discovery of Jason's vehicle on route 40, Penelope went down to the Sheriff Station wondering if they were any closer to solving the mystery. Cheryl then unexpectedly showed up at the station, offering a piece of information, but only if Penelope allowed her back on the River Vixens, to which she agreed. Cheryl revealed that Polly Cooper had escaped the Sisters of Quiet Mercy group home, so with Jason's vehicle being burned to a crisp, it's possible that she was the culprit of both the fire and the murder. Following the revelation of Polly Cooper's escape, the Blossom organized a witch hunt throughout Eversgreen Forest, where they had a run-in with the Coopers. Penelope informed Alice that the noose was tightening around Polly's neck, and the entire town would know it once they find her.
During the press conference held by Alice Cooper, she learned that Polly was pregnant with Jason's child. Penelope, Cliff, and Cheryl met up with Betty at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe in order to discuss future plans with Polly and the baby. She and Clifford were relieved to learn that they were safe, Penelope wanted to offer emotional support, as well as financial. She asked where Polly was residing, but Betty refused to answer. Penelope then reminded her that she and Polly were members of the Blossom family, and they'd be ferociously protected, as long as they all trusted each other.
Back at Thornhill, Penelope asked Cheryl if she had ever seen Polly take drugs, which Cheryl wasn't sure of, Penelope explained that she wouldn't want an unfit mother to raise her grandchild.
Surprisingly, even after accusing Polly Cooper of being an unfit mother, the Blossoms were still invited to her Baby Shower, being held at The Pembrooke by Hermione Lodge. Penelope began the event with an apology for embracing the child and not her, she had hoped Polly could forgive her. The gift opening portion of the night had come, and Penelope insisted that Polly opens there's next, inside was a miniature rocking horse, it was a family heirloom that great-grandfather Blossom used to play with. She and Cheryl then extended an invitation to Polly for her to stay with them at Thornhill, which unsurprisingly, didn't go over well with Alice, leading to a momentary quarrel. Penelope was under the impression that Alice had disowned her daughter, considering that she as staying at the Pembrooke instead of the Cooper house.
Polly screamed at them both to stop with the non-stop hatred for one another, their constant bickering is what led to Jason's death, she claimed, simply because neither Penelope nor Alice would just allow them to be together. The next morning, she and Cliff welcomed Polly at the front door as she had accepted their invitation to stay at Thornhill.
Fall of the Blossom Empire
Thicker than blood, and more precious than oil, Riverdale's biggest trade business had been maple syrup since the founding of the town, which the Blossoms had been in control of since the beginning. Following a flashback, where Penelope, Cliff, Cheryl and Jason sipped syrup almost as if it was fine wine, the Blossoms had to address a major problem. The death of her son precipitated a crisis within their family, with Jason gone, many wondered who would inherit the family business. With that in mind, the Blossoms awaited the arrival of the board of trustees, circling the wagon against possible attack from within their own ranks.
Later that day, after learning that Archie turned down Cheryl's invitation to the tree tapping ceremony, Penelope took matters into her own hands, informing Archie that she could get him into an exclusive summer music program if he escorted Cheryl. She remembered how Archie brought her Jason's Riverdale Bulldogs jersey during his memorial, an act of kindness during a moment of despair, which made Archie a decent person in her eyes. Penelope eventually managed to persuade Archie into attending the tree tapping, and in return, she'd give Great-Uncle Harrison a call at the Brandenburg Music Academy.
The next day, Penelope and Cliff were extremely nervous as Cheryl was to perform the ceremony in Jason's place, fortunately, the ceremony could not have gone better as Cheryl tapped the tree perfectly. Later that week, Penelope sat at Clifford's side as the banquet at the Belmont Lodge took place. Outside, she informed her husband that while the trustees appeared to be satisfied, uncle Bedford kept asking about the drive-in land. Cliff promised that he would regain the land, but they never suspected that Hermione Lodge would be so resourceful. Penelope joked that maybe Cliff should have sent Hermione to prison instead of Hiram, unaware that Archie was listening in.
As the trustees were leaving town the next day, Penelope wondered if they had been appeased but Cliff assured her they weren't out of the woods just yet.
Having learned that Polly had earlier made her way to the east wing of Thornhill, where Penelope and Clifford's sleeping quarters resided, Penelope informed Polly that this specific area was off limits.
The next day, Penelope offered Polly an explanation as to why she was in possession of Nana Rose's heirloom ring, which was thought to have gone up in flames along with Jason's car. She claimed the last time Clifford saw Jason was the day he rid himself of the Blossom family, he wanted nothing more to do with the name or lineage, including the ring, which he threw in Cliff's face as a final rebuke. Cliff then gave the ring to Penelope for safekeeping. Polly was under the impression that the ring was lost, but "nothing's lost forever, everything comes back", Penelope said. She then insisted that Polly finish her milkshake, which Penelope later revealed to both Cheryl and Cliff that she had drugged with a relaxer, leaving the babies unharmed but putting Polly to sleep in the process.
Before Cheryl left for the Homecoming dance, Penelope made a point to ask her for the heirloom ring that had been taken, however, come to find out, Cheryl flushed it in anticipation that one day Polly might reveal the truth about the ring to someone, there wouldn't be any proof, simply her word against their's.
Following the arrest of FP Jones for Jason's murder, Penelope wept angrily and told her husband that she wanted FP dead for what he had done to her son. Unbeknownst to either that Cheryl was watching, Cliff held Penelope as she cried and promised to take care of him.
The very next morning, Penelope informed Polly of the latest development in Jason's case as FP Jones was arrested for his murder. Jason would finally have peace, and they could all start over.
Later that night, a loud knocking could be heard all throughout Thornhill, much to her surprise it was the Coopers, coming to take Polly back. Penelope reminded them that Polly chose to stay with them, a mentally stable family. Unfortunately, she wasn't aware that Alice was aware of the family relationship between the Blossoms and the Coopers, in which Clifford's grandfather and Hal's grandfather were brothers, thus making Polly and Jason relatives, third cousins to be exact. Betty then accused her of killing Jason to hide the fact, but it was quite the opposite, as Penelope remarked that nothing could be more purely Blossom than Polly's babies. As Betty attempted to leave, Penelope grabbed her wrist and told her that she made a grave error.
The following day, as she sat alone staring at the fireplace, Cheryl approached her with a question, asking about the fight that took place between Jason and her father on July 4th. A question that had previously been answered, they'd already told Cheryl that Jason didn't have the stomach for the family business. Cheryl believed that whatever happened to Jason involved their family, she wondered if he was running away from Clifford, or even her, which Penelope took great offense to as she firmly grasped Cheryl's hands, and dragged her to their family's barn. She pushed Cheryl inside, and told her that maple syrup was the dark truth, to "drown in it, why don't you", she said.
As she and Clifford at dinner together that night, Cheryl entered the dining room and accused him of killing Jason, and she could prove it with the video surveillance from the night Jason was killed. It wasn't long before Sheriff Keller and his deputies arrived at Thornhill, in which time Penelope and Cheryl directed them to the barn, where Cliff had hung himself. 
After the suicide of her husband, Clifford, Penelope and Cheryl stood idly by as law enforcement turned their home into a crime scene upon the discovery that Clifford killed their son after Jason found out about his drug distribution business. Following the funeral of her husband, she and Cheryl returned to the Blossom Maple Farms. She wondered why Cheryl was crying since she always hated her father. The Blossom family had always been cursed, every since brother killed brother, "who will the grim reaper take next", she said. Penelope then looked up to the rafters, where Clifford hung himself, and began wondering if he had made the right decision by ending it, better the sweet hereafter than that awful limbo.
The next day, before leaving Thornhill, she was approached by Cheryl, who requested to stay home that day, but unfortunately for Cheryl, Penelope stubbornly denied her request, as she didn't care about her struggles. Penelope later went on to attend the 75th Anniversary Jubilee at the Town Hall. She sat in the crowd as Betty Cooper gave a speech about the turmoil Riverdale was facing after the death of her son at her husband's hands. Their town was at a crossroads, and if they didn't do something to fix it, what happened to Jason wouldn't be the last.
After the Jubilee, Penelope returned home to find a strange smell and Cheryl, who is unhinged after a failed suicide attempt, with a candlestick in her hand. When Penelope asked what the smell was, Cheryl explained that it was gasoline and that she believed the only way they could start over is to burn the house down, which she did by dropping the candles into the gasoline. The two of them quickly left outside and watched as the house burned, with Cheryl smiling, while Penelope, who is horrified and outraged at the destruction of the house, lashes out (which Cheryl ignores). 
As an aftermath of the 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, who was 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 two of them watched the video together, Cheryl commented that it might bring Penelope peace.
With the killer, now known as the Black Hood, targeting the residents of Riverdale, Mayor McCoy scheduled a Town Hall meeting for Wednesday at 7:00 PM. Penelope sat in the crowd as Mayor McCoy and Sheriff Keller heard their concerns and later announced the town-wide curfew. She presumably evacuated Town Hall along with everyone else in attendance when the fire alarm was pulled by after Betty, after she and Jughead interrupted the meeting to inform everyone of the Black Hood's supposed arrival.
Tales of the Sugarman
After learning that Cheryl was assaulted by an out of town teen named Nick St. Clair at the Lodge's open house, Penelope headed over to the Pembrooke, where she met with Hiram and Hermione to discuss their next course of action. 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. 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, Penelope was approached by Cheryl at the breakfast table with an old picture Cheryl 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.
While applying ointment to her partially healed burns the following day, Penelope was confronted by Cheryl, who after a fascinating chat with Nick St. Clair, discovered that Penelope 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 fireplace as Cheryl returned home from the street race. Having thought it over, Penelope decided to be truthful with Cheryl about the Sugarman, as she had requested. 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
Penelope and Nana Rose were joined in the dining room by Cheryl, who 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.
Penelope returned home to Thistlehouse that night to find that Cheryl had purchased a large Christmas tree despite their recent money problems. She was irate, referring to Cheryl as a spoiled and wretched brat. 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 skill 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, Penelope was caught by Cheryl, making out with Vic on the living room couch.
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 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.
A couple days later, Penelope was approached by Cheryl, who came bearing a check from the St. Clairs, claiming to have solved all their problems. 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 safekeeping. 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. Before long, she was joined by Cheryl, who questioned the sincerity of her gesture. Cheryl then 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.
On Pickens Day, Penelope watched as Hal stormed off after a fight between him and Alice. She then joined Cheryl by the stage, and the two of them watched as Veronica and the Pussycats performed. However, halfway through their performance, the Southside Serpents unexpectedly arrived protesting the celebration with duct-tape over their mouths and holding signs that read 'honor this land' and 'sacred land'. Cheryl handed over her candy apple to Penelope so that she could join 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. Hiram Lodge 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.
Later that night, as Pickens Day was coming to an end, Penelope approached Hal, who was sitting alone, eating a maple snow-cone. She offered to get him a proper dessert since he was in need of company and she had nowhere else to be.
At Thistlehouse, Penelope massaged Hal's shoulders as he told her about Alice and Betty's strange behavior when he stopped by the house for toiletries. Hal was positive that they were hiding something since the house smelled of bleach. Penelope replied that everyone is always hiding something. She then asked of Chic, who she joked was up in his room, entertaining people.
A couple days had passed since that evening with Hal when Penelope was confronted by Cheryl who accused her of being a homewrecker given that she was sleeping with Hal. 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.
After what was presumably another session with one of her clients, Cheryl was in disbelief that Penelope hadn't yet grown tired of taking filthy wads of cash from strangers. Penelope scolded Cheryl for her crude remarks and judgmental tone as it was Cheryl's doing that drove away from the one decent chance she had at happiness with Hal Cooper. Penelope grabbed Cheryl by her arm and asked what she could possibly know about love as she herself had never experienced it, except to rip it apart because she was a jealous, spite-filled, starving, emotional anorexic.
The following night, unbeknownst to Penelope, Cheryl watched from her bedroom as Penelope welcomed another one of her clients to Thistlehouse.
At Thistlehouse, Penelope and Cheryl spoke with Mr. Lazenby, their state attorney. As it turned out, Clifford had a secret will. Which came as no surprise to Cheryl however. Clifford's instructions were to reveal the existence of the will only after the authorities had concluded their investigation of his drug dealings. Per her husband's instructions, he requested that Mr. Lazenby withhold all information, including the names of his numerous beneficiaries, until a public will-reading.
The next day, with the will-reading not far off, Penelope barged into Cheryl's room demanding to know what was going on. It was then that she met Toni Topaz, who Cheryl had invited to the will-reading as her emotional support. Penelope told Cheryl that she needed to be downstairs before the guest started to arrive as Penelope wanted to present a united front.
The will-reading commenced once all the guests (Betty, Polly, Hal, aunt Cricket and uncle Bedford, amongst others) were all in attendance. Clifford's first declaration was that ownership of Thistlehouse remains with his mother, Nana Rose. With Penelope, Clifford left ownership of Thornhill, which Cheryl had burned to the ground. "The charred husk of an empty house. That sounds about right, Mother." Cheryl remarked. Regarding the other guests who had been contacted per Clifford's request, they were to receive half of his remaining assets of his fortune. The first half would be distributed equally to anyone in town who could prove, with medical authentication, that they were of Blossom blood. The will-reading was then interrupted by Alice Cooper, who came to confront Hal over him asking for a divorce for the sole purpose of cutting her out of the will. Once Alice turned her attention towards the family and began insulting them as a whole, referring to them all as inbreds, Penelope requested that she and Sierra McCoy, her newfound attorney, leave the premises.
The second half of Clifford's fortune would go to Cheryl alone as Jason was no longer with them. And so Cheryl approached the podium. As the one, true Blossom heir, she felt it was her duty to say a few words. However, Cheryl's speech was interrupted by Clifford. Or so they believed. Overwhelmed by his supposed return, Cheryl fainted.
By the time Cheryl woke up, it was dark outside and the will-reading had long since ended. Who they believed to be Clifford returning from the grave was actually his twin brother, Claudius Blossom. Claudius explained why they had never heard of him before. when he and Clifford were boys, they were inseparable. But it became apparent that Claudius was being primed to inherit the Blossom empire. Until their 14th birthday when he and Clifford were down by Sweetwater River and he pointed a rifle at Claudius and told him about the Blossom curse. How one of the twins always met a violent end and often at the hands of the other. Fortunately, he spared Claudius. But that very night, Claudius ran away from home without a trace and later joined the Merchant Marines where sailed the seas desperate to outrun the Blossom curse.
The following night, Penelope had dinner with Nana Rose, Claudius, Cheryl, and much to her dismay, Toni. Penelope suggested that Claudius ignore Toni as Penelope had assumed that it would be a family only dinner. But Claudius didn't mind. He even told them about his journeys as a sailor. During one particular journey, he came upon an Island named "Lesbos", in reference to Cheryl and Toni's relationship. He claimed it was the most beautiful and natural place on earth. Claudius then announced that he would be staying in Riverdale to assure that Rose and the house was well cared for. And so Penelope reluctantly invited him to stay in the room over the garage which was freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer.
The next day, while the Lodges announced that Hermione Lodge would be running for Mayor, Penelope and Claudius discussed their plan to take care of Nana Rose and Cheryl.
At the breakfast table, Penelope dismissed Cheryl's claims that someone was trying to break into her room the night before by insisting that she was merely imagining things. With Claudius in town, Penelope suggested that they start considering him to take Nana Rose's stewardship of the syrup business. However, Rose refused to even entertain the matter, and so Claudius offered Rose some of Penelope's special blended tea.
That night, an ambulance had to be called after Nana Rose suffered a terrible fall down a flight of steps. Fortunately, she would recover. Penelope claimed that Rose suffered from Sundowner's Syndrome, causing her to lose her senses at night fall.
Later in the week, at Riverdale General Hospital, the doctors would discover a paralytic toxin known as Tannis root in Rose's bloodstream. Which was likely the same herb blend that Penelope and Claudius had been giving Nana Rose with her tea. However, Penelope told Dr. Masters that they had caught Nana Rose on more than one occasion chewing bits of tannis root that she grew in the greenhouse. Leaving him to conclude that this incident was nothing more than a case of Nana Rose's Sundowner's Syndrome. The hospital would be keeping her for observation for another day, then she would be well enough to return home. Penelope then intercepted Cheryl before she could warn Dr. Masters and escorted her out the hospital.
In the car, on their way back from the hospital, Penelope was accused by Cheryl of poising Nana Rose with Tannis root and pushing her down the stairs. However, Penelope wrote her accusations off as a lapse in sanity. Cheryl had lost her mind which left Penelope with no choice. And so Cheryl was admitted into the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. When Toni came knocking on the door of Thistlehouse the following day in search of Cheryl, Penelope told her that Cheryl was gone at an all girls boarding school in Switzerland. She claimed that Cheryl had left the night before though Toni wasn't buying it. Nonetheless, Penelope demanded that she never come by again before shutting the door in her face.
Since they had barged their way into Thistlehouse, Penelope allowed Toni, Josie and Veronica to ask whatever questions they may have had. They immediately demanded to know Cheryl's whereabouts. When Penelope refused to answer, Josie threatened to have her mom tell the Sheriff about Cheryl's disappearance. Hoping to avoid any unwanted attention, Penelope complied. She revealed that the truth was that Cheryl had begun to exhibit strange, deviant behavior. So, she was sent abroad to a private wellness institute where they were trying to help her. In case they didn't believe her, Penelope gave them a drawing of Cheryl's that depicted her and Josie together, which strongly resembled the drawing that Chuck Clayton had supposedly drawn of Josie. This meant that it wasn't Chuck who threatened Josie and sent her a pig's heart, rather it was Cheryl, who had grown obsessed with her. Penelope supposedly feared that Cheryl would either hurt Josie, herself or both of them.
The next day, before leaving, Penelope told Nana Rose to behave herself while she was out. She had been fed and taken to the water closet. If Rose had to go to the bathroom, Penelope instructed her to hold it until she returned. In the meantime, Rose was to watch her programs.
With it now being a matter of her safety, Kevin told Cheryl that he has to recast her role as he had been getting letters from someone claiming to be the Black Hood. However, Cheryl refused to succumb to be ousted from the production. After the fires she's walked through, the world needed to see her up on stage. A Dark Phoenix reborn in the spotlight, so to speak. Unfortunately for Cheryl, that wouldn't happen, not if her Penelope had anything to say about it. Penelope informed Cheryl that students require parental approval to participate in extracurricular activities, as she reminded Mr. Weatherbee when she told him that Cheryl didn't have her permission to do the musical. Cheryl asked why her mother was doing this to her. Penelope replied that Cheryl's desire to play Carrie, a murderous telekinetic teen who kills her mother, was nothing more than a matricidal revenge fantasy.
Penelope heard the door open while alone at Thistlehouse. She initially thought it was Claudius, but learned that it was actually Cheryl, who had covered herself in blood while holding lit candles. She approached Penelope and told her that she's covered in Jason and Clifford's blood. The next blood to be spilled is Penelope's. Penelope is confronted for being in cahoots with Claudius, for trying to kill Nana Rose and shipping Cheryl off to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Penelope's depraved gambits end here. If she ever tried to harm Nana Rose again, Cheryl threatened to end her. She burned one house down, she'll gladly do it again. When Penelope asked what Cheryl wanted from her, Cheryl said she wanted Thistlehouse to herself and Nana Rose. So she told Penelope to start packing as she and Claudius are no longer welcome.
The town gathers for Midge's funeral to pay respect. Cheryl sings a song in Midge's honor. She and the rest of the River Vixens are dressed in all-black cheerleader uniform. Midge's death has seemingly taken a great toll on Riverdale, Mrs. Klump and Moose especially. Penelope stands alongside Claudius as the service commences.
A clandestine meeting is arranged between Penelope and Claudius, Hiram in one of the old barns on the Thornhill estate. Penelope checks outside after they hear a noise by the door, but she discovers nothing. Little does she know that Cheryl is hiding in a barrel.
Penelope confronts Cheryl after receiving a letter of separation. She insults Nana Rose, referring to her as a senile crone, who couldn't possibly be a better guardian by Penelope's account. As Cheryl prepares to leave to take goods to the Whyte Wyrm, Penelope informs her that she can't go to the Wyrm tonight because Sheriff Minetta is raiding the bar. And if things turn violent and some Serpents end up shot, so much the better.
The next evening, on the other side of town, at the Whyte Wyrm, Hiram calls a meeting with all his accomplices i.e. Penelope, Claudius, Penny, Malachai and Sheriff Minetta. It's been months in the making but the time has finally arrived. Hiram welcomes them all to New Southside. Penelope asks about Hermione, who Hiram explains can't be privy to certain machinations now that she's mayor. But the plan remains the same. The prison will soon be up and operational, with Claudius' drugs running through it. "Like brother, like brother", Penny comments. Malachai and his Ghoulies will be their soldiers and dealers, with Penny troubleshooting. And hopefully, doing a better job than she did of killing Jughead, Hiram remarks. However, as Penny explains, he wasn't breathing when they left him. Penelope reminds Hiram that he promised her a brothel, which Hiram intends to make good on. As for Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica, they are not of concern as far as Hiram is concerned as steps have been taken to tear them apart.
Penelope attends a meeting arranged by Hermione at Town Hall. Sierra, Fred, Hiram, FP and Alice are all in attendance. They made a vow in high school. Now that the Scout is back, safe and sound, they can only assume that he'll start talking. And that whatever he says might lead back to them. To the secret that they buried all those years ago. This hasn't been made public yet, but Hermione reveals that but Dilton Doiley and Ben Button were found in the woods with blue lips. Dilton is dead. Ben is in a coma. Sierra asks why she and Hiram haven't simply called in Sheriff Minetta to make this go away. They would like to but Jughead found the body and that's the concern. While FP and Alice talked with Jughead and Betty and told them to stop chasing this, they both know the kids will likely continue. Tom reminds everyone that they made a pact to never revisit that night. Not to mention it, not to even think about it. His vote is they stick to that. Unfortunately, they might not have that luxury. Not if it's happening again. Not if it's their children. All their children are in danger.
Editor's Note: The events that transpire in Chapter Thirty-Nine: The Midnight Club take place during a flashback set in the 90's of Alice, FP, Fred, Sierra, Hermione, Penelope, Marty, Daryl, Hiram, and Tom in their junior year of high school.
Junior year of high school. A young Penelope Blossom is a hall monitor for Riverdale High. She enters the restroom to find Alice, Sierra and Hermione. She ask for their hall passes, but only Sierra has hers. When Penelope looks to Alice for her pass, Alice replies that it’s up her ass. Penelope retorts by asking if Alice was born with that mouth or if it’s something that south side mothers taught their bastard babies. This leads to a brawl between Alice and Penelope.
Penelope is given Saturday detention for the fight, along with Alice, and Sierra. FP and Fred are also given detention for streaking. Gathered in that classroom, they are strangers more than friends. Eight hours. Six people with seemingly nothing in common. Alice Smith — The Bad Girl. Hermione Lodge — The Rebelling Catholic. Penelope Blossom — The Teacher's Pet. Fred Andrews — The Artist/Athlete. Sierra McCoy — The Political Animal. And FP Jones — The Lady’s Man. He was different back then. Trying to be something other than what he was. But he was still trouble. As detention commences, Principal Featherhead lays down the rules and tells them that at the end of the day, they will all turn in a one thousand word essay as to why they’re in detention. He then leaves the class.
Two hours have passed and not much is said. Alice sits near the window, carving her initials into the window seal with her knife. Fred asks her to stop, but this doesn’t go over well. Penelope seems to be the most bothered by their bickering. Tom Keller then sneaks into the detention room to see Sierra as they are a couple. Fred questions just how long this relationship has been going on given that he had no idea of it. He notes that they’ve all been going to the same school since kindergarten and still know nothing about each other. Penelope answers that the reason for this is that none of them are friends. Sierra mentions that they have six more hours to kill and no one to impress so she suggests a round of Secret and Sins.
During a game of Secret and Sins, the detentionees all share their deepest, darkest secrets. Penelope reveal the Blossoms are terrible people and that she’s not an actual Blossom. Penelope grew up at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy orphanage. When she has eight, the Blossoms came and asked to see all the red-headed children. After leaving with them, the next thing Penelope knows, she is being groomed to first be Clifford’s sister and then later his life companion. Every second away from them is a relief. Hermione questions why Penelope is still living there, to which she replies the Blossoms are her family. Hermione explains that that’s not the meaning of family and it’s basically incest. This angers Penelope, who insults Hermione’s mother, which leads to a physical altercation between the girls.
Once the girls have been separated, Principal Featherhead reprimands everyone. Their sentence has been upped from one Saturday detention to four. However, little by little, the six of them grow to become unlikely friends. Then comes the first cold rain of the season, when Hermione decides to break into the teacher’s desk to recover her belongings that were taken by the teacher. Inside the desk, they find everything Mrs. Krabappel has confiscated over the years, including Gryphons and Gargoyles.
The six of them decide to play together. The person with the manual, in this case, Penelope, is the game master and is therefore responsible for guiding them through quests until they ascend to the next level. But first, they pick their characters. Alice — The Sorceress. Hermione — The Thief. Sierra — The Siren. FP — Deadeye. And lastly, Fred — The Radiant Knight. Alice is first to pick a quest card and roll the dice, which is how it all begins. Long after that Saturday detention, the six of them continue to play the game, in what seems to be a maddening obsession. Penelope suggests taking the game off the board and into the real world. She reveals a quest known as "The Wedding Stone", that requires pairs. Penelope pairs FP with Hermione and Alice with Fred. She hid a gemstone from Thornhill in the school. First pair to find it and show it to Sierra get to keep it. Once the others are gone, Sierra wonders why Penelope chose those specific pairings. Penelope reasons that she’s in the mood for chaos.
Penelope, Fred, Alice, FP, Sierra, and Hermione play for weeks, sneaking into school, late at night. After class, Sierra leaves the classroom window cracked so that she and the others can sneak back in after hours. They dub themselves "The Midnight Club". Eventually, they abandon the board, acting out their quests and adventures in the real world. The six of them dress up in medieval costumes they found in the theater department. It is during this time, Fred and Hermione become romantically involved. As Hermione, Fred, Alice, FP, Sierra, and Penelope proceed throughout the halls of Riverdale High on their latest quest, they run into Hiram Lodge, Tom Keller, Marty Mantle, and Daryl Doiley, also playing Gryphons and Gargoyles. They have been for about a week. Daryl found it in the restricted section of the library. They decide to join forces and play a bigger game.
One day, all ten of them, Penelope, Alice, FP, Fred, Sierra, Hermione, Marty, Daryl, Hiram, and Tom find strange invitations in their lockers to the detention room that night to rise to the challenge and ascend to the next level. That night, the Midnight Club attends the ascension party. They must find the chalices, flip the gryphon coin for their fate and drink from the chalice to meet their destiny. Before starting, to make things more enjoyable, Hiram takes a new drug known as fizzle rocks. He shares them with everyone. As the game begins, Daryl commends Penelope for coming up with the ascension party, but Penelope claims that it was not her doing.
The festivities begin with an impromptu performance by the Fred Heads, normally just Fred and FP, but Alice, Sierra, and Hermione perform with them as Penelope, Marty, Daryl, Hiram and Tom party, high off the drugs.
That night, during the party, Fred’s dad dies. Fred finds him when he gets home. By the time Mr. Andrews’ funeral comes around a few days later, Principal Featherhead has also been declared officially missing. Penelope, Hermione, Alice, Fred, FP, and Sierra sit in a booth at Pop’s following the service. Fred blames himself for not being there but as FP and Hermione explain, there’s nothing he could’ve done and beating himself up will change nothing. Penelope states that between this and Featherhead going missing, they’re all on edge. It’s that statement that leads Alice to reveals that she saw Featherhead the night of the ascension party. No one else saw him, however. Penelope grabs Alice’s hand aggressively and tells her that she didn’t see anything. She doesn’t want to be blamed considering they were doped up and trespassing the same night Featherhead disappeared. So, they are all to keep this a secret.
The rumors regarding principal Featherhead’s disappearance spread like wildfire. A week has passed since Featherhead went missing. As it turns out, he was in the school the entire time. Dead and locked in a supply closet. His lips blue.
The Midnight Club gather to discuss Featherhead’s death. Alice informs them that there was blue liquid in the chalices when she found them. Featherhead had blue lips and the police said he had poison in his system. Alice questions what they did to him though they deny any wrong doing. And this begins the endless blame game between all members of the Midnight Club. Alice dismisses any notions of wrongdoing and then looks to Fred to join her in going to the cops though he still seems distracted by his father’s death. When Penelope exclaims that they’re not going to the cops, Alice accuses her of poisoning the chalices when she set up the game, however, it wasn’t Penelope or Daryl. Alice recalls the chalices just sitting there, meaning whoever invited them to the party was trying to kill one or more of them. Sierra wants to destroy the game so that it can’t be traced back to them. FP suggests destroying the manuals and scattering everything else. The Midnight Club then spits on their hands and make a pact to never speak of Gryphons and Gargoyles ever again.
After getting rid of G&G, they returned to their normal lives and go their separate ways. Burdened by their guilt, they all become different people. Penelope relinquishes any reluctance she may have had and agrees to be Clifford’s life partner, telling him that she wants to live in Thornhill forever because the world outside is too dangerous.
Penelope, along with every other member of the Midnight Club, receives a invitation from who they believe to be the Gargoyle King, asking that they all meet at La Bonne Nuit. However, they soon discover that the invitations were sent by Betty as a means to get them all together and force the truth out of them regarding Gryphons and Gargoyles and the Gargoyle King. Betty wants to start with Warden Norton, who was also the RROTC instructor at Riverdale High twenty five years ago.
Hermione decides to indulge Betty. Betty wants to know who poisoned the chalice. Hermione informs her that given the fact that the Game Master is responsible for setting up the game, her instinct is telling her that the culprit is Penelope. Hermione suspects that she grew the poison in her greenhouse. However, as Penelope explains, you can’t grow cyanide. Penelope then reveals that Darryl Doiley poisoned the chalices. Both he and Penelope were Game Masters. He was secretly in love with her and wanted the two of them to ascend together. But, Penelope said no. She assumed the chalices were emptied afterward but clearly they were not. Years later, Darryl came to Penelope, riddled with guilt and seeking comfort. Penelope refused him again given that they were both married with families. She was also afraid of revisiting that night. Darryl left. The next day, he was found dead in his garage, with the engine to his car running and windows up. Betty isn’t buying Penelope’s story. Even if this is true, that doesn’t explain who the current Gargoyle King is.
Penelope meets back up with Betty at the speakeasy, during which time she requests that Betty call her auntie. Given that Darryl Doiley actually died of Oleander poisoning rather than carbon monoxide poisoning as initially reported, Betty asks if Penelope grows that in her greenhouse. Even if Penelope wanted to poison Darryl Doiley, she claims that she wouldn’t use Oleander as it leaves traces. She came to see Betty out of the kindness of her heart, but since Betty’s looking for someone to accuse, Penelope points her in the direction of her mother, Alice, who wrote the article reporting Darryl Doiley’s suicide.
Penelope, Alice, Hiram, and Hermione attend the school board meeting in Principal Weatherbee’s office. Penelope insists that the school be shut down until they know what is causing the seizures. Principal Weatherbee informs her that they’re taking as many precautions as they can. What they should be doing Penelope says is tracking down patient zero and running every possible test on them. Alice cuts Penelope off, stating that tonight’s discussion is about that fate of Riverdale High. Hiram interrupts as he is in favor of shutting down the school, as are most parents given the fact that five more kids have suffered seizures just that afternoon. Which is why Hermione will be signing an executive order shutting down Riverdale High until it is deemed safe. Veronica and Cheryl interrupt the meeting to reveal Hiram's master plan, the expansion his ever-growing drug empire, which now consists almost exclusively of Fizzle Rocks. Hiram decides to address all of Veronica's point, completely dismissing all claims. Penelope then comes to his defense, adding that the seizures supposedly also cause hallucinations, and this is worth noting given that Veronica is one of the infected. She then collapses to the floor and begins seizing. Hermione and Alice run to her to assist.
At Thistlehouse, Penelope is tied to a chair and drowned with maple syrup by Veronica and as an interrogation tactic. Penelope tells them that Hiram’s plans will turn Riverdale into something worthwhile. A place where they can all pursue their various enterprises, such as drug dealing and prostitution. Veronica demands specifics on how he plans to accomplish this. Penelope points out that he’s in bed with the mayor and there’s now no law enforcement in Riverdale. Making Hiram virtually unstoppable.
At the Pembrooke, Penelope and Claudius inform Hiram that the Sisters of Quiet Mercy asylum is up for auction. It appears to be a competitive situation with multiple bidders, including the Farm. Hiram however has other plans for the property, which doesn’t include Penelope’s brothel. The reason Hiram summoned them is because they need a new sheriff, and he’s nominated Claudius, who initially refuses as the last sheriff was killed, but is strong-armed into the position by Hiram.
After a call from Betty, Penelope agrees to meet her at Pop's. Betty asks if she’s one of those sickos who fantasize about serial killers. As a young woman, Penelope admits to having wrote letters to Jeffrey Dahmer. Betty now wants to know why Penelope has been posing as her mother while visiting Hal in prison, to which Penelope answers that it’s the only way for conjugal visits. Betty then asks if Penelope’s ever told her father about ascension night, which she has. As for why he told the lie, claiming that he was there for it, Penelope believes it’s as simple as self-aggrandizement.
After discovering that Claudius had died while in his cell, the Blossoms hold Claudius’ funeral at Thistlehouse. Penelope, Cheryl, Toni, and Nana Rose are in attendance. They are joined by Betty surprisingly. At the podium, Penelope states that Claudius was never welcomed to Riverdale and that this is likely why he killed himself.
As it turns out, Penelope has already moved forward with her brothel, setting up in a room at the Five Seasons. Unfortunately, Betty and Jughead stumble upon it while investigating Hiram's shooting. When Betty accuses Penelope of exploiting women, Penelope retorts that the women whom she chooses to employ aren’t victims. At the Maple Club, it is the men who suffer, as they specialize in domination. The ladies are making enough money to start new lives. While this may be true, Betty accuses Penelope of only helping herself, which she doesn’t deny. No one else has, Penelope explains. When she was eight years old, she was plucked from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy by the Blossom family. Jughead wonders if this could be motive and if Penelope killed the Sisters, though she claims to have done no such thing. Furthermore, it was the Monsignor who sold her, not the Sisters. As for Claudius, all Penelope knows is that he committed suicide. Even if it was murder, she maintains that it wasn’t her doing as she was right there at the Maple Club.
Betty returns to the Maple Club to confront Penelope for murdering Clifford and Claudius. Betty knows everything, how she faked Clifford’s hanging and lied to the police. Betty presents Penelope with the proof; Clifford’s autopsy, which states that he was poisoned by pufferfish venom. While Betty may think she knows what Penelope has done, Penelope wonders if Betty has ever questioned why. Betty surmises that it’s simply because Penelope’s a serial killer who poison people. Penelope corrects Betty in saying that she poisons men. She’s not admitting anything but they are the true poison. Clifford killed her son. Darryl was a Judas. And Claudius was a terrible man. He was responsible for all the seizures. Claudius was running a Fizzle Rocks operation from the Blossoms maple factory and dumping the runoff in Sweetwater River. The runoff from the manufacturing of the drug caused all the seizures, not the drug itself. As for why it only affected girls, not even Penelope had the answer to that. However, tests of Sweetwater Reservoir were ordered and faked. But Claudius had every intention on continuing to poison the town with drugs. Just because someone’s a horrible person, doesn’t give her the right to kill them, Betty says. However, Penelope disagrees. Moreover, Betty did just that by handing Chic over to the Black Hood. So, if Betty insists of turning Penelope in, she’ll gladly do the same to Betty.
Cheryl arrives at the Five Seasons and enters the Maple Club to confront her mother for her efforts to sabotage Cheryl’s admission to Highsmith. Cheryl spoke to the Headmistress, who enlightened her about a new policy that seems designed specifically to keep Cheryl from attending. Penelope admits that this was her doing. The harrowed halls of Highsmith shall not be polluted by someone of Cheryl’s alignment. Penelope calls her an aberration. With that, Cheryl’s attempts to blackmail her mother, stating that the alumni newsletter would be thrilled to profile a twice-widowed dominatrix with a proclivity for poison. However, with the hefty financial gifts that Penelope has bestowed open them over the years, she doubts they would care, and then tells Cheryl to accept that she will not be accepted into Highsmith.
Penelope, Tom, Sierra, Hermione, Fred, Marty, Alice, and FP meet at the Five Seasons to discuss the letters that they all received, demanding they finish Ascension Night. Hermione thought that FP caught the Gargoyle King. However, as FP explains, Tall Boy was only using the game as cover to deal drugs. He wasn’t the original Gargoyle King. The one who set up the chalices when they played in high school. Hermione is in disbelief that they’re actually taking these letters seriously, but Tom believes it to be in the best interest of the kids. Alice, much like Hermione, is against playing, as she reminds everyone what happened last Ascension Night. Featherhead ended up dead. However, as far as Penelope is concerned, they don’t have a choice. They all know why this is happening again; two members of the original Midnight Club are daring to get married, and the Gargoyle King wants to destroy that. If they don’t finish the game now, the Gargoyle King may never leave them alone. FP agrees, and hopefully, in playing, they can catch the Gargoyle King. Sierra informs them that the problem with this is that it says all members have to participate, which includes Hiram, who Hermione will retrieve. With that, they collectively decide to finish the game.
Penelope catches Cheryl and Toni sneaking around the Maple Club room, though not before Toni gets a few snaps. Penelope refuses to allow the girls to jeopardize her business. Cheryl demands that her mother step down from the Highsmith college board and revoke her ban on Cheryl’s admittance, otherwise, Cheryl and Toni will go public with the photos they’ve taken. Penelope isn’t concerned as she isn’t ashamed of her work. Penelope informs Cheryl that blackmail is far more illegal than anything that goes on in the Maple Club. Toni questions how Penelope’s clients will feel once she and Cheryl has published their names and photos.
The Midnight Club reunites one final time to finish what they started at Ascension Night. Penelope, Alice, FP, Fred, Tom, Sierra, and Marty sneak into the school through the window after hours. They decide to start the game by finding the chalices. Then they’ll flip for their fate and drink from the cups. Penelope has brought with her the antidote for cyanide. She gives everyone a vile to take, which will inoculate them for the next several hours. Hermione and Hiram, who now walks with a cane, join the others, though few are happy to see Hiram. They separate to find the chalices. Penelope then screams out in horror, gaining the rest of the Midnight Club’s attention. On the projector screen written in what appears to be blood is "Got You". And on the desk sits a bloody skull. They realize that they’ve been played. It’s just another iteration of the game. What the Gargoyle King wanted all along, to distract them and lure them all away from their kids. They all frantically grab their phones to call the kids. Penelope calls Cheryl to tell her to keep her bow close as the Gargoyle King may be after them. Everyone’s accounted for with the exception of Kevin, which worries Tom, and so Penelope asks Cheryl if she knows where Kevin is.
Penelope attends the school musical, Heathers. The musical ends with Betty, Jughead, Archie, Sweet Pea, Toni, Reggie, Josie, Veronica, Cheryl, Kevin, Evelyn, and Fangs on stage singing "Seventeen". As the musical concludes, Edgar Evernever rises from the audience, clapping slowly and very dramatic-like. He is joined by over a dozen members of the Farm, who are all wearing white and join in on the slow clap.
Penelope manages the Maple Club when FP and Jughead come barging in to questions Penelope regarding the matchbook found in Baby Teeth’s throat. Penelope claims they’re complimentary. She also recalls Baby Teeth stopping by a few nights ago with some friends. Baby Teeth supposedly left the Maple Club alive. Penelope’s girl Rosemary fulfilled his fantasy. A loud commotion is heard from the back room. FP, Jughead, and Penelope decide to investigate. They find a deranged man growling and foaming at the mouth. He lunges at FP with a glass shard, though FP manages to knock him out and apprehend him. After locking him up in the cruiser, Jughead and FP asks if there’s anything that Penelope and Rosemary can tell them about the man. They claim his name is Martin, but everyone uses aliases, and he likes to take Fizzle Rocks to enhance the experience, but this time was different. He started freaking out.
When FP and Jughead return, Penelope and Rosemary inform them that some rowdy, rich kids showed up, stirring up trouble. None of them appeared to be on G. They seemed to be there just to kill time as they were supposed to meet someone in the lobby. But the guy never showed. One of the troublemakers got a call, which sounded like a supplier who wanted to reschedule. He said something about a fight and Rosemary found a flyer to the Gilded Gloves fight tournament.
Penelope learns from Betty that Alice is getting married to Edgar Evernever and that Edgar plans to adopt the twins, Penelope’s grandchildren. Polly, Alice, and Cheryl made their decisions, but the twins are helpless. Betty reminds Penelope that she knows what it is like to be adopted into a family that only wants to control you. Having taken this all in, Penelope agrees to help. Together, she and Betty infiltrate the Farm’s compound, where Penelope negotiated the freedom of Dagwood. She gets the boy, but the Farm will keep Juniper. Those were the only terms they would agree to despite Penelope’s threats to come after the Farm. Betty explains that they’re twins and that they shouldn’t be separated. Furthermore, Edgar isn’t their father. But, as Penelope points out, Polly is their mother, meaning it’s her decision. Penelope remarks that it was a miracle that they were even able to get one child, referring to Dagwood as Jason Jr.
After escaping the Farm barefoot, dressed in nothing more than a hospital gown, Toni manages to make it back to Thistlehouse, where she informs Penelope of the Farm’s harvest program and how Cheryl, Betty, Kevin, and Fangs are in trouble. Unfortunately, Penelope does not prove to be the savior that Toni had hoped she would be. Instead, Penelope drugs Toni, knocking her unconscious and taking this information with her.
Evelyn interrupts Edgar just as he is about to begin his procedure on an unconscious Betty, to inform him of Penelope’s arrival. Penelope makes it known that she’s fully aware of Edgar’s harvest program, and while she has no interest in exposing his illegal activities, she does however want Betty.
After recovering Betty and laying her in the bedroom, Penelope has sent out invitations to Archie, Veronica, and Jughead to meet at Thornhill's Nature Preserve. As Betty awakens and joins them downstairs, Penelope explains to Betty that she bought her from Edgar just before he was about to cut her open. To Betty’s right, stands Sister Agatha Woodhouse, with a loaded gun. Apparently, she is in cahoots with Penelope. She was one of Penelope’s mentors who cared for her when she was at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. It was she who taught Penelope everything she knows about poisons. Betty pieces together that the nuns who she had previously found dead in the chamber with blue lips must’ve been Sister Woodhouse’s doing. Penelope states that the sisters were simply looses ends. Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead on the other hand are featured players. The sons and daughters of the original Midnight Club.
There are two more seats at the table that sit empty. Penelope calls in the two remaining guests, the Black Hood and the Gargoyle King. The Black Hood rips off his hood, and as suspected, it’s Hal Cooper. Before the Gargoyle King takes off his mask, Penelope gives Jughead a chance to guess his identity. Whoever is under the mask must’ve had a connection to both Hal and Penelope, but it’s not Jason because he’s dead, even though his corpse is missing. The one corpse that hasn’t been accounted for, who was last seen by the Black Hood, is Chic. The Gargoyle King unmasks, and as Jughead suspected, Chic is the Gargoyle King, though he has dyed his hair red since their last encounter. Jughead surmises he did this only after he started working with Penelope, but this was also after he got the Gargoyle symbols tattooed on his back. This is why Ethel said the Gargoyle King was Jason. Because Penelope called and dressed Chic up like Jason. Hal explains to Betty that he didn’t kill Chic because he recognized a kinship in him and spared him. He begged for mercy and pledged his life to Hal in service of his mission. But it wasn’t just Hal’s mission. He started working with Penelope, who also has a grudge against Riverdale.
Betty recalls the affair her father had with Penelope in the middle of the Black Hood attacks last year. Penelope takes credits for cultivating Hal’s murderous impulses in order to take her revenge on a town that allowed her to be sold to the Blossoms as a child bride. Their parents knew, but they did nothing but mock her. And years later, when Jason was murdered, none of them even reached out to her. Riverdale is a cruel and hideous place by Penelope’s account. She and the Black Hood were on a mission to exterminate the town’s sinners, and they were doing well until Hal was arrested. But that’s when Chic came to Penelope in search of purpose. And so, with Chic, she decided to continue her work, but instead with the Gargoyle King. Penelope introduced G&G to their parents 25 years ago and reintroduced it this year to Chic, who gave it to Ben Button, who started playing with Dilton Doiley and Ethel Muggs. From there, the game spread like a virus. This whole time, the true mastermind behind it all, the true king, Jughead says, is Penelope. Now, it’s time for one final round, with them, the Midnight Children, as she refers to them. It’s to reveal their true nature. To prove they’re as dark-hearted as the town that birthed them. If they win, they escape. If they lose, they die.
Penelope takes Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead into the woods, where she presents them with their task. They must go into the woods and survive the night. Each of them will be tested. Should they refuse her test or try to escape, her Gargoyle minions, the Gargoyle Gang, will kill them. With that, the final quest begins. Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead head deep into the woods, intent on completing this final quest and proving Penelope wrong.
Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead find the next quest. On a table sits six chalices. Each filled with Gargoyle blood. This quest is for Veronica, the Enchatress. She must choose her closest companion, and they will take turns spinning the bottle and drinking from the chosen chalice, though one of the chalices contain a lethal, rapid acting venom. Should they refuse, they’ll all be killed. Given the fact that she and Veronica are best friends, Betty volunteers. eronica spins first, and from there, she and Betty take turns spinning the bottle, each time taking a sip from one of the six chalices. It’s Betty’s turn when it comes down to the last chalice, which must be the lethal, rapid acting venom. Before Betty can drink from the chalice, Veronica snatches the cup from her hand and drinks it instead because she cares that deeply for Betty. Penelope appears with two armed Gargoyles at her side. She reveals that this was a character challenge. A test towards Veronica’s loyalty. However, all the chalices were poisoned, though they’re slow acting, and the only way to get the antidote is to finish the game.
Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead have reached the final quest. Betty’s quest. She and Jughead express their love for one another before starting the quest. Betty finds a black box tied with a red bow. Inside is a load gun with one bullet. The Black Hood then appears. He rips off his hood and tells Betty that this has to end. Hal tells Betty that she must kill him. It’s her destiny. He then pulls out his gun and points it at her. either she kills him and gets the antidote or he kills her and her friends. He counts down from three, leaving Betty with no other option. She fires, but rather than killing her father, she simply shoots off his fingers, as she’ll never be like him. Hal falls to the ground in pain, with his gun just a few feet away. Penelope calls an end to all of it. Hal has outlived his usefulness, and so Penelope pulls out her gun and shoots Hal in the head. Jughead and Veronica console a grief-stricken Betty as Archie claims their prize and retrieves the antidote. Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead won. They survived the night and proved they are better than the town. Nevertheless, Penelope sentences them to death, instructing her minions, the Gargoyle gang, to kill them.
At Thistlehouse, Cheryl awakens to find her mother, father, brother, and her Nana Rose standing at the end of her bed. Penelope has Julian in hand, explaining that they’ve come to give Julian Cheryl’s body.
Cheryl pretends to commit suicide in order to lure out whoever has been gaslighting her into thinking that she's going crazy. She sets off several roach bombs, with gas potent enough to kill anything that crawls within Thistlehouse's walls. As the house is consumed with smoke, Penelope emerges from behind the hidden compartment in the wall to find Cheryl wearing a red gas mask. Penelope then passes out from the gas.
Penelope wakes up tied to a chair. In front of her sits Cheryl, Toni, Nana Rose, Jason, and Julian. Cheryl remembers when her mother used to read her Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland when she was a little girl. Penelope would ask if she was Alice. Cheryl would reply that she’s the Red Queen. As the Red Queen did to Alice, Cheryl is putting her mother on trial. She’s being charged with prolonged gaslighting to convince Cheryl that’s she’s crazy, attempting to murder Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, and actually murdering Clifford, Claudius, and Hal Cooper.
Despite her mother’s wicked machinations, Cheryl’s looking for a reason to spare her life. She wonders why her mother has always been so cruel to her. She was brutalized her entire life. To make matters worse, Penelope tried to kill her friends and then hid in Thistlehouse to keep torturing her. Penelope confesses that she wanted to destroy Cheryl’s happiness with Jason. How can she live knowing that Cheryl is happy with her dead son. She refuses to let Cheryl get what she can’t have. In that case, Cheryl rules that Penelope is guilty of being hateful to her rotten core. Rather than executing Penelope or sending her to jail, Cheryl has plans of sending her somewhere so vile that she’ll wish to be bricked up in Thistlehouse’s walls.
Penelope awakens in an underground bunker. It’s better than what she would’ve gotten at Shankshaw. Cheryl is providing her mother with time and solitude to seek penance for her crimes and cruelty. She then exits the bunker and locks her mother inside.
While locked in the bunker, Penelope is approached by Cheryl and Veronica, who offers Penelope a change of venue so long as she’s obliged to play by their tightly coiled rules. They take Penelope back to the Five Seasons, where they have turned her brothel into a social club offering high end maple-centric liquor. They need Penelope as a full time, live-in manager. Business is good at the Maple Club. Veronica and Cheryl discuss how word is spreading fast. Penelope asks if the mask she’s forced to wear is absolutely necessary. Cheryl explains that it’s the only way they can keep her identity secret. And should Penelope try to run away, the ankle monitor and proximity sensor Toni put on Penelope will start screeching.
At the Five Seasons, Veronica and Cheryl begin distribution to the college crowd as planned. Jinx Malloy of the Malloy family arrives at the Maple Club with his sons Hunter, Ray, and Paul after learning that the Red Raven was cutting into his profits. The Malloys have been running a maple moonshine business for generations and the college scene is one of their most lucrative markets. He demands that they pull their product, but Veronica refuses, under the presumption that they’re employed by her father. Penelope Blossom stands in the doorway, uttering not even so much as a word.
Veronica is awakened from her sleep by Cheryl, who demands that she meet her at the Maple Club. Veronica arrives to find the Maple Club in complete chaos. They were raided by the Malloys. Penelope was sleeping in her secret room behind the office and heard the door being kicked in. Veronica assures them that she’ll deal with it, certain that this is her father’s doing.
Penelope is an attractive middle-aged woman with tan skin, red hair, and light brown eyes. She is of medium height and a thin build. With the Blossoms being the most wealthy family in Riverdale, it should be a surprise to no one that she dresses very classy and has expensive taste. She suffered severe third-degree burns after Cheryl burned down the Thornhill and she ran back in to save the family portrait. After she was released from the hospital, she now wears a black, arm-length glove on her left arm to hide her burn scars.
Penelope is cunning, cold-hearted, calculating, manipulative, and vicious. Despite her apparent love for her son, Jason, and her husband, Clifford, Penelope seems to despise Cheryl, constantly treating her terribly, in a very unmotherly manner. Verbal abuse is a common theme in reference to Penelope's treatment of her own daughter. She's also been shown to be manipulative towards Cheryl, as well as others, such as Archie Andrews, who she bribed into escorting Cheryl to their family's tree tapping. Penelope is shown to have a highly homophobic attitude towards Cheryl's sexuality, as shown when she had her taken to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy for conversion therapy. Much like her deceased husband, she is a murderous psychopath and a serial killer, who murders men in cold blood, by poisoning them, showing her to be an extremely sinister woman who is willing to resort to diabolical methods to achieve her immoral aims.
In spite of all this, Penelope has a softer side, generally displayed whenever Jason is involved. She cried many of times following his death, as the passing of her son was too much to bear, leaving her deeply saddened. Penelope finally opened up to her daughter after Cheryl approached her with the memory of the Sugarman, which was a real-life drug dealer that Penelope turned into a concocted story in order to combat an all-too-real monster. Penelope revealed that she protected both Cheryl and Jason from the grasp of the Sugarman, who would occasionally visit Thornhill.
The relationship between Penelope and her husband, Clifford, was easily defined as an unhappy marriage, although they were often seen together. After Jason's death, their relationship became even more strained, but they continued to stand by each other, more so during the investigation, even working together to compile their own list of suspects. However, after it was revealed that Cliff was actually the one responsible for the death of their son and that he had merely framed FP, he hanged himself in the barn, leaving Penelope widowed.
How dare you, Alice Cooper! Printing my son's autopsy? He was tortured and shot, and thrown in the river like a piece of garbage.
— Penelope scolding Alice for printing Jason's autopsy[src]
The relationship between Penelope and her son Jason is mostly shrouded in mystery. It is currently unclear exactly how close they were before his death, but Penelope was devastated to learn of her son's murder. Notably, Jason was the family heir, who according to Cheryl was the golden boy. So it can be presumed that he was looked favorably on by his mother. Unfortunately, nearing Jason's death, their relationship seemed to have tarnished as Jason was set to leave Riverdale with his then pregnant fiancé Polly Cooper, going so far as to fake his own death in order to be rid of his parents.
Enough! Both of you! This is why Jason is dead. Because of this pointless, stupid fighting. We were supposed to be together, and you didn't let us have that, either of you. And you know what, it cost Jason his life.
— Polly to Penelope and Alice on their relationship.[src]
Penelope and Alice both grew up in Riverdale, where they eventually became rivals, dating at least as far back to their days as students at Riverdale High School, during which time they were consistently at each other's throats. Their interactions have been known to turn physical, proven when Penelope slapped Alice across the face at the Taste of Riverdale for her hand in publishing Jason's autopsy. Their hate is also tied to each other's family history, as the Cooper Family and the Blossom Family despise one another. After discovering Polly and Jason's relationship, this made matters worse for both families, as they tried to break the couple up, but they failed to do so as it was later revealed that Polly was pregnant. Little did Alice know that when she was marrying into the Cooper family, she was marrying into the Blossom family as well, as they are one bloodline that separated many years ago after one Blossom brother killed another.
Penelope and Hermione were both raised in Riverdale, and they've been rivals since the two of them were students at Riverdale High School, which is a rivalry that carries on to this very day. The two rarely cross paths with each other, but when they do, the result is hardly every pleasant. However, they do have one thing in common, they are both a part of two of the wealthiest families in Riverdale. Their two families even engaged in a past business deal, which resulted in monthly payments dating back 75 years from Blossom Maple Farms to Lodge Industries, that is up until Hiram Lodge's arrest.