Another one bites the dust. “Rivervale” has claimed its next victim on Riverdale Season 6 Episode 2.
The spirit of La Llorona spun the town into a frenzy, and it took a lot of upheavals for these characters to give up their ghosts. Some had it easier than others, while others couldn’t give it up just yet.
Rivervale is out for blood. And in this five-episode event series, this chapter was the most atmospheric horror yet.
“Chapter Ninety-Seven: Ghost Stories” focused on the spirit of La Llorona as the main baddie. If you’ve watched The Conjuring movies or one of the films about this urban legend, you will get a good sense of how dangerous the spirit can be.
La Llorona doesn’t play around when it comes to collecting her young victims.
Blending the legend with the lore of Rivervale worked because of the longstanding parent/child stories and what has been done in the separate Riverdale universe. We’ve had Alice over-protect her children, Hiram obsess over Veronica, and many other times where things have gone to extreme lengths.
It made sense that a deadly character like Darla Dickerson would turn to a vengeance spirit out of spite. She cared a lot about her sons, and the death of her youngest child would’ve pushed her over the edge.
Plus, it’s not out of the question for a villain to conjure up the spirits. Riverdale, on its own, has turned to brainwashing board games and keeping dead bodies.
We can’t fault Betty for initially not believing Toni and Lucinda. She had to use her judgment to solve cases, and she didn’t have much concrete proof that it was La Llorona.
The problem here, however, was that she had some early proof.
Cheryl fully told her that a sea witch tried to drown Juniper! Did she not care that her niece nearly got murdered?
Cheryl: Cousin, I need your mother to take the twins for a couple of days.
Betty: Okay, why?
Cheryl: Because some evil water nymph out of an M. Night Shyamalan movie is stalking the halls of Thornhill and threatening them. Will you let Alice know or shall I?
Betty: Ummm… [Stunned silence]
Betty could’ve avoided any mess La Llorona caused her had she listened to Cheryl in the first place. Her unborn baby with Archie wouldn’t have been taken as she’d be away from her house.
Betty believes in logic, so it aligns with her overall character. But after sacrificing Archie on Riverdale Season 6 Episode 1, I expected some room to consider a spirit.
At least with Nana Blossom and Cheryl, they dive right in with no questions asked.
I loved that the Blossoms became the defacto family for any supernatural and paranormal issues. Cheryl had everything ready to channel the spirits and conduct her seance. And she has a lot of respect for them.
Nana Blossom becoming possessed and choking on the water was an intense moment. If the group pushed more, she could’ve drowned channeling Martha; Cheryl had the good sense to know what she was doing.
The anticipation for her witchy crossover with Sabrina Spellman is so high!
Did you tear up when Toni became the latest Rivervale victim?
Sure, she didn’t die in the conventional sense, but becoming La Llorona is her version of undead immortality. It won’t be a happy eternity for her.
Toni: You can give it to me, and that way you’d be free.
La Llorona: Why would you offer that?
Toni: Because I would give up anything for my son. My life. But also because I killed another women’s child and I should be punished for that. But it should be me, not Baby Anthony. You’ve suffered enough, Martha. Let me take your place.
Her choosing to protect Anthony at all costs was a noble decision. Let’s face it: if she didn’t make the trade, La Llorona was taking Anthony. The spirit already claimed Betty’s unborn child and Sandra; Toni’s baby wasn’t out of the question.
It was an easy decision for her to protect her child. Though, there’s something more terrifying about her being cursed forever. It’s a nightmare that will never end.
Veronica and Reggie’s latest dating issues, like their past issues, could’ve been solved with some communication. All he needed to do was come clean about “Bella” and his focus on the car.
Veronica was more than open about him needing a distraction after his father was in the hospital. Plus, she knew how much he loved his high school car.
Veronica: I can stomach a lot, Reggie, but I will not allow you to romanticize an abusive relationship. She was an adult and she took advantage of you. And this sick obsession with your car is just a continuation of this toxic dynamic.
Reggie: We never did anything. She was the one adult I could trust; the only one I ever told about the abuse going on in my home. She listened to me. She helped me.
Rivervale is exposing some of the hurdles this couple needs to overcome.
Reggie might actually still love Miss Soprano, so his car could become an obsession. We’ll have to see if his ghostly rider pops up in future episodes or if this was his one-and-done spooky tale.
Their mystery felt like a cross between Stephen King’s Christine and Are You Afraid Of The Dark? Season 1 Episode 12 (“The Tale of the Prom Queen”).
It very much had a ghostly 1950’s aesthetic, and you couldn’t quite tell if the car was haunted or if it was all inside Reggie’s head. I lean more to the latter because it was a new car, and Reggie seemed to obsess over the idea of Miss Soprano instead of her being there.
Their scenes had more of Riverdale’s classic ’50s charm, like with the diner, the neon, and the music.
The choices were a pleasant touch because they added to the vibe of the spirit. And, it balanced out the two other ghosts stories that were darker and more depressing.
With Tabitha and Jughead’s story, they had the most intense plot. You could feel the hatred burning up between them as “Chapter Ninety-Seven: Ghost Stories” moved on.
Their issues were the most grounded because they dealt with stuff any couple would deal with. If two people can’t blend while living together, they’re not going to last as a couple.
I can’t put “Spirit of Vengeance” on my report.
Tabitha was completely in the right about her annoyances.
Jughead could’ve taken a few minutes to hang up those paintings or do anything around the apartment. And if they’ve talked about how to clean stuff, he shouldn’t be reminded.
Tabitha isn’t his caretaker. Jughead really rubbed me the wrong way with his attitude.
The apartment curse felt like Stephen King’s The Shining inspired it.
“Sam and Diane” were cheeky nods to the Cheers characters, but the tale of an obsessed writer with writer’s block and his partner trying to keep things together borrowed some stuff from that story. Also, Diane was the villain in this case, whereas it would’ve been Sam.
The hammer created a lot of anticipation. Whenever it randomly appeared or when Tabitha had a scary nightmare, it felt like she was one step closer to killing Jughead.
I was shocked she didn’t bash his head in. All the pieces were there for her to finish him off!
Rivervale seems to be toying with the themes of keeping us guessing who will die next. It’s an exciting twist because the obvious answer here would’ve been Jughead. Now we’ll be on our toes to find out who dies next.
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Archie’s milk cartoon photo confirms now that he really did die during the ritual.
Poor Toni. She didn’t plan to kill Danny Dickerson, but she’ll live with that guilt forever.
Jughead needs to let Tabitha into his process. The last thing he wants is for his girlfriend to compare herself against his ex.
Jughead not telling Tabitha about the murder-suicide in their apartment? Big red flag.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans.
What did you think of “Chapter Ninety-Seven: Ghost Stories”?
Who will be the next character to die? Are the dating troubles over for Reggie/Veronica and Tabitha/Jughead? What supernatural case will happen next?
If you missed the latest episode of Rivervale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.
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