Rivervale got a serious haunting in Riverdale season 6, episode 2, “Ghost Stories.”
Riverdale took the creep factor to the next level in season 6, episode 2, as the episode juggled three separate “ghost stories.” A ghost from Reggie’s past caused some tension between Veronica and Reggie, Jughead and Tabitha endured a typical house haunting, and Betty, Toni and Cheryl dealt with a literal mother of ghosts, La Llorona.
While I wasn’t sold on the horror in the Riverdale season 6 premiere, I thought they nailed it in this episode. Maybe they needed an episode to establish the Rivervale tone, or maybe ghosts just feel right at home in the already weird world of Riverdale, but either way this perfectly executed haunting made me even more excited for what Rivervale has to offer.
It was Betty who sold the scare for me during the ritual sacrifice, and she brought it home for me again in Riverdale season 6, episode 2. It was truly horrifying seeing La Llorona come for her unborn child that she’d sacrificed Archie for, with Betty waking up to a bloody handprint on her stomach. Lili Reinhart seriously needs to star in a horror movie ASAP.
This was among many other expertly shot scenes that looked like they could have been straight out of a Paranormal Activity movie. I loved when La Llorona ominously emerged from the lake, the chaos of the hallway scene with Toni desperate to reach her, and the séance. Equally impactful was that terrifying mirror scene with Tabitha, Diane, and that hammer that just wouldn’t stay away.
Some aspects of the storyline were slightly less satisfying, beginning with…the beginning. During a serpent/ghoulie match rivaling the Capulets and Montagues, Toni straight up killed a guy and suffered zero legal consequences. I guess when you’re in a gang, it’s more worthwhile to summon a river demon than to go to the police with your murder woes.
I also was consistently confused by the Veronica and Reggie storyline in Riverdale season 6, episode 2. This was the exception to the episode, in that I don’t believe Reggie was actually being visited by the ghost of Isabella, but merely remembering her fondly through the car.
At face value, all of the drama in this storyline appears to be made of misunderstandings. For every lie, there was forgiveness, and for every “you’re having an inappropriate relationship with this car who represents the woman who abused you” accusation, there was a “my dad just died and she was the only adult I could trust.”
While Reggie claims that Isabella, a known predator, didn’t have a sexual relationship with him and was simply there for him, it’s entirely possible, and I’d say likely, that he remembers her being there for him as an adult while she was also having an inappropriate relationship with him.
All of the dialogue between Reggie and Veronica seemed so strained. I didn’t understand exactly where Veronica’s discomfort was coming from, and Reggie didn’t seem to care to implore. When Reggie’s dad died, Veronica said “it’s just you and me, as it should be,” which seems more like a claim from a jealous woman than a condolence from a loving one. Even in the end, Reggie’s words said that everything was okay, but his body language, and the fact that he proceeded to imagine Isabella in the car, said something very different.
With the tension rising in this relationship, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t Veronica or Reggie that we lose in the next episode of Riverdale, since there seems to be a one-to-one ratio of episodes to bodies in this Rivervale series.
Jughead and Tabitha also had tons of tension mounting in Riverdale season 6, episode 2, but fortunately, it seemed to be diffused by the end of the episode. Although, now the characters are left wondering if their fight was a result of the ghosts, or of real issues, and I’m really not sure how some of that Betty stuff is going to slide. My heart broke for Tabitha (but silently squealed for Bughead) when she learned that Betty got to read the vomit drafts that he wrote on the typewriter he treasures because she gave it to him.
What I really liked about the Jughead and Tabitha scenes is that we’re clearly seeing two people who aren’t used to navigating an adult relationship but are figuring it out together. I thought they did a really good job of portraying that, and it was the most interested I’ve been in seeing this couple together.
Back to La Llorona, who began her reign of terror by attempting to drown Juniper and worked her way through the town to her true target, baby Anthony. We learned from a beautifully led séance with Cheryl and Nana Rose that she used to be a woman named Martha. She was blamed for several infant deaths in the town, so she was drowned with her children in Sweetwater River. It seems like Riverdale used to be really good at banding together and brutally murdering their problems.
La Llorona is now a spirit of vengeance that preys on young children. In this case, she was summoned by Darla Dickinson to do to Toni what Toni did to her. Take her child away.
I loved seeing Toni be an epic mom in this episode, doing whatever she could to protect her baby. Including, unfortunately, saving his life by taking Martha’s place as La Llorona. It’d be a lot more sad that Anthony had to grow up without Toni if I thought that any of this was going to matter in the future of Riverdale, but the gesture was still grand.
Betty learned that she was no longer with child due to La Llorona’s wrath, or as Dr. Curdle Jr. said, it may have been a “hysterical pregnancy.” I guess that’s what you get when your coroner is your OB-GYN. Luckily, a baby was up for grabs at the end of the episode, and Toni asked Betty to take care of baby Anthony.
Does this mean that Fangs is also dead? The serpents were looking pretty beat up, so we’ll have to wait and see. We also learned in this episode that the maple syrup is flowing freely thanks to Archie’s sacrifice, so it’s clear that each episode has consequences for the next. After Riverdale season 6, episode 2, I’m even more excited to see what’s to come!