Riverdale—er Rivervale—last week you did the unthinkable. You killed off the title character of their franchise, Archie Andrews. Yes, I know this is billed as a special event. Yes, I know that all can change when Riverdale returns in March but I also know from the many time travel shows that you do not mess with time and space continuums. That can cause everything changes. Wait! That’s not quite true! What if – wasn’t Jughead writing again? Could this be the story that he was creating? Remember I called this first.
So, let’s review. Cheryl has become either an avenging angel or a witch. I vote for witch since she has a coven behind her. She has been doing favors for the women of Rivervale and so far has helped Toni, Betty, Veronica, and Tabitha. Betty lost Archie but is supposedly pregnant. Veronica proved to Reggie that he is the only one that matters. Tabitha got rid of her apartment bugs (except Jug) and Toni’s baby got cured of colic. All they had to do was bring the maple trees back to life in Cheryl’s grove. But there are more spooky things to come and apparently more death.
Let’s get tonight’s “Ghost Stories” going, shall we? Oh, and everything goes Rivervale not Riverdale now (title card, sponsor announcement…).
As tonight’s episode opens Rod “Jughead Jones” Sterling opens again telling the story of Ghoulies and Serpents at war? Now that is a surprise. Knives are pulled and we have our first death with someone I don’t even know. Three months later, Toni is talking about the fight. She’s still upset over the battle and the young man’s death
Tabitha and Jughead — Story One (but not the main one)
Tabitha and Jughead are still living together and he is getting story ideas. Tabitha comes in from work to find her pictures not hung (which he promised to do). She doesn’t realize that Jughead forgets chores easily. She starts to hang the picture on the wall and knocks a hole in the sheetrock. On inspection, they find a room that is filled with “ships in bottles.” Jughead decides to use it for his writing.
Later at Pop’s (which is miraculous restored to normal), the real estate agent tells Tabitha the truth about the apartment. It belonged to Sam and Diane (a song here) who died in the apartment of murder/suicide. Looks like it is haunted folks! When Tabitha returns home, she confronts Jug with withholding that information. He’s found a picture and asks if she is worried about the ghosts. It seems Diane killed Sam with a hammer and Tabitha has a dream that one night while Jughead is writing, she repeats the story. The next morning, she yells at him for leaving the toothpaste uncapped and he mentions knocking on the walls that kept him awake. (Hey production, we needed to hear that knocking!)
Tabitha gets clumsy at work and drops dishes. She asks Pop if he believes in ghosts and he admits that the Chocolate Shop use to be haunted by a waitress who died there. Her ghost disappeared after all the windows were broken in the 1960s. Meanwhile Jughead spent the day trying to figure out the ships got in the bottle. Tabitha reminds him that he’s supposed to be writing and he says he was refueling his creative side (I do that writing recaps, reading and dreaming). The next morning, Tabitha takes a carton of milk (with Archie’s “missing” picture on it) and finds the hammer. She goes to talk to Jughead who is surprised by the hammer in her hand. He’s almost finished the book but won’t let her see it. Seems when she talks to Betty, she finds out that was not how he wrote when Betty was his muse.
Jughead has been out buying bottles. Tabitha has read the novel and is upset about the story of the wife who kills her husband because he left the top off the toothpaste. She smashes his ship building bottles and almost smashes Jug’s head. Before she can make that blow, she sees herself as Diane and stops. She tells him they can’t repeat the story and tells Jughead that she loves him. Jughead tells Tabitha that he loves her. They scare the ghosts away and close up the room
Reggie and Veronica – (story two but not the main story)
Veronica calls Reggie at the car lot. Reggie’s dad is seriously ill and not expected to make it. As Reggie gets ready to leave, an older model car (of course, just like the one he had in high school) comes in and he buys it for cash from its owner. Reggie sits in the car and a woman (of course that he knows) appears beside him in the seat. Oh, great – apparently another ghost. She disappears as Reggie gets another call from Ronnie asking why he isn’t home. He arrives home, needing a shower (the ghost did that to him! Amazing!).
The next day, Reggie is at the high school in the shop with the car. He gets a call and lies saying he’s at the hospital but gets busted. Ronnie shows up and Reggie explains that the car reminds him of Bella. He also tells her the story about high school life and the car. Ronnie seems to understand, and they decide to make love in the car at Pop’s. Only problem is that the Rivervale football team sees them,and Chuck Clayton gets told about it. He plans to ruin Ronnie’s good name with that. Wait, Ronnie’s good name? She clobbered Archie so they could sacrifice him and threatened her dear old dad. Reggie accuses Ronnie of being jealous of a car.
Ronnie sits down in the driver’s seat and lowers the visor. A picture of the real “Bella” drops out. Ronnie goes to Rivervale High to have it out with Reggie but accidentally bumps into Mr. Weatherbee. She drops the picture and he picks it up and tells her who the woman is. Bella was fired from Rivervale High due to inappropriate behavior. Ronnie confronts Reggie with this only to learn that Mr. Mantle has died. Bella did not have inappropriate behavior with Reggie (he says) and was his confidant (in more ways than one I bet). Ronnie gives him the keys to another 1964 Camaro (but not Bella). Reggie later gets in it and sees Bella in that car also. (He goes from talking to Ronnie about his father’s funeral, getting the car, to seeing a ghost.) Too much detail.
Toni (and Betty) versus La Llorona – The Main (and good, sad) Story
As the show opened, remember the battle I talked about. The boy killed was the son of Darla Dickinson (more on this later—just remember the name). During the opening 15 minutes, we see a character arise from the lake. It is La Llorona who lost children and now searches for them. To make amends, she apparently takes away children now from their uncaring mothers. All this happens as Nana Blossom and Cheryl celebrate the return of those (blasted) maple trees already growing tall and thanking Archie. As they celebrate, Dagwood comes and tells them that Juniper is in trouble. Cheryl breaks into the bathroom where Juniper is drowning in the bathtub. She saves her niece, but this is just the start of babies (almost) dying.
We then get a chatty scene of Betty and Kevin talking about her baby that will be named either Archie or Polly. Betty gets a call about a drowned child in a bathtub and Cheryl is there also seeking help with Juniper. Betty goes to the FBI and takes the case. Toni has been approached by Betty about the mother, Sandra, who doesn’t really know why her daughter drowned. She’s is being held because of bruising on her daughter’s shoulders from being held under water. Mom saw a figure in the bathroom as she entered and Toni finds out about La Llorna. A folklore character isn’t enough to keep the mother out of jail.
Just a quick note. I thought I had seen the word before. Checking Google, I found out that it’s from Latin America mythology and roams water looking for her children that she drowned. (This importance comes into focus as the episode plays out).
Toni does her research also and finds the story of La Llorna in a folklore book. She calls Betty who tells her that but it won’t be enough to get the mother out of jail. Toni tells her that the figure always searches for mothers who doesn’t love their children or done something to a child.
That night, Betty gets a visit from La Llorna who decides that Betty doesn’t deserve the child she is carrying. Betty wakes up to find her stomach flat and apparently no baby. She visits the doctor who tells her that she is no longer pregnant. The doctor thinks it was a hysterical pregnancy. (Hey doc! Maybe it was because she helped sacrifice the child’s dad to make the maple trees grow.)
Toni has noticed water (or maybe blood) dripping from her classroom’s ceiling. She goes into the hall and sees La Llorna standing there and knows that La Llorna seeks baby Tony. Toni grabs an axe to kill the spirit (that’s not how you get rid of ghosts, Toni) and, pulls the alarm so the students leave. La Llorna disappears as she swings the axe but not before scaring Toni who later gets a visit from child protection services. Toni has been turned in as a “bad” mother and the social worker knows that isn’t true. During the visit, La Llorna appears and tries to steal baby Tony who screams. Toni and the social worker find him on the floor.
Betty talks to Toni and Fangs about the places that La Llorna has been seen. Toni gives Fang’s the baby to be take to the Whyte Wurm to be cared for and protected by the Serpents while she visits Cheryl. At Cheryl’s, a seance occurs with Nana, Betty and Toni. La Llorna appears and takes over Nana (although we can see her). La Llorna plans to take baby Tony and almost makes Nana drown.
From the clues that Toni and Betty learn, they head back to the Whyte Wurm and find the Serpents lying on the floor and the baby gone. Fangs tell her that it was La Llorna and something about a grave. Toni realizes that all this is coming the from Darla’s son. They find Darla at the grave and she is the one who called the curse down on Toni. She had lost all of her sons and is doing this to punish Toni.
At the lake, Toni and Betty try to stop La Llorna from going into the lake with baby Tony. Toni pleas with her not to kill her child. Toni will give up anything for her child. She admits sending Darla’s son into battle and admits she should die for it. La Llorna gives Toni the baby who gives him a kiss. Toni hands the baby to Betty asking her to protect her son and tell him she loved him. She turns back to La Llorna who becomes a part of Toni. As the ghost heads to the water, Betty sees the face of Toni for the ghostly figure. Let me just say, Vanessa Morgan (Toni Topez) deserves an Emmy for this performance.
Jughead makes one more “Twilight Zone” appearance to tell us that what better word of motherhood is there than sacrifice (like he really knows from his own experiences). His philosophical turn reminds me of the old episodes I’ve seen of Rod Sterling at the end of the original series.
So thus, the death of another well loved character that owed Cheryl a favor. Add to that Betty’s loss of Archie’s child. As each episode comes, I wonder what mayhem will be next.
Next week: Reggie seems to be tempted by the devil who shows up in Rivervale (where else). And we have someone in an alien mask show up.