The CW’s ‘Riverdale’ season 6 ventures headfirst into the genre of horror and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to embracing the supernatural. With ‘Rivervale,’ the 5-episode special event, we get to see fascinating versions of characters we have known and loved for a long time. However, the residents of Rivervale face harrowing challenges and the brunt of darkly magical forces.
In the fourth episode of the season, Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), a witch from Greendale and the protagonist of ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,’ visits Rivervale for a very specific purpose — the transference spell. At the end of the episode, we are left mildly confused by what happens to Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace) and Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch). If you were looking for an explanation about the fates of Nana Rose and Cheryl (are they dead?) and the purpose of the transference spell, you have come to the right place. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Do Nana Rose and Cheryl Die?
Sabrina arrives in Rivervale to help Cheryl perform the transference spell. Having been taught the spell by her cousin Ambrose, a warlock, and possessing supernatural powers due to being a witch, Sabrina is the ideal candidate to assist Cheryl, who is heavily embracing her witchy side. Cheryl, deeply aware of the injustices meted out to Blossom women over the decades, is dabbling in magic to bring peace to her ancestors.
As Bailey’s comet passes over Rivervale, Nana Rose, Cheryl, and Sabrina hold hands in order to perform the tricky spell. Afterward, Sabrina addresses Nana Rose as Abigail (Cheryl’s ancestor from the 19th Century) and asks her how she feels. Nana Rose, speaking as Abigail, replies that she feels free at last. Cheryl asks Abigail to let go, since the curse has been broken, and reunite with Thomasina Topaz.
Sabrina then elucidates the purpose of the transference spell. Then, when Britta concernedly asks if Nana Rose is dead, the teen witch assures her that only Nana Rose’s body is dead, with her soul being very much alive. Later, Britta inquiries whether Cheryl, Poppy, and Abigail are dead and Sabrina emphatically states, “There’s no death for witches, only transformation.”
Thus, Cheryl, who is a witch, is not dead. Her body is alive and her soul is that of Nana Rose. For all intents and purposes, she still is who she used to be. However, Cheryl never really existed in the first place as she was Abigail all along, who was cursed with immortality and had to take up new personas with every passing generation. Thus, all the Blossom women end up living through each other, as old souls inhabit new bodies.
What is the Transference Spell?
Sabrina explains to Britta what the transference spell is. Essentially, it is a body swap spell, performed during a celestial event, that allows souls to switch bodies. Thus, Nana Rose’s soul leaves her dying body in order to inhabit Cheryl’s living body. At the same time, Cheryl’s soul, which is actually Abigail’s soul since Abigail, Poppy, and Cheryl are the same person, exits her body to enter Nana Rose’s weakened figure.
The transference spell effectively breaks Fenn Fogarty’s curse on Abigail — her soul is freed from the burden of immortality as it is provided with a dying mortal body that can be used to attain peace in the afterlife. Thus, Abigail is finally able to reunite with her lover Thomasina. We even get to see the spirits of the two women meeting and embracing in Rivervale’s graveyard, next to the tombstones of Abigail (1867-1945), Poppy (1932-1999), Rose (1929-2021), and Thomasina (1868-1892).
Meanwhile, Nana Rose’s soul gets another chance at life since it now inhabits Cheryl’s young and healthy body. Thus, Sabrina’s help with the transference spell enables the Blossom women who had been cursed and punished by cruel men to finally find freedom and pursue their heart’s desires.