Who is La Llorona in Riverdale? Who Summoned Her and Why?

Image Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW

The sixth season of The CW’s ‘Riverdale,’ with its ‘Rivervale’ 5-episode event, introduces several terrifying supernatural characters. One of them, seen in season 6 episode 2, is known as La Llorona. This is not an uncommon name in cinema, at least for fans of the horror genre. But how does her presence affect the fates of our most beloved characters? Well, fans are curious about this spooky creature so let’s find out more about it!

Who is La Llorona?

In season 6 episode 2, titled ‘Ghost Stories,’ we see a black-veiled ghost, known as La Llorona or the weeping woman, emerging from the Sweetwater River and entering Rivervale. At Thistlehouse, La Llorona attacks Juniper in the bathtub. However, Cheryl manages to save her. Later, after Lucinda, a Southside Serpent, claims that she is wrongly being accused of drowning her daughter and cites La Llorona as the killer, Toni begins to research the ghost. She finds out, from folktales, that the ghost is the spirit of motherhood and vengeance who targets children, even those unborn.

Betty, initially skeptical about the ghost, encounters La Llorona herself. The ghost touches her pregnant belly and disappears, leaving behind a wet handprint. The next day, Dr. Curdle informs Betty that she is no longer pregnant. Clearly, La Llorona did away with Betty’s child. The ghost visits the high school; Toni sounds the fire alarm and goes after it with an ax to protect her students. However, the ghost disappears.

Later, a child protection services worker is anonymously asked to check on Toni’s son, Baby Anthony. Whilst Toni tries to convince the social worker that she is a responsible mother, La Llorona approaches Baby Anthony in his crib. Toni rushes into the nursery and finds her drenched son on the floor. Knowing that he is unsafe, Toni gives her son to Fangs and the Serpents for protection.

Who Summoned La Llorona and Why?

Toni and Betty go to Cheryl for help. Cheryl and Nana Rose communicate with the ghost’s spirit and La Llorona begins to talk through Nana Rose’s mouth. We find out that the ghost is the spirit of a woman named Martha who used to work as a nurse in the children’s ward of Rivervale’s first hospital.

However, due to various reasons, such as the pox, cold, and doctors’ negligence, many babies would often pass away, despite Martha’s efforts. Nonetheless, the townsfolk blamed Martha for the dead babies and accused her of being a witch. Then, they dragged Martha and her children — weighed down by rocks — to the Sweetwater River and drowned them. Martha’s spirit returns in the form of La Llorona, a vengeful supernatural being furious at the injustices she faced as a mortal mother.

However, we find out that she only appears when summoned and that Darla Dickenson is her summoner. Toni immediately realizes why she is being targeted. At the beginning of the episode, we see how Toni accidentally kills Daniel, Darla’s son, with a knife during a gang war between the Serpents and the Ghoulies. Horrified, Toni struggles with guilt afterward and goes to therapy. She is aware of how Darla must feel as she is a mother herself. Additionally, we understand why Darla wants to take revenge and make Toni childless.

Realizing that La Llorona will not stop until she claims the life (Baby Anthony’s) that she is summoned for, Toni and Betty rush to the Serpents. However, an injured Fangs, lying amongst other defeated Serpents, mentions that the ghost is taking their son to the Sweetwater River. At Daniel’s grave, Toni and Betty encounter Darla. Mad with sorrow, Darla rejoices at the fact that Toni will lose Baby Anthony the way she lost her own son.

Toni begs for her forgiveness, but Darla, who has nothing to live for now that Daniel is gone, wants only revenge. At this point, one realizes that Darla must have been the one to contact the social worker. Near the Sweetwater River, Toni and Betty find La Llorona and Baby Anthony. Toni begs for her son’s life, appealing to the ghost’s motherly nature. Then, she volunteers to free the ghost from her cursed existence by taking on her burdens. The ghost gives Baby Anthony to Toni, who passes him to Betty.

La Llorona enters and exits Toni’s body in one fluid motion. Betty watches as La Llorona lifts her veil, revealing Toni’s transformed face. Toni, the new weeping woman, asks Betty to look after her son. She then disappears into the depths of the Sweetwater River, bearing a cursed body and paying for her sins. Thus, the balance of the world is restored — death is paid for by life, innocence is preserved through repentance, and a mother’s anger brings about justice. It is likely that we will see more of this paranormal Toni in the upcoming episodes.

Read More: Rivervale, Explained: Why is Riverdale Now Rivervale?