Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Just how gullible is our favorite feisty half-witch? Sabrina seems to take Wardwell’s story at face value: That Wardwell is a witch (duh) who was Edward’s “acolyte” (hmm) and is “looking after” Sabrina to honor Edward’s wishes (oooh-kay) and that she and Edward connected because she was excommunicated from her own coven, the Church of Shadows, after falling in love with a mortal and getting engaged (gasp!). “There I was, a witch without a coven, with no one to understand my plight.”
Father Blackwood wanted to use brute force, remember? To make Sabrina do as the Dark Lord requires. But Witch Wardwell, wisely, saw that as the sort of tactic that would inevitably fail with someone as obstinate as Sabrina. Her story about falling in love with the mortal is so on-the-nose I can’t believe Sabrina doesn’t see through it. For somebody whose whole M.O. is to question the way things are done, Sabrina is not so savvy about asking questions at these pressing, personal junctures. When do you think she’s going to find out this witch killed the real Wardwell?
Sabrina is not interested in having a sneaky supernatural chaperone. Ambrose offers to make all her teeth fall out, but Sabrina isn’t interested. Points for loyalty and creativity, though.
Unfortunately for those of us who find the grounded goings-on of Greendale to be the most fast-forward-able part of this otherwise luscious, wonderfully spooky series, a lot of time in this episode is dedicated to Sabrina’s mortal friends and their brush with the demon that is possessing Uncle Jesse’s body. In case it wasn’t already inescapably clear to us all: Ros is terrified of how she’s going blind, Suzie fears she’s an “abomination” for not neatly checking the girl gender box, and Harvey, in a kind of meta twist, is afraid that he is too afraid to make it in this dangerous world, and to be worthy of Sabrina’s affection.
Harvey confides in Sabrina that he saw the demon from the mines in Uncle Jesse’s face. Sabrina gaslights Harvey into thinking he’s insane. Honestly, rude! Doesn’t Sabrina want to eventually come clean to Harvey about her identity? Half-witch, whole hypocrite, no? Sabrina then immediately dismisses Witch Wardwell in the hallways because she’s not interested in “more half-truth,” which is so pot-calling-the-cauldron-black, right?
Sabrina tells her aunts about the possession, which gives us this great Zelda line: “Mephistopheles, save us from the melodramatics of a teenage half-witch.” Witches don’t get involved in mortal affairs and, anyway, they don’t perform exorcisms or care about the fate of humans.
Against the advice of everyone who knows better, Sabrina astral-projects into Uncle Jesse’s room, where the demon tricks her into thinking he’s told her his name (it’s just an anagram for “ice cream” which, I have to admit, is pretty clever for someone who, I guess, lives in hell and can never eat cold treats) before slithering into Sabrina’s throat and trying to possess her, too.
Upon her return to the regular realm, Sabrina confers with Ambrose and figures she’s dealing with a higher demon than she expected. With the casual air of someone who has been thinking of nothing else for days, Sabrina goes, “Maybe I can ask Nicholas Scratch.” And then she hightails it to Harvey’s house, feeling all guilty for how totally into Nick she is (I assume) and to apologize for being so dismissive of his batshit-sounding theory earlier. She suggests they take a field trip to the mines together for clues. Harvey balks: “You could break your ankle. A demon could eat you!” Thank you, Harvey, for just covering the whole range of possibilities there.
I don’t mean to be so hard on our heroine, here, but again it seems like maybe she should give things about ten minutes of thought before she just barges into doing them? Have a brainstorm session? Is she really dressed for mining? Sabrina finds this rock with a snake carved into it, split in half, Ten Commandments-tablets-style, and she finds Witch Wardwell, who followed her. Turns out some of these tunnels really do burrow all the way to hell! While Sabrina is busy being useful and finding this trapping stone, Harvey is curled up in the fetal position having an extremely chill panic attack. Sabrina tells him that just showing up makes him “the bravest,” and they kiss, probably because she is trying to silence the voice in her head that is telling her, wouldn’t this have been more awesome with Nick? HMMM??
In magic class, Sabrina keeps interrupting to ask about exorcisms. “Exorcisms are a Catholic rite in which male priests call upon the false God,” Blackwood tells her, trying desperately to get her to shut up and not succeeding. Sabrina warns everyone that if the word about the demon gets out, it’s only a matter of time before the coven risks exposure. Blackwood does not buy this, plus he doesn’t care. His philosophy is like “live and let live,” only in this case it’s more “live and let those pesky mortals die.”
Who approaches Sabrina after class but NICHOLAS SCRATCH. “Wanna talk about it?” Praise Satan!
Nick approvingly calls Sabrina a rebel, and to her credit, she clearly states that she has a boyfriend. And here things get very interesting, because Nick is all, “Yes, but you also have two natures. You go to two schools. Why not date two guys? I’m down with sharing.” WHY NOT, INDEED, SABRINA. This is the future liberals want! Sabrina’s eyes do a cartoon-pop out of her head. She’s not not interested.
Alas, we must leave this crackling chemistry behind because it’s time to perform an illegal exorcism. (Not before Sabrina threatens her Aunt Z with an “If I can’t get help from the Church of Night, I’ll get help from the Catholic Church down the road!” I love it.)
Wardwell informs the aunts that Edward wrote a rite so witches could perform exorcisms. Aunt Hilda is down, because she’s already been excommunicated and is thus completely out of fucks to give. Aunt Z tries to sit this round out but her concern for Sabrina’s safety wins the day, as you knew it would. There’s wind and flashing lights and a lot of shouting “SISTERS, INTERCEDE ON OUR BEHALF,” and also some boldface names getting outed as witches here — hey, Anne Boleyn!
The demon is this gross, bloody, slug-looking thing that will be slithering back to hell. Sabrina will be heading back home and staying there, since she’s grounded. “A mortal punishment for interfering in mortal affairs,” Aunt Zelda tells her. Witch Wardwell has succeeded in winning Sabrina’s trust, which should have us all very nervous. (Also she murdered Uncle Jesse and made it look like he died of natural, demon-adjacent heart failure.)
And Aunts Z and H avoid brutal punishment from Father Blackwood by lording over him the fact that Zelda, the midwife, is the only one who can assure him that his wife, Constance, will safely deliver the twins with which she’s pregnant.
Sabrina is still feeling like a failure. “How am I ever going to outwit the Dark Lord?” she asks, and I think: Good Satan, Sabrina, stop telling everyone your master plan!
Ongoing mysteries: Witches have to be pregnant for thirteen months?! What’s going to happen with Luke and Ambrose now that Hilda spiked Luke’s coffee with a little love potion? What does the apocalyptic prophecy say?