Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Like Jews on Christmas, witches spend mortal Thanksgiving going to the movies and eating Chinese food. I find this detail so charming. Harvey has to hunt deer, as Kinkles do. And this ends the charming portion of the proceedings because the rest of this episode gets real gruesome, starting with the bloody entrails nailed to the Spellman front door.
A bit of witch lore: Fourteen women from the Church of Night, way back when, were chased out of Greendale. The youngest, strongest witch slit her own throat so that her coven could eat her body through the spring. A sort of DIY Donner Party situation. Fun for the whole family! So the Church of Night honors this queen’s legacy with this lottery that is, note-for-note, very much the same thing as the Hunger Games. Look, I know that Hunger Games is a riff on the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and so it’s not technically possible to be a “Hunger Games rip-off” — myths, like the moon, belong to everyone — but if you’re going to go there and you don’t want it to sound like you just copy-pasted from Suzanne Collins, maybe don’t call the potential sacrifices “tributes.”
Sabrina is disgusted by this casual Shirley Jackson–ing of the witch population, but like every horrifying thing in the Church of Night, Aunt Zelda assures Sabrina it is an honor just to be nominated for the Queendom. (Queenship? Queenery?) Zelda will be putting herself forward, as Hilda, an excommunicate, is disqualified. Obviously Sabrina is going to go full “I VOLUNTEER!” at the last minute, but sure, we can let Zelda delude herself into thinking she’s putting her name in the hat.
When this inevitable moment arises, Sabrina calls Zelda’s bluff in front of the entire coven: “Unless, of course, you want to admit that this whole thing is barbaric, as my father believed.” (That’s right: When Edward was High Priest, he did away with this nonsense. Father Blackwood got a DM from the Dark Lord and started them up again.) Prudence is wearing this completely sheer white dress with an Elizabethan ruffle collar, as you would for such an event, and she draws the lot of queen. Sabrina gets “handmaiden,” so, she’s Prudence’s bitch for the next three days.
I like that Sabrina and Prudence quickly moved past the surface-level rivalry and moved into this zone of mutual trepidation with fascinating and grudging respect. Prudence is a true believer — she wants to be transubstantiated and reside in the Dark Lord’s heart until the trumpets of the apocalypse sound, which is one way to spend eternity — and Sabrina is the voice of doubt. But aside from Harvey, does Sabrina believe in anything?
Later that night, Prudence takes Sabrina’s bed and Sabrina is sleeping on the floor (this house is huge! Are there really no other options?). Sabrina wakes up to the sound of Fiona Apple blasting; she follows the music and finds out that PRUDENCE IS THROWING AN ORGY. Yes, Nick is there. Of course Nick is there! “No plebe can deny a queen on the day leading up to her sacrifice.” Nick, ever the inclusive guest, is all, “Join us, Sabrina!” Sabrina clutches her Pepto-Bismol pink pajamas like they’re the only thing keeping her alive and leaves the rest of the witches to it. Teenagers, am I right?
The next day, Sabrina talks Prudence into coming to Baxter High with her by dangling the offer of meeting “lots and lots of mortal boys to torment, and seduce, or both,” which coincidentally is also what gets me out of bed in the morning. Sabrina tells everyone Prudence is her cousin. Is Sabrina not worried about introducing Prudence, whose superpower is mind control, to the gentle, fragile Harvey Kinkle? All Sabrina’s mortal friends are learning about their family histories. Prudence confirms that Suzie is descended from “a true ally” to witches. Harvey realizes that his ancestors got the land on which they live the old-fashioned way — the genocide of the native population — and Prudence recoils from this floppy-haired kid faster than you can say “witch hunter.”
Wardwell takes the girls to the Greendale Woods to meet someone who supposedly “spurned queenship.” (Okay, so it’s Queenship!) The Weird Sisters are along for this adventure. Everyone’s wardrobe situation is A++. Where can I get this Merlot bomber jacket Prudence is wearing?
The witch in the woods is a little basic Halloween for my taste, I must say. Apparently her High Priest’s convenient revelation was that he got to “initiate” her; she was a child, and also, that would be rape no matter how old she was, so she fled to the woods where she’s lived ever since. Sabrina points out that it is possible Father Blackwood, like this scumbag priest of feast day past, is acting out of his own interests and not at the bidding of the Dark Lord.
In case that’s not enough male violence for you, Harvey is out hunting with the Kinkle men, because there’s no time like Thanksgiving to feebly prove your masculinity to your abusive dad! Someone in their hunting crew shoots and kills a deer, who is also a familiar, which means when he dies this goblin body bursts out through the deer fur and it is gross. The witches make this pentagon to hide the deer/goblin from the men, and once they’re in the clear, Sabrina insists there is no way Harvey was the one who killed the familiar. “How is your faith in the mortal boy any different from my faith in the Dark Lord?” Prudence asks Sabrina, which at first seemed like a fair question to me but the more I thought about it, the more I was like, uhh, because Harvey isn’t literally the devil, and also, Sabrina has met him?
Harvey didn’t do it, but Sabrina is worried the Weird Sisters might seek vengeance on him for this crime he did not commit, so Sabrina casts a protection spell on her boyfriend. This is sweet, not to mention these two are the perfect height differential for hugging, but I also wonder about the moral implications of using magic on your mortal boyfriend without his knowledge or consent. I’m gonna go with … not great.
Back at the Spellman house, Constance Blackwood is freaking out because she thinks she’s losing her pregnancy and “Faustus would never forgive me.” Men in this world, get it together! Zelda says that dangerous spellcasting can upset a pregnancy. Constance starts babbling about how she HAD to do it. “They’re always whispering, plotting … those sluts … planning to take what belongs to my children.” Stakes: raised. So Constance thinks Blackwood has other children and that one of those children is Prudence! Prudence could make a claim for what’s hers — her dad’s title and, I assume, some other big-ticket stuff. Constance wants her out of the way. The only solution is a homicide, carefully disguised as a ritual sacrifice.
Sabrina takes this information and just word-vomits it at Prudence. This seems to be a theme with Sabrina. Even though she’s the last one to the witch party here — everyone else in her life knows more about magic than she does! — she acts like she thinks she’s an expert. And as soon as she has even a scrap of intel, she just blurts it out or acts on it without giving it any thought or consulting anyone who might have some useful advice. It’s all very teenage but also — not smart, Sabrina! Anyway, this time it works out but I have a feeling it will not always be to Sabrina’s advantage to be so open with everyone around her, especially with Witch Wardwell.
So Sabrina invites the Blackwoods and the Weird Sisters to the Spellman house for dinner, and Hilda bakes her truth cake. “This is my mom’s secret recipe when she thought my dad was having an affair.” Ambrose is thrilled to see Prudence — his line reading of “in body and soul, mostly body” is perfection — and so am I, because goddamn, that dress! Let us all that a moment for the sartorial prowess of Prudence! The Weird Sisters are in their finest early-Lorde cosplay. Sabrina is still wearing her headband.
All the dirt comes out: Yes, Constance cursed the lottery. Yes, Prudence is Blackwood’s daughter. (Her mother is dead by his hand, “indirectly,” because she threw herself in a river when Blackwood refused to marry her. WOW what a dirtbag.) My favorite part here is actually when the Weird Sisters want to know if they’re his daughters, too, and Blackwood goes, “No, you’re just orphans.”
Sabrina suggests Blackwood just get another one of those Dark Lord messages and outlaw the feast forever and then no one who isn’t at this table ever needs to know all their secrets. Oh, and Prudence still wants to sit on the throne of skulls. I get it. She looks amazing. I wouldn’t want to waste that outfit, either.
Just as Blackwood is about to make good on his promise, this other witch leaps up and SLITS. HER. OWN. THROAT. Everyone pauses for a second and then just goes “Frea lives! Praise Satan” and they EAT HER. RAW! Nobody even cooks her! What the shit. Father Blackwood jumps in. The Weird Sisters do, too.
Sabrina is repulsed. I am right there with her. At least Aunt Z didn’t participate. She even tells Sabrina she would never have let them do to her what they did to Mildred (write-in winner for queen of the feast). Even if it was the Dark Lord’s will, “It wouldn’t have mattered.” Well! That’s a relief.
Ongoing mysteries: Wait, are all witches cannibals? They eat mortals and other witches? Will the Kinkle boys survive the Weird Sisters’ attack? What will Ros’s “cunning” help her see as her regular vision disappears?