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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Recap: Poor Unfortunate Souls

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The Returned Man
Season 1 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating *****

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The Returned Man
Season 1 Episode 9
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Netflix

Sabrina thought she had it all figured out: Bring Tommy back to life to ease Harvey’s suffering by murdering Agatha; bring Agatha back using the Cain soil before anyone’s the wiser. Sabrina is a 16-year-old half-witch who has attended approximately 20 minutes of magic school but she thinks she has what it takes to dabble in the darkest of all the magics, and pull one over on the universe, and emerge from the whole process unscathed. Oh Satan, would that I had the confidence — nay, delusional arrogance — of a heartsick teenage half-witch!

Tommy is back but, what do you know, he’s not himself. Like, literally, he is just the shell of himself because Sabrina only managed to get his body back from the great beyond. His soul is floating around in limbo. The mortals interpret this state as “shock,” which manifests as Tommy not speaking, eating, or engaging with the world around him, except to have very sharp football-catching reflexes.

A brief moment for the joy of the other Spellmans before everything goes to shit here: Ambrose, working “a little Carnaby Street cool,” is delighted for his first day of school. I, too, gave serious consideration to my first day of school outfits, and I wasn’t even celebrating the fact that I was slowly but surely getting my 75 years of house arrest lifted. Aunt Zelda also has a certain flush about her, the glow of a woman who has been on a much-needed sex bender. “I feel positively reborn in fire,” she says, though she does wish she and Blackwood would meet someplace “less damp.”

Extremely fun fact: In the olden days, witches were all polyamorous and monogamy was just for mortals. But Constance Blackwood isn’t “as liberal” as the philandering Faustis would like, so, damp cave flesh-penance will have to do. In a moment of intimacy that honestly stunned me, Blackwood asks Zelda to be his twins’ “unholy godmother.” (He also asks her to fill in as Satanic choir’s interim director.) Things are ESCALATING. Do we ship?

No matter, all this bliss is short-lived. Sabrina keeps insisting Tommy will be normal in a couple of days. Does she realize how insane she sounds? Ambrose does! It’s interesting to see that Sabrina, who we are supposed to believe is some brilliant super-witch in the making, is so myopic that she thinks “all that matters” is Harvey getting his brother back. And Sabrina doesn’t even know that Agatha has been vomiting up dirt — that is, until Nick astral projects into her room to bring her up to speed. Nick’s devotion to Sabrina is actually better than Sabrina’s loyalty to Harvey. Think about it: Nick is selfless enough that he will do what Sabrina asks him to do, even if it furthers her relationship with another guy, but Sabrina’s actions on Harvey’s behalf are really all about her, her desire to control and fix everything, all while keeping Harvey totally in the dark.

Unfortunately it takes this entire episode to catch up to what we all knew from the jump, which is: Tommy has to die because the universe is not going to be tricked by some teenager’s homicidal-backsies maneuver. There’s a lot of Tommy just, like, staring in a mirror, being catatonic, etc. I don’t mean to be harsh but there is so much in this world that is lush and thrilling and spooky and exciting! Why are we wasting so much time with this undead mortal stuff? My favorite (by which I mean, least favorite) part of this is when Sabrina asks Ros if her vision of Tommy Kinkle being torn apart by dogs revealed “if something is wrong” with Tommy. SABRINA. OBVIOUSLY something is wrong with Tommy! You definitely do not need the cunning to figure that out. You need context clues. Which you have.

Finally Ambrose brings Aunt Hilda into the mix, because someone needed to call a grown-up. Agatha is continuously barfing Spellman soil and it’s causing quite the disruption. Hilda keeps things cool in front of the kids by pretending Agatha basically got some witchy version of the bends. She confides in Ambrose that this is all a ruse to keep those girls busy while Agatha vomits gravel because “the earth is owed a soul, it means to collect.”

Then Hilda reams out Sabrina, in that perfect “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” voice. Sabrina, panicking, is sure that if she just goes to limbo she can retrieve Tommy’s soul and put him back together. Witches can’t go to mortal limbo, but half-witches can. Obviously the Kinkle boy needs to be killed — but, for real this time. Father Blackwood volunteers his services, but Aunt Zelda wants a chance to make things right, since this is, after all, her niece’s mess to resolve.

Sabrina is just going rogue like an idiot. (Sorry! Love her but like … this girl cannot seriously think there is any other solution to this situation than to kill Tommy Kinkle.) She keeps on gaslighting Harvey, as is now her standard practice. I write in my notes: This relationship is doomed. As this creates an opening for a Sabrina and Nick romance — Snick? — I am not all that disappointed.

Aunt Z, correctly, reams Sabrina out for her “reckless, stupid, selfish” plans. This argument ends with Sabrina choosing the nuclear option: “You’re not my mother! Don’t act like you are.” Ruh-roh. Aunt Zelda, who is again correct, tells Sabrina, “Everything. Has. A. Price. Edward learned that lesson. I learned it. It’s your turn now.” She also calls Sabrina out for her delusions of selflessness. All the Spellmans walk away from Sabrina. I find this entirely fair.

Who is there to step in where everyone else has stepped away? Witch Wardwell, of course. She gives Sabrina the rundown on Limbo: So, it’s “a realm at the edge of death” and also there’s a soul-eater in there. Not a great place! Sabrina JUST KILL TOMMY KINKLE FOR THE LOVE OF LUCIFER. But no, Sabrina ventures into Limbo — which ultimately looks kind of janky? It’s just like, a foggy room with a wind machine and screaming sounds — with nothing tethering her to this plane except red yarn, held on the earthly end by Witch Wardwell. So Sabrina is putting her life in the hands of someone who, maybe three weeks ago, she did not trust at all.

Back on the homefront, a very sweet scene ensues between Hilda and Zelda, who is whipping herself and having a breakdown. Should they have given Sabrina to Diana’s family and let her live as a mortal? Zelda had to take her, see, because baby Sabrina looked so much like Edward. “I could never say no to Sabrina.” Hilda: “Zelda, you always say no to Sabrina.” Sisters!

Blackwood calls upon Prudence and Dorcas to murder Tommy Kinkle. Am I a monster for agreeing with this plan? But Nick sets up a catching spell at the perimeter of the Kinkle property because he believes in letting Sabrina handle this. Love is blinding everyone in Greendale, I swear to Satan.

Sabrina finds Tommy but he gets snatched by a soul-eater before he can make it out of the portal with her, so we end up where we were always going: With Sabrina heading to the Kinkle residence to do a homicide. (Did Witch Wardwell let the yarn go on purpose?) Witch Warwdell tells Sabrina that Harvey will understand “if your love is true” and I feel like… no, this is a breakup-able offense, he should 100percent dump Sabrina when he learns the truth.

Witch Wardwell quietly delights in having severed Sabrina’s primary tie to the mortal world — her end game being, lest you forget, to coerce Sabrina into signing her name in the book of the beast.

Sabrina tells Harvey that she’s a witch — he realizes she’s told him this before, just like the did in her dream — and that she performed a ritual to bring Tommy back. Harvey says she shouldn’t have done anything and just once more for everybody in the cheap seats he is NOT WRONG. Harvey will take care of this. He tells Sabrina to get out and that he doesn’t want to talk to her for a while, to which I say, duh!

Harvey shoots Tommy. Sabrina gets home and collapses in tears on the steps. Aunt Zelda, very maternal, holds her while she cries. Why do I think things might get worse before they ever get better?

Ongoing mysteries: I know it’s a big deal for Ambrose to get a familiar again, but isn’t it kind of anticlimactic that his goblin-soulmate is a mouse? Will Leviathan be an issue for Salem? What exactly do we think are Lucas and Father Blackwood’s plans to “reform” the Church of Night? Will Sabrina confess to her friends that she’s a witch, or will they figure it out on their own before she comes clean?

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Recap: Poor Unfortunate Souls