Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Are you ready for Sabrina to fulfill the Dark Lord’s prophecy? Is her path to this place going to hold up to super-close inspection? Were so many delectable stories dangled in front of us early in the season — the truth of how Sabrina’s parents died, the serious magic classes Sabrina was supposed to take at the Academy, that witch hunter who is presumably still roaming the woods of Greendale — that never really went anywhere? Should we make like Sabrina and give in to the pull of the Church of the Night and plunge into the season finale recap?
Witch Wardwell, we learn at the finale’s end, is actually Satan’s concubine a.k.a. Lilith, Adam’s first wife, who calls herself Madam Satan. She is very excited about her status as the “future queen of hell.” She also peels off her face (!!!) and devours Principal Hawthorne (RIP, but whatever, he was a slimeball) and I am HERE FOR IT. This finale is primarily the result of her careful, strategic planning, and I have to say: I am impressed. Knowing Sabrina only a short while, she’s able to out-manipulate the two witches who’ve raised her and known her all her life. Love the aunties as I do — I was especially moved by Aunt Zelda’s post-break-up advice, telling Sabrina that the way to face Harvey is to just do it, “as bravely and humbly as you can” — even I must say: Point Wardwell. (Minus points for not realizing that if she does too good a job of grooming Sabrina, the teen half-witch could totally usurp her and sit at Satan’s right hand.)
As long as we’re in the business of giving out points, I now need to dock about a thousand from Sabrina’s friends. Ros and Suzie sloooowly figure out that Sabrina is a witch. To this I say: Her last name is, literally, Spellman. How did it take them this long to put this together? I appreciate that they’re all so accepting of Sabrina when she reveals her true identity to them. A+ group hug. But the sad, dazed look on all three faces (Roz, Suz, and Harvey) at the end of the episode, as they sit on that couch at Baxter High and try to convince themselves that Sabrina is still their Sabrina and won’t ditch them for her ultra-cool magical life… oooof. Tough break, mortals! In Sabrina’s defense, all your story lines were kind of boring.
Onward to the magical portion of the proceedings: Wardwell’s game all along has been to get Sabrina to sign her name in the Book of the Beast. The only way to do it, she realizes, is to put everyone Sabrina cares about in mortal peril (emphasis on mortal) so Sabrina has no choice but to sign, as a means of accessing the power she needs to save all her friends. To set her plan in motion, Wardwell sacrifices a hot, rude football player who, as her spell requires, is a virgin (He denies it but just ask Sabrina: The universe cannot be fooled). Wardwell’s magic trick: Raise the Greendale 13. More on those witch-ghosts real soon.
Back at the Academy, all the witches are gossiping about Sabrina’s failed resurrection. “Thoughts and prayers! Isn’t that how the mortals do it?” I worship at the altar of sultry, sassy Prudence. Nick is the only one here to soothe Sabrina, because duh, and he tells her that the one thing he envies mortals for is their ability to love one another with total abandon. Witches have passion and lust on lock but mortals are the ones who really get true love. “I’d trade all the witch orgies in the world for what you and the mortal have.” Um, HELLO ROMANCE.
As for Witch Wardwell and the Greendale 13: These witch-ghosts can walk the earth to claim revenge from midnight to 1 a.m., two nights in a row. Basically, it’s the Purge. But for undead witches. Also, once they’re done, the Butcher will follow to “end Greendale once and for all” by killing all the firstborns, tenth-Passover-plague-style. (Honestly being an oldest child is so overrated.) In case you were wondering if you should be scared, Greendale gets all windy and spooOOOooOoky, even at the Academy, where Father Blackwood’s book just spontaneously combusts.
Ambrose and Luke are traipsing through the woods when they stumble upon the Greendale 13, one of whom helpfully grabs Ambrose by the jugular and tells him to report back to the Church of Night that these witches are ready to rumble. I’d say “gulp” but it’s probably impossible to do that with a ghost-witch’s hands wrapped around your throat.
At the Baxter High library, Harvey and Sabrina have a sweet moment wherein Harvey assures his ex that he could never hate her, since he made a birthday promise. I wish everyone took birthday promises as seriously as Harvey Kinkle. “But every time I look at you, all I can think about is my brother.” Yikes. That’s really a deal breaker no matter what the context, I’d say. Hilda astral-projects to break up this little chat and bring Sabrina to the Church of Night for an urgent meeting re: their impending doom.
Armed with Ambrose’s intel, all the members of the Church of Night plan to band together at the Academy and be protected within its walls. Aunties Hilda and Zelda explain the history to Sabrina, and it is a fascinating and shameful one: When the Greendale 13 were caught by mortals, the rest of the community’s witches decided to let them be tortured and hung to “quell the rising witch hysteria.” The coven could have helped, but they chose to be silent bystanders.
Aunt Zelda, showing some real growth in the concern-for-nonwitches department, says they have a responsibility to not let the mortals of Greendale die. They just need to get the humans all in one place. Hilda’s idea is to make a tornado so everybody has to go to the designated shelter in the Baxter High basement. See, it’s not (just) Jews who control the weather! It’s witches. Witches and Jews. We take turns. Climate change is all witchcraft, though.
Sabrina explains this to Harvey but Harvey, understandably fed up with Sabrina controlling his life and fighting his battles for him — and not exactly doing, like, a bang-up job of either — refuses to follow her to the basement. He is also a little miffed at the idea that witches are going to protect him from other witches. All witches are alike to him. Which is kind of … witch-racist? But he’s still new to the whole magic scene. He does not want to be a coward. So Sabrina sends Nick to protect him. Nick calls Harvey “farm boy,” which is hilarious, and expresses disgust that Sabrina could still love a witch-hunter. (Nick introduces himself as a friend of Sabrina’s as he sets about sealing the Kinkle house; Harvey, a beat later, “What kind of friend?”)
Though all the Spellmans plan to stay at the high school to do the protecting, one by one they are airlifted out of there by other witches. Blackwood pulls Aunt Zelda to the Academy because his wife has gone into early labor. Luke brings back Ambrose because “I love you!” which is very thrilling but now is really not a good time, Luke! And Sabrina peels off with Witch Wardwell, who insists that “the time for defense is over.” This leaves Hilda alone (with Salem, but still) until her bookstore-owning boyfriend comes by to hold her hand.
Witch Wardwell leads Sabrina into the woods. Sabrina will need power to defeat the Red Angel of Death — can you hear the galloping? Spooky scary! — and the only way to get that kind of power is to sign the book. Sabrina balks at this. She already said no! What a time to be sending wildly conflicting messages about consent and agency!
Witch Wardwell spins this as a feminist thing: “All women are taught to fear power. Own your power.” Uhh by giving away her freedom and agency? Sabrina says yes and Wardwell whooshes into nothing and the Dark Lord is there in her place, to tell Sabrina in an aggressive man-growl that she’s doing this of her own free will (… but like, is she?) and that she MUST answer whenever he calls. Then he slices open her palm with his claw and BOOM. We get a speedy quick recap of the entire season (in my notes I write wow rude way to steal my job) and Sabrina’s power comes rushing in.
She already knows where to go: the hanging tree. This is the part that feels a little off to me. Sure, she gets power from signing the book. But then, what, she just has to yell with intention, shout some Latin, and poof — blue hellfire appears? If all it takes is natural ability, why does she even have to attend the Academy? She has zero training. When did she learn to do any of this? I want Sabrina to be exceptional; obviously the whole point of the show is that she’s extraordinary. But why is she better at magic than her aunts, or Nick, or any of the Weird Sisters who’ve been in witch school all their lives? Is it just about her lineage? Is she right — that her duality makes her stronger?
Most importantly: How do we feel about her bleached blonde hair?
So, logic be damned: Sabrina saves the world. Aunt Zelda cannot save Lady Blackwood, who dies in labor, and she tells Faustus that he has one son who consumed the other in the womb, which appeals to Faustus’ worldview and so he accepts it without question. But it turns out that Aunt Zelda KIDNAPPED the other baby because it was a girl and she was afraid he would kill it! Or maybe just because she wanted another kid, a do-over full-witch baby? Either way, Hilda, who just kissed her bookstore-boyfriend (whose eyes went a little demon-y at the end, uh oh) is moving out of their shared bedroom.
Prudence is demoted, as Blackwood says this child is his one true heir. He gathers all the men of the Academy, says it’s time for boys to rule the Church of Night, and it’s not not Proud Boys-esque. Hail Judas?
Sabrina flies into Harvey’s bedroom, I assume mostly to show off her cool new look. And, in the grand tradition of superheroes, Sabrina says that she’s tapped into something so deep and dark that it’s just not safe for them to be together, even though Harvey is ready to start all over again, sans secrets. “I love you too much to risk anything bad happening to you.” One last kiss and then poof! She is out of there. Really taking ghosting to the next level.
As I’ve been saying this entire season, enough with the mortals! Time for Sabrina to power strut into the Academy, in lockstep with the Weird Sisters who I guess have embraced her as one of their own and even given her a dress to match. Can’t believe the season is ending just when we’re getting to the really good stuff! We will have to hold out for season two and make do with Riverdale and Kiernan Shipka’s Instagram until then. Praise Satan.
Ongoing mysteries: What’s going to happen with Dorothea and Suzie? How long before Nick and Sabrina get together? What about that baby girl? Who do we think really killed Sabrina’s parents (because there’s no way that was an accident)? And where can I find the Weird Sisters’ lipstick?