Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Father Blackwood and Zelda have been out of town for all of 20 minutes and already everything is going to heaven.
Angels-as-missionaries are out here hunting down Greendale’s witch population. Ambrose is being tortured in a jail cell for treason and murder, though we all know he is guilty of neither, by the Weird Sisters, who get to run everything while Blackwood is out of town. Sabrina and Nick are handling their expulsion in extremely in-character ways (Sabrina by trying to pop back into mortal life as if she never left it, Nick by guzzling bourbon at Dorian Gray’s). And the Dark Lord is cockblocking Wardwell, who’d finally found some love and contentment with a man who — correctly — worshipped her.
We begin with this Book of Mormon-looking bro who wants to save Luke’s soul. Luke starts this scene hanging upside-down from a tree being tortured and ends it by getting his hands chopped off, but not before he gives up the Greendale coven and the Church of Night to this von Trapp, who is a missionary from the Order of the Innocents. We will meet his two comrades-in-conversion later in the episode, and it brings up one of the more glaring issues of the CAOS universe: How it has no idea how to address race, or if it even should. Sometimes the casting feels race-blind. Sometimes it’s like, I know you didn’t not notice that all three of these “angels” are white and blonde, and that two of the Weird Sisters, who are eventually attacked and nearly killed by said angels, are women of color.
Speaking of the Weird Sisters: Prudence has been given the keys to the dungeon while her dad is away. Considering Father Blackwood treated her with total disdain and cruelty for years, refused to acknowledge her birthright for months, and only started calling her his daughter the day he got married, it’s hard for me to buy that Prudence is so gung-ho about following his orders to the letter at the expense of Ambrose, who she was dating and with whom she was having (I assume) fantastic sex. She does, however, raise a fair point with Sabrina: The young Spellman only comes to Prudence and her sisters when she needs something, and such convenient calling does not a real friendship make. (That said, the Weird Sisters were bullying and hazing the daylights out of Sabrina before she even got to the Academy, so, it takes two to friendship, Prudence!)
While Ambrose handles his internment by doing sexy sweaty pull-ups, Sabrina and Hilda summon the Trivium Unholy. (Sabrina had asked for the “witch equivalent of Amnesty International” but I’ve gotta say when these melted-thumb-face-looking monsters showed up I think we could all tell we were not going to be treated to voices of compassion and reason here.) Everyone has decided Ambrose will be executed as soon as Blackwood gets back. For witches, whose history with false allegations is vast, these guys are playing very fast and loose with the judicial process!
The Weird Sisters use glamours to torture Hilda and Ambrose into thinking they’re seeing each other, though they quickly figure out they’re being lied to, because duh. Hilda, the genius, bribes the Weird Sisters with roast chicken — she knows it won’t work, but she plants the idea of tormenting Ambrose further by licking the bones clean and then throwing said bones to Ambrose, who Hilda knows will be able to make a skeleton key and escape. This works, but by the time Ambrose gets out the angels have arrived at the school and shit is hitting the fan/arrows are hitting the bodies.
But before that happens, Sabrina just goes back to Baxter High like, for the day? Her enrollment status is extremely confusing. And here I must say, while I believe true gender equality means women can be as mediocre as men and still succeed at the same rates and that we do not need, nor want, all our female protagonists to be Strong Female Leads or whatever… Sabrina kind of… sucks? I’M SORRY BUT HEAR ME OUT: She does not listen or think about anyone but herself, practically ever. Even when she’s thinking about other people, deep down, her motivations are self-absorbed. (For instance: All her kindness toward Harvey is less about actually helping him out and more about manipulating him into not being mad at her anymore.) Yes, she’s a teenage girl and she’s going through a lot — but she’s also totally M.I.A. in all her supposedly important relationships until the second it would be convenient for her not to be.
In her maybe 10 minutes at Baxter High, we see that she has not followed up with Roz ONE BIT since astral-projecting into her house for a (very touching!) pre-sex pep-talk. She has learned exactly nothing about her own limitations as a witch and her friends’ understandable trepidation about her magic. If Sabrina really cares about Roz’s blindness, wouldn’t she ask a more experienced witch to assist before just abracadabra-ing everything to make it worse, as she has been known to do? She ignores everyone around her, everything she’s ever learned, so she can make herself feel like she’s doing the right thing and being a good person in the moment — even when that means ignoring the wishes of the very people she’s ostensibly trying to help. Roz sums this up quite nicely when Sabrina deposits a “comfort charm” on her desk — Sabrina, in the tone of voice that can best be described as “you’re welcome,” says it should help Roz feel better. Roz’s entirely valid reply: “Is that supposed to comfort me or you?”
Roz, however, takes this massive leap from “wow Sabrina is pretty damn selfish” to “I think Sabrina cursed me and is the reason I turned blind.” Harvey is right there with her, which seems like… quite the leap! For what it’s worth, Theo is aghast.
After she gets home, Sabrina is visited by one of these missionaries. She invites him into her house after he tries the oldest trick in the book — “could I trouble you for a glass of water” SABRINA FOR THE LOVE OF THE DEVIL WHY ARE YOU SO DENSE — and then Roz has a vision that Sabrina’s going to get knifed by this dude, so she calls her in a panic (I didn’t need the cunning to tell you this boy band looking scoundrel was bad news, but okay) so Sabrina escapes with Salem. A similar attack goes down at Dr. C’s store, and here we learn that he has a magic bracelet to keep his incubus in check that Hilda unleashes when danger calls for it. Nick, too, joins the pack, having been attacked by an impressively armed angel (nice crossbow!).
Everyone converges at the Academy. Harvey joins because I’m sure he will be helpful and not just a liability, what with having absolutely no magical powers or relevant skills. (He also says he “rushed” over but, given the show’s issues with pacing, it seems like it took him an extremely long time to get there, no? Sabrina had time to get all the way to Dr. C’s store, meet up with Nick, come back, and devise a plan before Harvey knocked on her door.)
The angels announce their plans: Like a millennial woman with a 20-step skincare regimen, these guys are obsessed with cleansing. (Conversion, followed by murder.) What follows is a lot of telling-while-showing, for redundancy reasons (Nick, as Ambrose gushes blood from his stab wound: “He’s losing a lot of blood”). Harvey asks “Aren’t angels supposed to be nice?” and I write wow I’m so glad you’re here!!
Sabrina is the only one who can get into the church because of her half-mortal status. Rather than trying to do something stealthy or have any plan of attack whatsoever, she just bursts in through the main doors unarmed and immediately gets shot with a bunch of arrows. I look forward to the totally valid explanation I’m sure we’ll get for why she doesn’t just… die when this happens. Instead, the angels put this crown of thorns on her head to get that full Saint Sebastian effect, which would have been cooler if one of the angels didn’t literally say she was “Saint Sebastian.” Somehow, Sabrina magically not only survives but becomes embodied by the Dark Lord?! She levitates and her hands are on fire and her eyeballs are just the whites and as she bellows “I’M THE DARK LORD’S SWORD” all the angels get devoured by fire, and everyone they’ve killed comes back to life.
Is any of this supported by the show we’ve seen so far? Is it really magical to just do whatever the heaven suits the plot at any particular juncture rather than, I don’t know, build a world that holds up to even a recapper’s moderate scrutiny? Am I the only one frustrated by all of this?
Also, in Wardwell news, the Dark Lord — literally the world’s worst boyfriend — sees that Mary is happy and plans to escape to Tibet with Adam, who, like Aladdin, tells her “I want to show you the world.” So he tricks her by pretending to be Adam, only to serve her Adam’s severed head on a silver platter. She kills her familiar, who is a narc, by screaming at him until he explodes.
Ongoing mysteries: Is anyone else bothered by Wardwell’s life being narrowed down to her choice of boyfriends? Shouldn’t she be outraged at the Dark Lord for stealing her autonomy and the promotion that was rightfully hers — not just that he killed a guy she only recently started to date? Do you think they made that entire end-of-episode sequence just for the GIF of Sabrina going “I KNEEL BEFORE NO ONE”? I get the temptation, but still.