Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Like Zelda, I know I can be tough on our platinum heroine, whose skills in all relevant departments — magic, friendship, girlfriending and ex-girlfriending, common sense — can be wanting. And this episode still finds her pulling some vintage Sabrina shit, namely, not giving more than .03 seconds of consideration to some obviously more-serious-than-she-could-fathom magical development before just sprinting ahead toward a vision for which she has no plan.
HOWEVER: It was extremely cool to watch this girl just up and do miracles!! And, more importantly, to feel like all the disparate threads of the show are finally getting braided together in a way that makes coherent narrative sense: Sabrina is extra powerful because of her “half-blood” status, not in spite of it; she thinks her purpose in life is to unite mortals and witches, but the Dark Lord thinks her purpose is to be “the herald of hell” (sounds intense); Father Blackwood probably knew all along that Sabrina was capable of phenomenal magic, and like all white men who seem to hate everyone who isn’t also a white man, his disgust was just terror in disguise.
That said, Sabrina has no idea how she survived that attack and didn’t know that she would, so my point from the last recap about her running into the church instead of attacking in some sneaky, strategic way being the most idiotic thing she could’ve done still stands. Okay, onward!
So Sabrina just pulls the arrows out of her body like it’s nothing and does the same thing with Ambrose’s wounds. (Question: Don’t these witches also have access to regular modern medicine? Perhaps Ambrose would have been best served in an ER? No?) In case it’s unclear that Sabrina is out here playing miracle worker, her hair is totally unmussed by this entire experience. Harvey tells Sabrina what he saw her do in the exact breathy cadence of Twilight Kristen Stewart telling Edward, “I know what you are.” She tells him to scram but also thanks him for always being there to catch her when she falls. SABRINA YOU HAVE AN AMAZING BOYFRIEND AND HARVEY IS A CARDBOARD CUTOUT WHO IS DATING YOUR “BEST” FRIEND, stop eye-fucking him and move on!
Nick overhears this tender moment and is none too pleased, which is extremely fair. He swings by the Spellman household where Sabrina is scrubbing off all that blood in the bathtub and having a heart-to-heart with Salem. He tells her that he feels awful that he couldn’t be there to catch her in that very specific instance wherein the church was cursed so warlocks couldn’t get in — seems unlikely to repeat and not really something to stress about! — and they make out, and I write in my notes, “Huh, Sabrina, you just came back from the dead. No pressure, but maybe now is a good time to have sex with your perfect boyfriend!” But it’s just a classic teen collapse-on-the-bed-in-your-clothes-and-keep-kissing scene.
Just as I was wondering why no one would summon Zelda and Blackwood home considering this emergency situation, that is exactly what happened. But not before a cute family breakfast of Graveyard Pops! at which we see some A+ parenting from Hilda, who says this is a trauma that they should deal with as a family. Sabrina, ever the show-off, makes the rain go away just to prove she can. Hilda’s apprehension builds and builds to one of the best scenes all season, when she reams Sabrina out for forgetting one of the basic rules of witchcraft. “You better brace yourself, girl, because everything has a price,” Hilda tells her. “You are racking up a cosmic debt the likes of which the world has never seen.” Sabrina’s desire to share her gifts with the world is being executed in a totally reckless fashion. As Hilda points out, Sabrina’s dad revealed her powers to her mom slowly. Sabrina says her options are to fear her powers or use them, and I think there’s probably a door No. 3 of “cautiously move forward without doing anything dramatic just yet,” but that doesn’t really lend itself to thrilling television.
Back at the Academy, Blackwood is the interim anti-pope and Zelda is in full Stepford mode — a peach floral?? Obviously she’s been magically lobotomized. The council gives Sabrina 24 hours to produce Leviathan, the familiar who can serve as Ambrose’s witness, or Ambrose gets the guillotine. Meanwhile, everyone else is trapped at the Academy and is feeling very sketchy about Sabrina, except for those two kids whose lives she saved. Sabrina takes to proselytizing about how half-mortals are the future, though Nick wisely warns her that “the council won’t like being challenged by a 16-year-old girl,” and Prudence says mortals will either “fear, hate, or simply not believe” in witches.
Sidebar: While I’m all about this dynamic of older men fearing the self-realization and rise of young women, isn’t it all undermined a bit by the fact that the “vision” Sabrina is putting into action is her dad’s alone? Did her mom not also have vision? Wouldn’t this half-mortal, half-witch utopian future be something her parents would have imagined together?
Meanwhile, Hilda immediately susses out that her sister is pulling some Betty Draper season-one shit because Blackwood put her under a spell — is there no criminal-justice system in the witching world by which Blackwood could be prosecuted for this bullshit? — and manages to break it, but not before Hilda does Blackwood’s bidding of putting Leviathan (rescued by Nick from the bottom of Dorian Gray’s dumpster and brought back to life by Sabrina “I Do Miracles Now” Spellman) through a meat grinder. And before we move forward with the recap let’s take a moment for Miranda Otto’s outstanding Zelda-under-a-spell voice, which is all very “I just had the most wonderful lobotomy.”
With the assistance of the under-appreciated Prudence, Blackwood realizes he can trick Sabrina into revealing her powers — which are so great as to alarm the Council — by having Ambrose killed; surely she’ll intervene to save her cousin and then she can be burned as a heretic. With her wits restored, Zelda informs her sister and niece of this plot, so while all eyes are on Sabrina, Zelda and Hilda do some magic of their own: The guillotine comes down but Ambrose’s tender neck is intact, but the executioner is beheaded. Just as Sabrina is about to get killed through this switcheroo spell, the Dark Lord appears (or is he a glamour, courtesy of the aunties?) to say Blackwood is degrading the coven with his pettiness. A+ use of pettiness, Dark Lord! Ambrose is spared, Blackwood is demoted, and the Spellmans live to plot another day.
Sabrina’s idea of celebrating is to throw a party that she thinks will be a recruitment meeting for witches and mortals who want to get along. Much to her disappointment, it turns out to be a regular party. Right when she’s about to change the conversation by jumping off the roof and flying away, Harvey shows up. He was just down in the mines, you know, because his dad wants him to get into coal mining, that growing industry, as fathers in the year 2019 are wont to do. Anyway, he was down there with Theo running into some scary banshee-demon in the one tunnel that has a giant KEEP OUT sign on it, and then he saw something Sabrina needed to see. So much for that display of classic magic!
In the mines she sees this shrine to her crown-of-thorns-wearing self. It’s a prophecy, farm boy. Sabrina’s pretty sure it means she’s evil.
In Wardwell news, she goes spooky Old Testament and pops out a rib to make her very own Adam, except this time, he’s not her boyfriend — he’s her son. How … romantic?
Ongoing mysteries: How did it take Zelda literally being put under a controlling spell by Blackwood for her to realize he was dangerous and she couldn’t trust him? Didn’t she always know he couldn’t be trusted?