Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
This episode is jam-packed and kind of chaotic and just a bit unwieldy. But you know what? I think it has the exact right balance of all the things that make this show the juicy, strange, teen treat that it is: Actual forward motion on our big-picture plots (Sabrina vs. Caliban for the reign over hell, the coven vs. the pagans for surviving in Greendale), with just a dash of mortal meddling that doesn’t distract too much from the far more interesting magical storylines. Plus, as always, beautiful/ridiculous amounts of shirtlessness from all our finest gentlemen and some strong fashion choices by our ladies.
Nick needs a detox, both from all the drugs and from the Dark Lord. What at first seems like a kind of magical dry January — using that Loch Ness egg, Ambrose can warp time, because sure! — turns into a much more involved process, because the Spellmans realize that in addition to being full of haunted heroin, Nick’s body is still gunked up with Lucifer goo. Sabrina would love to babysit while Nick writhes around on the floor, but Lilith corners her: “Your majesty, you’re needed in hell.” It’s time for the second challenge of this Unholy Regalia Scavenger Hunt. Now that the black cat’s out of the bag re: Sabrina is the Queen of Hell (which reminds me: where’s Salem?), the coven and all the hell demons get to attend this very special meeting. Her next quest is to get Pontius Pilate’s bowl.
Brina is all “umm I really don’t have time for this right now, no offense” but Lilith explains to this dopey teen that this ENTIRE situation — namely, the cosmos being thrown out of whack and her coven’s powers diminishing by the minute — is all Sabrina’s fault, because she has not absolutely claimed her throne. Her obsession with her boyfriend is distracting her from her job. This is why Queen Elizabeth I never got hitched. Priorities, people.
So the bowl is just outside Jerusalem, some land of skulls. It’s easy enough to get her there — Dorian’s is essentially Grand Central Station, but with paintings — but the bowl has been locked in an eternal time loop, which will make accessing it a little dicey. Using water that’s been exposed to the Loch Ness egg, Sabrina is able to time travel into the loop. Lilith’s hair continues to look fabulous. Sabrina’s lipstick also looks excellent. These are important matters because Sabrina could die during this mission and I think, you know, if you’re going to go out, go out with a bold lip. The possibility exists that she will get trapped in the time loop forever, but hopefully she’ll be fine!
She gets into the loop and meets Pontias, who is wearing an outfit that suggests he found the costumes from my high school production of Pippin, when everybody sang “Glory.” Security chucks Brina in a cell, where she is neighbors with Caliban, who she accuses of having no honor. Caliban then volunteers his (clay) body as tribute, since one of them has to get 100 lashes and he knows it won’t draw blood from his back. “Besides, you’re too cute for scars,” he tells her. How chivalrous! And also shirtless! Also in play is Barabbas, who is doomed to repeat his role in the passion play forever and ever (he gets pardoned). He would really like to die, which is convenient, because Sabrina would really like to live. She arranges a swap, which actually works, but she does leave Caliban behind to suffer in the time loop for ten thousand forevers or, more likely, until the end of this episode.
While Sabrina’s out, we learn that the carnival barker’s real identity is Pan, one of the oldest pagan gods whose “very gaze engenders insanity,” according to Ambrose, still the most useful member of the family by far. He and Prudence fetch this circle of stones that can be used to amplify the coven’s energies and help them send out a signal. I’m not going to pretend I totally understood how that was supposed to work. Like a cell tower meets Stonehenge, I think?
Everybody is getting edgy, and not just Agatha, who is wearing a straitjacket and has completely lost her mind thanks to Pan. Two little covenites are thinking of defecting, encouraged by Lucifer/Blackwood, who thinks everyone deserves to die for abandoning him. Only one of those kids makes it back to the Academy alive (RIP, Elspeth!) and it becomes clear that the pagans weren’t really serious about letting the covens team up. Definitely they’re going to slaughter the whole coven no matter what.
Because Lucifer is a messy bitch who lives for drama, he is whispering evil nothings in everybody’s ears to make them walk into death traps. So he has Harvey and a bunch of meatheads go trash the carnival. Circe, as she is wont to do, turns all the jocks into pigs. Lucifer also gets Agatha to break free of her restraints — he assists, naturally — so she can interrupt just as the summoning spell Ambrose and Prudence dragged all those rocks to the Academy for is starting to take hold. The spell seems to be a bust, and meanwhile Dorcas is still a statue, as is Roz.
What does succeed is Ambrose’s method of getting that Lucifer residue out of Nick’s body, by attracting it using some of Sabrina’s blood. It’s all very gross, but at least it’s effective. Plus now Ambrose has some Dark Lord essence that he and the aunties could try to use to get the coven back their powers.
Brina thinks she and Nick can just get back to happily making out, but Nick is wearing a shirt now, and things can’t ever be the way they were. She’s willing to forgive all his scumbaggery, chalking it all up to drugs and PTSD and “the devil made you do it.” But Nick admits that he’s not so sure where the Dark Lord’s rudeness ended and his own attitude began. He says they need space, and he is correct! She’s the Queen of Hell and her fixation on him has made her absolute trash at her job. He can’t even kiss her one more time because then he’ll lose his resolve. Brina’s heart is shattered but Lilith appears to tell her that queens aren’t allowed to cry.
The queen and her regent head to hell, and Lilith reports that “Sabrina’s victory over Caliban is absolute,” since as far as she knows, Caliban didn’t survive the trip to Skull Town or wherever. But surprise: Caliban, still not wearing a shirt (I love this show), is back. He “waited under the dust of the ages for 2,000 years,” but did not age at all and barely got any schmutz on his face. Sure! This means we’ve got one more contest to go and it’ll be sudden death which, in this universe, means the winner will reign over hell for all eternity. Is that even what Sabrina wants?
Sabrina thinks now is a great time to finally let Lilith know Lucifer escaped from the Academy and could be anywhere. Lilith points out that the Dark Lord will 100 percent kill her for betraying him. I love that this obvious reality did not occur to Sabrina at all.
Back at the Academy, all those disenfranchised witches the aunts tried to summon have arrived. But they are not pleased. They were brought here against their will and, instead of just like, taking the hit and schlepping back home, have decided the only reasonable course of action is to kill everyone in this house.
Ongoing mysteries: How long before Caliban and Sabrina become a thing? What’s going to happen to Hilda’s spider situation? Is Robin going to go full turncoat and side with Greendale against his carnival brethren?