Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
I will say this for CAOS: It is always really trying to do the MOST. I think most shows would be good with having a big bad bring havoc and destruction to one main character’s wedding. But CAOS will never have just ONE wedding when there could be TWO weddings and a whole lot of bopping about among dimensions, one of which is untethered from space and time.
That said, one of my perennial issues with this show (and Netflix shows in general) is that these episodes are all so, so, so long. It’s not just me, right? They really drag around that 38th minute — and yet critical character developments and plot progressions just whoosh by and/or take place largely offscreen. For instance: Sabrina Morningstar has been down in hell for some indeterminate length of time, and during this stretch, Caliban, who once tried to entomb her in a stone wall in a cold circle of hell like some Cask of Amontillado nightmare, has not just earned back her trust but won her over so completely that she loves him and wants to marry him. This is pretty major, and we see exactly none of it. Also why does this 16-year-old need to be married? Isn’t she the same Sabrina as before, just cloned? IS THIS SHOW SET IN THE PRESENT DAY OR WHAT.
But let’s go back to the start of this episode, when a rotting person is denied entry into a woman’s home, only to respond to this polite rejection by literally ripping her heart out of her chest. This baddie, we eventually learn, is the Uninvited, one of the Eldritch Terrors, whose very on-the-nose thing is to render literally heartless those too heartless to provide its troubled soul with warmth, food, and shelter.
Speaking of hearts: Sabrina’s back-to-back dates don’t really go as she hoped. Neither Carl nor Melvin is all that impressive to Sabrina, even though the latter quite boldly asks if he can be Sabrina’s plus-one to her Aunt Hilda’s wedding. She demurs. It’s a long, hard night for our bachelorette, who unwinds in the yellow-wallpaper room of that dollhouse from last season, which once housed Blackwood’s twins. What happened to those twins? I’m going to level with you: I don’t remember and I’m not going to find out. I feel like it’s not that important … hopefully I am right about this!
Sabrina and Sabrina keep referring to each other as “Sabrina” and talk about themselves in the first-person plural (“when we were dating Nick”), which I really don’t think they would do, but I’ve never used a time loop to create my own clone, so. Morningstar tells Spellman that she and Caliban are getting hitched. How does her dad feel about this? Like it’s a strategic match that would provide some healthy “competition” for a child he’ll have with Lillith.
Meanwhile, Roz and Harvey’s romantic life is going along swimmingly. Roz is wearing very cute jeans and engaging in some PG-13 hookuppery with her boyfriend when the Uninvited comes knocking. Thanks to her cunning, she gets a ~vibe~ and invites in this spooky stranger, preserving both her and Harvey’s hearts. Then because these are teens in a TV show and no one has any adult supervision in their lives, Roz just sleeps over at Harvey’s place. Harvey is shirtless and it is the first of several moments in this episode that reminds me of this series’ valiant commitment to male shirtlessness. (Later, Nick will dramatically offer his chest to the Eldritch Terror just in case it was wondering where his heart was hiding.) In the morning she finds that he has been sleep-drawing some crude pictures that look like what she saw when she touched the creepy stranger from the night before.
Hilda only wants a nice, quiet family wedding in the parlor where everybody dresses up as their favorite movie monsters, but Zelda says it is her job as high priestess to officiate the wedding which … doesn’t really rule out Hilda’s vision, but Zelda isn’t having it. Hilda asks Sabrina to be the flower girl and give a toast. Isn’t Sabrina a little old to be a flower girl? Wouldn’t she be the witch of honor or something to that effect? Hilda also asks if Harvey’s band would like to play at the reception. Oh and one last thing: Can Nick and Melvin please exorcise Dr. C’s sex demon before the wedding? Why this critical task has been left in the hands of two teenage boys is not entirely clear, and of course they botch it and the incubus takes over the next boy it can find, which is Theo.
Lilith swings by the Spellman residence and quickly susses out that the Sabrina who answers the door couldn’t also be the Sabrina she left in hell. (For something that was supposed to be so secret, the Sabrinas did very little to ensure that their elders, who are all smarter and more powerful than they are, wouldn’t find out about this!) To me, what matters most about this scene is that Lillith looks fabulous. She reminds Sabrina that she’s risking a temporal paradox, which is information Sabrina does not appear to absorb. They bond over their shared dislike of the whole Caliban marriage situation. Lilith says they could kill him, but Sabrina thinks she can force a breakup, presumably by pretending to be other Sabrina. I write in my notes OBVIOUSLY AS SOON AS HE TALKS TO SABRINA MORNINGSTAR HE WILL PUT TWO AND TWO TOGETHER YOU DUMB-DUMB THIS IS BARELY A PLAN AT ALL. But Netflix insists on making these episodes 60 minutes long, so we need at least one dead-end plot per hour just to fill the time.
So Sabrina Spellman tells Caliban all about how she needs him to do 10 billion things he doesn’t want to do in order for them to be married, including cutting off his balls, for some reason. She also roped Prudence into this, though again, if she’s trying to keep the fact that she created a second Sabrina a secret I’m not sure why she would tell Prudence any of this — are she and Prudence even friends? I’m grateful for the Prudence fashion moment; a tiered, black chiffon dress is always a sharp look when you’re pretending that someone needs to be castrated in order to join the cult of Hecate.
Back at the ranch/mortuary, Ambrose uses some light necromancy — it involves popping the eyeballs out of five dead bodies — to determine who removed the hearts of the five corpses that just landed on his doorstep. It’s all very CSI: EW. Sabrina arrives with Roz and Harvey, who told Sabrina all about their mystery guest, and Ambrose recognizes that Harvey’s drawings are the Eldritch terrors. The most hilarious part of all of this is when Ambrose points to one of the drawings, which is just a giant black circle, and goes “could this represent darkness?!!?”
Ambrose says it’s time to CANCEL the wedding. I do find the accidental COVID parallels very intriguing here! In order to keep your guests safe, everybody just stay home … extremely 2020. But Zelda insists the wedding must go on, even though there is (1) an incubus loose in Greendale, and (2) an Eldritch Terror ripping out hearts left and right. In order to combat these two dangers, Zelda says that whoever is manning the door at the wedding should ONLY turn away people who look normal but do not have invitations, but DEFINITELY let in someone who looks like a haunted chimney sweep.
Elsewhere, Blackwood’s tent church has moved into a building. He learns that Sabrina is Wardwell’s student, and then “the vagrant of the void” (great band name!) shows up. Blackwood (again, hilariously, though I’m not sure that is the intent) introduces himself to the Eldritch terror. “Uh … I’m your priest, you have to talk to me!” It’s Wardwell who realizes the obvious: The terror has no tongue. Agatha fetches one from a congregant she finds annoying (resourceful!) and soon he’s just chatting away. Blackwood wants to be blessed by the schmutzmonster so they can hold hands and ruin reality together or whatever, so the vagrant tears out a piece of his heart and feeds it to Blackwood. Gross! Using some magic (hygiene), they make the void-vagrant look like a regular person.
Morningstar, having been given a box of (clay) balls from her betrothed, swings by her sister/clone’s place for a talking-to. She’s not even mad, just full of pity for her pathetic single other-self. She is inviting her sister/clone to her wedding with a plus-one, which is the correct thing to do when you invite a single person to your wedding. In exchange for this kindness, Spellman gives Morningstar the dollhouse. Morningstar has no good explanation for why she needs to be married at 16. These scenes between Sabrinas are extremely stilted and awkward. I have to say that between this stretch of Sabrina episodes and my experience with the psychological thriller that is The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again, I have developed an even deeper appreciation for the talents of Tatiana Maslany.
It’s the big day! For reasons unclear, Hilda and Morningstar are getting married on the same day, but not at the same time. Hilda finds Sabrina crying over her loneliness and wisely assures her that her time will come, be patient. Sabrina is not really soothed. She works the door at the wedding alongside Nick, who turns away the cleaned-up void-vagrant because he was under strict instructions only to allow in a person who is just covered in filth. He abandons Sabrina to make out with Prudence, who is wearing sequins and looking fantastic, while Sabrina looks like a very juvenile bridal-party member in lavender.
At the reception, Sabrina gets sloshed and gives an absolutely mortifying and rambling toast that starts with her introducing herself as the “spinster niece” and does not improve from there. It’s all quite painful and takes forever. Then for some reason we watch Harvey’s band cover “Radio Ga Ga” almost in its entirety. WHY NETFLIX WHY. This episode is already ten thousand hours long, and really could’ve done without this Teenz Bop cover of Queen.
Anyway, you may recall that Theo is still possessed by the incubus, though so far it’s been a pretty harmless affair — just like, extra-horniness, which Robin doesn’t seem to mind. The incubus kind of reveals itself and Nick keeps exorcizing it and it keeps possessing other people, like hello did anyone bring a box for an incubus or did no one prepare for this inevitability? Then it goes into the Eldritch Terror which just … swallows it? The good news here is that Sabrina’s awful toast is now only the third-worst thing to happen to this wedding.
Zelda does a quick “stranger, reveal thyself” spell, which, if that’s a tool they had in the arsenal this whole time, why wasn’t she just at the door doing that to all the people without invitations? The vagrant responds to being outed by tearing out Dorian’s heart. His portrait starts to ooze blood so maybe he’s really dead, even though in this show most everyone who dies comes back before long. Before the vagrant can kill Nick and/or Sabrina, Sabrina offers to bring him as her plus-one to a wedding in hell. Again: Does EVERYONE in hell know there are two Sabrinas? How would it not be conspicuous and very problematic for her to attend this event?? Does anything in this show have stakes or consequences???
Onward to hell! Morningstar’s wedding dress is this very dramatic see-through, red-mesh situation. Lucifer walks in while the Sabrinas are catching up, and sputters about being kept in the dark on this matter. But the Sabrinas are focused on the Eldritch Terror and their solution for dealing with him: They can trap him in the dollhouse. The plan is for Spellman to pretend she is suddenly, totally smitten with the void-vagrant, to trick him into marrying her so she can lure him into the dollhouse. It’s some Carrie-at-the-prom shit, but the vagrant buys it, and Morningstar allows her wedding to Caliban to be a fake double wedding in order to pull off this gambit, which they do.
With the vagrant safely stashed in the dollhouse, Lucifer forbids the Sabrinas from ever seeing each other again. He also bans Sabrina Spellman from hell, plus she has to take the dollhouse with her. Morningstar’s parting words to her sister are: “I make my own happiness, and I hope you can, too.” Sabrina takes this to mean she should use those magic candles to create a new boyfriend who is the perfect mix of Nick and Harvey. Can’t imagine how that could backfire!
Back at home, Hilda gets her dream scary-movie-theme wedding. I love that she says she walked into Dr. C’s store “a few weeks ago or months ago or whatever it was.” Thank you for acknowledging that we have no sense of time here in Greendale!
Ongoing mysteries: So will there ever be any consequences for the fact that there are two Sabrinas? That can’t be the last we actually see of Ms. Morningstar, right? Will Dr. C move into the Spellman house or is it time for Hilda to make her own way in the world? Is Dorian going to come back to life or is he really dead?