Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Recap: Swimming With the Fishes

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The Weird
Season 4 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating 5 stars

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The Weird
Season 4 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating 5 stars
Photo: Diyah Pera/Netflix/Diyah Pera/Netflix

Okay, it took a couple episodes but we are in a GROOVE with this season. We know we’ll be getting escalating big baddies of the week until the arrival of the final Eldritch Terror, which is, I believe, an apocalyptic void/black hole that will swallow and destroy everything (seems chill). I’d venture it is no accident that the first episode without our seeing-double Sabrinas is also the best of the lot so far. While I respect the ambition, that was way more story than one show could chew and I wish I could say I think we’re done with it once and for all, but since Caliban is out here attempting infanticide, I doubt we’ve seen the last of his lovely wife. But let’s focus on the positive: An episode that brings us an adequately creepy terror to vanquish, a not-annoying use of Greendale High and its students, a cute new boy for Brina, the slow and steady revival of Nick’s affection, and at least one crisis (the bathtub build-a-boyfriend) averted. Onward!

So it turns out the twins, creatively named Judith and Judas, are with Blackwood. In the interest of full disclosure, I considered going back to my last recap and pretending I knew this whole time, but I decided to be honest with you and admit that I’d lost track of them. What can I say? My administration believes in transparency. But here they are now, and what a relief! Blackwood welcomes our latest terror: The Weird One. The Weird One, as appears to be a theme, needs a warm host. But Blackwood is too weak; the Weird One wants a superhost, a.k.a. Sabrina Spellman. As Blackwood recovers from this deep, personal offense, Wardwell — who decided to stick around even though her church has gotten quite alarming by any reasonable standard; I would’ve bolted for the exits around the time Agatha showed up with a fresh tongue, but that’s just me — suggests they use a “Trojan horse.” You know what that means: Cute boy, coming through.

Back at the mortuary, Ambrose is dealing with a corpse and a little squid-like creature skitters out of the body and, we will soon discover, finds a way to lodge itself onto (into?) Sabrina’s intestines. Gross! Sabrina is distracted by her witchy build-a-bear operation, wherein she designs a dream boyfriend who will grow in her bathtub. Come morning, her boyfriend is still barely the size of a labrador, but she is confident he’ll be boyfriend-size by the weekend. Salem meows his disapproval, as do I. Also on the homefront and as a side note, I love that Zelda is totally incapacitated by Hilda’s independence and absence. It’s so fun to see our usually unflappable Auntie Z just losing it over her inability to pour her own coffee and procure the newspaper.

Ambrose has been researching the Eldritch Terrors and we get a whole information dump from him courtesy of this big presentation he makes for the coven and its allies (Roz, Harvey). Prudence provides backup while wearing a stunning deep V and a perfect trouser. Hecate, bless this fashion plate. The key takeaways from this Ted talk: The Eldritch terrors are ancient entities, they are unkillable and world-destroying, there are six terrors left, and the last one will be the void which will gobble up the universe. They know Blackwood is involved, so (Prudence underlines this note with an icy look at Ambrose) if you see him, kill him on sight. Anything else they can do to prepare? Apparently not! Stay vigilant, don’t freak out, but also freak out. Cool, cool.

At this meeting, Roz tells Mama Mambo that she has the Cunning. Mambo is quite intrigued and later we learn — in what is not, like, the most unpredictable twist in the world — Roz is actually a witch. So much for Sabrina being the only special one in the group! Harvey, Greendale’s resident Xander, is going to be so messed up by this revelation, assuming Roz ever tells him, which, for now, she’s not going to do. Bodes well for their burgeoning relationship, I say. Best part of this is when Prudence is all, “…do I know you?” and Roz has to say, “We’ve met like, five or six times???” Amazing. Never change, Pru.

On the subject of new relationships: Hello, Lucas Hunt! Is he Brina’s new boyfriend, escaped from the bathtub, or Wardwell’s Trojan horse, or just a guy who transferred schools at a really inopportune time? We’ll find out! He asks Sabrina for her “digits,” which is hilarious because we have never seen Sabrina use a cell phone. He loves that her family runs a funeral home “like in Six Feet Under” and he’s a swimmer, which is awfully squid-adjacent for my taste re: the terror of the episode. After some no-duh encouragement from Roz, Sabrina goes on a date with Lucas. I love that “Dreams,” the hottest song of 2020, is playing in the background of this date! They bond over existential crises and end the night with a very chaste kiss. I write in my notes Brina he’s probably going to turn out to be evil or something, get in a good makeout while you can!! 

That night, she has a dream in which she’s wearing a very cute swimsuit and a lovely underwater headband. Through Lucas’ mouth comes the voice of the Weird: With your power we will consume all life. Sounds exhausting. Tentacles emerge from Lucas — not ideal! — and Brina somehow wakes up in her bathtub. Does she report any of this to a trustworthy grown-up? She does not! Instead she goes to school, suddenly has awful cramps, and has Lucas drive her home because she’s in too much pain to be in school. After she chugs a ton of water, she’s feeling like herself again, so she finally gets in that makeout. Good on you, Sabrina! Only problem: The Weird has started to take over her body and she already has a tentacle-tongue. Lucas, understandably, scurries away as fast as his swimmer legs can carry him.

Sabrina asks Ambrose what is going on (as she should’ve done post-dream, but fine) and Ambrose, as usual, figures it out: Sabrina is turning into a human-squid hybrid because the third Eldritch Terror is shacking up inside her body. Using a magical CAT scan (clever!) Ambrose can see that Sabrina’s only option is surgery. What follows is very Annihilation-like and it doesn’t even get the Terror out. So he comes up with another idea: Drain Brina’s body of water, making her an inhospitable host, and the Weird will leave by itself. I am intrigued by this theme of the Eldritch Terrors really living and dying by hospitality.

So the river witch comes by for the dehydration spell and Nick also joins because he’s worried about Sabrina (!). After some extremely realistic vomiting sounds (A+ Kiernan Shipka) she barfs up the squid. Nick asks Sabrina how she feels and his voice is so tender and loving I wonder WHY Sabrina thought she needed a half-Harvey to get the sweetness and sensitivity she so desired. He assures her that her tongue is “as cute and pink as ever.” I take back everything I said last episode about 16 being too young to get married. Be with Nick forever, Sabrina!

Meanwhile in hell, Caliban is talking about how he just can’t wait to be king. In the way of this vision is Lillith and Lucifer’s “bastard child,” so he does some magic to force a violent miscarraige. Lillith, looking incredible as usual, feels these excruciating forced labor pains and bolts to Greendale for what, I must say, is an unnecessarily graphic depiction of her childbirth. There is a LOT of moaning and screaming. There is ZERO epidural. Zelda oversees the delivery of a son who Lillith names Adam and deems “a perfect little devil.” Caliban’s lackeys report that his spell did not have its intended effect, that Lillith is in Greendale and is under the protection of the Spellman witches, who in turn are looked after by Hecate.

Lilith looks glamorous as ever even though I think it’s only been like, 15 minutes since she gave birth? The witches have been tipped off by Roz’s vision and they know these hell demons are coming for baby Adam. They use Hecate to give these dweebs “a mother’s pain,” which basically does them in.

Feeling like herself again, Sabrina finds a skittish Lucas at school and tells him she had an “intense allergic reaction to calamari.” He adorably agrees to keep dissecting squid with her. But SURPRISE, Sabrina did not successfully evict the Terror, and she is still the Weird, using a deep computer-y voice to tell her classmates you will all be colonized and cracking her neck in a very upsetting manner. Ambrose arrives just in time, using magic to knock everybody out and convince them this was but a dream, and get Sabrina back home.

So is Sabrina the strongest or the weakest? The Weird tells her “you were an empty vessel waiting to be filled.” Rude, but you know what? Fair. Butcher-paper magic reveals that Sabrina’s consciousness has merged with the Weird’s, now that it has latched onto her brain. Their solution to this problem is to… give Sabrina’s brain all the diseases??! Jesus. (I write in my notes if you want to rot her brain just put it on Twitter for a couple hours lol… I’m sorry).

Sabrina will need to have some inner strength, and a mantra that is hers and hers alone. While I think it’s cute that she ends up singing “I am 16 going on 17,” I’m not sure that that really qualifies as “hers and hers alone.” But who am I to nitpick what prompts a lovely and, considering the circumstances, life-affirming duet between Sabrina and Nick? Will I ever be able to hear this song again without thinking of the John Mulaney sketch about how old Rolfe is? These are questions for another time.

The Rot Witch (a.k.a. Goth witch) starts pummelling Sabrina’s brain with diseases. Sabrina holds fast to her little Nazi love song. A red and black ball of energy comes bursting out of her mouth. She reports that she is fine, via song. Great work, everybody! And again props for a baddie that actually deepens the story we are really invested in — Sabrina’s evolution and coming into her own as a young woman — instead of just some rando monster that doesn’t really have any resonance with our main character. Does it totally check out that a creature called “the Weird” would have this effect? Like maybe it would make more sense of this one to be the Searcher or something? The Emptiness?

The next day, Sabrina learns that Lucas has transferred to Riverdale. A+ red herring, writers of CAOS, and honestly a valid choice by Lucas and his parents. Then Sabrina pulls the plug on her build-a-boyfriend in the bathtub, having (finally!) come to the realization that she needs to figure out who she is on her own.

Ongoing mysteries: Okay, so next up is the “perverse” and Blackwood’s big dream is that the terror will have to listen to him, and not the other way around. Does this seem like a likely hierarchy to any of you? Did Caliban loop Sabrina Morningstar in on his plans to kill Lillith and her baby? Do

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Recap: Swimming With Fishes