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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina accidentally makes some dangerous enemies

Illustration for article titled iChilling Adventures of Sabrina/i accidentally makes some dangerous enemies
Image: Diyah Pera/Netflix
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If there’s one thing a show with a complicated internal mythology that is still getting fleshed out needed, it was definitely the introduction of an additional set of mythology!

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That’s right, the witches are now stuck battling the pagans, who they immediately offend in a variety of ways. The pagans, unsurprisingly, are extremely not into this, and while they don’t attack immediately, they also don’t hold back once they realize the Satanists are nearly powerless. Still, it’s hard to see why this group seems so much worse to them than trying to mend their bonds with Lucifer. They expended quite a bit of time and energy working to dethrone him last year, and by the end of this episode they were ready to try to see if he would take them back? Why in the world would he take them back? They imprisoned him. And Zelda describing his removal of their power source as “petty” doesn’t exactly ring true. They literally started praying to someone else!

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CAOS is following the example of many a genre show by doing this. Think of Buffy, teaming up with Spike, or the Vampire Diaries, which started with Damon as a villain, and by the end had made him a hero. Or some other example that proves I watch non-vampire shows. Your season one villain becomes your ally once a worse villain shows up in season two. But the pagans aren’t really that bad yet? Sure, they’ve turned a few people into stone here and there (who hasn’t), but what is it about them that makes them so much worse for Sabrina and pals to unite with rather than running back to Lucifer? He tortured them all. It’s not like they knocked him out of power for no good reason. Also, the pagans’ vicious revenge spell involves…the group consumption of a nice cake. What a terrible group, etc etc. 

It’s more and more bad news for Sabrina, who also has a knock down drag out fight with Nick that was clearly imminent. The part about her secretly wanting to sleep with Harvey feels like a cheap shot—while undoubtedly the laws of Teen Television require some reunion there eventually, there hasn’t been any indication whatsoever that either of them is pining for the other recently. But it’s a strong direction for the show to take to have Nick to explicitly say that Sabrina wasn’t worth sacrificing himself for. He’s recovering from torture; there was almost no possible way for Sabrina or the mortal realm to be worthy of what he’s been through in the first few days after he returned.

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Her friends don’t fare much better, considering they try to take on the carnival workers without her help. Granted, they didn’t quite know magic was at work there, but it’s generally a fair bet in this town that danger is going to have a supernatural angle. Now Roz has turned to stone, thanks in part to Hilda underplaying the danger they were in. Her reaction when Harvey showed up, out of breath and terrified, was somewhat out of character. Has she ever seen Harvey exaggerate danger? It’s likely that Sabrina wouldn’t have been able to help her anyway, but it was odd to see Hilda pass on such a tepid version of events.

Illustration for article titled iChilling Adventures of Sabrina/i accidentally makes some dangerous enemies
Image: Diyah Pera/Netflix
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Her conflict with Zelda, meanwhile, continues to boil over, with Zelda unsurprisingly being less than thrilled with her engagement. This makes perfect sense! Of course Zelda doesn’t want Hilda to leave. The little moment she has before she turns around to ream out her sister speaks volumes. Miranda Otto always does a lot with Zelda’s contradictory nature, and her tendency to make everything worse before she makes it better, and that brief moment of heartbreak spoke volumes.

It’s a somewhat lopsided episode, with the plotting sometimes getting in the way of the more natural emotional beats between people going through difficult times, but hey, at least we got Ambrose being a cute fanboy about going to Hell. Regrettably, the Spellmans are now in enough trouble that even Lilith might not be able to help them.

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Stray observations

  • I can’t tell if it’s just that I am Old, but every time an adult yells at Sabrina about her neglect of her queenly duties, I sympathize with them instead of her. Is this just me?
  • Sabrina saying she took over Hell to “save the realms” is some interesting editing of her own history. Does she believe that now, or was that just to get her aunts off her back? She seems to, in the moment.
  • Speaking of, it’s nice to see Zelda acknowledging that liking power can be good. If only evil people like power, what you actually end up with is exclusively evil leadership.
  • So, Puck from Midsummer Night’s Dream is there now? Good choice by Theo.
  • “I detest teen angst” is a very relatable line from someone who doesn’t know she lives in a teen drama.
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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Lisa is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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