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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled iChilling Adventures of Sabrina/i calls in a few favors, and a few hedge witches
Image: Diyah Pera/Netflix
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So did Zelda basically assemble the neglected weirdo witch version of the Avengers? Gryla and the girls turn out to be quite effective when facing off against the pagans, allowing Sabrina to kidnap Circe and finally free Roz and Dorcas.

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It’s a very full episode all around. The rescue is completed as the witches have their first victory against the pagans, Hilda’s spiderwoman curse comes to a (very gross) head, and Caliban finally makes a play for Sabrina, as the show has been foreshadowing all season. There’s a gratifying amount of women seizing power for themselves, as well. Instead of throwing her hands up in the air when her first attempt to rescue Roz doesn’t work, Sabrina comes up with a creative solution. And Prudence, who has often been rebellious but has had a long slow journey to acting on her own, calls in her own help for their defense against the pagans.

But it’s that effort that leads to the most mixed results. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has a series of black characters in its core cast, and it exists in what appears to be our reality, if a heightened version of it, and yet everyone behaves in a very colorblind casting sort of way. The show seems to want to take place in a world where a black woman can invite a Haitian vodou priestess into her school and have a white woman rudely interrupt a ceremony without any racial implication being apparent, but it is challenging to ignore that aspect. The entire interaction is played at surface level, and it’s disappointing that the show doesn’t make more of an effort to engage with the subtext of that scene. It’s not like CAOS is a straightforward teen soap, but that doesn’t mean it can’t occasionally incorporate a real world perspective, even if the stated reason for Zelda’s concern is Marie being Catholic.

It’s not Zelda’s best episode, as she also rejects Lilith’s request for sanctuary for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. While they’ve all had their differences before, Lilith has been helping Sabrina for some time now. She’s also clearly on the side against Lucifer. Why not accept help from someone who still has some degree of power and knowledge? And also, someone who tends to hold a grudge when you’re cruel to her!

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Illustration for article titled iChilling Adventures of Sabrina/i calls in a few favors, and a few hedge witches
Image: Diyah Pera/Netflix

By the end of it, Zelda is ready to go join Hilda in the Cain pit. The Spellman sisters have a ROUGH go of it here, as Hilda’s instinct to spend her last living hours with Dr. C means that she ends up attacking him and entombing him in spider webs. It’s a truly unfortunate end to that relationship, which otherwise was the show’s most happy and un-tormented. Assuming the Cain pit works as it’s supposed to, she’s going to have some terrible times ahead.

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It’s a sharp contrast to Sabrina, who decides after one day of feeling bad about her breakup with Nick that she should cut off all her feelings for him. That’s not how breakups work! She doesn’t even give this one time to breathe before she decides it’s too painful to keep having feelings for Nick. Heartbreak doesn’t feel good, but theoretically, at least, you learn something from it. Has she truly never seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?? She even goes ahead and makes it a two for one deal, which seems…iffy, magically speaking. Here’s hoping the result is that she has now made Harvey and Nick fall in love.

By the end of the episode, the balance of power has shifted on a few fronts, with Lilith and Faustus considering an alliance, the pagans losing one of their most powerful members, and Robin making a definitive choice to join the witches. Will it all be enough to stop the Green Man?

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Stray observations

  • Prudence has changed so much as a character, given her romance with Ambrose and her efforts to save her siblings, that it’s a little odd to see her still behave in such a nasty way to Sabrina. It’s one thing to see Dorcas and Agatha do it, but it doesn’t quite track to see her revert to being a mean teen.
  • Where did Robin and Theo have to go so urgently when they were watching over Roz with Harvey? Seems like a weird time to leave.
  • I get that this show is focused on a lot of Judeo-Christian mythology, but the focus on virgins is a little tedious.
  • Looking very much forward to seeing if anyone with significantly more expertise on Haitian vodou than me has thoughts on the show’s handling of it.
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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Lisa is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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