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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina faces Cosmic terrors, bad breakups, and even more alternate dimensions

Illustration for article titled iChilling Adventures Of Sabrina/i faces Cosmic terrors, bad breakups, and even more alternate dimensions
Image: Netflix
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And just like that, the world is back down to one Sabrina. After a series of options that include merging souls or dying, the Sabrinas settle matters with a game of rock, paper, scissors that sends Sabrina Morningstar to a parallel dimension where she faces the greatest peril of all: a laugh track.

This terrifying turn of events comes about after the infernal, mortal, and celestial realms land on a collision course with each other. While some of the effects of this menace don’t seem that bad—everyone is getting some nice new statues!—some of it is more concerning, like when a table of Greendale students ends up in Hell. The resulting chaos results in everyone gathering together to figure out how to resolve the issue, which is impacting both realms. At first, the problem is played for some comedy, because frankly it is pretty ridiculous that Sabrina thought she could get away with not telling the aunts that she left a duplicate in charge of Hell. Aunt Zelda is often annoyed at what’s going on around her, whether you sympathize with her reasoning or not. She’s a fan of order, and has the misfortune of being surrounded by people who like to color outside the lines all the time. But this time, it’s pretty easy to see her side of things. And her sarcastic interrogation of Ambrose, who definitely should have known better, leads to what might be the funniest line of the season, when she asks him bitingly if Sabrina has bullied him, and that’s why he didn’t say anything. Because he’s over a century old, and she’s 16. It’s always easy to understand why Ambrose and Sabrina keep things from Zelda, but that doesn’t mean it’s not satisfying to watch her tear into them for lying. And while Sabrina is only a teenager, she does in fact seem to bulldoze over Ambrose’s plans and suggestions with some frequency.

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Lucifer, once the show’s greatest menace, is here an annoyed dad whose line of succession gets messier by the day. In one episode, he loses both of his heirs. But also he’s immortal, so it does seem like he’ll have time to get some new ones. It’s not terribly surprising that he and Lilith have drastically different ideas for what will happen to baby Adam, but it is a little confusing that the issue doesn’t boil over until Caliban threatens Lilith’s life. If there’s one thing that’s been remarkably consistent about Lucifer’s character, though, it’s that he’s pretty misogynistic, despite his apparent support for his daughter’s rule of Hell. He’s indifferent to Caliban’s efforts to murder Lilith, and scornful of the concept of worshiping Hecate. Even his punishment of Lilith bears more than a whiff of misogyny–he dooms her to age and weaken in the mortal realm. It’s hard not to wonder if he would have fought her in battle if she’d been a male adversary.

This picture is being included in honor of how uncomfortable this probably was for Richard Coyle to film.
This picture is being included in honor of how uncomfortable this probably was for Richard Coyle to film.
Image: Netflix

Meanwhile, Theo finally gets a plotline of his own, but it’s unfortunately one that keeps him away from the main action. Now that Roz has been pulled into the magical world, it’s having the unfortunate effect of keeping Theo separated from the main action. Facing the breakup of his first relationship, he doesn’t even end up confiding in his close friends about the dilemma that he and Robin are facing. It’s unfortunate, because a friend might have talked him through either the decision they have to make, or the heartbreak he’s getting into because of it. Instead the whole thing is wrapped up without Roz or Harvey even finding out about it, let alone either Sabrina. The conflict is introduced, expanded, and then resolved without ever touching the action happening in the rest of the episode. It’s separate in a way Prudence and Roz’s hijinks aren’t—they may not be involved with the dual Sabrina issue, but they’re still part of the core effort to defeat the eldritch terrors. Even when Lilith’s problems don’t involve the others, they still overlap with the other characters. It’s not a huge deal—obviously, everything doesn’t have to blend together into a perfect mosaic about the terrors all the time—but it is frustrating for a character that already has been fairly sidelined this season.

Speaking of Prudence’s hijinks, her quest to turn her father into a pincushion may finally pay some dividends. Not so smug now, are you, Faustus.

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Stray observations

  • The tone of the average Prudence scene and the average Roz scene is so drastically different that it is kind of fascinating to watch them interact. Those two acting performances are really different, as well, in ways that work for the types of things they normally do (both of them play well off of Sabrina, since Kiernan Shipka always has to act against both mortals and very dramatic witches), but which gives their brief work together here a weird, chaotic energy. There aren’t too many episodes left, but I hope they get more to do together.
  • OK, it seems pretty obvious to me that Hilda is talking about the Hayley Mills version of The Parent Trap, but I would like Zelda to confirm whether she’s seen that one (did she watch it with Hilda?) or the Lindsay Lohan one.
  • Additionally, I would watch an episode that was just Zelda providing color commentary while watching The Parent Trap.
  • Sabrina bullying Ambrose was the funniest line, but honorable mention goes to Hilda’s response to the two teens disappearing and reappearing: “Oh, there you are. Where’d you go? Doesn’t matter. Don’t question it.”
  • I thought expelling one Sabrina stopped the Cosmic terror? But then Prudence is still interrogating Blackwood about it.
  • It is actually a crime to bring back the aunties from the original Sabrina show and NOT bring back animatronic, joke-slinging Salem.
  • Some strong Parks And Recreation energy to that scene of Roz and Sabrina trying to settle on a potato option for their classmates.
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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Lisa is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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