I will always have a certain fondness for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as a GeekMom. Making predictions for what Season One would feature based off of the comic books that inspired it was my very first article for GeekMom. My second article was a write up of that first season and how it compared to the comic. I have done write ups for every season (and the Christmas special) since then, but now it’s time for one final visit to Greendale.
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA SERIES
Normally, I like to do write-ups based on character arcs. However, this season feels like it will go better one episode at a time because some characters had very tiny arcs this season and the season neatly organized itself with one Eldritch Horror per episode. Since Season Three left us with a situation where there are now two Sabrinas, I will refer to the second Sabrina who went to become Queen of Hell as Sabrina Morningstar, and the Greendale Sabrina as either Sabrina or Sabrina Spellman.
Episode 1: “The Eldritch Dark”
Sabrina Spellman is finding herself at a crossroads with no compass. Her friends are all coupled up, leaving her feeling like a fifth wheel. Nick, her most recent ex-boyfriend, seems to be involved with Prudence, and she’s struggling to find a purpose again. Meanwhile, Aunt Zelda is rebuilding The Academy of Unseen Arts around the worship of Hecate and assigns new important positions. She gives herself the title of “The Crone,” “The Mother” goes to Aunt Hilda, and you can see the devastation on Sabrina’s face when the nepotism runs out and Prudence is named “The Maiden.”
In order to feel important again, Sabrina even fakes a Bloody Mary haunting with Salem’s help just so that her friends seem to need her again, which Roz later calls her out for privately. Luckily for Sabrina’s sense of purpose, Father Blackwood’s first Eldritch Terror shows up: The Darkness. The Darkness is exposing people’s deepest insecurities and taking out people at the same time. It’s going to take a lot of light magic to stop. Like two Sabrinas worth. Sabrina has to bring in her double to stop the first Eldritch Terror and discovers Sabrina Morningstar is about to marry Caliban. This is not great for Sabrina’s morale at all. Sabrina won’t allow herself to mope forever though. She’s asked both a mortal boy and a warlock boy out on dates and has a dance party with her secret best friend Sabrina Morningstar. She’s back in the magic game.
Episode 2: “The Uninvited”
It’s wedding time all around. Sabrina Morningstar is getting married to Caliban and Aunt Hilda is finally marrying Dr. Cerberus. Sabrina finds herself moping again when neither of her dates turn out to be anything special and then attempts to sabotage Caliban’s marriage to Sabrina Morningstar since she doesn’t trust him. Meanwhile the new Eldritch Terror, the Uninvited turns up. People who reject it end up dead, but Roz tries to help it, causing her and Harvey to survive the encounter. Harvey starts sleep drawing, and it seems like he’s drawn pictures for each of the Eldritch Terrors.
The wedding featured a drunken Sabrina throwing herself a pity speech and then gets crashed by the Uninvited, who almost destroys everyone when Nick refused to allow it in. Sabrina gets her act together enough to redirect the Uninvited by bringing it as her plus one to Sabrina Morningstar’s wedding. The two Sabrinas manage to pull a fake double wedding to trap the Uninvited in the dollhouse. Our Sabrina returns home and starts looking into magically creating herself a new boyfriend with the best features of Harvey and Nick. No good can come of this.
Episode 3: “The Weird One”
Sabrina’s romantic life is about to take a dramatic turn when she decides to try dating the new kid on the swim team. It’s fun, they’re flirty, and their make out session gets interrupted when she turns up with some sort of octopus/tentacle tongue. The newest Eldritch Terror has literally taken over Sabrina body and it’s Cousin Ambrose on deck to help. Ambrose thinks he’s gotten rid if it by making her body inhospitable, but a little bit hides in her mind and a possessed Sabrina nearly gets a room full of science students to kill themselves. Ambrose has to bring in a second plan which involves getting the Witch of Pestilence to come infect Sabrina’s mind while she engages the Weird One in a battle of wills. With Nick there supporting her, Sabrina sings “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” to ground herself until the Weird One is defeated. Finally deciding that she needs to sort out who she is before focusing on boys, she cancels the spell to make her a perfect boyfriend. It’s a good call for her.
Episode 4: “The Imp of the Perverse”
The stakes are finally coming up a few notches as Father Blackwood sweeps in more directly this time and we see Sabrina and Roz get to team up a bit more. Roz is in a new transition point of her own after being told by Mambo Marie that she is in fact a witch too, hence her Seer type abilities. Harvey is taking this revelation about Roz pretty hard and Roz is taking his lack of support harder.
Father Blackwood creates a terrifying regime-based Greendale as an alternate universe where witches are hunted down and Sabrina is Public Enemy Number One. At first, no one other than Roz and Sabrina seem to recall who they really are. Theo is accused of being a witch and arrested, Aunt Hilda is running a resistance, and Harvey is serving Father Blackwood. Interestingly enough Agatha, the Weird Sister gone mad, is actually sane again. Sabrina is able to destroy this Eldritch Terror and return things back to normal. Harvey apologizes to Roz and Nick, well, Nick wants to get back with Sabrina because he insists they’re “endgame.” I wasn’t fond of that line in Riverdale, and I’m not really big on it here either.
Episode 5: “Deus Ex Machina”
TRIGGER WARNING: TRAUMATIC CHARACTER DEATH
The two Sabrinas are finally going to have to answer for the fact that there are in fact, two Sabrinas. First, Sabrina Spellman is trying to deal with Nick. She’s still wary and hurt by what he did, but he’s willing to give her time. He’s also willing to understand the mortal world more by enrolling in Baxter High. Nick needs to wait though, because the existence of two Sabrinas is triggering the Cosmos, and all three realms are on a collision course to crash and destroy each other.
Lilith has been hiding out at the Academy with her nearly born Morningstar child, Adam. Lucifer wants him. Lilith doesn’t want that and actually kills Adam to keep Lucifer for taking him. While not done on screen, it’s horrific enough that I needed a pause between episodes, especially as someone who lost two babies to miscarriage. Lucifer is mad and punishes Lilith by taking her powers and cursing her with humanity.
Theo and Robin have their own challenge. The fae are returning to their realm because of the danger and Theo is not willing to go along. At first, Robin is willing to stay with him, but when Theo discovers that staying will weaken Robin’s powers, he chooses to let Robin go as much as it breaks both of their hearts.
Back to the Sabrinas. Reversing the polarity of the realms may simply tear the girls apart, so the next choice is merging the girls back together. With no sense of what this might do to either girl, they get a six hour window for a last something. Sabrina Morningstar wants to hang out with her friends, the Fright Club, one last time. Sabrina Spellman chooses to forgive Nick and be intimate with him before she looses the chance.
The merging is canceled, and it’s decided that one Sabrina will have to portal out to be a sacrifice to the Eldtritch Cosmos. Spellman wins and Morningstar goes through a portal, and right into an alternate world where the aunts are placed by Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick from the 90s show.
Episode 6: “The Returned”
The dead have come back to Greendale. Marie Mambo goes to face off in a game with Lazarus in order to try to banish away the Returned. In the meantime, Sabrina and the Fright Club find themselves in a Battle of the Bands contest from Hell. Satanic Panic was a punk group that are among the Returned. To buy themselves fame from Lucifer they murdered the prom queen, whose father murdered them in turn. The person who tipped off the prom queen’s father? Harvey’s father, who was part of the band until the murdering business started.
The Returned keep popping up around town but must be treated carefully. Dorcas returns to her “sisters” and Prudence has to keep her from killing Agatha in revenge.
Sabrina tries to connect with her Returned father, but Edward Spellman rejects the daughter that was never his in the first place. Lucifer also rejects Sabrina, feeling that Sabrina Morningstar was his true daughter.
Satanic Panic are holding Harvey’s dad hostage and want their Battle of the Bands. The Fright Club prepares to go up against them and Robin returns to help. Sabrina has her own plan and own band which involves bringing back the dead prom queen to go after Satanic Panic.
The real fight is with Marie Mambo and Lazarus. Marie Mambo looses the game, but that’s not the final move. Lilith wants a boon from Lazarus, she wants Adam back. When Lazarus won’t do it, Lilith stabs him with the Spear of Longinus, which she got from Caliban. Marie Mambo promises a boon but makes another revelation as well. She’s not really Marie Mambo, she’s Baron Samedi, a powerful Hatian Ioa who must now return to the underworld with the rest of the Returned. Dorcas forgives Agatha and the next thing we know, Agatha’s sanity is restored. Theo and Robin also reconcile and Robin decides to stay after all.
Episode 7: “The Endless”
After some particularly dark episodes, the meta nature in this one was a bit of a relief. For this episode, we leave the Greendale we know behind and join Sabrina Morningstar in the alternate world that feels off. Here, her life is part of a never ending tv series where she and Harvey are still together and Salem is a… talking cat who is treated as the star of the show. This show set is very intense though, three mistakes and you get sent to the Green Room. People don’t come back from the Green Room.
The Chilling Adventures aunties are there as understudies, as is Nick, the Harvey understudy. Caliban works on the sets. Roz is losing her sight because that’s what the writers wrote but is thrilled at getting a proper story arc. Ambrose has been banished to the Green Room where he is forever making cat food. Sabrina Morningstar realizes that Salem is the Terror (the Endless), she needs to see the next script pages (Salem is also head writer), and she needs to find the mirror she came in.
Harvey helps her get the pages but is Green Roomed and Sabrina Morningstar discovers the pages just end because the Void is coming. Nick insists that he’s “Harvey now” and Sabrina Morningstar manages to get Salem to realize how serious this is and that the Void is coming for him too. He helps her to get to the mirror and she bursts through to try to warn everyone else.
Episode 8: “At the Mountains of Madness”
TRIGGER WARNING: TRAUMATIC CHARACTER DEATH
The final episode is here. Sabrina Spellman and her friends have been preparing for her birthday, and Nick has a special gift for her: a pair of lockets with each other’s photos inside. The two are hooking up when Sabrina Morningstar bursts through the mirror, delivers her warning, and dies in her counterparts arms.
Sabrina is devastated and feels responsible. She gets her hands on the one item that may solve things: Pandora’s box. It must be opened from inside the Void though. Sabrina writes a letter to he family not expecting to return and takes the box to go take on the final Eldritch Terror.
Salem panics and alerts the family. Concerned, the Spellmans realize they can’t bring Sabrina back but they can pull her soul and transfer it to Sabrina Morningstar’s body. Sabrina hasn’t finished pulling the Void in though and is brought back before the job is done.
It soon becomes obvious that the interruption caused part of the Void to come back with Sabrina. Caliban learns about the death of Morningstar and is furious the other Sabrina is using her body. So is Lucifer. In fact they try to raise an army to come after her, but Sabrina’s Void infused powers handle that. She panics and takes off, scared she’ll hurt others.
Lilith makes her move with the spear, attacking Lucifer and drinking that celestial blood of his to restore her powers and destroy him. Hell has a new Queen now.
Father Blackwood takes off and finds Sabrina. He’s obsessed with the Void and she agrees to let him stay around to teach her what he knows about it. The Spellmans and other witches come to save her, but it goes horribly wrong. Blackwood wants to sacrifice her and Sabrina is barely holding onto control. Prudence and Roz are sucked into the void and Sabrina just manages to give Ambrose a telepathic message on what to do.
A new plan is now formed. Nick uses the lockets to help recover Sabrina’s body and Pandora’s box. His job is to handle getting the Void and all the other Terrors that may be lingering in trapped forms into Pandora’s box. Theo and Harvey will go into the Void to save those pulled into it. The Void itself will have to be drained by blood out of Sabrina with Agatha helping the Spellmans with that.
The mission goes underway. Father Blackwood is tricked with own greed, the Void is draining from Sabrina, those who were lost are recovered, but we can feel tragedy looming. Sabrina flashbacks to birthdays with her aunts and starts whispering goodbyes to her friends, her family, Salem, and last of all Nick. Nick bursts through with everything trapped just to find that Sabrina has died in order to save everyone.
At some point later we see the aftermath. A funeral held for both Sabrinas, a statue of Sabrina placed in the Academy of Unseen Arts, Aunt Hilda deciding to move back to the mortuary with her new husband, Prudence chopping Father Blackwood into four pieces to scatter because she is done with the trouble he has caused.
Then we find Sabrina in a bright room of art, calm and tranquil. It’s the Sweet Hereafter, where witches go when they die. She isn’t alone though. Nick soon joins her and tells her he went for a swim in the Sea of Sorrows and that it had a ‘wicked undertow.” The implication of suicide is obvious as well as his glee at reuniting to Sabrina.
It’s this last bit that really bothers me. Given the backlash of 13 Reasons Why for glorifying suicide, it’s reckless and irresponsible for the creators of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to do it here, especially as a justification for reuniting a pair of characters in love. The biggest kicker is that it wasn’t even necessary as a plot device to reunite the characters. Only minutes ago, Nick was pulling off a dangerous job that Sabrina didn’t think she could survive when she tried it. Both of them dying in the same mission but finding each other in the Sweet Hereafter would have been a legitimate way to treat things without using suicide in such a problematic way. It’s an unfortunate end note to a lot of things that were done very well.
Looking over the rest of the season, I was glad the series got a true ending without trying to drag things on for so long that trying to act like the actors were still teenagers was getting weird or that the stretch to continuously create bigger bads got campy to the point of no longer being enjoyable. Sabrina’s tendency to solve one problem by creating another had actual consequences, eventually she could not keep up with the chaos she created and the price for it was her life. Her sacrifice went back to who she was: part of two worlds and she cared fiercely about them both and in her last moments all the people she loved from both worlds were who she thought of before she passed. Someday, if this story is remade again, I hope those are the traits that Sabrina Spellman holds onto.