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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 4

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is at its best when it lets its freak flag fly, and Part 4 features so many of these kinds of crazy moments. In several episodes, the series embraces its sillier, creepier, more exciting side and throws caution to the wind. It’s a shame, then, that the show is cast out on an odd and disillusioning note, leaving a sour taste at the close of what’s mostly been a weird and fun little journey.

Taking advantage of Sabrina’s rash actions at the close of Part 3, much of these episodes spend time fleshing out both Sabrina Spellman, who resides in Greendale, and her time travelling alternate Sabrina Morningstar, who has taken up the mantle as Queen of Hell in Pandemonium. I appreciated that there wasn’t an over reliance on the standard twin hijinks, here. Instead, the decision to approach each Sabrina as a subtly different character pays off as we see both Sabrinas not only supporting each other, but playing interesting roles in the fight against the Eldritch Terrors.

Father Blackwood lost a lot of his vigour as the show’s major villain a long time ago, and with the Pagans defeated in the previous part there’s a certain gap here that’s filled by a number of different nemeses for the Sabrinas and their respective loved ones to fight off. Each of the Eldritch Terrors offer a chance to dive into different types of horror. Some ventures are more successful than others, but overall they offer a nice anchor for the characters to gravitate back to as they begin to join forces.

Sabrina Spellman is naturally forced to rely on her alternate self on several occasions to fight the Terrors. Given the diceyness of their situation, spending time with each other is difficult. This isn’t solely down to keeping the existence of the other a secret, but the delicate balance of the universe that’s been upset by their choice to stay split from one another. In an apparent attempt to even things out, Sabrina Morningstar is sent to an alternate universe, one in which she comes face to face with one of the weirdest of the Eldritch Terrors (funnily enough, it’s not The Weird) - The Endless.

In the show’s most bizarre episode, Sabrina Morningstar finds herself in a version of the CAOS universe controlled by a talking Salem right out of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It's a batshit episode, but one that had me gagging at all the meta humor and fun acknowledgments of the series’ most prominent tropes. When Sabrina Morningstar figures out that Salem himself is The Endless, and that the final terror The Void is about to destroy this world and the world we're more familiar with, she has to quickly run back to the OG universe to warn everyone else. To get back she also has to fight the sitcom versions of Zelda and Hilda (Beth Broderick and Caroline Rhea!) to reach the mirror she used to travel to this universe in the first place.

Sabrina Morningstar makes it back to OG Greendale and warns Sabrina Spellman of the incoming threat, but dies soon after with very little explanation. From this opening scene, the final episode gets a whole lot messier, culminating in Sabrina Spellman sacrificing herself to trap The Void. I kept waiting for the punchline, or for Sabrina’s friends and family to bring her back, but they never do.

Following a tumultuous break-up in Part 3, Sabrina Spellman and Nick manage to get back together. It was nice to see them get a bit of happiness before things came crashing down around them, but Nick’s actions after Sabrina Spellman’s death are… questionable. I’m not sure if it was an attempt to give the show’s main couple some semblance of a happy ending, or just a cliffhanger that will never get resolved, but Nick’s decision to throw himself into the River of Sorrows in order to die and be with Sabrina Spellman in the afterlife is a dark and inappropriate way to see these characters off.

Thankfully, most of the supporting cast are left in a much better place, or, more interesting at least. Hilda marries Dr. Cee, though they wind up back in the Spellman home following Sabrina Spellman’s death. Zelda splits from Mambo Marie when her real identity as Baron Samedi is revealed, but has Hilda and her long lost dog Vinegar Tom to comfort her without Sabrina and Marie. Roz’s cunning is revealed to be part of her own witch abilities, and she joins forces with Prudence who is sorely missing her Weird Sisters following Dorcas’ death and Agnes’ loss of self. Lilith kills her baby to get back at Lucifer for de-powering her, but after experiencing guilt for her actions (naturally) she stabs Lucifer, stealing his powers and gaining control of Hell. The remaining characters are all left with some semblance of closure, too, though their individual arcs this season are a little boring.

Plus

Agnes manages to regain her sanity, though her guilt over what she did to Dorcas is never really explored.

Prudence gets the chance to kill Father Blackwood, but just decapitates him instead. He manages to escape, of course, but is eventually stopped.

Of all the COVID related cancellations, I think this is one of the worst. Not only because I enjoyed this stupid little show, but because it left its main character in such an awful place. I’m not sure if it will totally hinder me from revisiting this story again, but an ending like this is always a downer, even when you’re re-watching your favorite moments. For now, I’ll just say that I enjoyed Chilling Adventures of Sabrina even when it fell into more boring territory, and I’m glad we got to experience another interpretation of the wonderful character that is Sabrina Spellman.

6 out of 10 Eldritch Terrors.

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Congratulations on finishing the series, Panda. I'm sorry it was under what was clearly unsatisfying circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Good review. It left a bad taste in my mouth to kill off a teenage heroine and her boyfriend. One Sabrina had to go, but not both.
Well I guess Theo and Robin had a HEA.
Mambo Marie being Samedi was just..weird.
This was an unworthy ending for this crazy little show.