It's very frightening how Chilling Adventures manages to exceed all expectations the farther in the story you go.
The exceptional way in which Sabrina's big decision was handled was only the beginning of the success for these episodes. Chapters Two and Three of our protagonist's journey proves that feeling comfortable is just a state of mind.
During Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1 Episode 2 and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1 Episode 3, Sabrina is in her final hours to decide if she will sign away her name, and she gets advice from some unexpected places.
She decides not to go through with it, setting off a chain reaction including a public witch trial.
Meanwhile, Ambrose finds himself digging into Conner's life while the personal lives of other characters get explored. The Dark Lord also manages to make his big reveal utilizing a few bodies to get it done.
"Chapter Two: The Dark Baptism," written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and "Chapter Three: The Trial of Sabrina Spellman," written by Ross Maxwell, are a successful combination to move the plot along.
It is quite an accomplishment to allow for individual stories to get the attention they deserve while not letting the audience stay in one place for too long.
This double feature accomplishes that, forcing Sabrina to make a decision and then immediately following that up with the consequences that she and the ones around her have to face.
Bad Moon Rising For Sabrina
There is something to be said about how Sabrina, and possibly all the women on the show, are meant to literally and metaphorically destroy the consistent patriarchy present.
Sabrina's storyline is riddled with metaphors for a man, Satan at that, owning every part of her. She is meant to sign away her free will to an unknown dark presence and answer to any of those that work for him, in this case, Father Blackwood.
Then she is continuously led to believe that she has no choice in the matter. There are attempts from all sides to force her to conform to expectations that all witches are required to follow.
There is a pattern of submission that Sabrina must offer to the Dark Lord.
My name is Sabrina Spellman and I will not sign it away.Sabrina
She goes to her baptism in a wedding dress, literally giving herself away like a "pure" bride on her wedding night.
That plays into the worries that she had about why a witch must not be with anyone before her baptism and what it says about the Dark Lord owning her body as well.
Her dress shifts to a black shade, but it doesn't matter when she must be unrobbed in front of the coven for Father Blackwood. Sabrina is forced once again to be at her most vulnerable to take part in something that everyone around her promises is a good thing.
And that is where the show kicks in; it gives the power back to Sabrina every step of the way.
Sabrina makes sure that her voice is heard and refuses to back down on her decisions even if it threatens her safety.
There is nothing more cathartic than witnessing Sabrina in her undergarments taking charge of her life as she runs back home. The forest grabs and drags her around, all odds are not in her favor, and yet she comes out the other side covered in her own blood and dirt.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina empowers its lead as well as the other characters that get caught in this archaic principals.
The expectations of Sabrina when it comes to her embracing the Church of the Night mirrors Roz and Susie trying to shift the requirements laid out for them in school.
The show presents these examples of situations that are meant to serve as a reminder that men still consider themselves in charge. At the same time, characters like Sabrina, Roz, Susie, Prudence, and even Madam Satan come out victorious because they don't allow themselves to conform to arbitrary expectations.
They are meant to be knocked down, like Sabrina physically getting devoured by the forest or being told that, in exchange for her freedom, she must undress in court, yet they come out the other side a more significant threat than before.
Sabrina: I want freedom and power.
Prudence: He will never give you that. The Dark Lord. The thought of you, of any of us, having both terrifies him.
Sabrina: Why is that?
Prudence: He’s a man, isn’t he?
It is a well-developed attempt to represent anyone who isn't a cis white male in a position of power, even if the world itself tries to rip it away.
It explains the purpose of these situations where Sabrina is kneeling in front of Father Blackwood, or manipulated by visions to alter her understanding of the events unfolding in front of her.
Looking forward, Sabrina's problems are just getting started, but analyzing the underlying value of the places she has been so far support the theory that she will continue to come out on top.
Somebody's Watching Me. Signed, Harvey.
Harvey's personal life was one of a few examples of there being more than what fits the eye initially.
While the real point of exploring these specific sections of Harvey's life is meant to suit the purpose of Sabrina's story, there is still a new meaningful awareness of what he is experiencing.
First, the fact that Harvey draws comics can't be a coincidence, right? Did we just meet the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina author?
There’s no flying in my life without you, Sabrina Spellman.Harvey
Regardless of that, Harvey and Tommy's bond gives that reassuring reminder that he has someone in his corner. That is exactly what he needs with his father appearing and resembling the threatening devil in so many ways.
But the purpose in all this is what Harvey experienced in that cave, and perhaps the origin of the Dark Lord.
Is it possible that he just chills in the mines during his time off? It has to be hot enough in there that it gives off that nice Hell feeling, but is it really that ridiculous?
Then again, this is a show that exists in the same universe as Riverdale, so obviously, sometimes ideas have to be accepted at face value.
That links Harvey to Sabrina's other side; it may even push her to be honest with him and not strip him of that memory this time.
Tommy may be protecting Harvey right now, but their dad comes off angry and stubborn, a combination of some terrible qualities.
His father could come back and force him to get into those mines, making him easy prey for the Dark Lord who is already angry with Sabrina.
We took their boyhoods. Until you release the birds, those four boys ... won’t be rising to any occasion.Prudence
Using Harvey as bait would be so easy. And it forces Sabrina to stay in line with what he may ask of her.
It is safe to say though that a show always works better when everyone is in the know. Harvey is supportive enough to be trusted, the only reason he reacted as strongly as he did before is that Sabrina was leaving.
If Sabrina slips in her secret without the looming threat of separation, Harvey may have a much more open mind than she expects.
Also, it might save him from that goat-like monster, so there's that.
The Monster Mash With A Mix of Ambrose
Ambrose still doesn't have a large part to play, although it sounds like he is quietly approaching something valuable.
Him sticking to his gut on the Conner suspicion is what got them all of their answers, and even though his familiar died, it doesn't mean this has to be the end for this search for answers.
Ambrose hooking up with Luke served two purposes, it is a way to give us more insight into a character that identifies as pansexual, and it gives him a connection to Conner.
Ambrose: Where’s Aunt Hilda?
Aunt Zelda: She annoyed me, so I killed her and buried her in the yard.
He got everything that Conner's parents had to offer him; they didn't know that he had powers, so they offer minimal perspective into his last days.
Luke though, he is a warlock, and he was in a relationship with Conner which makes him the only key.
That is why it feels relevant to pitch the idea that maybe Luke is the witch hunter hiding in plain sight. There isn't enough mythology being thrown at us yet about witch hunters or if one of them could be a warlock.
But Luke came into Ambrose's life just when he needed another clue, so it is silly to trust this guy right away.
There's also the question of Ambrose himself, specifically how he gets confined to the Spellman Mortuary. Possibly as Ambrose digs more into Conner, the story will dig more into Ambrose and his past.
For now, though, it is essential to keep in mind that Ambrose is stuck on that piece of land. The terms of his arrest require him not to go anywhere, and even more so it appears as if he physically won't be able to.
House arrest in the magic world has to be detected beyond some ankle monitor, so chances are boundaries confine him.
That will have to come back to bite him later, possibly when he needs to help someone or has figured out a crucial detail. If he has been matched up with this mysterious search for a witch hunter that everyone is ignoring, he will struggle to piece it together and stop him.
Ambrose: Where’s Aunt Hilda?
Aunt Zelda: She annoyed me, so I killed her and buried her in the yard.
That means that his inability to move outside this boundary will serve as another obstacle in his way.
And yet, Ambrose is killing it so far as the most reliable presence in Sabrina's family. It wasn't clarified what exactly Ambrose knew about Sabrina's parents and the role they played in defining Sabrina's free will in the future.
But so far he has shown the most signs of looking out for her in a way that considers her thoughts. Along the way, he has also proven to be a scene-stealing presence, a character which you want to know more about because of the space they occupy on screen.
- Sabrina and the Weird Sisters came together most unusually. Another surprise on the show, these characters have found a common enemy and interacted on a level that goes beyond petty fights. It is so easy to categorize Sabrina and the Weird Sisters as characters destined to dislike one another for no real reason, which is when the narrative swoops in to allow the exact opposite to happen. There is room for them all to grow and work together again; the second episode legitimized the success that could come from that.
- I still love Prudence with all my heart.
- The differences in Hilda and Zelda are getting drawn in the sand between them. Hilda getting banished from the coven serves as another form of separation between the sisters, which shouldn't be as exciting as it is. But the show has proved already that it knows how to handle these twists with the care and attention that they deserve.
- What the hell is Madam Satan planning for Roz? And why was she looking at Susie that way?
- Daniel Webster was an individual reminder of what a deal with the devil might bring. All I ask is for him not to commit suicide or get involved in some issue that ends with him dead.
- There is never enough Salem but watching him hanging out is always a joyous occasion all around.
Another example of the power being taken back on this show is Prudence taking away the guys boyhoods. There is a lot of discussion on the purity factor that gets associated with women and how that is broken by something getting taken from there.
This time around it is the men that get stripped of it, and it is a new definition of satisfying. Now to mention the way that the group takes charge of their bodies at that moment to craft that vision, slipping into those sexualized expectations of how a ritual must be created only to one-up everyone in that cave.
What did you think of Sabrina's decision? Did you see it coming or were you shocked that it got to that point? Was the trial a win for her or is this just the beginning of a bigger mess?
Are you as curious about Conner's death as Ambrose is? Do you love him and Paul together? How much did you love Sabrina teaming up with The Dark Sisters? How much of a threat do you think Madam Satan is?
What are you enjoying the most? What are you enjoying the least? What are you hoping to see more of this season?
Let us know what you think below!
Don't forget that you can watch Chilling Adventures of Sabrina online, right here on TV Fanatic!
Yana Grebenyuk was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in April 2021.