The witching hour season is upon us!
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina finally arrived and introduced us to our new titular witch (Kiernan Shipka) ‚ÄĒ a half-witch and half-mortal, living in Greendale with her aunts Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Zelda (Miranda Otto) and cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo), who must decide whether she‚Äôll leave her mortal life behind ‚ÄĒ most notably her boyfriend Harvey (Ross Lynch) and friends Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Susie (Lachlan Watson) ‚ÄĒ and fully commit to being a witch.
From the title alone it‚Äôs clear that this Sabrina is a far cry from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but how chilling is it exactly? So funny you should ask, dear witches and warlocks, because here we have a ranking of the episodes ‚ÄĒ from least to most chilling. And mind you, we‚Äôre not talking the ‚Äúlook how cute Sabrina and Harvey are together‚ÄĚ kind of chills (but while on the subject, aren‚Äôt they so cute together?!?!).
So, to those with a low horror tolerance, beware of what‚Äôs to follow‚Ä¶ and while we‚Äôre at it, beware of spoilers too‚Ä¶
The Witch Sitch: Father Blackwood (a High Priest of the Church of the Night) advises a questioning Sabrina to go through with her dark baptism, which she apparently doesn‚Äôt actually have a say in for unknown reasons ‚ÄĒ as she overhears Zelda and Hilda discussing. After she and the Weird Sisters (a trio of mean girl witches named Prudence, Agatha, and Dorcas) deal with some jocks who‚Äôd been harassing Susie ‚ÄĒ Sabrina moves forward with her dark baptism, but runs away just as she‚Äôs about to sign her name in the Dark Lord‚Äôs book when Father Blackwood suggests, in so many words, that she won‚Äôt have free will. She narrowly escapes the angry mob that follows her, but it‚Äôs clear she‚Äôs only safe for the time being. Namely, she‚Äôs later called into Principal Hawthorne‚Äôs office at school, and the Dark Lord possesses his body, telling Sabrina she can‚Äôt beat him because she‚Äôs part mortal.
The Chill Factor: Sabrina encountering the Devil itself certainly takes the cake, especially because Principal Hawthorne foams at the mouth, convulses, and takes on a demonic voice while being possessed. Coming in close second? After Susie gets suspended for starting a fight with a group of bully-jocks, Sabrina turns to the Weird Sisters to help her teach them a lesson and leave Susie in peace, basically to set her mind at ease if she leaves to pursue her life as a witch.
Teach a lesson they certainly do, by casting a spell that causes the boys to think they‚Äôre making out with the four ladies, when actuality, they‚Äôre making out with each other; Sabrina documents the moment and threatens to release the evidence if they mess with any of the girls at school. That‚Äôs all in good fun, but the sisters take things a step TOO far when they hit the lights and haunt the guys with skeletal faces (YIKES). The episode certainly has a number of other spine tingling moments from learning that there might be a witch hunter in Greendale‚Äôs midst to the reveal of the ghastly Beast itself, but relatively speaking, even a scaredy cat could get through this episode ‚ÄĒ without watching through their fingers.
The Witch Sitch: Sabrina gets an infernal summons charging her with breach of promise for not going through with her dark baptism, and causing Hilda and Zelda to be stripped of their powers. Ambrose suggests Sabrina seek out Daniel Webster ‚ÄĒ a mortal who‚Äôs successfully practiced witch law ‚ÄĒ¬†to defend her and he (eventually) agrees, showing up at the last minute to prove her innocence. In the roller coaster of a trial, we learn Sabrina‚Äôs warlock father Edward signed her name in the Book of the Beast, with Zelda standing by, when she was just a baby as part of a deal that allowed him to marry his mortal wife Diana. But, Sabrina‚Äôs mother, with Hilda at her side, baptized Sabrina in the Holy Mother Church of Greendale, just before the book signing. In effect, Sabrina successfully evades punishment and retains her mortal life on the condition that she goes to Academy and attends weekly Black Mass. Full powers are restored to the Spellman family, too; though, Hilda is excommunicated from the Church of the Night for aiding Diana in the baptism.
The Chill Factor: Sure, Sabrina technically won in the end, but the Devil, Father Blackwood, and co. aren‚Äôt to be trusted, as we see when Father Blackwood and Miss Wardwell get together after the trial. He boasts about his victory, but she maintains that ‚Äúreal corruption‚ÄĚ is a subtle blade and that she plans to go after Sabrina‚Äôs mortal friends a little bit at a time. And the games and tricks don‚Äôt end there. Earlier in the episode, we see Miss Wardwell shapeshift into Webster‚Äôs dead daughter, in a gruesome and bloody state, telling him not to waste his time on Sabrina‚Äôs case.
The ‚Äúdaughter‚ÄĚ later reveals herself to Sabrina in an unsettling vision and, one thing leads to another, but we learn that she was killed by one of Webster‚Äôs clients, whom he helped set free as part of the Devil‚Äôs trick to make him the best lawyer, who only gets cases of the damned. (So yeah, that‚Äôs what happens when you make a deal with the Devil.) Oh, and then there‚Äôs the reveal, via a very claustrophobia-inducing flashback, that Harvey spotted the Beast while playing hide and seek in a mine as a child, and was trapped down there for five hours; and now, Harvey‚Äôs abusive father is forcing him to work down there ‚ÄĒ and that certainly doesn‚Äôt end well‚Ä¶
The Witch Sitch: Harvey‚Äôs brother, Tommy, returns when Sabrina resurrects him from the dead after a mine collapse, but it‚Äôs clear that he‚Äôs not himself; and neither is Agatha, whom Sabrina sacrificed (but brought back to life using her aunts‚Äô special soil) as part of the resurrection ritual. Hilda (and later, Zelda) catches wind of what‚Äôs transpired, and reveals that the Grim Reaper won‚Äôt stop until a body returns to it to restore the balance. Still, Sabrina thinks she can fix things by crossing into mortal limbo and retrieving Tommy‚Äôs soul ‚ÄĒ and she does just that, with ‚Äúhelp‚ÄĚ from Miss Wardwell, but the Soul Eater gets him before they‚Äôre able to make it out, leaving her with the single option of telling Harvey who she is and what actually happened to his brother. Needless to say, he doesn‚Äôt take it well, and breaks up with Sabrina and kills ‚ÄúTommy.‚ÄĚ
The Chill Factor: For one thing, there‚Äôs Tommy and Agatha‚Äôs conditions to consider, thanks to Sabrina messing with what might very well be the most dangerous form of magic. Tommy is completely uncommunicative and won‚Äôt sleep or eat, and the latter has to do with the fact that he‚Äôd snacked on the other fallen miners (meaning, it‚Äôs only a matter of time before he gets hungry for human flesh again). Agatha, meanwhile, coughs up dirt and turns greener and greener by the day, looking like the walking dead. Then there‚Äôs mortal limbo ‚ÄĒ a woods-like area covered in fog, with ghostly figures walking around ‚ÄĒ to be freaked out about, especially because if one thing goes wrong, Sabrina could be trapped there F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Thankfully that doesn‚Äôt happen, but watching her walk through the mystical spot with the Soul Eater looming nearby is pretty unsettling. Still, this episode is really about the consequences of her magic and the end of her relationship with Harvey, and while we should all firmly believe that love is dead, it‚Äôs not exactly totally terrifying.
The Witch Sitch: We meet our new Sabrina in the days leading up to her 16th birthday and dark baptism. Throughout the series opener, she grapples with that choice, asking whether her desire keep her powers should come at the cost of losing her boyfriend, friends, and mortal life at large. Along the way, she encounters a series of magical forces, good and bad, trying to influence her choice, which she‚Äôs about to make by episode‚Äôs end after consulting a Malum Malus (aka an apple that gives knowledge) when Father Blackwood first enters the picture, trying to persuade her to commit to the Dark Lord.
The Chill Factor: As if Father Blackwood‚Äôs long and pointed fingernails, beady and lifeless eyes, and overall manipulative demeanor aren‚Äôt enough to give you the creeps, there are a whole slew of magical and mischievous forces at work as Sabrina tries to choose the path of light or night. For starters, Sabrina‚Äôs teacher Miss Wardwell encounters a distressed girl in the middle of the road late at night who, as it turns out, is actually a plotting witch who uses her magic to stab Wardwell in the neck with scissors (OUCH) and assume her body to stay closer to Sabrina and convince her to sign her name in the Dark Lord‚Äôs book; on top of that, Wardwell 2.0 brings a scarecrow to life to stop Sabrina from picking the Malum Malus ‚ÄĒ which, BTW, showed Sabrina a red-colored vision of lifeless witches hanging from a tree, and a ram-like monster?!?! (UM, NO THANK YOU.)
Not only that, but there‚Äôs a horrifying scene that makes Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets look tame in which Sabrina and Ambrose cast a spell, causing hundreds of spiders to attack the arachnophobic Principal Hawthorne so he‚Äôll take time off school, allowing Sabrina to create a women‚Äôs support group. (Which, BTW, the antagonism against women at Baxter High is terrifying in its own way‚Ä¶) All in all, it‚Äôs a pretty, ahem, chilling start for everyone‚Äôs favorite teen witch. But again,¬†it‚Äôs just the start, and there are so many more chills and thrills ahead.
The Witch Sitch: In the season ender, Miss Wardwell unleashes the Greendale 13 ‚ÄĒ¬†13 witches who were sacrificed as a means to appease the mortal blood lust following the witch trials in Salem, and could‚Äôve been saved but their fellow witches, including the Church of¬†Night ancestors, didn‚Äôt risk it ‚ÄĒ to call upon the Red Angel of Death and get their revenge on Greendale. Father Blackwood tells the coven to get together at the Academy that night and use their combined magic to protect themselves. Sabrina, Hilda, Ambrose, and Zelda essentially do the same thing for the mortals by conjuring up a tornado to get the town to head to the designated shelter of Baxter High, and casting a protective spell to keep the undead witches at bay.
One thing leads to another and Wardwell tells Sabrina she‚Äôll have to go on the offense if she wants to save the mortals, but that she‚Äôll need to sign her name in the Book of the Beast (full circle!) to come into all her powers. So she signs her name, and casts hellfire on the Greendale 13, causing them and their avenger to vanish. By episode‚Äôs end, Sabrina decides to keep away from Harvey, Susie, and Roz (who all know she‚Äôs a witch at this point, BTW) to protect them, and we see Miss Wardwell telling a captive Principal Hawthorne that the prophecy is that Sabrina should rule at Satan‚Äôs side ‚ÄĒ but she‚Äôs trying to make it so that Sabrina replaces her as the Devil‚Äôs foot soldier.
The Chill Factor: Um, hi, the vengeance of betrayed witches is enough to send anyone running for cover ‚ÄĒ especially since this seems to be the one thing that truly scares the witches we‚Äôve come to know throughout the season. NOT TO MENTION, Sabrina gives up her freedom to (finally) sign her name in the Devil‚Äôs book, but before she does, the Beast itself ‚ÄĒ with its claws and trickery ‚ÄĒ appears to her, making sure she understands that she‚Äôll be at its beck and call. Sure, the powers it gives her work in her favor this go around, but who knows what the Devil will require of her down the line.
And who knows what Miss Wardwell will do to make sure the prophecy isn‚Äôt fully fulfilled. She plays her part so well, acting like Sabrina‚Äôs mentor to get her to sign her name, that (sometimes) it‚Äôs easy to forget her intentions. But when she ultimately rips off her face to reveal the grotesque Mother of Demons lying underneath and eat Principal Hawthorne, and kills her trusty familiar with the snap of a neck that comes as easily as the snap of fingers, it‚Äôs clear exactly how vicious she is ‚ÄĒ and that Sabrina, who‚Äôs essentially putty in her hands at this point, should look out in season 2.