Volume Eight, Issue Fifteen!
“TV Review: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Part Two”
It may not be Halloween, but you’d never know it from the second part of Netflix’ The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. In every way, this new installment of the Archie Horror comic adaptation is darker, bloodier, and better than Part One, even if it takes a little while to get moving.
When we last left Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), she had written her name in the Devil’s book and signed her soul away to protect her friends. Fully embracing her witch side, she’s now enrolled in the Academy of the Unseen Arts full-time, and neglecting her time with her mortal friends. But the forces of Madam Satan (Michelle Gomez), Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle), and the Devil himself have other plans, and Sabrina will need all the help she can get from her friends and family in order to prevent the Apocalypse.
Much like the first part (er, “season”), Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes a little bit to get going. In fact, the first episode of Part Two was so heavy handed that I became extremely worried that this new set of episodes was going to fall completley flat. Luckily those feelings subsided once the next episode started up, which is great, because what follows is some of the craziest television I’ve seen all year. After taking the time to set up Sabrina and her world back in October, the show runners go extremely big with Part Two, bringing in everything from Werewolves, to Incubuses, to even the Devil himself in multiple episodes.
Bouncing between some extremely dark humor (my personal favorite being the Devil telling Sabrina to steal a pack of gum to prove her loyalty to him) and some shockingly violent content, it’s honestly amazing that Chilling Adventures hasn’t caused more of an uproar with some more conservative groups out there. But at the same time, the show looks like nothing else on TV, not even it’s “sister” series Riverdale. This is a series with murderous, witch-hunting angels being killed by Witches, and the amount of times the phrase “Praise Satan” is uttered is practically doubled from the first season.
Another improvement with this batch of episodes is that it finally gives Sabrina’s supporting cast something to do. While her Aunts Zelda (Miranda Otto) and Hilda (Lucy Davis) are a little underused, we still get plenty of Ambrose Spellman (Chance Perdomo, who steals every scene he’s in). Harvey (Ross Lynch), Rosalind (Jaz Walker), and Susie (Lachlan Watson) all have very important storylines, with the latter’s being an important showcase for why representation in pop culture is so important. Susie’s story of transitioning into Theo is really effective, and Watson’s performance is wonderful. Rosalind and Harvey also start to date, and Lynch and Walker have a surprising amount of chemistry (possibly even more than Lynch and Shipka had).
Of course, this show would live or die depending on Kiernan Shipka, and even though I thought she was fantastic in the role before, she’s even better now. Like the character she plays, Shipka is even more confident as Sabrina than she was in season one. While she’s a little more at peace now with her dual nature, Sabrina is still fiercely devoted to those she cares about, and Shipka more than embodies that. Simply put, she owns this role, and I can’t imagine another actress playing her.
Look, I love this show because I love the character it’s based on, but honestly, even if I wasn’t such a big fan of the character I’d probably still love this show. Like the source material, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina gets VERY dark, but also remembers to have a little good-natured fun. The ending of this batch of episodes leaves Sabrina and her family in a very interesting spot, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.