Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers from the third season of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
In a nutshell, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is: a campy, dark and twisted, witchy musical with a dash of Riverdale and—as I dreaded—Glee.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the whimsical and grim tenor of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (CAOS), but I feel that in this season, the show lost itself. Part Three resumes with the aftermath of season two’s challenge—and eventual collapse—of Lucifer’s (Luke Cook) throne. Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) of course travels back to Hell to rescue her boyfriend, Nick (Gavin Leatherwood), whose sacrifice marked the highlight of Part Two’s drama and the assumed premise behind the series’ third installment. However, the overriding plot behind this season is rather Sabrina’s—as insinuated by the cover art for part three—decree as heir to the throne.
Of all the things that happened this season—and there was a lot that happened—Nick’s storyline, rather the process of getting him out of hell, was something I thought would be hovered over just a tad bit longer than it was. Within two episodes, Nick is freed and Sabrina expects everything to go back to normal.
Rather than the process, the series focuses more so on Nick’s trauma and deteriorating mental state after being imprisoned by the Dark Lord for decades (which was only a month’s time in the mortal world). The way Nick deals with his trauma was decent in comparison to the other supposed character ‘arcs’ this season.
I don’t think Nick’s sudden alcohol, drug and sex ridden behavior was far-fetched and made him “bad.” It made sense. Nick’s character had literally gone to hell and back and his actions are very cohesive to someone suffering from PTSD (and well, he was already pretty sex-crazed).
I will admit, however, that this season has ruined #Nabrina a bit. After Nick and Sabrina’s break-up, him telling her she wasn’t worth the trouble and Sabrina eventually giving him a piece of her mind (also them being on vastly different maturity levels), it seems as if the writers were setting this up. Nick’s cheating and a-holeness made the ship sink that much easier.
I probably say that because in this magical realm of the CAOS universe, traveling back to the real world, with teens that are just like me, isn’t so fun. Aside from Roz and Harvey’s “budding” romance, we saw the most development from Theo. With the introduction of a new face, Jonathan Whitesell, Theo is introduced to a different side of his character. Robin (Whitesell) enters Green-dale unexpectedly when he bumps into Theo.
From then on, their relationship blossoms and Theo learns about some not-so-great secrets from Robin. Unlike Roz and Harvey, we get a glimpse into aspects of Theo’s character, as in finally prioritizing his transition. I hope Robin becomes a regular in the show and we get more development for both him and Theo.
As for Harvey and Roz, I’m just not too enamored by their coupling. It’s hard to see their relationship anymore than a rebound for Harvey who still, very much, seems to have feelings for Sabrina. I would have very much enjoyed those moments to be dedicated to Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) and Ambrose (Chance Perdomo), whose relationship was only shown through brief dialogue and a few kissing scenes. I think the biggest issue here is that these characters are treated as just “additions” to Sabrina. There’s not much depth with them.
The bulk of the season was sandwiched between Sabrina’s quest to rule hell and a problematic group of Pagan witches. This new enemy, for the later half of the season, attempts to take down the Church of Night (acquired by Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) and Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis)) and at some point wins.
Sabrina loses both of her Aunts, her friends, the Coven, really all except Ambrose. That is until there’s some type of “Back-to-the Future, but with magic!” (Sabrina’s words) moment, and Sabrina’s afforded the chance to save the people she loves. She also gets to rule hell through her new doppelgänger. Simply put, this mysterious abominable ball’s untapped energy was enough to create a time paradox allowing Sabrina to save Green-dale by not following the decisions of her past self.
Consistent with the entire season, the finale seemed so fast-paced and quite inconsequential. With all that tragedy, everyone came out unscathed, which makes me question the entire point of the season. It’s as if everyone in the series is invincible no matter what happens.
I think, if anything, it hinders Sabrina’s growth. The reason she has such a narcissistic savior complex is that Sabrina never quite has to learn from doing what she pleases. As far as I’m concerned, there is no further growth from Sabrina’s naivety without a serious consequence of her actions happening.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s third season was of course entertaining. It’s campy mood cushions its weak points and keeps you interested if anything. However, I think Sabrina lost some of its flair this season. The CAOS was all about Sabrina balancing her responsibilities as a witch and her desire to remain a regular teen.
Without that, or the dynamics of Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) running the Church of Night, the series is not as great as it should be. I didn’t even realize how much more interesting this balance issue made her human side seem. I know, of course, at some point we have to move past the same old, but taking things slowly would have helped with this hellish transition that was decided upon. Aunt Zelda, Aunt Hilda and Lilith (Michelle Gomez) in their stellar performances were imperative in ensuring not all was lost whatsoever.
I hope that in part four, we can see some of the original aspects of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina back and hopefully Father Blackwood’s nefarious intentions with this evil egg won’t give us a redundant story-line. Also, please, no more musical numbers.
Featured Image via Netflix