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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina finds Sabrina up to some new antics with her friend, Sabrina

Illustration for article titled A new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina finds Sabrina up to some new antics with her friend, Sabrina
Image: Netflix

For a girl who’s spent a lot of time tangling with actual Lucifer, Sabrina starts part four of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina stuck in an all-too-familiar quandary: She’s growing apart from her high school friends. After three seasons of hopscotching back and forth between her Hell-based life and her mortal one, some distance has sprung up between them. Worse, they’re all in relationships now, which makes her even more of the odd one out.


Of course, the difference between this happening to a normal girl and this happening to Sabrina is that she has superpowers. Just imagine how much more chaotic your own teenage years would have been if you had cosmic powers at your fingertips to twist reality to your liking. The first of her efforts to fix her life goes well and then awry, since her friends are excited to help her banish a ghost, but then Roz figures out what she did and rather brutally tells her to cut it out because their friendship has changed. Not a problem—Sabrina can just bend reality and hang out with the one person who would never leave her: herself.

It’s a comically out-of-proportion response to her issue, but one that is understandable as a far better solution than the usual advice to lonely teenagers, which in my recollection is something tedious like “join a new club.” Sabrina has always had a self-centered side, and an interest in finding easy answers to complicated problems, like when she magicked away the complicated feelings she and Harvey had for each other. And who wouldn’t be tempted to resolve issues that way? And for all the challenges she’s faced, she’s consistently come out on top, giving her some earned if unwise confidence that whatever happens with Sabrina Morningstar, they’ll be able to handle it, even though, per Ambrose, the danger is the literal collapse of reality.

Overall, it’s one of the more relatable dilemmas she’s faced on the show, which serves as a nice balance to the latest Big Bad she’s facing, and which Father Blackwood seems super into. The upside is that after a long stretch of these adventures, Sabrina and Co. are far better resourced to face challenges. Despite their differences, she and Ambrose quickly wrangle up a posse to deal with the encroaching Eldritch Dark, with Nick even volunteering to work with her mortal friends to take on one part of the problem, and Prudence leading the coven in another. Inevitably, it all starts to go wrong before they manage to set things right, but with the promise that more eldritch terrors are on their way.

As we embark on this final batch of CAOS episodes, the premiere is a good setup to what’s to come: a battle against Father Blackwood (again), a dangerous and selfish secret for Sabrina, and a mysterious nemesis. Plus, to go along with our dual Sabrinas, we now have two Mary Wardwells, which should cause nothing but good vibes for the Spellman family. Frankly, if the real Mary decides to burn the whole thing down at this point, it’s going to be hard to blame her, all things considered.

Stray observations

  • There are some odd editing choices in the episode, like when Sabrina is suddenly in the library with Nick and Ambrose, or when the intro to the discussion of the death of “old Gus” is Theo saying it is “super weird,” which is an uncharacteristically insensitive thing for him to say about a person dying.
  • I am hardly a supernatural villain but it just seems to me that busting each lamp individually is not an effective way to take all the lights out. And now there’s broken glass everywhere!
  • Haven’t heard a line that was so obviously written pre-pandemic as “Why is it that bullies always hide behind masks” in a while.
  • One twist I really enjoyed: Once Sabrina asked out both guys, I guessed that Morningstar was staying on Earth, but it turns out Spellman asked out both of them. Have fun, Spellman.
  • Although why does she only want to watch movie marathons with these dudes? That is a LOT of time to book with someone on a first date. I did write down “OK what is wrong with Carl” after he first popped up, though.
  • Lilith immediately seems to notice that something is up with Sabrina at their 900th consecutive Prom night, but since she always wants to rule Hell anyway, maybe it won’t matter?

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Lisa is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.