All season long, Sabrina has basically acted with impunity. When she’s seen things that are wrong, she’s done her best to right them, and mostly, she’s gotten away with it. But she also never tried something as wrong as resurrecting someone from the dead, and for the first time, there are real consequences to what she’s done.
Somehow, it feels like something of a rarity to see a show where the main character faces such serious and definite consequences for bad actions. There’s also no question that she’s committed a bad deed. With the exception of Ms. Wardwell, who has other motivations, every person she knows holds her responsible for this. And the interesting thing is that everyone is right. Father Blackwood is right to call out that Zelda has never been able to rein in Sabrina’s actions, and to try to fix the situation. And the Spellman family is right to tell her she’s made a horrible mistake and refuse to help her. And Harvey is right to force her to leave him.
She lied, she abused her powers, and she ignored the very real warnings of consequences, all in the pursuit of a goal that Harvey never asked for. Not to get all Spider-Man on this situation, but Sabrina has never, in the whole season, seemed to attach any sense of personal responsibility to the powers she has. She seems wholly uninterested in learning practical skills, and focuses entirely on trying difficult magic that helps her achieve selfish aims, whether it’s revenge for a friend or to make her boyfriend happy. There may be some version of her life where she effectively melds the two halves of who she is, but playing with her friends’ lives without them knowing about it is probably not it.
There’s been a lot of build up to this moment, and what felt like a lot of meandering on the path on the way here. It’s a lot of payoff when it happens—we know exactly how much Sabrina deserves the reckoning she gets—but it ends up drawing a stark contrast to how much the show skimmed along the surface of who Sabrina is and what she’s trying to do before this. It turns out that lying to her loved ones for long periods of time is actually going to be a problem for her, especially if the Scooby Gang of Roz and Susie figures everything out.
But if the show hasn’t quite earned the emotional payoff it gets here, the finale does have a lot to chew over based on this penultimate episode. Is Tommy really dead? Is anyone going to figure out who Nick Scratch is? Is Sabrina so upset that she won’t realize Wardwell left her in limbo to die? Will Harvey forgive her?
It’s a lot to pull together in one episode, and given that the show has already been renewed for another season, there’s plenty of flexibility to leave some of this for the new season. But it’s the strongest indicator yet that the show has a sense of what the stakes are for its little world of witches, demons, and all-too-mortal-miners.
- I had closed captions turned on at one point and can confirm that it accurately reports the various emotions of Salem the cat. He “meows loud” when Sabrina tells him to go hang out at Harvey’s.
- Leviathan is just a mouse spy, right?
- As soon as I saw that Susie was stealing a book, and one that obviously had some personal meaning for her, I thought, I wonder if it’s Orlando.
- Did Dorcas and Prudence tell Sabrina that Nick Scratch nailed their feet to the ground? Seems like the kind of thing they might want to bring up.
- Inevitably, this all happens right as the rest of the Spellman family is really finding its footing, in both the magic world and in the mortal one. Though it’s not clear if Ambrose is actually getting any work done for Father Blackwood.
- Speaking of the honorable Father, it was an interesting move for him to bring up non-monogamy. Ethical non-monogamy is, of course, a thing, but so, regrettably, is cheating on your pregnant wife who doesn’t believe in it.