This post contains spoilers for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Check out last season's review here.
The curse of the sophomore slump is real. Thankfully, there’s no hex in existence that can keep the Spellman family down. While Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s first season was everything I wanted to love and couldn’t, the show’s second season deviates from everything that made its first weak. It’s not all change, though! For all of its faults, there was plenty that season one did well. This new season pays special attention to those areas, bringing a second chapter that’s truly worth celebrating.
Now that she’s signed Satan’s book, Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) is on a mission to find balance between the two sides of her life. While the start of the season has all of her focus on her witchier side, we slowly see her start to let her mortal friends back into her life. The focus on the mortal side shifts from solely Harvey (Ross Lynch), and starts to include more of Ros (Jaz Sinclair) and Susie (Lachlan Watson).
Though Ros and Susie were criminally underused in the show’s first set of episodes, season two brings them both front and center with the stories that they deserve. The curse of the Walker women catches up with Ros sooner than expected, robbing her of her sight. The show uses this as an excellent opportunity to illustrate the bitterness that comes with the grief of such a traumatic experience by isolating the character and having her lash out at those she loves. In tandem with that is Susie’s journey as Theo. Undoubtedly the more emotional of the two stories, we follow Theo as he begins to live his truth as a man. His struggles are properly illustrated, and are critical to the arc, but they pale in comparison to when he comes out to his father. Farmer Putnam (Adrian Hough) might not understand his son, but he does his best to accept him in his own limited way in one of the second season’s finest moments.
When witch hunters make their way to the Academy of the Unseen Arts, Sabrina finds herself as an allegory for Jesus. Crown of thorns and all! Her stint as savior of her witch brethren is used to lead into two key reveals: she’s the key to the apocalypse, and though the Spellmans are her family, she’s technically the daughter of Lucifer. While her motivations shift to bringing together the witches and the mortals once and for all (whether all of the witches want it or not) she ends up playing right into his hands anyway.
Through all of this, Sabrina and the rest of the Spellmans find an unexpected ally in Lilith (Michelle Gomez). Girl’s worked for centuries to rule Hell. She’s not just going to give it all up because Satan’s had a change in plans. Everything in this second chapter is rooted in girl power, Lilith’s change of allegiance included. Her alignment remains the same, but helping Sabrina serves her purpose, and even Satan himself wasn’t ready for that team up.
With the unexpected help of Lilith, Sabrina really did achieve her goal of bringing the witches and the mortals together, and in the correct way. It has to be a choice to share your identity. Sabrina trusts Harvey, Ros, and Theo enough to bring them into her world, and that trust plays a key role in stopping the end of days. Of course, stopping the apocalypse has to come with a price.
Every last one of us saw the reveal of Nick Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood) working for Satan coming a mile away. Which is exactly why the writers ensured it came with a twist. Though Nick was doing as his dark lord commanded, he had actually fallen in love with Sabrina. While it’s the farthest thing from a new story, it’s still executed quite well. His betrayal and lies aside, Nick truly believes in Sabrina, and pays the ultimate sacrifice. When they’re unable to contain Lucifer in Edward Spellman’s (Georgie Daburas) box, Nick instead traps him in his own body. Ambrose’s (Chance Perdomo) sleeping spell coupled with Lilith marching his body straight into Hell should keep him contained for a little while, allowing next season to focus on the real danger to witches everywhere: Faustus Blackwood (Richard Coyle) and his brood.
Faustus’ would have a world filled with witches without agency. The creep goes so far as to put a spell on the Zelda Spellman (Miranda Otto), ensuring she kowtow to him as his doting wife, and to double down on his plans for a male dominated church even after Satan forsakes him for going against Sabrina. In the end, it’s the power of Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) and Zelda combined that protect the remnants of the church from his will. Gabrielle delivers a series-best performance when Prudence believes her sisters are going to die from the poison she helped administer. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has done little to endear Dorkas and Agatha to its viewers, but Prudence’s sheer emotion makes you panic right along with her.
They say that blood is thicker than water, but that’s only because “they” don’t know the whole of the quote. In truth, it’s “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”, and no saying better embodies the heart of CAOS’ second season. Satan might be who gave Sabrina life, but Edward Spellman remains her father. The Weird Sisters may not be blood, but they’re more of a family to Prudence than Faustas Blackwood ever will be. Ambrose and Prudence almost bring about their own demise seeking a family that was right in front of them the whole time. Finally, the whole of the coven will now look to the incomparable Spellman sisters, with Zelda as their High Priestess, and Hilda (Lucy Davis) as the best, and lowkey strongest, auntie that no one deserves.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s second season is engaging from start to finish. Each one of its messages is stronger than the last, tying in issues of incredible importance with spooky, sexy fun. Add the fact that it’s just a gorgeous show, and you’ve got a real winner on your hands. Season one left me wanting because I desperately wanted to love it and couldn’t. This new season leaves me wanting as well, but only because I need more of this story immediately.