Sunday, October 28, 2018

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina Embraces Her Power to Vanquish a Threat in 'Chapter Ten: The Witching Hour'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 1.10 "Chapter Ten: The Witching Hour"

A revolutionary attack divides the witches and mortals of Greendale. Sabrina braces for a life-changing choice.

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

"Chapter Ten: The Witching Hour" was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Ross Maxwell and directed by Rob Seidenglanz

This season has spent a lot of time focusing on and analyzing the past. History and tradition play such a huge role in these stories. It's a powerful story because Sabrina is willing to challenge the conventions of her coven. She wants to understand why things are done a certain way and if they are capable of changing. Of course, she has undergone a significant evolution across this season as well. At first, she ran away from her Dark Baptism because she felt like she no longer had any free will. She wanted to maintain her independence while embracing her powers. The season after that showed the true cost of being a powerful witch. Just because she could bring someone back from the dead didn't mean she should. As such, she lost so much. And now, even more is threatened to be taken away from her. That's what puts her into the perfect headspace to finally sign the Book of the Beasts. Even now, she still doesn't have any choice in the matter. Her life was promised to the Dark Lord soon after she was born. Meanwhile, Wardwell promised her lord that she would deliver Sabrina to him. Her motivation for doing so is still shrouded in so much secrecy. But now, her strength and true identity is coming into focus as well. She is preparing Sabrina to be the next powerful witch in the coven. The Dark Lord understands just how important and special she is going to be. She can wield immense power in the hopes of saving her friends. Putting their lives in jeopardy is the exact price that needs to be paid for her to even consider signing her name in the book. Roz and Susie are accepting of Sabrina's identity as a witch because they see that she is still fundamentally a good person. Even though Harvey wants time away from their relationship, he sees just how apologetic Sabrina is. She has an immense desire to fix what she did. He doesn't know if she can ever mend things between them. But her love is still proudly on display. She doesn't want anything bad to happen to her friends. As such, she is now willing to sign away her name in exchange for power. She does so to protect the town from the newly risen 13 witches killed during the infamous witch hunt all those years ago. That too is another history lesson about the trauma that lurks in the past for this community. Both mortals and witches are to blame for their suffering. And now, it's a witch who condemns them to a fate that rids them of this world. Sabrina is able to call forth hellfire to destroy them. They aren't able to kill anyone while roaming on this plane of existence for one day. Sabrina has the strength to vanquish her enemies now. However, that only further highlights how she has an inner darkness that could lead to some serious temptations for her. So much changed when she slit Agatha's throat. And now, she walks hand-in-hand with the Weird Sisters while leaving her mortal friends behind at Baxter High.

Plus, all of this focus on the past means that the finale has to set up a bunch of intriguing new plot threads to make the future just as important. It's clear that the show always had a master plan to make it seem like all of this was nothing more than one long manipulation by the Dark Lord and Wardwell. The vision Sabrina got in the premiere may have very well been the fate that she summoned to rid the town of these resurrected witches. That's a nice bit of symmetry. And with the truth now out in the open, it's going to be even more compelling to see how everyone reacts to Sabrina's news. Will Harvey, Roz and Susie remain engaging characters if Sabrina is no longer engaging with them on a regular basis? Will Zelda, Hilda and Ambrose actually support the choice that Sabrina made and the new possibly corrosive power that came with it? Moreover, there are just a bunch of cryptic teases here to keep the audience intrigued by what the story has in store for the future. Of course, there were also a number of plot threads that were just completely dropped this season as well. There really was no purpose to the murders of Connor and his adoptive parents. That made it seem like a new witch hunt was starting only for that to just disappear completely. And no one seems to question how the 13 witches were brought back in the first place. Meanwhile, Ambrose is pulled out of the action because Hilda's love potion has seemingly worked too well on Luke. Plus, Ambrose finds himself with a new father figure who has a twisted view on the way the coven should be run. And Zelda delivers the Blackwood babies only to discover that one is a girl. She kidnaps the child out of fear of what Blackwood would do to her knowing that a son needs to be the heir to his position in the coven. Also, there is no real explanation for why Susie has been seeing Dorothea other than it giving her a new sense of strength. Plus, Roz's grandmother dies for seemingly no reason. And finally, Hilda may have found love in her life. She is willing to embrace it. And yet, he may be some completely new magical creature. As such, there is a lot that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will try to juggle moving forward. And yet, it's still exciting because this was a fun and strong first season.