Friday, October 26, 2018

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina Begins Her New Witch Studies in 'Chapter Four: Witch Academy'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 1.04 "Chapter Four: Witch Academy"

Sabrina takes a weekend trip. Father Blackwood poses a pivotal question. Roz and Susie stage an impromptu - and unnerving - sleepover.

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 Four: Witch Academy" was written by Donna Thorland and directed by Rob Seidenglanz

Apparently, the Academy of Unseen Arts was just a quick walk down the road in Greendale. As such, that lessens the power of the previous episodes in which Sabrina had to choose which side she would pursue. And now, she is fully capable of juggling her life as a mortal and a witch. She can continue to go to Baxter High during the week and attend classes at the Academy of Unseen Arts over the weekend. It's no big deal whatsoever. Of course, this highlights how the witch community demands her to fully embrace every single aspect of their way of life. That includes going to this school and pledging complete loyalty to the Dark One. It means doing things simply because it's tradition. Sabrina challenges the idea that new students at the Academy have to be harrowed. It's the way that things have always been done. Father Blackwell sees no problem with it at all. He doesn't seem bothered by the idea that students have died on his watch. He just sees it as a way to thin the crowd of those too weak to make it in the witch community. He wishes to subject Sabrina to that same exact torture as well. He wants the Weird Sisters to kill her. He wants it done out of retribution for embarrassing him and the Dark Lord at the trial. Sabrina emerged victorious in being able to maintain both sides of her identity without signing the Book of the Beast. Blackwell doesn't want to teach her how to summon and bind the Dark Lord. That's the only reason why Sabrina wants to study at the academy. The sooner she can accomplish that goal the sooner she can get back to the life that she actually enjoys. She believes she is smart and cunning enough to defeat the devil. She has been told as much in the opening episodes of the season. Her strength and resilience continues to be on display throughout this hour. She is able to survive every brutal harrowing that the Weird Sisters throw at her. It's pure psychological torture where the consequences of not obeying the rules is death. It's the show operating with such high stakes even though the audience knows that Sabrina isn't going to die. She is protected even though this remains so difficult for her to do. The family understands that the harrowing has gone too far. They are able to unite the lost spirits and allow them to get their revenge against the witches who still participate in this barbaric ritual. It has gotten out of hand. Sabrina won't kill the Weird Sisters. But she definitely pushes them to the brink of death. As such, all of this continues to show just how cunning she is. She is able to solve her father's puzzle even though Blackwell has failed for the past twenty years. In doing so though, she happens to release a beast who suddenly appears in her closet. That's a terrifying visual to close the hour with. Elsewhere, Sabrina's friends are hanging out without her during the weekend. It could be deemed likely that they aren't as engaging because they don't know about the existence of witches. Harvey, Roz and Susie may only be interesting characters when interacting with Sabrina. However, this hour also highlights that they have been tormented by the supernatural happenings of Greendale too. They don't know that it exists. But both Harvey and Susie's families have been touched by the darkness that lurks within the mines. That makes it even more tragic that that seems to be the only reputable business in town. This community is sending people down there only to be traumatized by the sight of the Dark Lord. There is no willingness to help them get the care they need after coming to the surface once more either. Harvey has continued to live his life as a normal mortal. But Susie's uncle seems possessed and thus poses a significant threat to anyone in this world who remains oblivious to what's actually going on.