Saturday, April 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina Challenges Gender Norms at School in 'Chapter Twelve: The Epiphany'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 1.12 "Chapter Twelve: The Epiphany"

As Sabrina prepares for a spellbinding showcase, Susie embraces a series of new beginnings, and Ms. Wardwell finds greater purpose at Baxter High.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

"Chapter Twelve: The Epiphany" was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed by Kevin Sullivan

This show has always prided itself on tackling gender norms in society. It presents a story of how things can be divided by generations as well. The young characters are much more accepting and understanding of the changing world than their older counterparts. The leaders at Baxter High and the Academy of Unseen Arts adhere to tradition no matter what. They don't want anything to come in and disrupt the norms that have been in place for so long. However, that's exactly what Sabrina and her friends are hoping to do. They wish to be respected for the power that they have with the understanding that they can achieve whatever they want should they put their minds to it. Here, Sabrina spells out that she wants to be the first High Priestess. She aspires to follow in her father's footsteps. That means becoming Top Person at the Academy. That storyline highlights the ways in which people's perceptions are shaped by gender. This is a role that has always been served by the top male student in the class. It's something that is lined up perfectly for Nick to achieve. Sabrina is committed to her students at the Academy now and wants to prove her worth while challenging these social norms. She spends every night studying for the tests to determine who will fulfill the role. Meanwhile, Nick and his fellow male students are treated to a night out by Father Blackwood. He wishes to intimidate Nick into understanding that this is a role specific for him. No woman should ever take it away from him. As such, everyone is willing to prop Nick up for deserving this while Sabrina is being attacked by literal demons. She is fighting for her life in order to prove that she is worthy of this position. Nick isn't personally feeding into this need to stop her thirst for influence and control over the students. He actually wants to help her get answers as to why she is being attacked. They team up and prove just how powerful they are together. That's what can happen when there is true respect and appreciation between the genders. No one should believe that they are inherently superior to the other. But that's still a notion that permeates throughout all of society. Sabrina and Nick don't even get this position either. Instead, it is just handed to Ambrose because Blackwood still has grand plans for him. That's an unexpected ending that continues to prove that Sabrina has a hard fight in front of her. Of course, the show needs to better clarify why the demonic world is so afraid of what she is capable of doing and how it all plays into the Dark Lord's plans for her. Hopefully, answers will be forthcoming shortly because Ms. Wardwell summons her master to better understand what is going on. That gives her a renewed sense of purpose. It's absolutely crazy that Wardwell would become the new principal at Baxter High even though Sabrina is no longer an active student there. Her sole purpose has been guiding Sabrina towards the Dark Lord. She has succeeded in that goal. And now, she's just staying in this environment and taking an interest in Sabrina's mortal friends for some reason. That's strange and needs to be further explained. Elsewhere, Theo's story is incredible compelling and important. The season has shown him coming to terms with his own identity and being proud of who he is. He doesn't want anyone to tell him what he can't do. He is surrounded by supportive friends. It's just murky when it comes to basketball and why Theo needs to join the team when he is so obviously bad at the sport and will only continue to be mocked by the jocks who have always bullied him.