Saturday, April 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - The Dark Lord Calls on Sabrina in 'Chapter Thirteen: The Passion of Sabrina Spellman'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 1.13 "Chapter Thirteen: The Passion of Sabrina Spellman"

A sinister guest visits Spellman Mortuary. Theo faces a cast of cruel critics, and Roz and Harvey pursue an extra-steamy school assignment.

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 Thirteen: The Passion of Sabrina Spellman" was written by MJ Kaufman & Christina Ham and directed by Michael Goi

Sabrina is locked in a battle of wills with the Dark Lord here. In fact, this hour actually gives the Dark Lord a significant presence. He has long been a figure often talked about. But his servants on Earth are the ones trying to lure Sabrina into doing his bidding. It's important to see why he is so interested in her. The audience needs clarity on his grand plan. Here, he tells Wardwell that he wants Sabrina to be his most powerful and loyal servant - even more so than Madam Satan. In turn, that creates a competition between them over a battle for Sabrina's soul. They are trying to argue whether the light or dark will rule over her identity. Sabrina has always struggled when it comes to juggling the many aspects of her life. She has felt loyalty to both her mortal friends and her satanic studies. She made a commitment to the Academy in the previous hour. But now, she sees the importance of her friendships with Harvey, Roz and Theo. Those bonds could potentially help her fight off the influence of the Dark Lord. He has already come calling to ask her to do something. That was the deal she agreed to when she signed her name in his book to obtain more power. Sabrina is fighting against the temptation to do evil. She has never seen herself as an evil person. The Dark Lord doesn't wish to see things in such archaic terms. But that's the way that Sabrina has always perceived the world. As such, he has to play things according to that perspective. At first, he just wants her to steal a piece of gum. That seems so simple and harmless. But it could also allow her to slide even further down the path of night. Again, her fellow students at the Academy may not see that as a bad thing at all. Nick and Prudence present themselves as allies who are helping Sabrina figure out her life as well as the evil forces conspiring against her. They are also able to justify and glorify the idea of the Dark Lord reaching out to her to take action. They see that as the greatest service that a member of the church could receive. However, this hour points out that the Dark Lord can actually be very petty. The play that Father Blackwood and Zelda are staging envisions the Dark Lord as the savior who stood in defiance of the False God. The one who empowers his servants. In practice though, the Dark Lord is testing people continually to prove that they will still proudly do whatever he asks of them. That's what this test is all about for Sabrina. It's not because he needs to take actions against some demonic enemies. It's because he wants to prove that Sabrina is loyal to him and will continue to pursue the path of night. It's a huge conflict for her though. One she hopes to escape by pushing him away and returning to her mortal friends. But he infects that corner of her life as well. He makes her afraid of what could potentially happen to Harvey, Roz and Theo. She doesn't wish to corrupt them with the same temptation that she is facing. She doesn't want to put them through the agony of her life. But she also wanders in and out of their lives hoping things can be normal but never willing to open up about every supernatural thing that is happening. She is still reluctant to do so. She may not have to burn Baxter High down. All she has to do is light the match to prove her devotion to the Dark Lord. However, she also understands that the only way to win is to make the Dark Lord believe that he has prevailed. It can't be as easy as that. The show even leaves it up to the audience to decide how the characters are reacting to all of this. What is Wardwell thinking when she sees the play that is about the choice she made at the start of her relationship with the Dark Lord? Is Sabrina actually stealing a piece of gum after all? These are left ambiguous for the moment which only gives the drama more power.