Sunday, April 7, 2019

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina Fights to Expose Blackwood's Deceit in 'Chapter Sixteen: Blackwood'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 1.16 "Chapter Sixteen: Blackwood"

Tensions rise as Zelda and Father Blackwood's union draws near. Amid the chaos, Sabrina greets a familiar vision and Ambrose uncovers a dark truth.

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 Sixteen: Blackwood" was written by Matthew Barry and directed by Alex Pillai

The show is being honest in saying that a group of witches- and warlocks-in-training aren't powerful enough to outsmart and defeat a High Priest. Blackwood can see through the illusion of Sabrina's deceit in the hopes of advancing her father's manifesto and stopping Zelda's wedding. It wouldn't be surprising if this season was building to a tragic demise for Blackwood considering he is the antagonist who looms over so much. Right now though, it's important for him to flex his power and influence. It continues to be strange that Luke was killed off camera. And yet, that serves as personal motivation for Ambrose to take action and investigate the Judas Boys organization Blackwood has secretly been running. Blackwood can make the argument that Sabrina is against his doctrine without actually reading the text of his ideas. And yet, that's a poor defense because she can certainly surmise his perspective on the world based on his actions. He is a misogynist who believes that warlocks should rule over the world with witches being subservient to them completely. Zelda may have had doubts about her marriage at various points. But she still goes through with it here in order to strengthen the Spellman name and their standing within the Church of Night. Just as she's doing that though, Sabrina and Ambrose are determined to embarrass the family even further. Ambrose stands accused of murdering the Anti-Pope, who reigns above all of the high priests within this organization. It is very likely that Blackwood orchestrated the assassination in order to strengthen his own power in the world. He used the boys who work for him and had absolutely no problem killing them when they are caught in the act. Ambrose is the only survivor who understands that the familiar given to him by Blackwood probably controlled his actions. That's absolutely horrifying. But again, Blackwood and his followers are too powerful to stop. It's not as if Ambrose had a smart and savvy plan to take out the High Priest either. He chose to come in screaming with a knife during the wedding. He was vulnerable and let his emotions dictate his actions in an extreme way that led to him being imprisoned once more. Sabrina is also upset with everything that is happening. She had faith that the Anti-Pope would listen to the teachings of her father. Edward never got to share them before his death. He was always labeled a radical in the church. However, he is advocating for equality. Warlocks and witches should stand hand-in-hand to exert their power but not at the expense or torment of mortals. Everyone has a purpose they can fulfill in society. He was interested in achieving those ultimate goals. Sure, it may have been incredibly unlikely the Anti-Pope would have responded well to this reading. He immediately presents as a creep who essentially fetishes the young woman at the Academy. The hope still remained for Sabrina until the moment that she was exposed during the wedding ceremony. She wants people to believe her. Her parents were killed by Blackwood who wishes to revert the church back to the old, sexist traditions. The show has never been all that subtle with its exploration of power and gender. It is especially blunt here. And yet, that may be what's necessary to get the point across to incentivize Sabrina in this fight. She and Nick may be expelled from the Academy for their actions. But they will continue to fight in the hope of learning the truth. Right now, that may be all that they have - which should strengthen their bond together but may also make it more devastating if Nick should ever be revealed as untrustworthy.