Tuesday, April 9, 2019

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina Battles Her Inner Demons in 'Chapter Nineteen: The Mandrake'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 1.19 "Chapter Nineteen: The Mandrake"

An ominous discovery leads to a desperate search for answers - and a risky spell for Sabrina. Father Blackwood makes a bold announcement.

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 Nineteen: The Mandrake" was written by Joshua Conkel and directed by Kevin Sullivan

The apocalypse has officially begun. Sabrina thought that she was following the teachings of her father. She aspired to reform the Church of Night in order to bring it into a new era of leadership. Instead, she learned that she has always been a pawn in the Dark Lord's master plan. So many of her actions have led to unexpected complications because she is still getting her bearings as a witch. That's what made her so vulnerable to suggestion throughout this first season. She trusted her friends and advisors. But now, she acts rashly and quickly before understanding the complete picture. She finally learns that Wardwell has been deceiving her this entire time. She has been the one pushing her down the path of night to fulfill her destiny for the Dark Lord. However, she has yet to learn that Wardwell is actually Madam Satan. Plus, it's clear that Madam Satan wanted to kill Sabrina before this prophecy could be fulfilled. She is jealous and envious of her because she is destined to rule by the Dark Lord's side during the end of days. Madam Satan always believed that position would be hers. Only now is she starting to act separate from the Dark Lord in order to achieve her own goals. And yet, she still serves a vital purpose in bringing the apocalypse to life. She makes the suggestion to Sabrina that a mandrake spell could remove her powers to ensure the apocalypse never occurs like it has been written. That would make Sabrina a complete mortal though. She is willing to make that profound sacrifice in order to protect all of the people she cares about in this world. She may have her own doubts about how much her own father knew about her destiny and whether this is the path he wants her to be on. She just knows that she is inherently good and cannot abide by this destiny that seems fated for her. She believes killing the mandrake will solve all of her problems. Unsurprisingly though, it only adds to them. For the longest time, she and Ambrose don't even think it worked. It did though with Harvey, Roz and Theo paying the price. And yet, they don't need saving from a supernatural being when they are abducted and subjected to their own mandrake spells. They escape these bonds all by themselves and destroy their doppelgangers before they can fully develop. That should have lingering consequences for them. Right now though, it's all about saving Sabrina. She does prevail over her mandrake because Ambrose notices that the new creature doesn't really strategize. That's a characteristic it has also inherited from Sabrina. As such, it is doped into performing a duel. It dies because Sabrina cheats and fires before she is suppose to. And yet, the action of her killing herself is the precise thing that starts the apocalypse. That means the Dark Lord is rising once more and Sabrina doesn't have any powers to stop him.

Elsewhere, Blackwood is making his own reforms to the Church of Night. He is implementing his own teachings on the students despite being shunned by the Witches Council. They have ostracized him from the witch community. And yet, people still look to him for guidance because he remains a High Priest. He is even more forceful and blunt about the students abiding by his views of how the servants of the Dark Lord should act. It further highlights his cruelty and his demeaning stances towards women. But he is hardly the only warlock to hold these views. The Witches Council also doesn't want to intervene because they don't see it as a threat to their power unless they do. Plus, the head of the council only gives Hilda the hope that she has an ally in this fight just to make a sexual advance on her. That too is very telling. They may admonish Blackwood but they still hold onto some disturbing and sexist views on the world. Hilda is willing and able to take quick action. Though she too is bound to deal with significant consequences for killing a member of the council. It's not as dire as the positions Zelda and Prudence find themselves in though. They are seeing exactly how Blackwood views them. They have sought his approval in the past. But now, they understand fully that his actions will lead to the destruction of the coven. He views witches as only being good to practice certain kinds of magic. Warlocks should have unlimited power. They can exert themselves however they want towards women as well. It's disturbing and horrifying to watch. It means the women of this world are all gearing up for a big fight. Zelda is quickly able to escape from her cell at the academy. She knows that she has to take control away from Blackwood in order to protect all of the students. Prudence makes that clear even though it's her betrayal that led to Zelda's brief incarceration. Prudence has been so desperate for Blackwood's name. Even though he has given it to her, he never actually views her as a part of his bloodline. She isn't pure enough for his beliefs. As such, she is disposable and that's what inspires her to take action. And yet, she isn't willing to abandon her sisters in order to be saved herself. That too is inspiring and shows where her true loyalties lie.