Friday, January 24, 2020

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina Descends to Hell Once More in 'Chapter Twenty-One: The Hellbound Heart'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 2.01 "Chapter Twenty-One: The Hellbound Heart"

Sabrina recruits Roz, Harvey and Theo for an emotional mission. Prudence and Ambrose travel to New Orleans. Ms. Wardwell returns to Baxter High.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

"Chapter Twenty-One: The Hellbound Heart" was written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed by Rob Seidenglanz

The first season concluded with Lilith rising to the throne of Hell as Madam Satan after Lucifer was confined in Nicholas' body through a trap designed by Sabrina's father. It was all convoluted and messy. It was thrilling as well because it brought things to a firm conclusion. And now, it's actually surprising to see just how quickly the show moves to change up that ending or add further complications to it. Lilith understood that keeping Lucifer contained in Hell was vital for the security of all the realms. And yet, Sabrina is personally motivated to save her boyfriend. She doesn't want Nick to suffer even though he vaguely betrayed her by working with the Dark Lord. She isn't held up on that fact though which is good because it wasn't an engaging plot twist whatsoever. She ended the first season determined to embark on this mission with her human friends. And now, they already succeed in traveling to Hell as a group and rescuing Nick - even though Lucifer remains trapped in his body. Sabrina doesn't even have a plan for how to better confine the Dark Lord. That could make all of this reckless in the end. It's a lot of plot to get through in the season premiere. That makes it thrilling and exhausting at times. Yes, it is fun to see some familiar faces from the past. However, it all seems purposefully designed to highlight the suffering these humans endure while in this place where they don't belong. Theo sees his uncle being eaten alive by crows and thus needs to save his soul no matter what afterwards. Harvey believes that his brother has been killed right in front of him once more, which leaves him incredibly traumatized. And Roz is about to be a science experiment at her grandmother's hand but doesn't have much time for a reaction. These are all just obstacles standing in the way of their journey while also delaying the inevitable. Lilith doesn't want them to succeed on this mission. However, she eventually views Sabrina's presence as an opportunity to offer her claim to the throne more legitimacy. She commands respect. The coven on Earth starts to pray to her. That is thrilling and invigorating to her. She continues to live in Ms. Wardwell's body as well. The beloved teacher has returned to Greendale, which gives Michelle Gomez even more to do in this series. It's all building to the apparent set up for the season. Sabrina has to make her own claim to the throne and face off with a challenge in the form of Prince Caliban. That may be the only way to maintain stability in all the realms. She doesn't want to rule over Hell. Nor does she want to promise the demons that they will add Earth as the tenth circle of their reign. She doesn't think that's quite necessary. Hell is already expansive enough. She wants to be a high school student as well. She isn't as skilled as a witch as she would like to think she is either. She is always caught in precarious situations where various plot points have to pop up in order for her to survive. That highlights her innocence. And yet, the show very much wants to have the entire world at stake as well. That runs the risk of too much plot happening at any given moment in time. While all of this is going on, Prudence and Ambrose are in New Orleans tracking down Father Blackwood while Zelda and Hilda reopen the Academy with the yearning to form a new coven. Both of those stories are intriguing and have potential. Prudence and Ambrose have to embrace a different source of magic in order to continue their quest. Moreover, Zelda and Hilda aren't quite sure who to pray to given the Dark Lord's abuse of their family. But again, the priority of this premiere is getting Sabrina and her human friends through Hell. It introduces a new plot setup where she wants to be a normal teenager trying out to be a cheerleader. She also just happens to be in the running to be the King of Hell. There is also a mysterious group of figures referenced as the Old Ones who come into Greendale. They worry even the Dark Lord. So, the stakes are only going to increase as the narrative goes along. They were already otherworldly. That means the bubble may be unsustainable before too long. However, it's still passionate when Sabrina and Nick get to reunite for a brief moment before getting swept away by all the demands of the plot once more.