Friday, January 24, 2020

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina Struggles with Her New Responsibilities in 'Chapter Twenty-Two: Drag Me to Hell'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 2.02 "Chapter Twenty-Two: Drag Me to Hell"

In Greendale, Sabrina explores a new hobby and a disturbing duty. Elsewhere, Prudence and Ambrose continue their search for Father Blackwood.

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 next episode of Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

"Chapter Twenty-Two: Drag Me to Hell" was written by Ross Maxwell and directed by Alex Pillai

Lucifer is no longer trapped inside Nick's body. Sabrina succeeds in transferring his soul to another vessel. It just happens to be Father Blackwood's. That ensures that the High Priest suffers for the various actions of despair and torture he inflicted on others in the first season. However, those two characters remain very active and vital in this world. It may not be a good idea to pair them together. Sure, it's rewarding that Sabrina isn't able to stealthily keep the Dark Lord hidden at the Academy forever. He causes a fair amount of mischief before being discovered by Zelda and Hilda. That was to be expected. And yet, a solution continues to present itself for Sabrina. She laments the arduous duty of having to banish souls to Hell. That may be her primary task as ruler of the realm. The hounds of Hell are just waiting for her to show weakness in order to install their own ruler. They believe that Caliban can bring them a future that they have all desperately wanted forever. And now, a young woman is standing in their way. She continues to fight back against the corruption of institutions and the ways things have always been done. However, it's also clear that the show embraces some convenient storytelling in order to bring the ensemble back together in interesting and engaging ways. Prudence and Ambrose make their way back to Greendale by the conclusion of this hour. And yet, Blackwood becoming the new vessel for the Dark Lord is a decision that comes completely separate from how Prudence feels about her father. She has been filled with blood lust. She wants to kill him. That's why she has been hunting him down. She doesn't succeed in that endeavor because he tells a tale of a looming threat that makes the Dark Lord peril in comparison. Again, the show may suffer from setting up too high expectations when it comes to spelling out the new threats to the world. It builds up the idea of the Old Ones without really including them in the proceedings. Sure, a carnival has popped up on the outskirts of town. Harvey witnesses it by the conclusion of the hour. That's about it for now. Of course, that should make the audience suspicious of any newcomers to Greendale. As such, Theo should probably be skeptical about this new boy, Robin, who shows an interest in him. On one hand, that is something that Theo deserves so that he is no longer the odd one out amongst his peers. He is deserving of love just as much as his friends are. It may be expected though that all romances on this show are twisted because of some demonic complication. The show just still aspires to be allusive in that regard without being completely open about some of the dangers that lurk around every corner. Sabrina is more than willing to turn on the local ice cream truck driver after learning he kidnaps innocent children in order to lengthen his bargain with the Dark Lord. She wants him to suffer. And yes, she ultimately gets to fulfill that suffering in the end. That just makes her feelings more valid than others in the ensemble. That is an awkward and tricky balance for the show to strike. It runs the risk of Sabrina seeming too important to the proceedings and that coming at the expense of what the other characters deserve. Harvey, Theo and Roz can't have normal lives anymore. Every band practice is interrupted by some insane plot that Sabrina includes them in. Meanwhile, the pep rally has to make do without Sabrina as part of the cheer squad. Again, a lot of burden is placed on her shoulders. She is ruling over Hell now. A lot of responsibilities have fallen onto her and she doesn't know how to manage them. She is a teenager trying to act with passion but making mistakes in the process. That can be an engaging character flaw. It can also be the show going around in circles without making sure that any action has a significant consequence to it. And yet, it's rewarding that Sabrina and Nick can just be teenagers in love once more. But it's also frustrating that when Zelda and Hilda confront Sabrina about the secrets she's keeping she doesn't tell them everything that she has done as of late. Plus, a creative solution falls right in front of her on two occasions here - being saved from the freezer by Lilith and Blackwood returning as a new host for Lucifer.