Friday, January 1, 2021

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina Looks Inward to Face the Next Terror in 'Chapter Thirty-One: The Weird One'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 2.11 "Chapter Thirty-One: The Weird One"

The next terror graces Greendale. Sabrina bonds with a new classmate... and finds herself in a squeamish predicament. Roz uncovers a shocking truth.

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 Thirty-One: The Weird One" was written by Jenina Kibuka and directed by Lisa Soper

Blackwood declared that the Weird was coming. As such, the show could have broken from all of its storytelling norms for an episode that was truly unique. The show doesn't break from its basic structure. It still functions the same as every previous episode. However, it certainly has fun with the specifics of the threat that plagues Sabrina. She is at risk of turning into a squid because a parasite has latched onto her as its latest host. It's so unexpected and weird. That makes this a perfect summation of what this particular threat is meant to be. Ambrose warns the coven to be on high alert for the various Eldritch Terrors as they emerge. However, he doesn't know when they will appear or what form they will take. It shouldn't just be assumed that they will take monstrous forms that haunt people in their nightmares. That is the natural impulse for the creature design of this show. It's just as compelling to see the Weird stalk the Spellman house before grabbing ahold of Sabrina. It does so because she represents strength and power. She has already defeated two of these threats. It's a dangerous venture. One that doesn't amount to success for this latest terror. It affirms that Ms. Wardell is all in on helping Blackwood bring about the end of days. That has become a natural part of her world. She can no longer deny the supernatural elements that define the world around her. It's easy for the witches to assume that they can just convince the mortals that any threat is actually just some terrifying dream they've had. That helps Ambrose when he has to rush to save his cousin before she kills all of her classmates. But it's much more nuanced and complicated than that as well. People can only deny the reality of their lives for so long. Everyone enjoys the fantasy. But the threats of this particular world are way too extreme and dire for anyone to be ignorant to what is going on. Roz learns that she is actually a witch. The cunning is how her powers have manifested themselves. Her skills can actually allow the coven to learn when the terrors arrive because she can sense a disturbance in the realm. She just needs to hone her skills alongside Prudence and Mambo Marie. That's a very encouraging development that highlights her strength and growing powers. And yet, she too fears the burden that this will place on Harvey. He is so sweet and generous. He is supportive and protective of his friends. But this is the second time his girlfriend has struggled to come out as a witch. That plagued Sabrina during her time with Harvey. Roz's cunning has been an open part of their lives for awhile now. This development is something new that she has to wrap her head around first even though it will quickly consume their relationship too. Sabrina can relate to that. However, she's dealing with her own problems. She is made to feel like the perfect empty vessel. She has natural strength and abilities. However, she feels isolated in the world. She is so desperate that she is trying to make a boyfriend for herself in the bathtub. She cares about the people around her. She is empathetic. She also welcomes danger into their lives. She presents that risk. It is dangerous. It may be for the best that Lucas transfers to Riverdale after his brief stint with Sabrina. But all of this produces a meaningful realization on her part. She is trying to find happiness through being in a relationship that is built on lasting love. She felt that with both Harvey and Nick. And yes, the show may still encourage her to end up with one of these guys before everything is done. Right now, she accepts that being single can be powerful as well. She has to do work on herself to ensure she is the best person she can be for someone she wants to be with in that way. Nick and Harvey still love her. They are always ready to jump into action to provide her strength when she needs it. She deals with all of these dangerous threats. She needs allies who care about her well-being. That may imply that her connection with Nick is still real and passionate because she can focus on him while the parasite is being pulled from her mind. That undercuts her final realization a little bit. But both aspects are perfectly allowed to co-exist at the same time. She is still a teenager finding her way in the world. Sure, her other persona fails to recognize the threat that Caliban still presents to her reign in Hell. He is still pursuing a power grab. Lilith and her child are targeted. These various fractions are at war. That could easily lead to the destruction of the various realms. One Sabrina is starting to have more clarity over her life. She is accepting her faults while still always remaining hopeful about what the future might bring. That reveals growth in a significant way that should reassure the audience as the series is coming to a close.