Friday, January 1, 2021

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina Contends with an Alternate Reality in 'Chapter Thirty-Two: The Imp of the Perverse'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 2.12 "Chapter Thirty-Two: The Imp of the Perverse"

Panic turns political as Sabrina and Roz run for Baxter High co-presidents. Harvey struggles with Roz's reveal. Blackwood takes control of the terror.

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-Two: The Imp of the Perverse" was written by Christianne Hedtke and directed by Antonio Negret

Blackwood has always been a power-hungry individual. He has sought that out for himself while also depriving others of the some opportunities. He has always been an oppressive force. He needed to control the world around him. When his heinous ways were banished from the coven, he set out on his own journey. He was still given the freedom to create despair and terror. He had those skills. Prudence believes the only way to end his reign is to kill him. That is the only rational response. And yes, the show does present itself in such binary terms. A threat has to be eliminated completely in order for Greendale to feel safe and secure once more. Sure, that only lasts for a little while before the next threat arises. However, Blackwood has been the source of so much pain and trauma in this world as well. He has always been crafty in his pursuit of power. When he is given the ability to wish for anything he wants, he not only wants to be a leader for life but the universal praise of all of his subjects. He demands it. He has presented as a loyal servant to the Eldritch Terrors this season. He is simply a vessel for the destruction they wish to bring to the universe. However, he also sees himself as being exempt from all of that because of his loyalty and power. He believes he is special and won't fall in the same way that the rest of the world is seemingly destined to. He has brought out all these dark forces. He is still inherently selfish though. He is frustrated that none of these figures have used him as a tool and partner to bring about the end of days. They interact with him. They understand the landscape they face. It's mostly just collecting that information though. Their powers are already vast. It takes the strength of Sabrina and the entire coven to defeat them. This new threat presents itself in a different way. Blackwood is the dominant personality creating chaos in the world. This is the purest expression of who he fundamentally is. He is a brutal dictator who expects everyone to loyally follow his teachings. He demands respect even though he hasn't earned it. It's easy for history to be rewritten and for memories to be wiped. All it takes is the Imp of the Perverse. It's destruction can reset everything back to the way it was. Sabrina can wish for that as well. But it's also just as powerful to confront these autocratic tendencies that corrupt the world. It's frightening to see Harvey as a loyal follower of Blackwood's. He wishes to silence Roz because she speaks freely about being a witch. That is who she is. The world is trying to oppress her into being afraid of embracing her true self. The power she has gathered has only led to this false reality. Blackwood has perverted the narrative. His reach is small. He doesn't control all things. People just need their inner strength to prove just how resolute their convictions truly are in facing this threat. Ambrose is strong enough to drive across the border despite the terrors he fears are out there. Robin has the strength to run instead of denying his existence. His love for Theo remains absolute despite the circumstances they find themselves in. Zelda has the compassion to provide sanctuary and guidance to Sabrina even when she fears what trouble she will bring to the academy. Again, the story highlights how people leading with compassion and empathy prove themselves to a wide swath of people. When business is conducted in that way, it's easy to unite around a cause knowing that it will be handled in the right way. With enough convincing, people can remember their hatred for Blackwood. That fuels Prudence profoundly. She finally gets to behead him here. Sure, he still survives that because of his immortality. That reveals that the show isn't quite done with the character quite yet. But the unifying message of this story is incredibly profound. It ties in nicely with the simplicity of Sabrina and Roz running for co-presidents of Baxter High. They want to exist as a voice for the voiceless. They care about those who don't believe they are seen in this school. They are powerful. They aren't afraid of who they are. Their dreams and ambitions are set high. They have the confidence to make the world better. They are passionate about that. They have the support to do so as well. Harvey struggles with learning that Roz is a witch as well. He is completely accepting of it in the end because he understands that's part of her identity. That cannot be questioned or expected to disappear. It helps make her strong. It's part of her world that offers so much beauty and meaning. Hope is kept alive until a solution is found. Again, compassion and a willingness to listen reveal just how easy it is to undo all of this. Those are qualities Blackwood has always been lacking. He is part of the evil forces that exist in this world that must be banished in order to create meaningful change. Sabrina is confident in her skills. Her victory is resolute. It reveals what truly matters to the people around her as well. Now, Nick's confession is tacked on in the end. That's a little unnecessary. However, it again offers the certainty that this is all building to a collective resolution. One where the stakes are dire and extreme. The payoff in the end will offer as much clarity as all of these characters deserve after years of struggles both externally and internally.