Saturday, January 2, 2021

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina's Double Identity Creates More Chaos in 'Chapter Thirty-Three: Deus Ex Machina'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 2.13 "Chapter Thirty-Three: Deus Ex Machina"

Sabrina encounters a surprise at school - and faces a pivotal decision. Theo explores the perks and pitfalls of Robin's time in the mortal world.

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-Three: Deus Ex Machina" was written by Eleanor Jean and directed by Amanda Tapping

Sabrina was bound to deal with the consequences of splitting herself into two distinct personalities at some point. That is the expectation. She thought it was a rational idea that gave her the ability to fulfill everything life was demanding her to be. However, the audience was worried because of the threat it posed to the time space continuum. It seemed like a paradox was inevitable the more they were around each other. The show tries to subvert those expectations. This episode presents as if the two realms are colliding with each other because of Sabrina's actions. The realms are trying to merge as one because there is this disturbance that is throwing everything out of balance. The only way to restore things to normal is if Sabrina dies or the two merge into one. It all seems like a sensible argument. They can't continue to operate the way they have been this season. It creates too many dangers. And yet, that's not what is truly causing this destruction around the world. Instead, it is the latest Eldritch Terror that is creating various realms and forcing them to collide with one another. It's a threat that appears in a more unusual and less immediate way. Everyone is quick to pass blame onto Sabrina because there is this clear problem that is likely creating all of this chaos. She is willing to take responsibility for that now. Of course, it's always been random regarding who has been in the loop on this decision. Everyone in Hell essentially knows that there are two versions of Sabrina. The crowds saw them get married side by side. It was no big deal then. The story has continued to move forward after that. It didn't create any concern. It just meant Sabrina Spellman was no longer welcome in Hell. However, Zelda and Hilda have been in the dark. As such, they are upset when the version of Sabrina they frequently interact with chose not to tell them about this risk she created in their lives. It didn't matter that Sabrina was coming to tell them the truth. Instead, it exploded as this big scandal that created a problem the coven doesn't need at this point. They are busy dealing with these terrors. Prudence is torturing Blackwood to get as much information from him as possible. But again, the drama of this episode doesn't come from Sabrina existing in two different forms. Fixing that is perceived as setting the universe right again. And then, Ambrose realizes that more realms have been created. The celestial being has withheld information from Sabrina as she makes this major decision about her life. It's purely chaotic energy. That makes this a much more scattered and less engaging episode. At times, people are aware and terrified of earthquakes and things appearing from another realm. Harvey is freaked out. And then, he goes right back to ditching school and performing as a band with his friends. Meanwhile, Theo's story is completely removed from everything else going on. It has emotional resonance. It ties in nicely with all the themes this season has been exploring lately. He can't ask Robin to sacrifice a part of himself in order to be together. It pains him to push him away. He also views it as the action needed to secure Robin's identity. He will never have to betray that part of himself again. Hope still exists in the future. Nick believed in that. As such, he and Sabrina have sex for the first time. It's an action taken because she believes this is her last day. She wants to spend it with him. That mostly just provides the happy ending the two characters deserved. It occurs before the season comes to a conclusion though. That too sets up the expectation that the audience should prepare for more complicated endings for these characters. It also wants to have fun with Beth Broderick and Caroline Rhea popping up in the alternate universe Sabrina Morningstar travels to. And yet, it's hard to be excited about that adventure because Sabrina Morningstar hasn't had a personal character arc this season. Her story has largely been happening offscreen as Sabrina Spellman maintains her role as the protagonist. Their lives have diverged. They are willing to sacrifice that to restore order. Their friends and family embrace love as the emotion necessary to protect all that is sacred to them. But again, that creates a chaotic mess that builds to an intriguing concept. It just lacks the depth that has been present in the last handful of episodes. Sabrina and Nick having sex should be seen as a big and momentous moment. But it's also mashed together with the jumbled mess that is currently Lilith's story.