Sunday, January 3, 2021

REVIEW: 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' - Sabrina Becomes the Star of a Hit Sitcom in 'Chapter Thirty-Five: The Endless'

Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Episode 2.15 "Chapter Thirty-Five: The Endless"

In an alternate universe, Sabrina Morningstar meets a cast of familiar faces - and investigates the thin line between fact and fiction.

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-Five: The Endless" was written by Donna Thorland & Matthew Barry and directed by Kevin Sullivan

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina approached the source material from Archie Comics differently than the '90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch. That was apparent in the very first minute of this drama. As such, the viewer has never felt the urgency of comparing the two. The show itself has a little bit of fun in paying homage to the former sitcom here though. Beth Broderick and Caroline Rhea popped up as Aunt Zelda and Aunt Hilda again when Sabrina Morningstar first travelled to another cosmic universe. She did so not knowing what to expect. She simply knew it was a necessary action to prevent the destruction of the two realms she typically lives within. This new world is small and contained. But it's also pure meta about the history of this character in the comics and on television. Sabrina is on the set of a show depicting her life. It's scary when she realizes that old episodes are literally lifted from moments that once happened to her. She sees it as an invasion of her privacy. She can't go along with the narrative any longer. However, the show has fun with that detail before moving on to the bigger drama happening here. Now, it's important to note that Sabrina Morningstar is the version of the character who has made this journey. Sabrina Spellman is the one who has been dealing with the Eldritch Terrors throughout this season. Sabrina Morningstar has had her own life in Hell with the Dark Lord and Caliban. As such, it's easy to believe that she isn't as informed about the threat she faces even though the character has been dealing with these terrors this entire season. She doesn't know what to look for. She simply knows that an Eldritch Terror exists here. She eventually comes to realize that this life is endless. It's the same routine every single day. Her co-stars are trying to convince her that it isn't so bad after all. It's actually the perfect life. There is no need to keep track of time. It's simply good enough to enjoy this job. The stakes are small. The crew just fears being sent to the Green Room. It's there where Ambrose exists. He is grinding body parts to serve to the terror who happens to be Salem. The cat being able to talk in this story is yet another fun callback to how the narrative worked previously in this material. In this particular show, Salem hasn't had that much agency. He has simply been the cat who can help Sabrina from time to time. Here, he is the threat. Sabrina has to actually challenge the notion that all of this will continue to be endless. Everyone has assumed that the Eldritch Terrors are working in tandem to bring about the end of days. They know that Blackwood welcomed them to the world for this mission. They know that others have failed. And yet, Endless doesn't know that the Void destroying this cosmic realm will also lead to the end of all that he has created here. He isn't even in full control. Agents of the Void are present in this reality as well. They want to keep the peace so that no one fears the coming end of all things. That's how the threat wants to strike. It's more powerful because it doesn't have to deal with any resistance. Sabrina came to this realm in order to stop this chaos. She can't be distracted by the nature of what the story demands her to be. She has her own agency. She isn't determined to fit the narrative of Harvey always being her boyfriend. She shouldn't be grateful when some man in power gives her a notable story to portray. She questions the world around her. She tries to help others when they need it. She doesn't understand this world. She barely recognizes the threats before they jump out to do significant harm. She isn't even fully aware of Salem's powers. She can't save anyone else in this realm. She can only escape herself. That too fulfills the quota of the show technically killing off a bunch of familiar faces. As such, that basically sets up the finale to be whatever. It has provided the moments of fan service by paying homage to all the stories that have previously occurred in this canon. And now, this show gets to find its own specific ending. The Void is still coming though. That may be the only terror that needs to do the damage in the end. Sabrina Morningstar rushes to safety. She makes it through the portal. She has a personal stake in this fight now as well. She made this sacrifice. She has decided what matters to her. Now, she just has to prevent its destruction with the help of some allies that may just be powerful enough to save all of humanity.