Review: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Season 2)

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Spellbinding

Delightfully dark, Part Two of Sabrina will hold you in a trance.

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Only five months after the first series of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina aired, we have been blessed with the next instalment – and praise Satan, because it was worth the wait. Christmas special aside, for the first time we now see Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), having finally signed her name in the Book of the Beast, begin to tread the Path of Night and devote herself to the Dark Lord (or not, as is so often the case with our favourite half-witch half-mortal). Part Two of Sabrina is much darker, more sinister, and even more fun.

Certain themes are clearer in this series compared to the previous one. Feminism is much more pronounced, as we progress from the formation of the Woman’s Intersectional Cultural and Creative Association (WICCA) in Part One to fighting back against the old-fashioned, misogynistic rules of a Satanic patriarchy in Part Two. The rules are implemented by the villainous Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle), the High Priest of the Church of Night Coven, who takes on a far more wicked role in this series – though is it surprising when his first name is Faustus? Biblical themes also play a bigger part in this series, or rather anti-Biblical themes given that the Church of Night worship Lucifer. We find out more about the origins of the Dark Lord and his unholy followers, with more references made over the nine episodes to Lucifer’s status as a fallen angel and how he came to power, as well as more references to the ‘false God’ of Christianity. We even see some of the false God’s divine angels make an appearance in the form of evil Mormons, hailing from ‘The Order of the Innocence’. Whether you are religious or not, it is genuinely fascinating to see these parallels play out in this fictional world.

Other important and topical themes come to light, the most significant being transgender issues. Susie (Lachlan Watson), one of Sabrina’s best friends, comes out in the first episode as Theo. Though I can only speak from my perspective, it seems to me that not only does Watson portray the character sensitively and brilliantly, but the character’s transition is written into the script in a way that makes it seem like both a big deal and not, simultaneously. Whilst this is major for Theo, Sabrina, Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Harvey (Ross Lynch) accept the change without blinking an eyelid, something the scriptwriters should be applauded for. Xenophobia is also tackled to some extent throughout the series, as the question of whether witches and mortals should intermingle or whether witches should reign dominant is a hotly debated topic in Part Two.

Kiernan Shipka, only 19 years old, is highly impressive once again in the title role. Some important and heavy issues are raised in this series, and she plays the teenage Sabrina with maturity and professionalism. Tati Gabrielle should receive similar praise in her role as Prudence, one of the three weird sisters along with Adeline Rudolph and Abigail F. Cowen as Agatha and Dorcas respectively. Now that Sabrina has officially joined the Church of Night, you are never sure whether the sisters are with her or against her, and Prudence especially takes on a more crucial role in Part Two, Gabrielle playing the character with strength and style. Gavin Leatherwood plays an interesting love interest for Sabrina as the charming warlock Nicholas Scratch, though there is still a romantic tension between Sabrina and her now ex-boyfriend Harvey. Intriguingly, we are also introduced to Dorian Gray (THE Dorian Gray, with the portrait and everything), who runs a bar for warlocks and is shrouded in as much mystery as his literary counterpart. Though the entire cast is exceptional, including the gorgeous cat who plays Salem, other standout performances include Miranda Otto and Lucy Davis as Sabrina’s aunts, Zelda and Hilda Spellman respectively, as well as Michelle Gomez who delivers a powerful performance as Madam Satan/Mary Wardwell.

Action-packed storylines and a talented cast make Part Two of Sabrina a gripping watch, leaving you wanting to binge all nine episodes in one go. The series is full of twists and turns, and there were many scenarios in which I genuinely expected the outcome to go one way and it went a different way entirely. With the ending of the final episode indicating another series to come, I cannot wait for more of this brilliant show.

Part Two of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is now available to stream on Netflix.

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Literature Executive 2018/19. Third year English and History student. Lover of Hobbits, theatre and tea.

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