'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' Season 1 Review: Feminism, Freedom, and Family

‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Season 1 Review: Feminism, Freedom, and Family

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a spellbinding tale of feminism, freedom, and family, set against a backdrop of witches and the evil OG, Satan.

It’s leading lady Sabrina Spellman, played by Kiernan Shipka, is a surprise powerhouse who demands attention, respect, and your hand in friendship. Love and family guides every decision that she makes and no force, even Satan himself, will get in the way of this half mortal protecting those important to her. Watching her journey across season one has been a ride full of risks, revelations, and courage, wrapped up in a chilling & spooky tale.

We can’t wait for season two of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is already filming, or the Christmas Special premiering December 14th. Until then, join me in our season one review of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina!

What Worked

Sabrina’s Fight to Remain Free

No matter what Satan, Father Blackwood, or the evil sisters threw at Sabrina…THAT WITCH KEPT FIGHTING! She was proud of who she was and wouldn’t allow anyone else to define what kind of person she was, where in life she was going, or who she would love. She was Sabrina Spellman, and she would NOT give up her freedom for power.

Sabrina wouldn’t let Father Blackwood’s lies guide her down a path of servitude. She didn’t even let her aunts, the two women who had raised her since she was a baby, dictate what path she would take in this life. Sure, she respected them (to an extent) but her aunties understood that this was Sabrina’s choice. No one could force her.

Young female protagonists are a dime a dozen now that every network is starting to realize that we want leading ladies in the media we consume. But young female protagonists like Sabrina…she’s a special gem. She knows the power within her, what she is capable, and isn’t stuck in a position where she’s the virginal young savior who doesn’t give into temptation.

Sabrina gives into temptation. She does it on her own terms and for things that benefit her, her family, or her friends. (Maybe even an evil classmate or two. Looking at you Prudence!) And even after raising someone from the dead, horrifying some idiot football players, or calling forth a goblin to be her familiar, Sabrina is still a good person.

Nothing is going to change that about her, not even some old musty book from a hairy weirdo from the pits of hell. Sabrina Spellman chooses her own path and Satan better get ready for a battle of a lifetime. Because this witch…well, SHE AIN’T GOING DOWN!

Sabrina and Harvey Are Puppy Love Extraordinaire

Sabrina and Harvey are the sweetest fucking thing ever. Like, every time they came on in the beginning of the season, it was like watching two puppies cuddling together and playing. It was so adorable without the cheesy or brooding factor that I expected cuz that’s what happens when you have a mortal and a creature of the night.

Even when they did experience problems that bordering on brooding, they were still kind, compassionate, and understanding of each other. And honestly, out of all the TV years that I’ve spent watching OTP’s rise, this is the best one for the age bracket. The love between Sabrina and Harvey is grounded in caring, appreciating, and being there for the other.

It’s slow, it’s sweet, and it’s everything I wish I would’ve seen on TV when I was younger. Definitely not so much the zombie brother coming back to life or the red rider of death. But everything else, even the way they treated each other after the breakup, was grounded in respect and love for each other.

We need more couples like Sabrina and Harvey & here’s hoping that we get to see more of them in season 2!

It Was Feminist AF

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina COMPLETELY won me over with how much of an ally Sabrina Spellman is. She doesn’t care that her friend might be non-binary. Susie is still a person who she loves and respects and Sabrina will be damned if she lets anyone make her friend feel any less than the amazing person she is.

Same thing goes with Roz. She teams up with Sabrina in protecting Susie and toppling the white patriarchy, one forbidden book club at a time. Roz is also allowed to fight some of her own battles and seek guidance outside of the relationship she has with Sabrina, in turn making the show richer.

Feminism, be it at the high school, funeral home, or creepy magical school that looks abandoned, is woven into every episode of this show. The young and old challenge this world and it’s misguided perception that women can’t be badass motherfuckers. These women, who practice intersectional feminism, are badasses.

That’s why I’m not even scared of Satan or Father Blackwood for season two or whatever is to come in the Christmas special. The women of this show know their power, how to wield it, and how to fight for it when it’s threatened. They’ll be ok. No, they’ll be better than ok. They’ll brilliant, they’ll be vicious, they’ll be glorious.

And that’s the kind of women I’d love to see more of any day.

Ambrose Spellman Must Be Protected At All Costs

My second favorite Spellman is charismatic, funny, kind, and the best cousin you could have on your side. He goes above and beyond to help Sabrina without holding her hand and making excuses for our favorite witch.

Ambrose, played by Chance Perdomo, is also a big mood. I want to spend 75% of my life lounging about in night wear and a robe, cup of tea in hand. Seriously, how can he look so handsome, comfortable, and in control of any situation that comes his way?

I feel like we could all do with being a little bit more like Ambrose Spellman. Please don’t try to kill the Pope, but please do try to remain a good person despite the circumstances holding you back. Like Ambrose’s punishment, the dire problems you find yourself in can change, be lifted, or just straight up transform into something that will set you off on a glorious path of adventure, fun, and love!

Hilda Spellman Must be Protected Too!

My third favorite Spellman is played by my long time favorite Lucy Davis. I’ve been following her career since The Office and Shaun of the Dead, and I was pleased to hear that she would be playing Aunt Hilda.

I honestly think that Hilda has been the biggest influence in Sabrina’s life. While her sister Zelda is rude and crass, Hilda is patient and helpful, with a warm personality that draws you in. She guides Sabrina when need be and even tucks her into bed. Sabrina is 16 years old so imagine how many times Hilda has tucked her in, chased away the nightmares, and made her feel like she belonged despite her half human side.

The influence she has on Sabrina aside, I love Hilda because she’s still growing. Satan only knows how old she is and she’s moving forward and learning new tricks. She didn’t let her excommunication from the Church of Night stop her from living her life. Hilda got a job, wore her outfit with pride, and even started a romantic something with the owner, who might be some sort of creature.

Hilda is the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. I want to be tough like her, kind like her, and open to chance like her. Because Hilda, she’s leading the kind of life where her heart is open to love and her mind to new ways of seeing things in this crazy and cynical world.

What Didn’t Work

Father Ambrose and All His Everything

*snoring*

*snoring*

*snoring*

Father Blackwood bored me as much as Satan did. He was the picture perfect representation of faux wokeness and man’s fear of a woman accepting her own power. Father Blackwood didn’t care for Sabrina, Prudence, or even his own damn wife. All he cared about was being the top kahuna and having the ability to tell people to do what he wanted just cuz.

He used the desire to go back to the “old days” of witchcraft, as a means of getting people to follow him and to keep them in line. As soon as the old ways of witchcraft don’t benefit him, he will toss them out the window and go about his own way. Father Blackwood is without a doubt, the most cowardly of all the characters in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

For that, I can’t wait until Father Blackwood bites the bucket and his heir Prudence STEPS. THE. HELL. UP!

What We Wanted to See More Of

Madam Satan/Mary Wardwell

Let’s be perfectly clear and honest with each other. I find Michelle Gomez hot. I don’t mean like backing your cookies in the oven hot. I’m talking burning like the sun HOT! I’ve found her hot since Doctor Who when she popped us as the Master and I knew that my love would continue into the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

But that wasn’t enough for Michelle. She had to up it. She had to show everyone and their mama that she was the hottest and baddest bitch around. SHE HAD TO RISE UP, ABOVE, AND BEYOND my feelings for her after Doctor Who. And she succeeded by a landslideeeeeeee.

Watching Gomez star as Madam Satan was like a religious experience. Never before have I seen a woman so in control of…well, everything. Madam Satan was in control of her body, using it to her advantage and because she knew she had the power. Madam Satan was in control of ambitions, knowing that she had to get Sabrina to do specific things and going after it like a hound out of hell. Even watching her walk down a hallway, I knew that she was the “one.”

Madam Satan is a revelation to women everywhere. She directly challenges the thought that once you get older as a woman, the less you want things. The less you want passion, the less you fulfil desires, the less you hold onto your power, and the less you fight to stay on top. Madam Satan challenges everything you think you know about older women on screen and lights a spark in you to keep going no matter what age you are or what others think of you.

So channel a little bit of the Madam Hell inside of you. Sure, don’t kill anyone or take a hand at necromancy & magic. But acknowledge your power as a woman and take it.

Nicholas Scratch

I know that Sabrina and Harvey are “meant to be.” I know they’re the “it” couple and “classic AF.” But even then, there is something about the thought of Sabrina and Nick hitting it off and becoming a couple. This isn’t me advocating for a love angle. (If it were a love triangle, Harvey and Nick would want to get it on as well. I know Nick would probably be into it, but not so much Harvey.) This is me saying that while Harvey is out, Sabrina should give Nick a chance.

Nick, played by Gavin Leatherwood, is an intriguing character because he knows where Sabrina’s heart is at and he’s still willing to help her out. She doesn’t even have to ask and he’s there like he was when he stopped the Sisters from killing Harvey’s brother. And when she does ask, he’ll go and face the red horseman himself just because Sabrina asked him.

He’s a young man who has connected deeply with Sabrina, and despite his doubts when it comes to love, I think he’s more than capable of giving his heart to someone and having them take care of it in return. Maybe that’s why he’s so drawn to Sabrina. A small part of him, hidden deep inside, sees a relationship with Sabrina as something life changing.

If it turns romantic, we are all here for it, and if it doesn’t, we’re ok with that too. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has surprised me in many ways. Maybe the relationship between this witch and warlock will be something different as well. Either way, I’m here for it!

Prudence Night

As soon as I saw Prudence, played by Tati Gabrielle,I knew who she was going to be. She was going to be the mean girl, the enemy, the jealous one that would try to stomp out the good that Sabrina represented. She fulfilled all those impressions that I thought of her when she first appeared on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. And then she gave me SO. MUCH. MORE.

Prudence wasn’t adverse to change, stepped out of the shadow of her two sisters, and actually connected with Sabrina on a level that had them being allies. With time, I think that Sabrina and Prudence can be more. And I’m not talking about them being a couple. I don’t think it’s going to happen on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina but I would be TOTALLY ok with it if it did.

Sabrina and Prudence will push and pull at each other. They will test the other even now that they’re on the same side. And hopefully they’ll be more than just classmates. Hopefully they’ll be friends that will help us see different sides of Prudence. I’m down for it. And I bet you are too!

Friendshipsssssss

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina balanced out Sabrina’s home life & future with that of her friends & high school life. They gave us compelling, complex, and independent friends who blended well with Sabrina but had enough weight to stand on their own. In turn, these friendships and the characters who play Harvey, Roz, and Susie, make the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina a rich AF show.

Come season two, I want to see more development to Roz’s gift. Maybe her sight completely goes away and she sees a version of Sabrina that is as dark and scary as the Sisters horror visage. I want to see Susie explore why she could see ghosts and talk to them. And I want to see Harvey spend time with his grandpops and delve into their past as witch hunters.

Side note there on Granpa Kinkle. He’s played by Michael Hogan aka the badass Argent who steered Allison Argent to the dark side and caused a lot of trouble for Scott and his pack. Granpa Kinkle is trouble with a HUGE CAPITAL T. He’s going to test, not just Harvey, but Roz and Susie too about where their loyalties lie. With Sabrina? With witch kind? Or with the humans? With their own kind?




What We Wanted to See Less Of

Auntie Zee. Especially if She’s Messing with Hilda!

I know she’s Sabrina’s aunt and all…BUT I CAN’T STAND AUNT ZEE! She’s rude, conceited, and thinks herself better than her sister. It was continuously annoying watching her act like Hilda was worth less than something under her boot, but then turn around and cry when she thought she was dead while under the dream demons spell.

I can see it in the way that she looks at Hilda, she’s jealous of her sister. She’s jealous of Hilda’s spark, kindness, and magical ability. And instead of siding with her sister or trying to learn from her, Zee has killed Hilda and harrowed her back in their school days. That’s not love, no matter how Zee tries to spin it in her head.

That’s why I’m glad that Hilda peaced out and let Zee know she’s on her own with the baby. Hilda has aspirations, plans, and things that are bigger than this house and bigger than her sister. And it’s about time Zee truly understands what she did to her sister, how jealous she’s been of her, how much she’s hurt her throughout the years, and good she’s had it DESPITE how crappy she treated Hilda.

Satan and All His Bullshit

Satan needs to get a clue, get over it, and let Madame Satan be his boo. Why is lusting after a young girl? Sabrina JUST turned 16. Why does he want her by his side? She’s half human aka “weaker” than the rest. And why is he so insistent that she sign her life away to him? It’s obsessive, weird, and something he totally needs to get over.

Keeping that all in mind, I think he’s obsessed with Sabrina because she’s an anomaly when it comes to wiches. She was born from a mortal woman and a high priest. Then she was baptized at a house of God. All of that together seems like a recipe for an ordinary and plain witch. But Sabrina, she’s nothing like that. AND THAT’S WHY HE WANTS HER!

Sabrina is powerful, determined, and committed to what she believes in. She would be a powerful ally to have by his side and if Satan can catch her when she’s young, he can groom her to what he wants. (I know, gross. Satan is grooming her.) Too bad that Sabrina has a loving family, a bunch of friends, and a heart/mind/soul grounding her in the path of light.

Favorite Episodes

Chapter Five: Dreams in a Witch House – Loved this episode for the monster of the week feeling that it gave me while fleshing out all my Spellmans, even Zelda who I don’t really care for. Plus Madam Satan in that green night gown. *fans self* Yes, please!

Chapter Seven: Feast of Feasts – Loved this episode because it had Sabrina working with the weird sisters & Madam Satan. It was also the first moment that Sabrina saw Harvey as something other than the boy she loved whilst out hunting familiars, unknowingly.

Least Favorite Episodes

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Chapter One: October Country – I know what you’re thinking. I must be mad! The first episode as my LEAST favorite episode? It’s true, dearies. Besides the scene where Ambrose protected Sabrina and she gave that epic speech, I wasn’t sold after watching this first episode. It was largely in part to my love for the comics that I kept going. I’m glad I did because the quality of the episodes keeps going up with every hour you watch!

Season Finale Impression

buzzfeed

Yes, Sabrina ended up doing something she fought so hard against in episode one, but she signed Satan’s book because SHE wanted to. Not all is lost because she now has the power, is walking with the weird sisters in different threads, and is rocking a new hair do. This is all part of the plan, a calculated risk, to sock Satan right in the face!

As for the rest of the Spellmans, I love that Hilda stood up for herself and moved out of her shared room with Zelda. That witch bitch (Thank you, Rory from Legends of Tomorrow for that one) has treated Hilda like garbage and she can take care of the mess SHE made all on her own. Ohhh and crossing fingers that Hilda’s new boo isn’t something terrifying that will destroy Hilda’s heart.

Like Hilda, I hope that Ambrose falls in love and has someone to care for his heart (without ripping them out of their hearts or for a sacrifice). It can be the cutie he’s with now or someone else that comes along. Just take care of my babies as much as you can Netflix! I’m depending on you!

Next Season Speculation

Just because Sabrina signed her name in the Book of Satan, doesn’t mean that she’s “automatically” going to turn evil. She’s still Sabrina Spellman. She will continue to fight to protect her family, friends, and the people of her town.

Storywise, we all know that she’s going to lean a bit more darkside. That keeps things entertaining, fresh, and keeps us cheering for Sabrina to charter her own path/destiny. But this witch, isn’t done fighting. There’s no way that Satan is going to get his hooves, hands, or horns anywhere near Sabrina’s soul.

Here’s hoping the Christmas Special, set to drop December 14, 2018, will give us our first glance at post-signing in the Book of Satan, Sabrina Spellman. And that season two, WHICH HAS ALREADY STARTED FILMING, will explore the kind of witch Sabrina IS and what kind of witch she’ll BECOME.

What were your thoughts on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season one?

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is available now on Netflix!


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Lyra enjoys loud mouthed, damaged characters, with a penchant for rescuing people and drinking their sorrows away. When she isn’t splurging on Netflix shows she’s not so quietly ranting about Teen Wolf, The Walking Dead, and Supernatural!