The trailers (including a catchy music video) promised us that we’d see hell, and on that promise, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina more than delivers with its latest installment of episodes! Much like Part 2 however, there’s a lot that really works, and unfortunately there’s some that really doesn’t. So let’s take a closer look at Part 3 of the series about our beloved teenage witch.
The Art of Consequences
Following Satan’s imprisonment in hell and Lilith’s ascension to the fiery throne, all is not well is the cosmos. Sabrina laments that her boyfriend Nick is trapped, with his body as Satan’s prison, but there is much more wrong than just this. In Satan’s absence the balance between Heaven, Hell, and Earth has been thrown off.
Hordes of demons demand a new King of Hell be crowned, while a group of Pagans move into Greendale, seeing an opportunity to defeat both Christians and Satanists to rule the world. What follows is a series of conflicts between Sabrina, Lilith, the coven, Satan, Blackwood, the Pagans, and everyone in between.
The series does a great job of demonstrating just how much chaos can ensue when a strong stable leader (even a ruthless one) is removed from authority.
This power vacuum forces Sabrina into a competition with another Prince of Hell who wishes to rule. In all honestly, there’s a lot going on plotwise, and it can feel like too much, too fast at times.
One of the series’ main themes has always been about Sabrina learning about consequences to her actions. And while she’s learned this lesson several times, her choices in the final episode (and subsequent cliffhanger ending) prove that she’s actually learned nothing.
No Room For Mortals?
Ever since the series focused more on the demonic and supernatural (following Sabrina’s signing of the The Book of the Beast), it seems like they’ve struggled with how to incorporate Sabrina’s mortal friends. Even in this season, it feels like they’re really only there to fulfill the quota of teen drama, which keeps some of the younger viewers interested.
And it’s not just her friends either. Following Lilith’s return to hell, she brought back the true Mrs. Wardwell, who really isn’t give much to do here.
That said, Michelle Gomez shows her brilliant range in portraying both Lilith and Mrs. Wardwell. The characters couldn’t be any more different, and every minute detail about her changes depending on which one she’s playing.
Strangely enough, we also get more than a few random musical numbers thrown in, with characters singing. These aren’t full blown musical productions like on Broadway, but when almost each episode contains the characters singing something, it starts to get a bit distracting. American Horror Story started doing the same thing, and they’ve never been quite the same since either.
As previously mentioned, despite the flaws, there was still a lot that really did work in these eight episodes. The Hell we got to see was creative and composed of many landscapes, obviously influenced by Dante’s “Inferno”.
It would have been so easy (as well as cliché), to portray it as a realm of nothing more than fire and brimstone, but here we saw a Hell that was its own massive world with a myriad of locations, including a capital city of Pandemonium.
It was also really cool to see Ambrose and Prudence hunting Blackwood, as they explored different parts of the world to track him. The only issue with this subplot was that it wasn’t given very much time before they found him.
It felt like a real missed opportunity, as they could have spend half the season searching and experiencing different magical cultures throughout the world.
Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned!!!
The Massive Cop Out Ending (That was Still Kinda Awesome)
We need to talk about that ending. Despite a few rushed plot points, the contest for the throne of Hell, as well as the Pagan invasion converge really well by the penultimate episode, resulting in Sabrina having to earn the throne and regain her powers (another plot point which is poorly handled) to defeat the Pagans.
The final episode then proceeds to tell the audience via narration that she failed, Caliban rose to King of Hell, imprisoned Satan, but then was defeated by the Pagans (and Blackwood), who then took over the world.
Now if that seems like a lot of story to cram into a few minutes of Ambrose reading a book, it’s because that much material could easily have been its own season, one which would have been fascinating to watch.
But apparently the end of the world is just casually glossed over. Then, to add insult to injury, this massively epic finale is all remedied by Sabrina merely traveling back in time and fixing everything, preventing the deaths of her aunts and friends, as well as the deaths of any real stakes in this series.
Plus, after seeing the same tactic utilized in X-Men: Days of Future Past, American Horror Story: Apocalypse, and Avengers: Endgame, it’s starting to feel a bit old.
However, Sabrina’s final choice to use both versions of herself (one in Hell and one on Earth) will inevitably lead to consequences and her learning a lesson (again), but will it still be interesting to see how it’s resolved.
In addition, Blackwood releasing his mysterious creature into the world may just take this series into new Lovecraftian territory, that would be a truly fresh take. We got a little bit of that here with the Pagans, and it was legitimately interesting that they were just as despised by the Church of Night as they are by Christians.
While this season was far from perfect, it had some fun moments, and hopefully will lead to an even better season to come. But only time will tell. What did you think of this season? Let us know in the comments below! And for more reviews, rankings, and other fun horror content, follow Halloween Year-Round on Facebook and Twitter!