“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Part 4 Review

Rebooting Sabrina The Teenage Witch as a dark and satanic teen drama seemed quite absurd a few years ago.  But in the Fall of 2018, the series came in strong and demonstrated that it had staying power.

So it was a rather bittersweet experience watching this final season, knowing that Netflix had canceled it.  And given the way it end, it’s quite clear that this was the expectation.  As we mourn the loss of the series (along with both Sabrinas), let’s reflect back on this whirlwind of a final season!

(Major Spoilers)

Two Sabrinas
Most of the Season 3 was spent with Sabrina struggling between her normal everyday life, and competing to be Queen of Hell.  So when it ended with literally two of her, it was obviously inevitable that this would create a problem.

And while Kiernan Shipka did the best she could portraying both, there really wasn’t enough different about them to differentiate which was which, save for a red headband for Sabrina Morningstar.

It’s almost comical that they thought red headband = totally different character…

That said, the fact that their mere double existence was causing the cosmos to collapse was a great example of a lasting consequence from one of Sabrina’s many rash decisions.  Overall, it played well from a narrative standpoint, and Sabrina Morningstar’s journey into the alternate sitcom universe might be the best episode of the entire series.

Getting the Villains Right
One of my immediate issues at the end of Season 2 was this series’ portrayal of Lucifer.  He didn’t really seem evoke the image of a powerful dark lord that conjured up fear.  Rather he seemed like a whiny male model.  This continued into Season 3, and it really wasn’t until this season that he was put into a more humorous role (for the most part).

We also never really got to see much of him ruling Hell.

He still didn’t seem like the all-powerful badass Satan that Al Pacino (The Devil’s Advocate), Gabriel Byrne (End of Days), or Peter Stormare (Constantine) were, but essentially turning him into a sitcom dad made him more fun to watch.  Admittedly it was very disappointing to hear his voice coming out of talking Salem, especially when they could have brought back Salem’s original voice actor Nick Bakay.

His “death” at the hands of Lilith was sudden and underwhelming, but it’s very much what his characterization of the character deserved.  Lilith was the one who proved herself to be the stronger one these last 4 seasons.

While we’re on the subject of villains, this season gave us the best use of Father Blackwood since the very beginning.  With the messy pagan subplot of Season 3, he was just sort of there, and didn’t seem to be advancing the plot.

Blackwood has always been the best villain on the show.

Putting him behind the eldritch terrors that threatened all of existence with Lovecraftian horror made him much more formidable than Lucifer had ever been on this show.  Plus it was a lot of fun getting to see him play dictator for an episode, and honestly that should have been a two part story arc to really get into it.

Getting the Finale Right
Ending a series effectively is infinitely more difficult than starting one.  To its credit, having it end around Sabrina’s next birthday gave nice sense of closure, as was wrapping up all the stories without a cliffhanger.

Much like Season 3 however, the final episode had an entire movie’s worth of plot, and both seasons would have benefited from being 10 episodes instead of 8.  However there’s probably a budgetary reason behind that.

The meta sitcom episode alone could have been a bigger subplot with more episodes.

Having both Sabrinas die was admittedly tragic, but in a strange way, it’s the only way this series could have ended, without copping out, so to speak.  After raising the stakes with her mere existence threatening the cosmos, it would have been incredibly contrived to have her magically survive.

Granted, if the series had been renewed, they obviously would have found a way to bring her back, but maybe it’s better ending here and now, with this in place.

It was tragic, but necessary.

It’s definitely sad to see the series go, but it lingered around just long enough that it didn’t have time to drastically drop in quality like so many other TV shows do.

What did you think of the ending of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?  Let us know in the comments!

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