If you didn’t binge the entire season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix this weekend, there’s still time to get it in before Halloween. It’s perfect fare for the holiday. The entire aesthetic is dark and creepy, but there were also a few moments that I thought were genuinely scary. A second season has already been ordered and is currently filming, so those of us that loved it can already start anticipating what comes next in Greendale. There were several aspects of the show that I hope we get much more of because they were so entertaining to watch.
Thrower of shade, slinger of sass, and wearer of the greatest robe collection I’ve ever seen, Spellman cousin Ambrose is a fantastic addition to the house. As much as Sabrina loves her Aunties, they’re her guardians and they always want to protect her. Ambrose gives Sabrina someone to scheme with and bounce her dangerous and ill-advised ideas off of. Spending most of the season on house arrest for trying to blow up the Vatican years ago, only Ambrose could snag himself a hot boy toy despite never being able to leave the confines of his property? He used a lame pickup line about an iguana and it worked.
I’m still unsure as to how he’s actually related to the family. He calls Hilda and Zelda his aunties, and Sabrina his cousin, so…presumably that would mean there’s another Spellman sibling other than Hilda, Zelda, and Sabrina’s father Edward.
Crop Top Wearing Boyfriend Harvey Kinkle
Dear young men everywhere: Be more like Harvey Kinkle. He’s sweet, he loves his girlfriend, his best friends are girls, and he rocks a cut off shirt. Truly the whole package. Sabrina and Harvey are adorable together, and things between them are relatively chaste with the exception of one racy scene in the Greendale woods where the camera cuts away just as the two strip down. They’re sensual without being overtly sexual.
I love a dark and brooding bad boy as much as anyone, and mysterious warlock Nick Switch fits that bill perfectly. Also a student at The Academy of Unseen Arts, it’s clear that Nick is interested in Sabrina, but I’ll be disappointed if some kind of love triangle is introduced next season. It’s an overused trope, and while Nick seems fine enough, Harvey Kinkle is my guy.
Ms. Wardwell Dropping Truths About the Patriarchy
Greendale’s meekest and most bespectacled teacher Ms. Wardwell is killed and has her body possessed early in Episode One. Who did the possessing and why is one of the biggest mysteries of the season. (I won’t spoil that here, but it’s awesome.) We know that her ultimate goal is to have Sabrina sign her name in The Book of the Beast at any cost, and watching her have to change tactics and subtly manipulate everyone around her to try and accomplish her goal were some of the most fun parts of the show. The best villains are the ones the audience enjoys watching despite rooting against them, and actress Michelle Gomez accomplished that perfectly. Her character gets to be so deliciously dark, so much so that whenever she appeared out from the shadows, I got a sense that was almost mischievous giddiness, because while I obviously wanted to see our protagonists succeed, there’s something to be said for a good wrench being thrown into proceedings. It also helps that every once in a while Ms. Wardwell would say something so accurate it hurts.
SO MANY LADIES
Obviously our main character is a young woman, but there are so many other fully fleshed out female characters around her. A majority of the main characters in CAOS are female, a lamentable rarity in television.
Sabrina’s mortal friends Ros and Susie are more than just filler. They have real significance in her story and have fully fleshed out stories of their own. The three start a women’s group, which they call WICCA (Women’s Intersectional Creative Cultural Association), a safe space for the girls in their school. Ros is told that she can’t read Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye for a project, and a banned book club is formed. These are young women of today, turning their anger into activism.
It’s important to note that while the characters on the show refer to Susie as a girl, Susie is a non-binary character. In interviews actor Lachlan Watson uses the gender neutral pronouns they and them when speaking about the character. Susie’s gender identity will be an important part of their story going forward (in one episode, they briefly consider shoplifting a copy of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, no doubt one of the books that’s also banned at their school), in addition to their connection to the supernatural. While researching their family history, Susie discovers a badass ancestor who then begins to appear to them. Ros discovers that she has some magical abilities as well. Ros discovers that all the women in her family go blind, but gain the ability “see” things that others can’t.
Hilda and Zelda, in a way all sisters will recognize, simultaneously love each other while grating on each other’s nerves. Perhaps it’s because I have so much fondness for Lucy Davis as Etta Candy in Wonder Woman, but I found myself drawn more towards Hilda. While we know that Zelda loves her sister (it’s revealed that her worst nightmare is losing Hilda forever), she is often cold and distant to the point of being cruel. When the two do have loving and affectionate moments they’re some of the most heartwarming of the show.
I even enjoyed the relationship Sabrina cultivated with Prudence, her rival at The Academy of Unseen Arts, and the frenemy trope is another one I’m not usually a fan of. They don’t like each other and make that known, but when one of them is really up against it or when there’s a chance to fight the good fight, they team up and get shit done. They’re the reason men have always been afraid of witches. Keep it up girls!