*Spoilers for Season 2 ahead, so make sure you’ve finished all the episodes before reading on.*
I love, love, love Chilling Adventures of Sabrina‘s new second season. So much so that as soon as it was over I went Googling to try and find out when we could expect Season 3. (We can always hope for another holiday special before then.) There was so much story jam packed into only nine episodes, and so much of that story was feminist as hell. I watched several episodes on my phone in a doctor’s office waiting room, and it only occurred to me afterwards that I must have been making some crazy faces at my screen. I was INTO IT.
Just like last season, this show is sexy without being overtly sexual. I love a good love triangle as much as the next girl, but I have to admit that there was a part of me that was a bit disappointed when one was seemingly set up at the end of last season between Sabrina, her mortal ex Harvey Kinkle, and her flirty fellow student at the Academy of Unseen Arts, Nick Scratch. So I was delighted that it just…never happened. While Sabrina and Harvey have a few moments, it’s she and Nick who easily become the predominant couple of the season, and they’re actually pretty great. (Sabrina accomplished the rare feat of making change my mind about a ship.) It’s a sad commentary on the state of media about teenage girls that I was pleasantly shocked at how openly Sabrina talked about the developing physicality of her and Nick’s relationship. She has a talk with her Aunties about not being ready to have sex yet, and she and Ros — who dates Harvey this season without there being a shitty jealousy storyline between her and Sabrina — have a girl talk about it. I did yell at my screen at Nick during the season’s last episode, but more on that later…
I mean…come on. These writers know exactly what they’re doing.
Sabrina’s not the only one exploring her sexuality this season, her Aunt Hilda is getting in on it too. Actress Lucy Davis said in an interview that she thinks of Hilda as being a virgin, but that may no longer be the case. After briefly thinking that Dr. Cerberus doesn’t want to be with her, she finds out he was pushing her away because he’s possessed by a sex demon. FOR REAL. Good things come to those who wait girl, you make it happen with that incubus!
The female stories aren’t all about men per se, but a lot of them are about the patriarchy. Father Blackwood is so determined to drag the Church of Night backwards that he instates sexist policies at the Academy, and even goes so far as to frame Ambrose for the murder of the Antipope, who was considering more forward thinking doctrine for the Church. Basically, Blackwood stops just short of saying, “MAKE THE CHURCH OF NIGHT GREAT AGAIN!” It’s not at all subtle, nor should it have been. This stuff is happening out in the open, it should be called out without reservation, and it’s Sabrina who most often does so. She competes to be Top Boy, and openly defies the Dark Lord. She essentially turns into a kind of witchy Jesus this season, complete with performing miracles and giving talks about her father’s philosophies to a rapt audience. She’s special, and she knows it. When it’s revealed that Nick has been getting close to Sabrina on Satan’s orders (Damn it Nick! I figured this was coming but was still pissed. I WAS ROOTING FOR YOU.), Nick gets on his knees in front of her to try and explain, but she doesn’t hesitate to literally spit in his face. Sabrina takes no shit.
It’s fantastic to see, but I also enjoyed how the show portrayed some of the other women grappling with patriarchal systems. Zelda agrees to marry Lord Blackwood, thinking that being attached to him will vault her into a more powerful position within the Church. Prudence, Blackwood’s daughter, is promised an exemption from the misogynistic policies he’s enacting at the Academy as long as she helps keep the other girls in line. And Lilith (still disguised as Baxter High teacher Mary Wardwell), who hopes to be Queen of Hell if she continues to do Satan’s bidding, tells Sabrina that she continues to serve him because it’s all she’s ever known.
“What a terrible, weak reason,” Sabrina responds. She’s right, but sometimes that just how it goes. All of the women on this show are smart, capable, talented, and formidable, but some are convinced that playing the system instead of trying to topple it is the best way to gain the power they deserve. And that happens in the real world all the time. It’s one of the many reasons patriarchy is so poisonous. Men like the villains in this show know how to talk a good game, and sometimes even convince themselves that they don’t hate women, but they never have any intention of respecting women as equals, whether women do all the “right” things or not. Countless women have come to realize that the hard way. By the end of the season they’ve all had it. It was my favorite arc in a season that had a whole lot in it.
When I say a whole lot, I mean a whole lot. One of Sabrina’s mortal friends comes out as trans in the first episode. Now Theo (he was called Susie last season), his story this season could be an entire post on its own. As with the discussions about sexuality, it’s so important to see a story like Theo’s in a show aimed primarily at teens. The scene where he comes out as trans to his father made me cry, it was really beautifully done. We also find out that Satan is Sabrina’s father, and Dorian Gray is a character this season?! His finest moment is saying, “You shot me. You bitch,” after an angel missionary nails him with a crossbow.
See? Truly incredible. I LOVE THIS SHOW. Seasons 3 and 4 have already been ordered, so fans have a lot more witchy goodness coming our way. Praise Satan.