Determined to separate itself from its lighthearted source material, Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has given us camp and chaos for the last four years. Reveling in its tongue-in-cheek stories and deliciously dark themes, the story follows teenage witch Sabrina reconciling her dual nature as she battles against malicious forces threatening her family and friends. Closing its third season with two Sabrinas existing simultaneously both in Hell and Greendale, and a riveting cliffhanger of Father Blackwood welcoming new horrors in Greendale, the show sets up exciting storylines for its latest season.
However, the fourth season’s release is especially bittersweet for its fans as it came after Netflix announced the show’s cancellation. As the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina gives us horrors, zaniness, and a lot of heart for the last time, will the show tie up its loose ends while giving a worthy farewell to our beloved teenage witch?
Feeding the ‘Void’
Picking up right where the last season left off, we find the Eldritch Terrors wreaking havoc on Greendale. Sabrina and her friends once again come to the town’s rescue, facing the tricks and traps of the Eldritch Terrors one right after the other. Meanwhile, Sabrina Morningstar is relishing her position as Queen of Hell, but the uninvited appearances of the Eldritch Terrors and the existence of the other Sabrina soon threatens her rule.
Even though every episode is maxed out within an hour, subplots involving other characters and their ever-changing relationships still fail to reach their full potential. Additionally, the season’s format of doling out each Eldritch Terror to be every episode’s “big bad” ends up anti-climactic as the fearsome monsters are vanquished by each episode’s end anyway. As shown in previous seasons, Sabrina’s witchcraft instantly solves these problems and not only does this lead to half-baked plotlines it also constantly lets Sabrina escape the consequences of her actions.
Battle of the wits
Kiernan Shipka shines in her double roles, her optimistic delivery building up the two Sabrinas’ realistic and vulnerable qualities. Undeniably endearing and charismatic as the show’s lead, Shipka delivers a strong final performance for such an iconic character.
Notably, Chance Perdomo once again steals the show as the wise and wily Ambrose Spellman, even though he is constantly relegated to explaining the show’s monster of the week. Michelle Gomez sizzles onscreen with her heartbreaking performance as the diabolical Lilith and the gullible Mary Wardwell who are both key to the story. Meanwhile, Tati Gabrielle executes a fashionably daunting Prudence Blackwood with a steely resolve to finally give her father the ending he deserves.
Once more into the fray
While the show capitalizes on its female empowerment narrative, it also cheapens it by centering Sabrina’s characterization on whether she chooses childhood sweetheart Harvey Kinkle or resident bad boy Nick Scratch. With all her friends dating, she continuously tries to seek out comfort in romance by lamenting over her failed relationships. After finally coming to terms with finding happiness on her own, Sabrina’s old flame then confesses his undying love for her, which immediately disregards her path for self-discovery. By equating happiness to romantic love and boys this season, Sabrina is limited to being a love interest in her own show.
However, it is important to note that when all is said and done, it is Sabrina’s unconditional love that sets her apart from the rest. Her warmth and compassion continually drives her actions throughout the seasons—and ultimately defines her fate.
The sweet hereafter
Though the bewitching show has already come to its end, the spell it cast on viewers is far from broken. Never a show to take itself too seriously, its delightfully wicked take on the teenage witch and her adventures—may it be the famed love triangle or Sabrina’s obstinate habit of meddling—is at its heart endearing.
Though the ending may not be ideal, it is the sad and beautiful journey of Sabrina Spellman that made the series magical—from her selflessness and love for her family and friends to her drive to discover her true self. Alongside the people that made her special, the final Chilling Adventures of Sabrina offers a tearful departure sure to leave fans wanting more.