Christmas has never been so sinister, with Chilling Adventures of Sabrina trying very hard to leave a mark this holiday season.
This successful special relied on the way that not much could be done without later having to fix it because this serves as a bridge between the upcoming second part of the show.
During Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1 Episode 11, Sabrina holds a seance to check why her mother was in limbo. She tells Madam Satan about this first though, allowing her to interfere in those plans while she waits to hear from the Dark Lord again.
Meanwhile, Susie gets a job at the mall that takes a deadly turn and Roz has to crack the case. And Harvey's relationship with Sabrina is further poked at when she starts to use magic more in their everyday interactions.
This leads to Harvey asking her to never use magic anywhere near him, causing a larger rift between them. Somewhere else, Zelda decides that their lives are too unsafe to include the baby in them. She has to give her away so that she isn't in constant danger.
"Chapter Eleven: A Midwinter's Tale," written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Donna Thorland, did a great spec script sort of storytelling. Knowing that this served as a fun adventure instead of an episode that pushed the boundaries of what we learned in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1 Episode 10 helped the holiday-themed special.
The Christmas story benefitted from not worrying about the risks that should be taken, instead of telling a confined but not any less exciting tale set in between the past season and the future still yet to be told.
Reintroducing Sabrina to Us
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1 Episode 10 ended with Sabrina's faith almost up in the air. She wasn't herself, or at least not the version that we spent a whole season learning about.
So this Christmas special used the freedom that it had to create a bridge between that twist and the future of the character that we don't even know about.
Sabrina was still struggling with her choices, and yet thankfully she wasn't the exact opposite of who she was before. The idea of Sabrina becoming truly "evil" was a nice way to end a season, it wouldn't actually work as a drastic character change though.
Zelda: We’ll also have to hide Leticia while Gryla’s here, or she’ll try to take the babe and add Letty to her retinue.
Sabrina: I can take her, Auntie. SHe's family now, and you've protected me all these years. It's the least I can do.
And this lightly prepared us for what the new normal would be for the show.
It was also obvious the way that there was almost a spec aspect to this special, digging into a story that wouldn't alter the timeline for the second part of the show when it returns.
This all could have happened offscreen and we wouldn't know the difference when we head into the second part next year.
Working with the limbo aspect was a good way to tread between the dark side that Sabrina was pushed into, while still sticking around in that light side of her that misses her mother and wants to know what happened.
Diana was executed well as a character, mostly because it was obvious how much she cared about Sabrina and yet you can't help questioning if that was even her.
Madam Satan was obviously messing around with her, so there is that constant question of if there was any moment we could trust.
This all morphed into two characters that were introduced just as quickly as they left, serving as a reminder that this story wasn't meant to last beyond that.
Dark Lord, as the longest night approaches, answer me. I did what you asked. Sabrina signed her name in your Book of the Beast. Why have you forsaken me? Why have you not called me home to the Pit? Has my mission changed? Say the word. Give my life meaning. Give me a sign.Madam Satan
Everything had to be wrapped up by the time the next episode rolled around, not allowing it to take over the actual storyline that has to be coming.
It was the decision that Zelda made that was the most shocking because it really was life-changing.
Choosing to give the baby away was a little odd, it came off as if that was where Zelda's focus would now be. It gave her a different purpose on the show, one that didn't rely on Sabrina messing up or Father Blackwood in general.
Now she might still be harboring that secret but it won't be a constant thing that she has to look over her shoulder for.
That makes sense, if only because that constant will they find the baby question would get old fast.
But now what?
There is plenty of other things that Zelda could be involved in but it takes a second to comprehend that this significant connection might not matter as much anymore.
The baby could come back around later, it might just be that now it didn't make sense to have a baby constantly on set because that is where Zelda would have to be confined.
The relationship between Zelda and Hilda is what would need more work, and perhaps that is what will be brought back.
It all depends on what Sabrina will be struggling against. it can't be the Dark Lord again because he has gone dark. The idea of the dark vs. the light though is still present and Sabrina isn't happy with where she ended up.
Remember, the Yule log is not a decoration, it is a protection. It must burn continuously from now, through the shortest day, through the longest night, until dawn. Otherwise, Satan knows what malevolent forces might come down our chimney. Creatures with perhaps deadly intentions.Zelda
Giving up this much control isn't her idea of her future, so this might be where she draws the line and pushes back to have more of that grip on which decisions she gets to make for herself.
Obviously, she will make mistakes, but there has to be that strong thing that she is chasing.
Chances are her aunts might not support it as much, thus creating conflict that puts Zelda on a path again where she is doing something instead of waiting for someone else to do it so she could be added into the mix.
The Mortal Side of the Story
Diving right in, with the way the finale ended, it felt like Sabrina had completely removed herself from her friends.
Maybe it stood out that way only to me, but it came off as if Sabrina changed significantly enough to submerge herself in this new life.
It was actually necessary to show us that it isn't true at all, she hasn't abandoned her old life like maybe that shocking ending led us to believe. It again defines Sabrina better, not letting her just shift to the next extreme when she worked so well as a bridge between the two worlds.
But please don't ever do that again. Use magic with me. Or on me, or near me. Never again.Harvey
But it can still pave the way for her to stray more towards her witch side, especially if this was a way to show us how little her friends are coming around to her new normal.
Susie probably is the most understanding, and that is only because they got taken so they continuously are aware of how magic plays a part in Greendale.
But then you have Harvey, a guy who rightfully so is wary. What didn't make as much sense was how much of a step back he took when it came to Sabrina and magic.
The way that he still wanted them to be together after he found out, that made it seem as if he was coming around at least to the idea of Sabrina and her magic.
Now it is like we took a few steps back, he is uncomfortable from the start and even takes what she wanted to do for him to better his life as a sign that he can't interact with any of her magic.
It just felt odd because their relationship wasn't in this exact place, in fact, it felt like there was more hope from Harvey's side. If anything it was Sabrina that struggled because she was worried what harm she could cause him.
The same disconnect came across with Roz, someone who should know better than anyone the way that something can be useful but can't be explained.
Roz has her own visions and an awareness that is not in any way mortal, so the way that she couldn't see herself truly understanding Sabrina's life also stood out in a strange way.
It just felt like no one was really talking to each other, which is exactly what they used to do. They even spoke more before the special so it set a scene about where Sabrina might end up when the show truly returns.
If everyone is keeping such a safe distance from her and her magic, there are already those signs that she will feel more comfortable going to the Weird Sisters or Nick or someone else.
What’s happened? Did the Grinch get to you? Or the Dark Lord, perhaps?Ambrose
It has to be done to move the story along and show the shift that Sabrina feels, and yet it will take a second to adjust to. It was like we knew where things were headed, so changing up how Roz and Harvey fell into things is a change.
But this opens up the door for Sabrina's friends to no longer be labeled as such. If there is distance, then they will have that time to focus on themselves and their dynamics with one another when Sabrina isn't around.
There is even a hint of Roz and Harvey possibly exploring a relationship together and I am here for it.
There is still something suspicious about Luke. It feels like a lot goes unsaid about his life, and yet his relationship with Ambrose is most of what we see when those two are on screen. And maybe that is the issue, it feels like Ambrose deserved more of a storyline and he got it, but then it feels tied to Luke in a strange way.
All signs lead back to Luke and if there isn't something shifty going on that was hinted at with the death of his ex, then what is the point? Ambrose would definitely deserve better because he just isn't worth the minimal screentime that he gets lately.
- As always this is a request for more Prudence and the Weird Sisters, although it was quite a surprise to see the role they got to play in general.
- So was everything that we saw of Diana fake? It was heavily hinted that Madam Satan was going to mess with the seance, so trusting Sabrina's mother was a warning sign from the beginning. But there are still moments where I wonder if some of it was actually her. Like that beginning portion where she mentions the idea of not being safe.
- Nick wasn't in this episode. I was very fine with that.
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina always manages to take a holiday and leave a different view of it in our minds afterward. This time around was exactly that and I didn't mind it one bit.
Am I the only one that was really intrigued by the limbo story? It randomly appeared as more of a shock than an arc, but that environment was very intriguing because there was so much we didn't know about it. If anything, I would love to see that explored again at some point, maybe even with Sabrina's mother involved.
Because it is obvious that her mother and father didn't die in a plane crash, but we keep circulating around that massive hint without making much movement in any direction. If Madam Satan thought the Dark Lord was sending her a sign by asking her to stop Sabrina from finding out the truth, it is probably safe to guess that he was somehow involved?
Does everyone know though?
What did you think of the Christmas special?
Was Harvey right when he gave back those pencils to Sabrina? Does it make sense that all of Sabrina's friends are still struggling with that witch revelation? Where do you see things going next?
What do you think of the sneak peek we got of the new Sabrina? Does this set up for the more adventurous side that she seems to take on in the trailer for the second part of the show?
What else would you like to see more of? What else do you want to see less of? Let us know what you think below.
Don't forget that you can watch Chilling Adventures of Sabrina online, right here on TV Fanatic! The next part of the show will premiere April 5, 2019.
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.