Welcome to Hell…
So begins the third spooky installment of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (CAOS), with our titular witch Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) facing new foes and uncovering her own inner strength as the daughter of Satan. Season two concluded with Lilith (Michelle Gomez) returning to Hell after Satan is trapped in the body of Sabrina’s boyfriend Nick (Gavin Leatherwood). In Greendale, a carnival has come to town, and with it a mysterious group who practice ancient magic… This series is packed full of the scares, romance and teen drama that fans have been waiting for, and with superb performances from the cast, it’s not to be missed!
Ever loyal, Sabrina is determined to save Nick from corruptive dark forces. With Satan’s soul trapped in his body, Sabrina is driven to descend to Hell herself to save him. Hell is no longer an abstract idea this season, instead embodying the next frontier for Sabrina’s battles. One of the most interesting developments in the CAOS series, this version of Hell is a place of suffering, evil, and for Sabrina, possible greatness. With Satan gone, Hell needs a new ruler to keep the peace – and as his heir, Sabrina is just the witch for it. While the set up is promising, there is a sense that Sabrina’s character development is rather stagnant, as she moves from one distressing scenario to another with little change as the series progresses. The potential for an epic questline could have been a deeper exploration into Sabrina’s character, but unfortunately, CAOS sells it’s lead short.
Meanwhile, in Greendale, the mysterious carnival attracts the eyes of Theo, Harvey and Roz. After investigating, the gang uncover a Pagan group with ancient powers. As villains, the Pagan characters are painted somewhat as a homogenous ‘Other,’ that police and punish the witches for their ‘modern’ ways. Like the Gorgon with snakes for hair and a sinister faun in their ranks, are coded as mysterious, ancient and antagonistic. It would have been interesting to explore the Pagans as characters with a stake in the story but their potential as villains are stifled.
The supporting cast gets plenty of moments to shine this series. Prudence and Ambrose are still pursuing Faustus Blackwood and his two children. Tati Gabrielle shines as the glamorous, quick-witted Prudence and so does Chance Perdomo, as the warm but cautious Ambrose.
As the coven struggles to adapt to a new sense of order, Zelda (Miranda Otto) steps up to fill the gap both Lucifer and Father Blackwood have left. Zelda is given much more breathing space in this series, trying to embrace her new leadership position in the coven while struggling under the pressure. Otto truly charms as witty, glamorous, take-no-prisoners Zelda, and shows real dynamism as the series progresses. Zelda’s long-held ambitions for power are finally rewarded but met with adversarial forces as the magicks of the coven begin to drastically decline.
Lilith (played by the incomparable Michelle Gomez) is arguably one of the most interesting characters on CAOS, and no doubt a fan favorite. Once driven by ambitions of ruling over Hell, Lilith’s resentment for Sabrina and humankind is greatly subdued in Part 3, leaning into a more sympathetic iteration of the character. With fears that the coven may be powerless without the Dark Lord, Zelda decides to turn to Lilith in prayer — one of the series’ more touching sentimental moments, where the coven finally cut ties with Satan.
The latest part of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is an interesting project, where Sabrina begins to realize her full power and the coven of witches in Greendale begins to salvage themselves from the grips of Satan. At times fun, intense and heartwarming, CAOS is at its best when it illustrates the electric performances of its cast.
All eight episodes of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 were provided for the review, which launches globally on Netflix, Friday, January 24, 2020