Netflix’s horror thriller show is back. The “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”’s long-awaited season three was released on Friday, Jan. 24. With its dynamic plot, complex character development and unabashed desire to do whatever it wants, audiences were once again reminded how this Archie Comic title captivated those around the world.
In season two, Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) found out she was the daughter of Lucifer Morningstar (Luke Cook) and destined to be the Queen of Hell. After first trying to deny her destiny, she inevitably submits to be Hell’s Queen. However, as she ascends to the throne, she tricks her father. Sabrina imprisons him, but the Dark Lord still managed to escape. In order to save them all, Nicholas “Nick” Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood) has the Dark Lord binded into him. Lilith (Michelle Gomez) ascended as the new Queen, takes Nick’s body and walks into Hell. Sabrina watches, but vows she will get her boyfriend back after the pandemonium of the finale fight.
The third season picks up right where it left off, solving all the loose ends left from season two, from Sabrina trying to save Nick to the search for Father Blackwood. If that isn’t enough, Sabrina learns she must help govern Hell, adding to her responsibility with Greendale’s coven, family and friends. Her judgement is put to the test with each decision she makes as she questions the cost they will incur.
This new season has marked major progression for the show, particularly in character development. Sabrina’s indecisiveness and dual nature has been a major plot mover in previous seasons. In season three, however, this cliche trope is finally put to rest. Instead, Sabrina is painted as a powerful dynamic female character. Without having her solely painted as the savior or damsel in distress, Sabrina grows more than she does in other episodes. This move also helps highlight the complexity of the other characters in the show as Sabrina no longer has to solve every problem that arises. Some notable mentions are Ambrose Spellman (Chance Perdomo) and Prudence Blackwood (Tati Gabrielle), who hunt Father Blackwood for tricking them and almost destroying the coven. Despite having little screen time, the actors’ performance showed the complexities of these two characters. Since season one, their roles have depended on being supportive or were limited by the environment they were in. Ambrose has always acted as a mentor to Sabrina and Prudence always acted to serve Father Blackwood. We did get to see some character growth throughout the seasons (especially at the end of season two), but within season three they had a whole makeover as they journeyed by themselves and showed their full capability.
While season three allowed returning characters the opportunity to shine, the show failed to flesh out the new actors. This latest season brought in three new actors to the show. Sam Corlett plays Caliban, the Prince of Hell who challenges Sabrina for the throne and Nick for her love. Skye P. Marshall plays Mambo Marie, a voodoo priestess who provides the Spellmans in their need of help. Then there’s Jonathan Whitesell who plays Robin Goodfellow, the new kid in town with a mysterious past. Their cookie cutter descriptions paint them into cliche roles, which at times can become predictable. What’s more, with only eight episodes to introduce and mold their characters, their short appearance made them experience what the other characters have faced: a one-dimensional look.
Another issue the show faced was its slow-paced plot. The first half of the season spent its time solving the problems of last season while the last four episodes were used to introduce the new storyline. At times, the show felt rushed and pivotal moments came out to be disappointing. The expectations of certain moments were delivered with hasty conclusions. With season three leaving you on another cliffhanger, the directors have positioned themselves to face the same problems in the next season that this season has had.
Though the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” lacks in some departments, its new direction proves how the directors are not afraid to make daring moves. The series markets itself as a horror, thriller show, but last season was toned down to display Sabrina’s high school problems. However, this season takes you to Hell and has been unapologetic in its use of horror. With human sacrifices, mass murder and psychological torture, the series conveys the dark side the show can offer. Its multiple historical usages of hell and monsters will ensure that you will not be able to sleep with the lights off, or at the very least, not be able to put your computer down.
The show begins with a rocky start, but by the end of the season you’ll be glad to have watched it. The show gives a right amount of balance of horror, magic and high school drama. Then the ending makes you wonder when the next season will come out.
Verdict: The show started slow, but delivers at the end. The characters become more fleshed out and the plot at the end will have you on the edge of your seat. It won’t be your favorite season, but it’s still a season to watch, so pop your popcorn and binge it.