Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 2 binge recap: Down with the demonic patriarchy!
Sabrina’s back, but she’s not the same teen witch. As Ms. Wardwell says, in not so many words, a Dark Baptism in which one inks their name in blood onto the pages of a flesh-bound demonic tome and signs their soul over to the Devil to be his minion can change a girl. It’s a lot more difficult for a half-mortal, half-supernatural traveler down the Path of Night to maintain her humanity. She’s haunted by dreams of her father presenting his newborn baby girl to the Devil and the thought of what might happen to those she loves when the Dark Lord finally calls upon her to do his bidding. Will she submit to this overlord? Does she have a choice?
As she struggles to answer these questions, Sabrina soon realizes there’s a much bigger battle at hand: She isn’t just fighting against the Dark Lord’s will, she’s fighting against an entirely corrupt patriarchal system that has quietly ascended to the top ranks of the Church of Night. A bunch of white men elected to power who flaunt tradition and religiosity in order to smother and oppress women? Praise Satan this is only fiction and doesn’t have anything to do with our current reality whatsoever.
In part 1 of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, witchcraft became a weapon against the toxic masculine dogma of Sabrina’s society, and in fantasy stories magic is often portrayed as a means of granting women their power and agency. (See the Charmed Ones, Willow in Buffy, The Craft, virtually anyone with a knack for telekinetically pummeling guys into walls, etc.) In part 2, the series goes deeper into this culture of witchcraft and reveals that the problems are more systemic than we thought. But, while its sister-from-another-mister Riverdale became a soapy teen drama where hot daddies get into shirtless wrestling matches with 17-going-on-27 teens, CAOS has its own bonkers shenanigans — school-funded midnight orgies included.
EPISODE 12: “The Epiphany”
Fearing what will happen to her mortal friends if she ever succumbs to Satan’s commands, Sabrina is now going to the Academy of Unseen Arts full-time for the foreseeable future. Ms. Wardwell (still occupied by Lilith) is now Baxter High’s principal and is all too willing to give her an indefinite leave of absence.
It’s a little unclear where Sabrina stands with everything. When she speaks with Hilda, she seems genuinely depressed over the thought that she could somehow hurt Harvey, Ros, and Theo. But at the same time, she’s now determined to rise up through the ranks of the school and Church of Night, and revels in her witchcraft, as seen in a fun getting-ready-for-school sequence in front of a mirror that emulates the opening credits of the Melissa Joan Hart sitcom. It’s like she’s forgotten all about the fact that she’s supposed to be learning how to conjure and then banish the Dark Lord and instead she’s hoping to one day reform the coven’s outdated traditions. Cannibalism is so 2000-and-late.
When she arrives at the academy — which now sees Zelda taking over Constance Blackwood’s studies after her death, much to the chagrin of certain teachers — Father Blackwood announces the start of the top boy elections. Sabrina, determined to prove that anyone, regardless of gender, should have the same opportunities when it comes to traditionally male roles, submits herself for the competition against the only other candidate, Nicholas Scratch, another super_hot “teen.” No wonder Sabrina keeps forgetting all about the Dark Lord when her eyes get lost in Nick’s washboard abs. Top boy brings them both closer together, but also further opens Sabrina’s eyes to the reality of Blackwood and the Church of Night.
Plotting with his male students in Dorian’s Gray Room, an actual boys’ club (no girls allowed) run by, you guessed it, Dorian Gray, Blackwood is determined to ensure Nick’s victory and maintain the male status quo. Lukas actually says, “It’s called top boy for a reason.” Ambrose, meanwhile, refuses to outwardly support Sabrina, leaving her alone to study for the three impending trials: the Inquisition (a trivia game to test witch knowledge), Boil and Bubble (the more “womanly art” of potions, as Blackwood put it), and the Conjuring (the summoning and containing of a demon within a geometric circle).
As with other patriarchal systems, Sabrina is working to overcome these obstacles while already at a disadvantage. Three male demons (think three off-brand Night Kings from Game of Thrones), ones she glimpsed in a dream, are stalking her. The first attacks with a swarm of rats in the school’s library as the guys are busy enjoying a belly dancer in Dorian’s Gray Room, but she’s able to banish him. The second attacks with bats on her way home from the academy in a sequence that recreates a moment from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Again, this time with the help of a witch whistle from her Auntie Z, she’s able to fend him off. The third, accompanied by a box of flies, ties Sabrina up in the basement of Baxter High, where she’s eventually saved by Ms. Wardwell.
Each attack means she doesn’t have time to study for the following day’s challenge, which means some magical intervention is in order. Prudence, frustrated with Blackwood’s unwillingness to let her take the family name, recruits the Weird Sisters to magically plant the trivia answers in Sabrina’s head. Suspicious of Sabrina’s sudden burst of genius, Blackwood magically seals the competition space for the Boil and Bubble challenge. Thankfully, Hilda is a master brewer and instructs her niece. Sabrina, unfortunately, loses that trial and is forced to drink the putrified concoction, but she wins cheers from the coven when she chugs it down and then vomits it back up in a cauldron like some Greek week keg-stand fiasco.
At the same time, Susie comes out of the closest as trans, naming himself Theo, while trying to topple a different patriarchy. He wants to try out for the boys basketball team but is tormented by Billy and his goons. With the help of Ms. Wardwell, Theo is able to try out, but it’s Sabrina who gets him on the team by casting spells to guide his shots. And yet, the consequences of that are never considered. What happens when Theo goes to the team’s first practice and Sabrina isn’t there? How good will he be without a magical assist? This is never addressed in any capacity so we too will just forget we asked. On a more positive note, this new story arc for Theo adds another visible trans character (played by the non-binary Lachlan Watson) to television.
Still unable to get close to her high school friends, Sabrina refocuses on the danger at hand. Believing that one of her male classmates summoned the demons, she confronts Nick, who recognizes her attackers as the three Lords of Plague, higher-level demons who could not be summoned by a novice or student. Believing Blackwood to be behind it all, she and Nick formulate a plan: During the final challenge, they combine their geometric circles and call forth the Lords before the coven to get answers. But they do not abide by the laws of Satan, so they won’t comply with Sabrina’s commands. Instead, they seem to be acting of their own volition and warn that Sabrina, as a half-witch, must not be allowed to ascend. Sabrina thinks back to an earlier quip in Blackwood’s office about one day becoming High Priestess of the Church of Night, a remark that inflamed Blackwood. But the coven’s leader banishes the demons before they finish their prophesy. Their words still linger.
In the end, neither Nick nor Sabrina are named top boy. Blackwood chooses Ambrose instead, pulling Sabrina’s cousin further away from the family and closer into this mysterious brotherhood Blackwood’s forming. No doubt it’s all part of his mysterious plans.
Episode 13: “The Passion of Sabrina Spellman”
Just as Satan tempted Jesus to sin, so too must Sabrina be tested.
As Lilith surmises that the Dark Lord has much bigger plans for the teen witch than she initially thought, the Mother of Demons summons Lucifer to Wardwell’s home. He reveals that he hopes to make Sabrina his prophet here on earth when the gates of Hell are thrown open. Lilith feels threatened. Her rank can’t be challenged by a millennial! So she strikes a wager with her master: If her prediction that Sabrina isn’t ready to be the herald of Satan is true, then the Dark Lord will make Lilith his herald and queen. But, if the Dark Lord successfully tempts Sabrina toward darkness, then she will remain subservient and never question his decisions again.
Satan starts by disturbing Sabrina’s sleep to command her to steal a pack of gum. She tells Ambrose and her aunties about it in the morning, and it doesn’t seem like she can get out of it. If a witch or warlock were to deny the Dark Lord, then those around them could suffer. So Sabrina goes to steal a stick of gum at Dr. Cerberus’ because it’s just a stick of gum, right? Wrong! Ms. Wardwell pops up behind to warn how slippery of a slope it’ll be if Sabrina takes that gum. First it’s a pack of up, before you know it it’ll be Sabrina Kill Bill-ing the Crazy 88 in a Japanese club… or something. So Sabrina puts the gum back and defies the Dark Lord. Time for a different tactic.
The academy is putting on a production of Lucifer Morning Star, the story of Satan’s fall from grace and his first meeting with Lilith after she was cast out of the Garden of Eden. But this is a new retelling Blackwood wrote himself that harks back to a more traditional outlook on the material. So Lilith is more of a helpless woman instead of the survivalist she really was, which doesn’t really appeal to Sabrina. It didn’t appeal to Sister Jackson, Zelda’s nemesis, which is why Blackwood tapped Sabrina’s aunt to direct the play. On the other hand, Dorcas, an atrocious actress, has been cast as Lilith opposite Nick as Lucifer.
Here comes Satan whispering in Sabrina’s ear: That role belongs to you, and if you just pull that rope on the stage you can injure Dorcas and take her part. Again, Sabrina defies him, so when she, as the understudy, runs lines with Nick and casual snacks on apple slices as if she isn’t nibbling on the most overt symbol of temptation, the Dark Lord causes her to choke. She wakes up at home in bed with Hilda sitting beside her. Her aunt explains that she was once called upon by Satan, who presented her with a wooden box and commanded her to press the button on top of it. She did and the decision haunted her for weeks until she smashed the box and discovered there was nothing inside. Sometimes, she theorizes, maybe the Dark Lord just wants to know that you would do whatever he asks if it came to it.
Theorizing that Satan will be easier to resist at Baxter High, she returns to her mortal stomping grounds to find Theo getting bullied for wanting to change in the boys locker room and Harvey cuddling up with Ros. Then there’s the fact that the Devil’s Claw, a physical manifestation of Satan’s hold over Sabrina’s soul, appears on her back.
She gives Theo a charm that will cause Billy to trip on the basketball court, but it’s inadvertently used to cripple Billy and shatter his high school athletic career. As for Harvey and Ros, they become another scab for the Dark Lord to pick. The sight of her friend running lines with her ex for Romeo & Juliet in Cerberus’ diner tempts Sabrina to unleash her magic, but instead Ros conveniently comes down with chickenpox. So Sabrina is now scene partners with Harvey, giving them a brief beneath-the-sheets tussle. But the flame quickly fizzles when Sabrina sees an illusion of the Devil’s Claw on Harvey’s chest, and the two former lovers remain just that.
The root of this envy that tries to pit two women against each other is always a man pulling the strings. The Dark Lord’s plan to gain more power through Sabrina makes her a target for Ms. Wardwell, though they have more common enemies than they both realize. The bubbling tension between Sabrina and Ros is another product of the Dark Lord’s dealings. Zelda also finds herself pitted against Sister Jackson, who spells Zelda to belch up a frog familiar during theater rehearsal. Zelda retaliates by magically forcing Shirley to nearly leap to her death off the academy’s balcony, but it’s really Blackwood who is causing their strife.
When Sabrina returns home, she finds Salem dying on her porch and the Dark Lord standing close by. He now demands a greater act if she’s to reverse her ill fortunes, and that would be to burn Baxter High to the ground so that she may never be tempted to escape their again. That night, she sneaks onto the compound and pours gasoline onto the floor. But a few words from Wardwell prompts Lucifer to stop Sabrina before she drops the lit match.
Back at the academy, Dorcas too comes down with chickenpox, forcing Sabrina to step in for the performance. The real Lilith watches from the back of the theater as Sabrina plays her on stage. She weeps for the loving relationship she once had with Dark Lord during Biblical times and for this younger witch who’s growing into her replacement, seemingly unwilling or unable to acknowledge how awfully Satan has treated her. Later, as she’s forced to wash and kiss Satan’s hooves for losing the wager, the Dark Lord gives her a consolation prize by resurrecting her crow familiar, Stolis, presumably without the memory of Lilith snapping his neck in the first place.
At Dorian’s Gray Room, Nick asks Sabrina about the Dark Lord’s command and asks if she would’ve burned the school. He laughs at the thought of her playing chicken with Satan, but the hour ends when another defeated look from Harvey prompts Sabrina to finally steal that pack of Screamin’ Mint gum, committing the one act she once feared would lead her to carry out much more nefarious deeds down the line.
Episode 14: “Lupercalia”
I have to quote Keep It podcast cohost Kara Brown for this one. Both Riverdale and CAOS can get as crazy as they want to, so long as, at the end of the day, they keep being about “hot teens doing hot things.” In “Lupercalia,” there are a lot of hot teens doing tons of hot things.
The temptation toward darkness continues for Sabrina, though not in such obvious ways as the Devil whispering in her ear. In the premiere of part 2, Sabrina’s Wiccan raging over the top boy situation nearly caused her to tear apart her living room in front of Ambrose. In episode 13, the Dark Lord tried swaying Sabrina by tapping into her envy of Dorcas and Ros. Now, it’s about lust.
While mortals celebrate Valentine’s Day, witches and warlocks celebrate Lupercalia, a bacchanalian series of events culminating in a great big orgy in the middle of the woods. And the whole thing is basically a school superlative! Extra credit. It begins with the Matching, wherein the girls perform a musical-chairs-esque medieval ribbon dance around the boys, and when the sound of the violin stops, they are paired with whichever warlock sits before them for moonlit sexing.
Obviously, Nick wants to be paired with Sabrina, but Dorcas also has eyes for the teen heartthrob. This witchy morsel has been passed around between the Weird Sisters in previous Lupercalias, and now she’s ready to swipe right. Except Nick and Sabrina devise a glamour to trick Dorcas into pairing herself with a rando named Melvin. So the stage is set for Sabrina to take another step toward adulthood, and that’s having sex for the first time. It’s finally that moment when she realizes she’s been wearing Harvey’s necklace the whole time. Harvey and Ros are now official. He knows all about the Cunning and now they’re going to the Baxter High dance with Theo, who drummed up the courage to ask his dad for a suit. But the memory of him is still there.
After the the Matching is the Courting, wherein Blackwood and Zelda chaperone the students’ sexcapades in the woods as they too get frisky on a picnic blanket. Though Nick and Sabrina are stripped down to black lingerie and undies, they aren’t getting hot and heavy just yet, partly because Sabrina wants to take her time and partly because a booming wolf howl resonates from the trees nearby and kills the mood.
It seems as though the howl came from Doctor Cerberus. The reason for his glowing eyes in the finale of part 1 is his possession by a werewolf-like incubus that transforms him every time he’s aroused. It’s why he’s been keeping his distance from Hilda and why he transforms when she surprises him at the shop in a cheetah-print outfit. In a twist no one was probably expecting, the howl ends up coming from Nick’s old familiar, Amalia, who looks like a high school production of Little Red Riding Hood after the wolf dresses up in the grandma’s clothes. Maybe a little bit higher quality, but damn! Nick and Sabrina try to have a normal date when they decide to go to the Baxter High dance, but Amalia attacks them during a makeout session in the library. According to Nick, Amalia became his family after his parents died, and protected him through the years. He banished her to some far-off woods when she started getting jealous of his girlfriends (wild!), but now she’s free.
Sabrina watches as a distraught Nick goes into the forest to find and kill Amalia. He comes back with a heart, saying he killed his familiar so she wouldn’t hurt Sabrina, which she finds terribly romantic… except he didn’t really kill Amalia. He chained her up in a cave with a special kind of demon-binding Damascus steel chains and killed a random wolf instead. So the lovers proceed to the third phase of the Lupercalia, the part where they all race into the woods and have a massive orgy. The girls are dressed exactly like an army of Little Red Riding Hoods who chase and tackle the shirtless boys donning wolf pelts. Like I said, “hot teens doing hot things.”
Sabrina and Nick have plans to meet by a mossy rock, only Dorcas tackles Nick just as Amalia emerges from the woods to attack Sabrina. She’s able to talk down the beast, but when Nick arrives Amalia pounces on him, forcing Sabrina to kill Amalia with a secret dagger hidden in her thigh-high boots. What follows is supposed to be a touching moment as Sabrina comforts Nick, but this blood-covered werewolf wearing a tattered lace dress is just as extra when it’s lifeless.
While all this is going on, Lilith gets her own Valentine’s Day surprise when Adam, Mary Wardwell’s fiancé, comes back home after traveling with Physicians Without Frontiers. He’s totally unaware that the love of his life is possessed by Lilith, but instead of killing him, the Mother of Demons gets used to the way he massages her feet and kisses her toes — everything she’s forced to do for the Dark Lord. Turns out creepy, exotic fetish dolls are a girl’s best friend. Zelda, too, has some good fortune when Blackwood proposes to her with the traditional pair of dove hearts.
Meanwhile, after enjoying a romantic Valentine’s Day that culminates with some mild fondling in Harvey’s bed, Ros’ romance comes to an end when her family’s history of blindness catches up to her. All of a sudden, as if by some magic light switch, her vision goes black.
Episode 15: “Doctor Cerberus’s House of Horrors”
Once is a fluke, twice is a pattern. Part 1 had that out-of-character sleep demon episode that felt like a demon-of-the-week template leached its way into CAOS. Each character got their standout moment as an inconvenient B plot took over. Part 2 has “Doctor Cerberus’s House of Horrors,” an attempt to do its own Twilight Zone thing, with the end result being a too far drop off that high of Wiccan teen sex parties in the woods.
The one pick-me-up being the surprise cameo from Veronica Cartwright as a mysterious psychic named Mrs. McGee seeking refuge at Doctor Cerberus’ from the rain. As a thanks, she offers to read tarot cards of those who walk through the shop, set up at a small table by the window. To think that Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer once hexed this woman into vomiting up cherry pits.
Let’s breeze through this one as fast as possible.
Sabrina and Nick come in passively bickering after he showed up late to a horror double feature, forcing Sabrina to miss the previews. Then there’s the whole Amalia situation; the one thing she took away from that was not the emotional devastation of Nick having to kill his surrogate family member but the fact that he lied to her and what else might he be lying about. (Epic eye roll.) So the the tarot reader’s prediction for Sabrina shows her a vignette to determine whether she can trust Nick.
In this scenario, Nick is planning to perform a stage magic act for the academy’s talent show, and he wants Sabrina to be his assistant. Seeing how much he flirts with the Weird Sisters, though, she’s not inclined to play second fiddle.
During the talent show, an audience of all girls swoons over Nick in his magician’s outfit as he calls on volunteers for him to saw in half and teleport to the great beyond. Sabrina, fed up with all these girls fawning over him, volunteers for the final trick. Nick levitates Sabrina off the ground, causing her to fall upward. But Prudence sabotages the trick and Sabrina keeps falling up through the rafters, through the ceiling, into the sky, and eventually into space, where she freezes to death. Snapping out of the vision, the tarot reader says this doesn’t mean her vision will come to pass, but that she shouldn’t fear traversing the dark path if she trusts the boy she’s walking it with.
Next up? Theo.
In his ongoing journey to transition into a man, Mrs. McGee shows him a vision in which he’s visited by Dorothea, reminding us all that’s still a thing. She tells Theo that no doctor in Greendale will help him, so he must now steal magic from the Spellmans. The enchantment seems to work. Theo wakes up with a teen boy’s body and a deeper voice. His athletic skills are celebrated and he’s friends with Billy. (That last part was already true after Billy apologized to Theo at the school dance.) But there are side effects. Because Theo was meddling with forces he knew nothing about, his flesh begins to turn into bark, mimicking the plants he used to cast the spell.
He goes to Hilda, who says they can either chop off his arm to stop the spell’s spread or she can reverse all the effects of the enchantment, including reverting Theo back to the body of a girl. Desperate to remain in his true body, he lets Hilda chop off his limb. But the horror remains when he sits up in bed and discovers his legs have also become bark.
When the vision lifts, the psychic advises Theo not to steal and to seek help early in order to reach the prize he covets.
Ros’ vision is a similar warning about patience and avoiding nefarious means. Now fully blind, her father asks his parish to donate money to pay for the medical costs of the experimental surgery to return her sight. Ros agrees to undergo the surgery, but she learns he’s also taking money from the church to pay for his car and his expenses. She tries to give back by volunteering, but she meets a blind girl whose eyes were taken and given to Ros over bribes from her father. Ros emerges ready to embrace patience as a virtue.
Now it’s Zelda’s turn.
With the impending wedding ceremony causing the bride some stress, the tarot reader shows Zelda a scenario when she’s concerned about baby Leticia. You know, Blackwood’s other baby Zelda hid because he really didn’t want a baby girl? Zelda goes to see the witch Dezmelda, who’s been tending to Leticia, only to find that Dezmelda ate the child and absorbed her youth. She then blackmails Zelda into inviting her to the wedding, but that turns out horrible too when Zelda walks in on Blackwood making out with Dezmelda.
Harvey’s vision is more horrific when he gets an invite to attend a summer art program in Rhode Island. His roommate is a creepy recluse who’s been drawing paintings of grotesque creatures. Turns out his closet becomes a portal to another demonic dimension at night, just like how the tunnels in the Greendale mines were a portal. One morning, Harvey finds his roomie hanged himself in the night. So after the sun goes down, Harvey opens the closet door and peaks the dark dimension inside. It all bears some message about suffering for one’s art but not needing to go to Rhode Island to do it.
Ambrose is the last to get a reading, and it’s all about this secret Judas Society brotherhood Blackwood has going on. In this alternate reality, Blackwood asks Ambrose to prove his loyalty by correcting his family. In other words, kill them. He hobbles through the Spellman home like Danny Torrance from The Shining, killing everyone, including Sabrina with an ax.
When he snaps out of it, the psychic decides to keep the last card to herself, but he snatches it and sees it’s death. He rushes to Blackwood’s office and asks about Luke, who’s been gone on a secret mission for the High Priest. Blackwood informs him that Lukas died in service of the Dark Lord and to him, and now he’s in need of someone to replace him in the Judas Society. That someone would be Ambrose.
The psychic leaves Doctor Cerberus’ just as mysteriously as she entered. Only we see her open the door to her home and release the glamour spell hiding her true identity. It’s Lilith, and that whole bit was meant to pluck all sorts of details from the tiny minds of her enemies, because if the apocalypse comes and Satan’s plans go awry, it could be “everyone woman for herself.”
Episode 16: “Blackwood”
Chapter 16 of the Sabrina saga is aptly titled “Blackwood,” not only because it’s finally time for the High Priest to take drastic action to ensure his master plan comes to fruition, but also because of the Weird Sisters’ prophecy putting the very name of Blackwood in jeopardy. The three psychics arrive in Blackwood’s office in the middle of the night, like three Shakespearean witches, with a warning: “We saw an altar, a coffin, and much bloodshed. Beware the Spellmans. The Spellmans will be the undoing of the Blackwoods.”
Not the best sign for a Blackwood groom about to wed a Spellman. Not to mention the Antipope, the one global religious leader in charge of the entire Church of Night, is traveling to the academy for a visit the same day. But this prophecy seems tied with Lilith’s plans for Sabrina. Speaking with Stolis, she says the next act Sabrina must complete in order to fulfill the Dark Lord’s goals is to bring down the Church of Night. And she has just thing to compel her toward taking such action.
Unease also rocks the Spellman household on the morning of the wedding. Ambrose accuses Salem of eating Leviathan in a bit, intentional or not, that’s reminiscent of the Crookshanks-Scabbers fiasco of Harry Potter. But he’s really upset over Luke. Since Blackwood confirmed his death, it’s like Luke ceased to exist. Later at Dorian’s Gray Room, Sabrina sees a ghostly vision of her father on the balcony. The ghost claims Blackwood caused the plane crash that killed both her parents and urges Sabrina to avenge his death. The ghost is really Lilith under a glamour, but the ruse sparks Sabrina to action.
She tells Zelda about the ghost, but her aunt won’t believe it. She’s also being haunted by the ghost of Constance Blackwood and dealing with Prudence, who’s still trying to become a legitimate Blackwood, so she’s got a lot on her plate. Ambrose, however, is on board with this plan to unmask Blackwood, thanks to that ominous tarot card. They go to Wardwell to get more information, and she says Sabrina’s parents were on their way to Rome to meet with the Antipope and present a plan to reform the Church of Night. The plane sunk to the bottom of the ocean somewhere in the Devil’s Triangle.
Sabrina creates a portal in her bathtub to send Nick to retrieve her father’s manuscript. He returns and reveals that Edward hoped to make witch-kind more reverent of its women and more welcoming of witch-mortal relations. Blackwood, however, is planning to pitch his own ideas to the Antipope that would make women subservient to warlocks, and men the rulers of the Church of Night.
Hilda is equally preoccupied with taming Zelda’s ghost, who she discovered was called up by Zelda’s favorite person in the whole world, Sister Jackson. Mistaking Hilda’s kindness for weakness, Shirley invites her over to discuss things and finds herself fatally poisoned by Hilda’s cookies. Zelda, meanwhile, is busy planning the wedding seating, asking Blackwood to bring Hilda back into the Church of Night, and seeing about granting the Blackwood name to Prudence. Only two of those things were accomplished; three guesses which one wasn’t. So Sabrina, Nick, and Ambrose are on their own. Fortunately, Ambrose has been tasked with standing outside the Antipope’s chambers, so he can easily let Sabrina slip her father’s manifesto to their leader, who was a fan of Edward, it turns out. The Antipope, mind you, is played by Twin Peaks’ Ray Wise, keeping with the surprise cameos from horror stars.
His unholiness is already eager to speak with Sabrina, given his love for her father. So when she interrupts Blackwood’s meeting to deliver Edward’s manifesto, he’s happy to consider both proposals for the Church. Blackwood, however, has a backup plan. Leviathan, who was gifted to Ambrose by the High Priest, crawled its way into Ambrose’s body in order to control him. In the middle of the night, the magic stirs and forces him and two other Judas Society recruits to kill the Antipope. Ambrose teleports himself away, but Blackwood slits the throats of the other two boys before they have time to speak.
Blackwood’s Judas Society scours both the school and the Spellman home for Ambrose, but he’s hiding in Dorian’s Gray Room. There’s a fascist element to these men, dressed in a leathery black while chanting “Hail Satan,” as they snake through with militaristic fashion. During this time, Faustus makes Prudence a legitimate Blackwood in a strategic move to expand his numbers. Nick and Sabrina try to stop the wedding themselves by using a glamour to appear as Edward and Diana Spellman, but the High Priest easily brushes away their magic. As Sabrina formally accuses Blackwood in the church of staging the Antipope’s assassination, Ambrose teleports behind Blackwood. He raises the knife to kill him but is frozen in place by Prudence’s magic. He’s then tackled and tossed into the Witch’s Cell for later punishment. Nick and Sabrina are subsequently expelled from school, leaving Prudence and his Judas Society in total control of the school while he goes on a honeymoon with Zelda.
One school of thought in feminist theory is that marriage is a symbol of oppression. This is basically the argument Wardwell lays out to Adam when he talks about setting a date. But in the world of Sabrina, this outlook is taken to the nth degree. If Lilith’s devotions to the Dark Lord is a form of religious bond, then Satan inflicts his hold over her by commanding that she kill Adam. “You belong to me and only me,” he says. She doesn’t and instead places a protection charm on Adam in the form of a ring. Zelda’s wedding isn’t much better. The night before, as tradition with the current witch regime, she awaits to be visited by Satan. Most witches don’t get a visit, but should he appear, she’s expected to have sex with him in disgusting prima nocta fashion. The Antipope’s death interrupted this, fortunately. But then Zelda ends up in a marriage where Blackwood demands his wife walk behind him. Zelda marries him for power, not love, and now she’s in a prison.
Episode 17: “The Missionaries”
According to a rep for Netflix, the episodes spanning Part 1 (including the holiday special) and Part 2 are all part of the original season 1 episode order for CAOS. The newly announced Parts 3 and 4 are part of a season 2 order. I feel compelled to bring this up not just because there seems to be some confusion about that online, but also because the final few installments of Part 2 are the most beneficial (and exciting) for this new batch of episodes in that they tie it all together back with Part 1. Both parts now feel like one continuous story about the mystery prophecy surrounding Sabrina.
The aftermath of Blackwood’s assassination of the Antipope allows another surprise cameo to emerge from the shadows. Spencer Treat Clark of Unbreakable and The Last House on the Left arrives as Jeramithiel, a preppy, seemingly psycho Christian fanatic torturing Luke for information on the coven, two weeks before the situation with Ambrose. He’s part of The Order of the Innocents, which we take to believe are a group of witch hunters, but these slayers are much more. They are avenging angels who seek to convert the Children of Night to the False God’s light before ferrying away their souls. Luke is killed, but not before giving up locations of the coven, including the Academy.
Flash forward to the present and Sabrina is still barred from seeing Ambrose, thanks to the watchful eyes of The Weird Sisters. Prudence has been tasked with getting a confession of guilt out of Ambrose, and she’s not inclined to help Sabrina when she notes how their relationship consists of Sabrina coming to Prudence only when she needs something.
With Blackwood still on his honeymoon with Zelda, Sabrina and Hilda try summoning The Council to plead on Ambrose’s behalf. But the infernal judges say they’ve already consulted with Blackwood and condemned Ambrose to execution without trial upon Blackwood’s arrival. Powerless, Sabrina heads back to Baxter High to seek solace in her mortal friends, but she’s shunned in light of her absence as Roz went blind. Thinking of what Wardwell suggested earlier to her, Sabrina offers to magically fix Roz’s eyes, but the suggestion of supernatural intervention makes the tension worse. She isn’t welcomed by Nick, either, who’s busy getting drunk at Dorian’s Gray Room and sneering at Sabrina for trying to run back to her mortal life.
Hilda, meanwhile, tries to see Ambrose by cooking a homemade chicken meal to tempt Prudence, but The Weird Sisters use this as an attempt to get Ambrose to confess through illusions. Hilda quickly susses out she’s not really speaking with her nephew, but the plan still works. Prudence tosses Ambrose the bones of Hilda’s dish, which was the point all along as it contains tools to craft a skeleton key that will release him from the Witch’s Cell.
In Greendale, Wardwell’s romance with Adam continues to blossom as he invites her to come live with him in Tibet, but this reprieve from her dark duties is obliterated when her planned dinner with Adam is sabotaged by Lucifer. She takes a bite of the roast Adam prepared only to choke on his protective ring. She looks over to Adam to see the Dark Lord staring back at her. The illusion lifts over the dinner table and it’s Adam Wardwell has been eating. She later reveals Stolis has been spilling her secrets to the Dark Lord and kills her familiar in a rage. But this tragedy does reveal one thing, Satan is not omnipresent and therefore won’t see what she has planned next.
With Sabrina alone at home, she’s visited by Jeramithiel, who’s pretending to be a Jehovah’s Witness of sorts. She welcomes him into her home as the two discuss religion and belief, but they’re interrupted by a call from Roz. With The Cunning, she warns Sabrina in time that this man will try to kill her. Sabrina flees her house and uses magic to bar Jeramithiel’s path, but he displays the first sign of his true identity when his angelic powers are able to break through Sabrina’s magical barrier. Another member of The Order of the Innocence attack Nick and Dorian, but thanks to a certain portrait hanging up in Dorian’s secret compartment, he’s able to return from death and trap their assailant. A third angel arrives at Cerberus’s, but Hilda unleashes the incubus in her boyfriend to fend her off. Sabrina regroups with Nick and her aunt in town and agrees to save the witches at the Academy, which marks the next stop on the angels’ slaughter spree.
Jeramithiel and another angel, using Luke’s severed hand to turn the door’s handle, arrive at the school just as Ambrose is breaking out. Despite The Weird Sisters’ attempts, they are quickly subdued and taken captive with their classmates in the church. The angels magically reconstruct the temple, preventing other witches from entering — except for Sabrina.
Harvey, packing a rifle, rendezvous with Sabrina at her home. Despite the insistence to the contrary from Nick, he joins them on their way to the Academy. While Hilda attends to a bleeding Ambrose, Sabrina, having been baptized by her mother, is able to enter the church and confront the angels. But she’s no match. A crown of thorns is placed on her head to damper her witchcraft and she’s shot full of arrows from Jeramithiel’s crossbows. She lies bleeding to death on the floor in a Christ-like pose, a perverted image of Jesus on the cross.
As the angels bound back on the students, Sabrina rises again, now seemingly possessed by some hellishly powerful forces. Eyes white, she levitates into the air with a demonic booming voice. She calls herself the Dark Lord’s Sword and burns the two angels alive in hellfire. She then performs another miracle by resurrecting the two student witches killed by Jeramithiel. Harvey arrives to see the sight of what Sabrina has become. The girl he once knew is gone. The witch he once knew is gone. This is something else.
Episode 18: “The Miracles of Sabrina Spellman”
The internet in a nutshell: Harvey explaining The Dark Phoenix Saga to someone who just doesn’t care about comic books. But something did take over Sabrina when she rose up (literally) and defeated the angels. Something cosmic? More likely something hellish.
Harvey carries Sabrina’s limp body back to Hilda at the Academy as the awestruck students recount the miracles of Sabrina’s godlike ascent. Adding to the mystique, Sabrina is able to resurrect herself in the infirmary, pull the arrows out of her body, and then bring Ambrose back to full health from his deathbed. Harvey doesn’t know what’s going on, nobody seems to, but he knows that wasn’t Sabrina. Fearing Harvey getting closer to his girlfriend, Nick visits Sabrina later that night in her room and vows to be the one to catch her if she should fall.
The next morning, Hilda and Ambrose are grateful but largely quizzical over Sabrina’s newfound magics, powers that only seem to be growing. Without any incantation, something that’s always required of witchcraft, she’s able to quell the rain outside and transform the sky into a bright, sunny morning. At school, she’s able to wordlessly cure Roz’s blindness. Wherever these powers came from, they came at a good time as Lilith is busy getting back on the warpath by killing a rando and ripping out her rib to create a new “Adam,” one that’s more demon scarecrow than man. Blackwood also arrives back to the Academy, having been named interim Antipope. Worse still, Zelda appears as some sort of subservient robotic Stepford witch always doting on Blackwood.
Sabrina, Hilda, Ambrose, and Nick return to the school as The Council convenes. They’ve heard reports of “miracles” that Sabrina performed after interviewing her classmates, and this just inflates her confidence. She plays with Blackwood, taunts him with a warning about opening Pandora’s box. Despite Blackwood’s refueled fury, The Council allows them to remain at the Academy while they come to a decision. The students are still captivated by Sabrina as she enters the cafeteria with Nick. She convinces herself these gifts are to make the world a better place and spread her father’s gospel about the union of witches and mortals. Meanwhile, as Sabrina dazzles her classmates with more supernatural feats of power, Harvey goes to work for his dad in the mines, hoping to find some answers by exploring the demonic tunnels.
Later, The Council decrees Sabrina and Nick may return to the Academy with full privileges, but Ambrose will still be executed. Sabrina and Hilda convince The Council to at least grant them time to find Leviathan, the familiar she claims Blackwood used to puppeteer Ambrose. Nick digs around in Dorian’s trash and retrieves the rat’s body, while Sabrina uses her new abilities to resurrect him. They take him back to the Spellman home to keep him safe, but Dorian tips off Blackwood, who then commands his compliant wife to find and eviscerate Leviathan’s remains so he cannot be resurrected again.
While Hilda is arguing in the greenhouse with Sabrina about her niece’s powers — she warns she’s racking up a karmic debt the likes of which no witch has done before — Zelda takes Leviathan and drops him down a meat grinder. Hilda believes Blackwood hexed Zelda with a Calagari spell that turns witches into mindless sleepwalkers. She describes the music box she believes is keeping Zelda in a thrall and, expectedly, Sabrina is able to effortlessly summon the box to her arms.
Once they break the enchantment, Zelda, who was conscious but unable to act during her imprisonment, warns that Blackwood and Prudence are expecting Sabrina to intervene during Ambrose’s execution. If The Council sees one of her miracles, they will burn Sabrina as a heretic. So, with all eyes on Sabrina, the aunts will have to do the “heavy lifting,” as Zelda teases. They magic back the music box to Blackwood’s room and Zelda pretends to be a compliant wife.
Later, as Ambrose is strapped into the guillotine, the blade comes down but doesn’t kill him. Instead, it’s the executioner’s head that falls off his body, thanks to a voodoo spell Hilda quickly performed while attention was paid to Sabrina. Blackwood, astounded, asks one of his Judas men to step in and kill Ambrose. That’s when Sabrina baits Blackwood by declaring he should be the one to bring down the blade. Blackwood turns the tables and commands Sabrina to kill Ambrose, but, in a rage, she uses her powers to summon an illusion of the Dark Lord, one that calls Blackwood a pretender and commands Ambrose to be set free. As The Council and the rest of the coven are stunned by Satan’s arrival, Prudence spies Sabrina’s shaking fist, a sign of another miracle. Sabrina is only able to hold the illusion for so long, but it does the trick. Ambrose is set free and Blackwood is later stripped of his interim Antipope rank.
Sabrina celebrates by planning a party at her house between both mortals and witches. As she tells Roz and Nick, she plans to show mortals her miracles and unite both kinds under a new dogma. But Harvey’s investigation is bearing fruit. He found Tunnel 13 boarded off, so he and Theo dig around in his father’s files and find that every tunnel in the mines is mapped out, except for that one. An old family notebook describes a “woman in white” guarding something in Tunnel 13. They go to break their way through the wooden barrier and come under attack by this figure, an ancient witch who is indeed guarding something.
Harvey and Theo made it to Sabrina’s house just as she’s about to leap off the roof with a broomstick (very Practical Magic, by the way) and reveal witches to the world. Harvey, reminding her of the love they once shared for one another, stops her and the friends regroup in the mines down Tunnel 13. What Harvey and Theo found is an old mosaic, one that depicts Sabrina’s head covered in a thorn crown, eyes white, and surrounded by demons. Sabrina will later brush this off as “just a guess,” but the soundbite makes for a good cliffhanger, so she says, “I think it means I’m the Herald of Hell.”
Episode 19: “The Mandrake”
It’s time for answers, even if we surmised most of them and Sabrina correctly guessed one already — that she’s the Herald of Hell. But “The Mandrake” sets up another surprise, as well as another Riverdale name-drop.
Armed with a sketch of the apocalyptic mosaic from the mines that Harvey sketched, Sabrina and Nick go to Wardwell for answers while Harvey closes off Tunnel 13 to prevent any humans from stumbling across it (and finds time to profess his love for Ros). Lilith, meanwhile, is just about ready to unleash her scarecrow minion to rip the flesh off Sabrina when her prey willingly wanders into her lair.
Hearing Sabrina has all these abilities, including the one that puts a chink in the chain, the whole self-resurrection thing, it’s time for a change of plans. She confirms the apocalyptic implications of the mosaic and suggests, to prevent the prophecy, she must divest herself of all of her powers, including her basic witch ones. She suggests a mandrake spell, one that entails sleeping through the night next to a mandrake plant, which would absorb all of her magical abilities and form a doppelgänger. When Sabrina kills it, her magic dies with it.
With Ambrose watching over her body, Sabrina goes to sleep in the Spellman mortuary with a mandrake by her side. When morning arrives, it seems nothing has happened. But Ambrose had fallen asleep, so who the heck knows? As Sabrina and Ambrose decide to try the same tactic with a golem they make out of clay on the banks of Sweetwater River (Riverdale reference!), Blackwood is busy unveiling his new plans for the Church of Night. At the Academy, he tore down the statue of Satan and replaced it with a statue of himself. He renamed the entire church the Church of Judas and passed down his misogynist commandments to the students. Zelda secretly relays this back to Hilda, who tries to tip off The Council, but she realizes it’s all part of the same misogynist system; if Blackwood falls, they risk losing their status.
Blackwood imprisons and starves one of the students who rebelled against his dogma, one who was resurrected by Sabrina during the angel attack. Zelda tries to help the girl by giving her food, but Prudence catches her. Even threats of exposing her part in hiding Baby Leticia bear no harm, as Prudence delivers her stepsister over to Blackwood, while Zelda is exposed and thrown in the dungeon. Prudence finally gets some sense and frees Zelda only after she realizes her father doesn’t care for her and is planning to “purify” the Blackwood bloodline by siring Leticia with her brother Judas. She remains at the Academy, however, to look after her sisters and the rest of the coven. When Zelda makes it back home, she realizes the Spellmans are still on their own with Blackwood: Hilda tried to sway one of the Council members, but she had her spider familiars encase him in webs when he got handsy.
In terms of the mandrake, things have been happening more quietly. While Ambrose slept, the mandrake formed and swapped in a fresh plant as a ruse for Sabrina. Doppelgänger Sabrina has been walking around since, visiting all her friends and using her unearthly powers absorbed by the real Sabrina to capture Harvey, Ros, and Theo when they’re mean to her.
When Sabrina returns home after forming the golem, Nick is there waiting for her to discuss what he found. She goes to wash herself off, but Lilith’s scarecrow attacks her. She tries to fend it off, but she realizes she has no powers to fight back. It’s Nick to the rescue, and they both realize the mandrake spell must’ve worked. Through his studies, Nick also relays to Sabrina more about the prophecy. He read that a half shadow girl will signal the Dark Lord’s return to earth in his angelic form by performing a series of miracles that act as perversions of the ones Jesus performed, including an exorcism, raising the dead, crossing into Limbo, and restoring eyesight to the blind. Sabrina realizes she’s done all of those acts, most of the time with Wardwell murmuring in her ear.
They confront Wardwell and bind her with magic, still unaware that she’s actually Lilith, but convinced it was her plan all along to have Sabrina transfer her powers to a more controllable mandrake copy. The mandrake, by the way, continues wreaking havoc. Blackwood sends his Judas boys to kill Sabrina in the hopes of erasing her in his students’ minds as a prophet, but they find her clone and are easily killed. The doppelgänger also tries to clone mandrakes of Sabrina’s mortal friends, but Harvey, Ros, and Theo break free and flee after Theo kills the clones.
Sabrina finds her clone at home, and, instead of watching the mandrake magically kill his cousin, Ambrose convinces them to have a duel with pistols instead. Sabrina realizes that the mandrake may be powerful, but it hasn’t yet developed mentally. So she cheats and fires early, killing the mandrake and her magic with it. And yet, she didn’t stop the apocalypse; she inadvertently completed the final pervasion. Sabrina technically killed herself in the duel, thereby committing suicide, which is the anti-miracle of Jesus’ sacrifice. Nick, having released Wardwell, arrive too late to stop Sabrina.
Lightning strikes the altar nearby. The end of days is officially upon them. The Dark Lord approaches.
Episode 20: “The Mephisto Waltz”
This is the story of hot daddy Satan and how he got so not hot, but now he’s hot again.
Lilith wandered the wilderness for months after God cast her out of the Garden of Eden. Stumbling among the rocky terrain, she found a half-naked stud muffin bathed in light with two bloody gashes on his back where the Lord ripped his wings from his body. Lucifer fell from Heaven and hit the earth at a spot that would one day, thousands of years later, become the town of Greendale. Lilith healed him, tended to his wounds, and served him as his handmaiden in exchange for power. Lilith became the first witch, with promises of one day getting a crown and throne in Hell when the apocalypse arrives.
Satan was kind at first, a gentle lover. But the longer he remained out of Heaven, the more he transformed into a goat beast with hooves and a horned head. Now that Sabrina performed the miracles of perversion needed to return him to his former glory, goat Dark Lord turns into hot daddy Dark Lord once again. As for Lilith, well, that crown and throne she was promised are going to Sabrina.
But while Ambrose and the aunties are preparing magical detractors to protect Sabrina inside their home, and Harvey, Ros, and Theo are planning to stop the hordes of Hell from breaking through the gates buried deep in the Greendale mines… what about that hot daddy Satan, though? Dorian is salivating over the Dark Lord when he arrives at Dorian’s Gray Room. Lucifer needs to get his affairs in order, so he commands Lilith to go fetch Sabrina, while he deals with Blackwood.
Prudence is trying to deal with Blackwood too, but her father mistakes her attempts to kill him with a spell from her Weird Sisters as a sign that the Dark Lord has returned. He brings Prudence as his guest to kneel before Satan but is dismayed when Lucifer says he’s been doing a crap job with this whole Church of Judas rebranding and must now exalt Sabrina in addition to himself. That throws Blackwood over the edge of sanity. He heads back to report to his followers that Satan has offered his blessings.
Meanwhile, Lilith finally reveals her true identity to the Spellmans as Sabrina willingly agrees to confront Satan at Dorian’s Gray Room with Salem by her side. It’s a fairly civilized conversation. The Dark Lord wants his “sword” to blow the Horn of Gabriel and open the gates of Hell to unleash his demon army. Then they will hold a coronation for Sabrina as she ascends to become Queen of Hell and she will dance the Mephisto Waltz with the Dark Lord. Only then will the world be remade in their image. Sabrina protests, but she and Lucifer Morningstar are more alike than she realizes. Yes, she’s reveled in her witch powers and smiled in the face of her wrath, but Satan reveals the truth about Sabrina’s identity: Edward Spellman isn’t her father, Lucifer is. As a double whammy, Lucifer calls out Nick and says he tasked him to get close to Sabrina as insurance that her path would lead her to this very moment.
Without a Maury DNA test to prove all of Lucifer’s claims, Sabrina returns to her aunts and Hilda admits it could be true. Diana came to her in confidence years earlier and revealed she and Edward went to the Dark Lord for help in conceiving a child. When she became pregnant with Sabrina, she had a feeling Edward might not be the father. So now this makes Sabrina part mortal, part witch, and part infernal. The apocalypse trifecta. That’s when Lilith arrives at the Spellman home. Feeling scorned and in need of some retribution, she offers her aid and formulates a plan to overcome the Dark Lord. He’s vulnerable to iron, and the back wounds are where he can be injured. So, Sabrina meets the Dark Lord in the woods to blow the horn, but, distracting him with flattery, she pins him to the earth with iron. Ambrose, Zelda, and Hilda then materialize from behind to plant daggers made in the ancient city of Megiddo, where Christianity was born. But it’s not enough. It turns out, the Dark Lord can only be killed by the Spear of Longinus, the Roman soldier whose lance pierced the side of Jesus at the Crucifixion.
With Satan now threatening to kill her family, Sabrina is forced to blow the horn, but Harvey, Ros, and Theo have been busy. Ros used the Cunning to locate the gates of Hell and determine a series of symbols will keep them from opening. She’s able to project these visions into Harvey’s head and he then draws the symbols on paper, while Theo lays them before the gates. Long story short, it works. And the Dark Lord isn’t omnipotent, so he goes off to prepare for the coronation with the expectation that the crème de la crème of demon aristocracy will be attending.
Sabrina regroups at home with her friends — including Nick, whom she’s forgiven at this point — to formulate another plan, but there’s another issue. Prudence finds Blackwood in his office preparing to leave Greendale with her and the babies. He said he has released the rest of the coven of their earthly bindings, meaning he poisoned them through the communion cup. Prudence finds them all dying in the church and teleports her Weird Sisters to the Spellmans. While Hilda heals them, Zelda and Ambrose hastily transport back and forth, bringing more of the poisoned flock to their home. The tragedy brings about a healing moment for Prudence and Ambrose. Both were search of a father figure and affirmations that they matter, but instead Blackwood took advantage of them, twisting them further apart at a time when they were finding love in each other.
Later that night, it’s time for the coronation. Further proving itself to be a sister series to Riverdale,CAOS drops its own musical number. As guests snake through the room with Venetian masks, Sabrina sings a version of “Masquerade” from The Phantom of the Opera, since Lilith knows how much Lucifer loves the dramatics. With father and daughter dancing the Mephisto Waltz, Sabrina asks her father to give her Greendale as her own. He agrees, but when he twirls away, he realizes his guests are whispering something. Half of the figures are just illusions cast by Lilith, and the rest are really Sabrina’s friends and family casting a spell to trap Satan inside an Acheron Configuration. Though the contraption initially seems to work, it doesn’t hold. Using her powers to hold Satan back, Lilith says the only way to hold the Dark Lord now is to trap him inside a puzzle more powerful than the Acheron, a human body, which is nature’s Acheron Configuration. Nick volunteers himself and takes the Dark Lord inside himself.
For her services, Lilith takes the crown and becomes queen of Hell. She restores Sabrina’s witch powers, returns Sabrina’s “favorite teacher” Ms. Wardwell back to life with no memories of what happened (although she’s surely going to have some questions when she realizes her fiancé is dead), and she carries Nick’s body with Lucifer through the gates to her new kingdom. Elsewhere, Prudence and Ambrose channel their inner Xena and Gabrielle, complete with double medieval swords and a crossbow, to go hunt down Blackwood and kill him. With just a handful of witches left standing from Blackwood’s poison, Zelda takes over High Priest of the Church of Night. All feels right, but then Sabrina devises a new plan: to travel into Hell and get her boyfriend back.
Part 3, here we come.