Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Chapter Six: “An Exorcism in Greendale”
Directed by Rachel Talalay
Written by Joshua Conkel & MJ Kaufman
* For a recap & review of Chapter Five, “Dreams in a Witch House” – click here
* For a recap & review of Chapter Seven, “Feast of Feasts” – click here
Madam Satan a.k.a Mary Wardwell (Michelle Gomez) has received a visit from Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) looking for answers. She says she’s a witch, feigning protection “from afar” by scrying through the mirrors. The young witch isn’t satisfied, wanting to take her in front of the council. So, Madam Satan says she was an acolyte of Sabrina’s father, Edward.
She says she was “excommunicated” from the Church of Shadows in New Hampshire. This led her to Mr. Spellman looking to be his apprentice. She claims Edward charged her with looking out for Sabrina. But we know the truth. Either way, Ms. Spellman warns the older woman to stay away from her and the family. It’s a better story for Madam Satan than telling her she’s actually in league with the Dark Lord.
Harvey (Ross Lynch) has visions of Uncle Jesse in his hideous possessed form. He can’t shake the incident, nor the one in the mines. Roz (Jaz Sinclair) is likewise visited by the same apparition, telling her she’ll go blind. And, of course, poor Susie (Lachlan Watson) gets a similar visit, being called an “abomination.” She checks on her uncle to see he’s in bed, making her feel even worse about what she’s seen.
Our sweet Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis) is trying to get a job at Cerberus Books, meeting Dr. Cee (Alessandro Juliani) there for an interview, trying to get her foot in the door. She’s pretty enamoured by him, too. Elsewhere, Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) is helping Lady Constance Blackwood (Alvina August) with her pregnancy, checking on the baby, while Faustus (Richard Coyle) dotes over his wife. Constance worries about this pregnancy— she’s had miscarriages before.
The friends tell Sabrina about their experience with Uncle Jesse. Her boyfriend believes the guy’s possessed. The friends realise they had a vision the night prior, and Sabrina tries playing it off like they’re paranoid. She doesn’t want her two worlds to converge. Yet the friends know something isn’t right.
Sabrina wants to go onto the astral plane to see Uncle Jesse herself. She asks Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) to watch over her body. He refuses, so she goes on her own with Salem standing guard. She presents herself to the demon inside Jesse, who’s happy to chat. The demon calls itself Maerceci, then pukes at the witch like Regan MacNeil. Things take a turn for the worse, prompting Salem to run find Ambrose. Before Sabrina chokes, she’s brought back to her body.
Ambrose says Maerceci must be a “higher demon,” given he can affect the actual body itself rather than just the mind on the astral plane. He also figures out the name is an anagram for ice cream— a saucy demon! Sabrina’s on a quest to figure out more. She tells Harvey about wanting to go into the mines, which he doesn’t like sound of, but he continues having visions of that demon. He’s going down there with her, to protect her, and also to face his fears.
In the mines, Sabrina and Harvey wind up separated as she stumbles onto a “trapping stone” with a serpent on it. She looks for him afterwards, discovering Madam Satan down there playing protector. Then Harvey’s yelling out from the dark, scared out of his wits. They decide to get out of there, and she tells him she found nothing.
Through Susie we find out more about Jesse, who “put on a dress once” and has clearly been ostracised by his family, likely others. This falls in line with what the demon said about him being “a sodomite.” This series is FANTASTIC because it not only provides fun, witchy horror, it dives into real world issues like the agency of women and a genderqueer story line— something TV’s sorely lacking, despite what bigots would have you believe.
Sabrina tracks down the demon’s actual name, Apophis, a.k.a the “Devouring Worm,” based on an ancient Egyptian deity. She also starts asking Father Blackwood about exorcisms, worrying the demon will bring unwanted attention to the coven and the Academy of the Unseen Arts. Faustus doesn’t see it as cause for concern.
When she gets home Sabrina finds Madam Satan there pulling the wool over Hilda and Zelda’s eyes about her real identity. Fake Ms. Wardwell is doing a good job, too. Not surprising. She has the power of the Dark Lord behind her. She worms her way into watching over Sabrina as she attempts exorcising Apophis from Jesse, and Hilda’s joining, as well, much to the chagrin of her sister.
Sabrina goes to see Apophis once more, alongside Madam Satan ad Hilda. She speaks the incantations, calling forth the “witches from the shade,” and the powers “of Lilith,” “Marie Laveau,” among others. The demon rages at the young witch as a half-breed. Nothing’s working. But Zelda joins them, assuring her niece she’s strong enough to repel Apophis. Their powers together send the demon back from where it came, releasing Jesse from its hold.
Blackwood waits for the aunts when they get back in the morning, angry over the witch exorcism. This pushes Zelda to use her status as midwife to Constance as a bargaining tool. A little later word comes: Jesse passed away during the night. Susie’s left with mixed emotions, believing it might be better “he‘s free.” The demon also got to her with its sneers about being an abomination. We see Jesse didn’t pass away, so much as he was crushed to death by Madam Satan and her voodoo doll.
Father Gore predicts trouble later re: Hilda sneaking Luke (Darren Mann) love potion. Sneaky, sneaky. Again, issues of consent come up with magic— more excellent writing.
Great use of “If I Had a Heart” by Fever Ray at the end of this episode, too. Perfectly placed with those last moments, as fake Ms. Wardwell tries to hear more of Sabrina’s ultimate plans concerning Satan himself. Uh oh.
Another stellar chapter. Really great writing.
Chapter Seven: “Feast of Feasts” is next.