Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Chapter Seven: “Feast of Feasts”
Directed by Viet Nguyen
Written by Oanh Ly
* For a recap & review of Chapter Six, “An Exorcism in Greendale” – click here
* For a recap & review of Chapter Eight, “The Burial” – click here
Thanksgiving’s coming up soon. Harvey (Ross Lynch) has beer drinking and hunting to look forward to for the holiday. He and Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) are walking home, and she’s about to invite him in, but notices bloody guts nailed to the door. It means the family has been chosen to take part in the “Feast of Feasts“— an event honouring Sister Freya’s great sacrifice when the witches were driven from Greendale and she killed herself, offering herself up for cannibalism. The Spellmans are one just over a dozen families chosen to take part in the ceremony. There’s a lottery, too. The prize? Queen of the Witches gets to offer herself up to be consumed. Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) and Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis) are the only ones eligible in the house, the former deciding to represent the family.
In school, Madam Satan (Michelle Gomez) fields more questions from Sabrina, this time about the Feast. The young witch wants to find out if there’s some way to “opt out” of the process. The crafty older witch is also using a research assignment to find out more about the families in town, specifically the Kinkles. At home, Harvey’s asking questions about his family. Some of it sounds dark.
Susie (Lachlan Watson) is digging through her roots. She finds a relative Dorothea who wore male clothing back in the days of the Frontier in America. This gives Susie hope, in a sense. Roz (Jaz Sinclair) goes to see her grandmother, Nana Ruth (L. Scott Caldwell). Nana says she has something called “the Cunning” – not unlike Danny Torrance, Dick Hallorann, and the Shining – and tells her granddaugther that she should begin experiencing the same thing sooner than later.
Sabrina finds out, through Nick (Gavin Leatherwood), her father actually banned the Feast when he was High Priest, condemning it as “barbaric.” It was Faustus Blackwood (Richard Coyle) that brought the tradition back to life. He’s busy getting things underway now. The ceremony’s interrupted when Sabrina offers herself up as representative of the Spellman family. No matter, anyway— Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) is crowned Queen, whereas Sabrina gets the role of “handmaiden.” We see many women are indoctrinated into a patriarchal world where they’re not only figuratively but literally eaten alive, as other witches lament not being picked. Not unlike real life.
At the mortuary, Prudence arrives to be waited on by her handmaiden until the Feast. This gives us a lovely use of “Venus in Furs” by the Velvet Underground. Sabrina bathes the Queen in milk and rose petals while the two debate the Feast itself. Prudence is only concerned with transubstantiation, like she’ll become a dark version of Christ. What this comes down to is a parallel to how the religious see life— they envision something after death. In opposition, Sabrina wonders what if there’s nothing after death and life simply ends. Later, she finds the Queen upstairs having an orgy with Ambrose, Luke (Darren Mann), and Nick + the other Weird Sisters.
Next day, Sabrina takes Prudence with her to Baxter High for a bit of fun, posing the Queen of Witches as her cousin. They catch up with the friends. Susie talks about her ancestor Dorothea, who was a pirate and a liberator of women— turns out Prudence has heard of her in school. The Queen has nasty things to say about Harvey’s ancestors, involving “witch hunters.” Yiiikes.
The young witches go see fake Ms. Wardwell. They hear of a witch who rejected being crowned at the Feast, she lives in the Greendale woods. They go find this witch, Dezmelda (Brenda McDonald). She was chosen as a child to be Queen. The High Priest back then was going to “initiate” her – a.k.a rape – so Dezmelda fled instead and never looked back. Sabrina tries to explain to Prudence that, like Catholic priests who pose as messengers of God on Earth, the High Priests of the Church of Night are mere “flesh and blood,” and as such are subject to corruption like any other man.
The Kinkles are also in the woods hunting. They shoot a deer, which is actually a familiar. The witches form a pentagram cloaking themselves and the animal so the Kinkle men can’t see a thing. A frightening, symbolic moment for Sabrina, especially with Harvey’s gun pointed right at her invisible form. Later, she discovers Harvey didn’t take the shot that killed the deer, feeling comfort in his objections to violence.
Roz takes Susie to see Nana Ruth next time. She asks more about the Cunning, and Nana tells her about their ancestors, who accused a woman of being a witch, landing a curse of blindness on the family. Somehow afterwards, the Cunning came to them. One way or another, Roz is losing her sight.
At home, Sabrina finds Zelda in a panic over Lady Constance (Alvina August). The expecting mother’s having a panic attack. She says the Weird Sisters are plotting against her, which is why she said she took action against them. Sabrina soon becomes curious: could Prudence actually be an illegitimate child of Faustus? Might explain why Lady Constance has it in her mind to try getting rid of the young woman.
All’s set for the Feast at the Spellman home. Sabrina acts fairly cheeky throughout the meal. Then, suddenly, Lady Constance starts talking honestly about her feelings towards Prudence— Hilda’s tasty “truth cake.” She reveals Prudence fully as Father Blackwood’s child from his time as a “slut,” as well as what her devious plan. After the truth’s out, Sabrina offers to keep everything secret in exchange for the Feast being cancelled. Faustus calls the ceremony off, except one of the witches decides to end herself instead and the ravenous coven devour the flesh of her body. More internalised witch misogyny leading to horrific ends.
And the Weird Sisters, minus Prudence, are up to no good. They’re seeking revenge for the familiar’s death, and targeting the Kinkles, who are back down in the mines after Thanksgiving weekend. Could spell trouble for Harvey and his brother.
Shit’s getting REAL!
Chapter Eight: “The Burial” is next time.