Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Chapter Twelve: “The Epiphany”
Directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Written by Roberto-Aguirre-Sacasa
* For Season 1 recaps & reviews, click here.
* For a recap & review of Chapter Thirteen, “The Passion of Sabrina Spellman” – click here
We find Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) walking through the woods, where she comes upon the Dark Lord being gifted a baby. There’s also the subverted Three Wise Men, too. We saw them during the Christmas episode. Sabrina wakes from her nightmare— a vision of her own birth, when she was given over to Satan without her consent.
Great use of “Girl U Want” by Devo as Sabrina uses her magic to change outfits in the mirror. Things are much the same around the house. Although the young witch is “trying to be edgy” in her new black, or so says Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto). Otherwise it’s all the same, for now. Sabrina’s signed her name in the Book of the Beast after all, which will change things. She’s already interested in the “sacred geometry” and other compelling subjects at the Academy of Unseen Arts.
At school, Ms. Wardwell a.k.a Madam Satan (Michelle Gomez) has taken over duties as the principal. Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch) is heartbroken over Sabrina. Then there’s Susie (Lachlan Watson), who wants to try out for the boys’ basketball team, sure to cause a stir with the heternormative crowd in Greendale.
At the Academy, Father Faustus Blackwood (Richard Coyle) is welcoming students back for a “fresh cycle.” They’ve got to nominate a Top Boy, who’ll act as a go-between for students and teachers. A traditional male role. Nick Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood) is nominated. Sabrina wants to tear down those gender roles. She’ll have to compete against Scratch in “three challenges of witchcraft“: the Inquisition, the Boil and Bubble, and the Conjuring. After that, there’ll be a vote on who will fill Top Boy, or Top Person, this year. It’s going to be an uphill battle for Sabrina. Not because of her talents. Rather it’s going to be a fight against misogyny and sexism, as usual.
That night, Sabrina doesn’t get invited out with Nick, Luke (Darren Mann), and Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) for a boys’ night out. They drink weird shit and watch a woman named Salome dance for them to some Donna Summer.
While the lads are out, Sabrina’s at home getting a visit from Asmodeus, bringing “tidings of filth and disease.” The demon has brought rats to gobble up the “bastard witch.” Stark contrast between the world of men and women— the boys are in a sleazy club and poor Sabrina’s fighting a demon. No sweat. She’s able to banish Asmodeus before he can harm her. The whole thing’s pissed Sabrina off. She believes Luke or one of the other warlocks summoned the demon. She’s getting stronger in her powers, and the darkness seems to be taking a powerful grip on her, even if unconsciously.
During the Inquisition, Sabrina gets help from the Weird Sisters to make up for her lack of study. The first question involves the Lesser Key of Solomon, which the ladies help Sabrina nail. After that, a question on John Dee. Father Blackwood questions more on dates for the Malleus Maleficarum (a.k.a Hammer of Witches), the Salem Witch Trials, the Pendle trials in 1612, Anne Boleyn, and a question about the violent, macabre end to the life of Rasputin.
Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis) worries of “dark changes” in her niece’s life. She goes to see Madam Satan, who’s excused her from classes at high school. The devious woman isn’t changing her mind about bringing the young witch back. Then Principal Wardwell has to go down to speak to the gym teacher about Susie being able to tryout for the basketball team. She may be evil, but at least she’s got the back of the good students.
Speaking of in over her head, Sabrina won’t be getting any help during the next leg of the challenge after Father Blackwood lets her know he’ll be sealing the desecrated church to ensure no cheating.
Of course she’s also continually hunted by demons. Who’s been sending all the hate? This time it’s Purson, one of the Kings of Hell.
At the Boil and Bubble, Sabrina and Nick go back and forth with their potion making until she messes up and has to drink the potion. Later, she’s in bed recuperating from the nasty potion. Aunt Hilda suggests going to see her high school friends would make her feel better. Sabrina heads down to the gym where the basketball tryouts are happening. She does her best to support Susie, who’s having a rough time going up against the macho dudes. Susie gets a pass from Harvey, then her witchy friend gives her the power to make a perfect basket. Madam Satan spies Sabrina using her magic, though.
These two worlds can’t go on mixing.
Oh, plus, the demons haven’t left yet. Beelzebub has come to take the young witch. Lucky for Sabrina she gets a hand from Madam Satan. The older witch banishes the demon, making her reconsider Hilda’s suggestions. For her part, Sabrina goes right to Nick, mentioning the “rats, bats, and flies.” Nick shows her about the “Plague Kings.”
Later, they conduct the Conjuring. Except Nick and Sabrina turn the tables, drawing their own circles against Father Blackwood to confront him. She accuses him of sending the three Kings. Nick and Sabrina conjure and bind the demons, forcing them to explain who originally conjured them. They claim to be there on their own to prevent the “half–witch” from ascending. Blackwood banishes the demons without another word. He knows more than he’s let on, clearly. Afterwards, he calls the two students back to his quarters. He won’t choose either of them to be Top Boy— it’ll be Ambrose, who’s all of a sudden being accepted into the Academy. Hmm.
Roz (Jaz Sinclair) tells Harvey that Susie has decided to live as Theo, a boy. They talk about it and Harvey understands. They also talk about Sabrina briefly, and then Roz touches his hand. She has one of her visions, seeing the two of them in the hallway at school making out. Damn! Why should she worry?
Sabrina’s out on the town with Nick. In fact, they see Harvey and Roz together while they’re walking the street. The two of them decide to go to Dorian’s Gray Room, a warlock’s only club where Faustus took the guys earlier. They cheers over her potentially becoming High Priestess one day.
Elsewhere, Madam Satan meets with the Dark Lord for a chat.
Father Gore loves this series, and Season 2 is starting out just right.
Chapter Thirteen: “The Passion of Sabrina Spellman” is next.