Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Chapter Twenty-Three: “Heavy is the Crown”
Directed by Rob Seidenglanz
Written by Oanh Ly
* For a recap & review of Chapter Twenty-Two: “Drag Me to Hell” – click here
* For a recap & review of Chapter Twenty-Four: “The Hare Moon” – click here
The episode begins with what looks like Them! on television. Harvey, his dad, and Roz are watching before dad heads off to bed— not before letting his son awkwardly know he should make sure to have protection. The young couple are planning to hit up the carnival in Greendale. At home, Sabrina and Nick lie in bed together after his return from Hell and to his own body/mind. Poor Nick can feel Lucifer lingering like he was right there in the room. Sabrina assures: “He can‘t hurt you anymore.” Scratch’s gnarled feet, somewhere between flesh and cloven hoof, say otherwise, as do his terrifying visions of wrestling with the Dark Lord.
Zelda’s insisting that Chance take a position at the Academy, putting him in the library. Curiously, she seems to potentially be coming down with a cold. She claims she hasn’t been sick a single day in her life. Odd. After breakfast, Sabrina and Nick are skipping out on school. Their plans shift when Lilith drops by, which brings out the truth about Sabrina ascending Hell’s throne, something that troubles Nick deeply. Yet he encourages his girlfriend to go do what’s necessary in Pandaemonium, if that’s what’s required.
The Queen must meet with the Infernal Kings about her Reformation. She wants a “grand accounting” of all the souls in Hell, putting a freeze on deals with mortals. Her plans are not without their doubts from the kings, who mock the teen Queen a little. Caliban arrives to challenge Sabrina. He’s got “666 signatures” from high-born members of Hell, so it’s official. The challenge is a quest to find “the Unholy Regalia“— the most powerful occult relics in existence, lost to time.
The first? The crown of King Herod (Herod the Great).
Things at the Academy are getting bad. A boy called Gerald tried to fly and cracked his head open. Zelda believes they’re in crisis and under assault from a curse. She wonders if it’s another coven. Hilda mentions the Council referring to their power feeling depleted. Is it lingering effects of Satan’s insects? Or, something more? Zelda also finds out she’s the “desiccated villain” in a pulp romance novel her sister wrote under a pseudonym. It brings out more control issues the Spellman sisters have dealt with their entire lives. Hilda’s finally attempting to take back control a little.
But these sisters are FEUDING, no doubt!
At the mortal school, Theo’s trying to decide how to ask Robin out. Everyone’s going to the carnival together. Harvey and Roz are double dating with Nick and Sabrina. More than that, Harvey’s stressing over he and Roz taking their relationship to the “next level.” A sweet little scene between Harvey and Theo. The series never loses sight of the human struggle in the midst of all the witchcraft. Especially fun to see Theo figuring themselves out through everything. In the meantime, Harvey looks to be struggling with how he and Roz are defining their relationship.
Ambrose has narrowed down the location of Herod’s crown. It’s been everywhere, from Europe and the hands of Aleister Crowley to archaeologists and others. And where does it lie now? Riverdale. A “group of occultists” were looking for the crown but never found it. A man called Benjamin Blossom took it from Hitler’s bunker and hid it in Riverdale. Ambrose has “an immoral compass” that belonged to either the Flying Dutchman or maybe the Ancient Mariner, and it’ll help the young witches track the crown to its final resting place. The compass detects energy from occult objects.
This means a road trip to Riverdale.
The pair find Herod’s crown within a tree. Sabrina wants to destroy it, so nobody can use it against her. Ambrose would rather study it first. The power could be used to restore the coven. Dangerous business. More dangerous is a zombie Herod bursting from inside the tree as a soggy, nasty zombie.
Back at the Church of Night, Sabrina discovers Nick sawing at his leg. He wants to get rid of the Dark Lord, feeling Lucifer still inside him. He can’t even make a dent in his foot, not even a drop of blood. Sabrina tells him he’s suffering symptoms “like PTSD” and it’s the trauma of his experience causing him to go over the edge. More than likely it’s actually Satan continuing to fuck with Mr. Scratch.
At the Spellman morgue, Ambrose is getting a sense of the crown’s powers. He finds himself being attacked by the undead Herod. Not good. Herod wants to know who woke him and his beloved crown after so long. The crown whispers: “The girl who would be Queen.” Shit’s about to get real.
The carnival seems fine. Except to Roz, whose magical sight gives her a glimpse at something sinister underneath the facade. The friends are all gathered for fun. It’s clear something’s not right. Have the Old Ones arrived in Greendale after all? Hilda and Dr. Cee are out for a date at the carnival, too. It’s a special day for them. He asks for her hand in marriage and she happily says yes.
Harvey gets asked to try out a game of strength. The carny references Charles Atlas with his quip about being a “98 lb weakling.” Harv gives it a go, shown up by douchebag Billy. He heads off embarrassed. There are grander designs at play, though. Ms. Wardwell is over in a tent having her palm read. She’s told her Adam is “gone forever” and she’s offended by the palm reader getting very, very personal about her love life. This is only going to send her on a downward spiral of identity from here. Up in the Ferris wheel, Robin and Theo share their first kiss together. Sadly it turns out later that Robin is part of the creepy carnival, and they’re all plotting to use people in Greendale to their purposes, already offering a “blood sacrifice” to the Old Gods.
Nick and Sabrina are interrupted at the Tunnel of Love by Herod. Scratch tries to fight the zombie demon off without much luck. Worse than any of that, Caliban shows up real fast to snatch the crown when Herod loses it momentarily. This puts Sabrina down in Hell’s competition, and it also just makes the soggy demon even angrier, determined to do his worst against Greendale.
Thankfully for everyone, Ambrose is able to pop the zombie’s head. All’s well for now. Not for Nick, who’s convinced Caliban is Sabrina’s “new suitor,” so he heads off to indulge in fleshy pursuits at Dorian’s place. Uncool, particularly when Sabrina only took the throne as Queen of Hell to save Nick. She’s down below dealing with Caliban’s bullshit. She may just finally have the Infernal Kings believing in her, all the same.
Soundtrack: “Cherry Blossom” by Kyle Dion plays here
“Let this blood bring us bounty”
Another killer episode. The series finds new, interesting ways to twist up the characters, and there’s always something, or someone, devious waiting in the wings to make life hellish in Greendale. Nice to see a quick drop into Riverdale, as well.
Chapter Twenty-Four: “The Hare Moon” is next.