Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Chapter Twenty-Nine: “The Eldritch Dark”
Directed by Jeff Woolnough
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Gigi Swift
* For a recap & review of Part 3’s finale Chapter Twenty-Eight: “Sabrina is Legend,” click here.
* For a recap & review of Chapter Thirty: “The Uninvited,” click here.
Faustus is busy scribbling away, mumbling to himself in a different tongue.
Then he feels the “eldritch terrors” coming. From the mine in Greendale come terrifying miners, who start off by murdering a harmless old drunk. Nice homage here to My Bloody Valentine; the original one, not the terrible remake. Of course Sabrina’s at home, unaware of any of that. She’s trying to live a normal life, as normal as being half-human, half-witch can get for her anyway. Ambrose is busy reading Camus, Sartre, and Kierkegaard when Sabrina asks if he’ll go with her to see an Evil Dead marathon. Her mortal pals have dates and she’s left alone. Sucks being a teenage witch! She hears about the miner dying at school from Harvey, but it’s only a quick mention. Roz is currently concerned with sex education at their school, worried there’s not enough focus on safe sex (etc), so she’s passing around a petition. She and Harvey are also quite enamoured with one another, as are Robin and Theo. This makes Sabrina feel isolated.
Near the academy, Ambrose sees one of the miners, though the miner doesn’t stop long, shambling onward.
Inside we see the Order of Hecate rededicating the Academy of the Dark Arts, hoping this will give them a true fresh start. Every year they’ll choose a Maiden, Mother, and a Crone to represent the three sides of Hecate. This year, Zelda names herself as the Crone. The Mother is Hilda. The Maiden is chosen to be Prudence, to the surprise of many. Again we see Sabrina feeling left out, too.
Now Sabrina wants to go visit Sabrina Morningstar in Hell, her other self. She’s curious about the other’s life, what she could’ve had herself. Ambrose advises a “cataclysm” could be created if the two Sabrinas meet, and that could crash the two timelines together in a terribly destructive way. Sabrina’s made her choice, now she has to live with it. She wonders if she “chose wrong.” It’s mostly the isolation and seeing everyone else in a relationship that has Sabrina thinking this way. Hopefully she won’t make a foolish choice! Yeah, right.
And what about poor Mary Wardwell? She’s not supposed to remember a thing. Yet she does. Great time for someone from the Pilgrims of the Night Church to knock at her door, offering comfort and community in Mary’s darkest hour. The Pilgrims of the Night Church is actually just Faustus, preaching about “eternal night” and other horrors. He tells his small congregation that the light will not save them. He says: “Do not fight the darkness.” The darkness is what will save them.
Back at the Spellman home, Sabrina chats with Aunt Hilda about how everything’s different, feeling like everybody’s moved on without her since she left to pursue being Queen of Hell. So her auntie has a suggestion. Give the Fright Club “a reason to get back together.” Be careful what you wish for, seeing as how Greendale’s prone to creature/monster/witch attacks. This bad advice from Hilda gets Sabrina haunting at the high school, which in turn sends the Fright Club directly to her house. The teenage witch conjures the image of Bloody Mary to frighten some boys, and Sabrina prepares to lead her friends in a ritual to get rid of Mary, too. There’s even a built-in milkshake plan. At midnight, they go to conduct the Bloody Mary ritual. All ends well and Mary is ‘banished,’ but Sabrina warns her friends that spirits travel in groups. Is it just me, or did Roz seem to catch something here? (The cunning!) Either way, Sabrina’s pulling this at the right time because those ghostly miners are going to cause trouble soon enough. It doesn’t take long for Roz to call Sabrina out, the latter mentioning a distance growing between them. Roz brings it to her friend’s attention that Sabrina has done the most changing. They’re all changing.
At the academy dorm, Zelda finds one of the miners. She asks the miner to speak, and it does, telepathically. The miner seems to echo all of Zelda’s darkest, most negative thoughts, they fill her head. Hilda walks in during this and manages to stop the miner in its tracks. She goes to unmask the ghostly bully, finding nothing behind the mask; the miner’s clothes drop away, consisting of nothing but darkness. Zelda seems devastated by the effects of the miner. The next day, she says it was a “spectral miner” causing trouble. Yet she recognises there was something strange about it echoing her thoughts. Then they get news three dead vagrants are being brought in to the mortuary. They’ve died of strange circumstances. The manners of death seem to parallel the Kinkle Mine disaster of 1949. And so Ambrose, along with Sabrina and Nick Scratch, raise the corpses from the dead for a minute to hear how they died. The corpses tell of “the first eldritch terror.” Where does the darkness of those terrors come from? The “outer reaches of the cosmos” someplace. The miners themselves are avatars of the darkness. Thus they need to go into the mines, where the disaster happened back in ’49.
The two cousins astral project into the mine’s caves. They find the source of the darkness, they can feel its oppressive force. They know they aren’t ready to face it, either. In Greendale, the darkness is already coiling around the town, affecting the electricity. This means the darkness can creep out of the mine, take over the town, then take over the whole planet. They’ve got until sundown, or else the darkness will escape. They’ll need a whole lot of light, as well as plenty of wattage power, and someone to go disperse the light from within the cave. Sabrina can create light. She also suggests maybe they could use Sabrina Morningstar to help, too. This doesn’t thrill Ambrose, even if he realises it’s potentially necessary.
Sabrina goes undercover in the skin of another to speak with Queen Morningstar. They slip away from a party in Hell to discuss things. They talk about Morningstar’s life in Hell, how things are with Caliban, dad, and Lilith. That’s when Sabrina brings up the eternal darkness creeping into Greendale, mentioning they have to “invoke the unholy power” of their shared birthright to dispel said darkness. They’re both ready to roll together, no matter what happens. Back in Greendale, Nick’s gathering the Fright Club for another team up. Prudence is off explaining to Zelda and Mambo what is happening, and what must be done. There is a lot of work to get done. Zelda starts with praying to Hecate, shrouding the academy and Greendale with a protective boundary to stave off the darkness. The darkness is still coming, and Mary finds herself being attacked at school by one of the miners. She chooses to follow the words of Faustus, embracing the darkness to keep her hidden and alive.
Nick and the Fright Club lure the miners to the amusement park. Harvey and Roz use flares to bring the miners into a tent. Scratch and the Fright Club all chant together in Latin, binding the tent with magic in hopes it’ll keep the miners trapped. Meanwhile, Sabrina, Ms. Morningstar, and Ambrose are down in the caves with the darkness. They can feel its evil. It’ll only get worse inside. Morningstar’s the one to go on further by herself while Sabrina and Ambrose do their magic outside. The darkness tries to Morningstar down, telling her everything awful it can see inside her, telling her she’s alone and unloved. Outside, the light fades, and now Sabrina must go inside. She finds her other self, trying to get Morningstar to get up. But the darkness keeps oppressing. Sabrina refuses to let her counterpart down: “We will always be loved.” If they have each other, they’re never alone. They try to banish the darkness, yet it keeps on working its horrors on Sabrina. Now it’s crushing both Sabrinas, and Ambrose must call on the coven for help. Because Nick and the Fright Club are getting crushed by the miners, too. Zelda and the rest gather the coven, sending their energies to the Sabrinas. The Sabrinas feel the power, joining the coven in their chants to Hecate.
And light opens up within the darkness.
Sabrina and Sabrina arrive back with a little eldritch terror trapped in a bulb. Have mercy! Could be useful. Is it a good thing to have the two Sabrinas sticking around together? Sure, they’re having fun dancing to Billy Idol, but could there be repercussions? Right now, the two of them are enjoying it. We’ll see how it works out.
At the church, Faustus isn’t worried about anything: there are more terrors to come.
A wonderful, dark, sweet episode to begin Part 4 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Sad that we’re not going to get any more. We’ll have to enjoy every bit while we still can now.