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Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (2020) s01e04 – Playing with Fire

This episode’s about how awful both Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin turn out to be when it comes to money. Baskin’s won a lawsuit against Joe Exotic and he owes her a cool million. Carole and Howard aren’t doing it to prove a point or to stop Joe from doing his cub petting roadshow, they’re doing it to bleed him dry.

The problem with bleeding Joe Exotic dry is he’s pretty smart about putting everything in other people’s names so it doesn’t seem like he owns anything. And when they do start trying to squeeze that stone… well, it’s just going to hurt Joe’s sweet old mom, who had the zoo in her name or something, which leads to Joe’s mom on the streaming channel talking about how Baskin’s been hounding her.

Again, really want to know how many people watched these streams.

Meanwhile, Rick Kirkham is making his reality show and trying to get Joe Exotic to amp it up. Kirkham doesn’t need to push hard because give Joe the chance, he’ll play mean private zoo boss all on his own.

But all suing Joe Exotic’s going to do is starve the animals and it never seems like Baskin—Howard speaks the most this episode—has any concern for the tigers. When we hear about the settlement Joe Exotic turns down, there’s nothing about what to do with the 200 tigers. You’d think it’d be a story thread to pick up on but the history intervenes. Joe’s new pal, “businessman” Jeff Lowe—you get the feeling people are going to investigate him after this series and he’s going to sue them all—is going to step in and save the zoo. So Joe puts it in Jeff Lowe’s name and Lowe steals it. The cliffhanger is Lowe beating the tigers. It’s swell.

Because the episode’s already upbeat after someone sets fire to Joe’s studio, which is the same building as the alligators and they all die. Kirkham’s footage gets destroyed too. Basically Joe Exotic and company think Kirkham did it, Kirkham thinks Joe Exotic did it.

Kirkham sort of has a better reason for not doing it—without his footage, the reality show is just… but, seriously, he didn’t make backups? In like, 2015 or something. He could have pretty easily made back-ups. It’s a weird screw-up.

But then Kirkham had screwed Joe out of his own Internet streaming show so motive for Joe. The show doesn’t look too hard into it before Lowe shows up to ruin the day.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018) s01e10 – The Witching Hour

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Ross Maxwell co-write, sending off of “Sabrina”’s first season, with a deus ex machine of an episode where Michelle Gomez decides she’s been waiting too long for Kiernan Shipka to embrace the Dark Lord and it’s time to get drastic about things. If Gomez can’t sabotage Shipka’s friendships with mortals—in addition to the big action, Shipka also reconciles (enough) with boyfriend Ross Lynch and other friends Jaz Sinclair and Lachlan Watson embrace her immediately upon the big “I’m a Witch” conversation in the high school bathroom.

Incidentally, I don’t think the show’s writers know how to deal with telephones in general. Sinclair and Watson tell Shipka they’ve been calling her all weekend and apparently Shipka just hasn’t been answering… but they’d have to answer the phone at the house because it’s a mortuary and a business. Sure, they eat the bodies in the closed caskets, but it’s still a business.

Anyway, it’s a telling oversight. Same goes for astral projection, which was a huge no no in the first or second episode but now is literally how the witches check in with one another because they don’t have cellphones. Astral projection is the texting of “Sabrina” world.

Gomez brings back thirteen witches to destroy the town; the sequence where she brings them back is the only good use of the digital Vaseline filter in iMovie the series has done (and, sadly, not in all the shots), but it works because Gomez is flipping amazing in the scene. Just awesome.

So the witches are going to protect themselves and let the ghost witches eat the townsfolk and Shipka, along with Lucy Davis, Miranda Otto, and Chance Perdomo all decide they’re not going to let the mortals die, causing a rift between various parties. But the scene where Otto decides to play hero is pretty great. And Davis has some very nice stuff this episode, particularly with boss slash love interest Alessandro Juliani, who has been around for a while on the show but hasn’t made much impression apparently because I thought he was Taika Waititi.

Doesn’t matter. Nice stuff this episode.

Lynch and romantic rival Gavin Leatherwood team up to protect Lynch’s drunk-ass dad, while Sinclair and Watson protect Sinclair’s grandmother, L. Scott Caldwell, from the ghost witch attack. Throw in Shipka’s turn to the Dark Side of the Force—relatively speaking—Zelda kidnapping one of Richard Coyle’s newborns, Perdomo joining Coyle’s Jordan Peterson-esque like cult of male students, not to mention Gomez’s big reveal where she lays it all out to her captive audience.

Literally captive audience; she narratives the episode, from the beginning, like every episode is some tale she’s telling to her listener. As the episode progresses, we find out more and more about the listener, but we’re all in it together. Fantastic finish, fully delivering on all the promises of Gomez’s character throughout the season, including expectations from the comic. It’s very good.

In fact, everything’s so good it makes up for Shipka’s wanting arc. Once she gets the proverbial Force Lightning, she stops being the protagonist and becomes the subject of the show. Not a great place for the next season setup, though maybe it’d work better if they hadn’t wasted a couple minutes flashing back through the entire season when Shipka’s got to make her big choice. Instead of let her act the season, they let the clips do it for her. Not a good move.

But otherwise a successful end to a very successful season. Though I do hope they get Shipka back as show lead next season. They didn’t take it away from her—turning it into an ensemble—until the very end of the episode, but they’ve been moving in that direction for a while now. Fingers crossed for next season.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (2020) s01e03 – The Secret

Has Michelle Pfeiffer ever played a femme fatale? I almost want to say no, which will make Tim Burton’s Tigers even better. Because Carole Baskin sure does seem like she killed her second husband, rich guy Don Lewis (it’s unclear how he got rich but they’re in Florida so it doesn’t seem like it was legit), chopped him up in a meat grinder, and fed him to her tigers. Joe Exotic, for one of his country music albums (because of course), made a music video with a Baskin look alike feeding tigers chopped up husband.

Frankly, it’s awesome.

Because nothing Baskin says in the episode ever makes her seem any less guilty. When she says something about achieving her “highest possible self,” you’re not wondering if she chopped him up, you’re wondering if she fed him to the tigers whole. Neat tiger trivia? Their stomach acid is so intense it’ll break down the bones. They don’t shit bone. They wouldn’t have shit any of Don Lewis out.

There’s a lot with Lewis’s first family and ex-assistant. See, Lewis was out cruising one night in the eighties, saw twenty year-old Baskin walking down the street, picked her up, married her immediately following. Because of course. They started getting into the animals, but apparently he didn’t like how much she was spending on the tigers and she was sick of his complaining. There’s some weird stuff with the will, like Baskin had something added to make it easier to declare him dead if he disappeared.

I mean, at least Baskin is using the money for something good… she’s not breeding the tigers, she is rescuing them… at least so far as “Tiger King” has told us so far.

There’s a bunch of stuff with Joe Exotic’s crusade to bring Baskin to justice for the husband’s murder, all from his website. It’s unclear if he was on YouTube or just self-hosted. The show really hasn’t engaged with how popular Exotic is online, though it’s established Baskin’s got clout.

It’s a good true crime episode. The cops look like they really want to say they think Baskin did it but know they shouldn’t.

Making already skeezy reality show producer Rick Kirkham even more skeezy is his enthusiasm recounting how dangerously obsessed Exotic was becoming with Baskin.

It’s a lot. “Tiger King” is a lot and in the most compelling ways.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (2020) s01e02 – Cult of Personality

Somehow this episode manages to bury the lede. Will I spoil that lede? Not yet, but probably. “Tiger King” is a masterwork of manipulation as far as narrative non-fiction. Directors Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode have a great sense of what to hold back and what to get out there.

For example, a disaster at Joe Exotic’s zoo feeling like low budget Jurassic Park for rednecks? It’s out there right away, along with Exotic’s indifference to employee Kelci Saffery’s newly missing limb. In fact, Saffery had the arm amputated so she could get back to work. Why does she want to rush back to work? So the animals don’t suffer, which then turns into the theme of the episode… Exotic, “Doc” Antle, and Carole Baskin all exploit their workers. In fact, Exotic’s the only one we know for sure is paying them. Between a hundred and a hundred and fifty a week, presumably in addition to room and board, but it’s unclear. Meanwhile, Baskin’s labor is all volunteer and Antle’s running a marriage cult. Antle and Baskin groom teenage girls through the Internet while Exotic tries to primarily hire people in dire life straits.

So Exotic and Antle seem to be running labor camps while Baskin relies on her volunteers’ sense of empathy for the animals. Given Baskin’s running a rescue… that reliance is… better? But Exotic is trying his damndest to keep the animals alive too… whereas Antle probably kills his tiger cubs once they’re too old to be petted. It’s mentioned and never contradicted.

We also find out this episode Exotic relies on reject or spoiled meat from Walmart to feed the tigers, which is better than the roadkill while not great. It’s almost like you shouldn’t have a 200 tiger zoo in the middle of Oklahoma without a dietary veterinarian on staff in addition to a sufficient, reliable endowment.

Or if you are going to have a private one… be like Mario Tabraue, who’s got a private zoo in Florida. Tabraue, the inspiration for the 1983 Tony Montana in Scarface—including the chainsaw—has the money to provide for his animals. Why? Presumably because he got rich enough selling cocaine and had enough of it stashed from laundering, he’s all good. He buys tigers from Joe Exotic, which—theoretically—means they have a better life than with Antle for sure and maybe even Baskin, who doesn’t have the deep post-cocaine pockets.

Tabraue, who’s aged better than Al Pacino, is way too likable. Like… way too likable. He’s like a cool grandfather. No one else in “Tiger King” is cool though, at all, so it might just be by comparison.

Also all the other guys—Exotic, Antle, major creep Tim Stark—are all violent misogynists. Like, it’s obvious some of the reason they have a problem with Baskin.

So Baskin having gotten rich from her mysteriously dead husband—that aforementioned buried lede—well… it doesn’t make their virulent misogyny okay (Antle’s dangerous), it does give them enough valid anti-Baskin fodder to hide some of it in. Or at least Chaiklin and Goode edit it so they can hide some of it.

But, yeah… Baskin’s rich because her (second) husband disappeared. She’s apparently on number three, Howard Baskin, who’s been on the show both episodes now without any mention of him having reformed a black widow. It’s a great cliffhanger and at just the right moment to make “Tiger King” “must see TV.”

Must see streaming. Whatever.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (2020) s01e01 – Not Your Average Joe

First off, let’s just get the following statements out of the way. Netflix needs to hire Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski and Tim Burton to make “Tiger King” into a movie and they need to cast Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Val Kilmer. George Clooney can stunt cameo. It’s what we deserve.

Though the first episode of the show does feel very much like a wealthy professional dilettante (co-director Eric Goode) doing a reality show and punching down at eccentrics who’ve gone through a lot of trauma in their lives. The show’s all about the (tiger) cub petting industry, which has a bunch of exceptionally irresponsible people running private zoos and profiting off breeding tigers for show. The main subject is one Joe Exotic (Michael Keaton), who runs a private zoo in Oklahoma where he has over two hundred tigers. Exotic’s an assault rifle loving, proud gay man with a mullet. He’s a reality show character waiting to happen; shame he’s currently incarcerated because “Big Brother: Tiger King” would definitely bring in the ratings, though apparently if you’re wealthy and in the private zoo racket, you’re so wealthy you wouldn’t need “Big Brother: Tiger King.”

“King” contrasts Exotic, who (according to this episode) mostly feeds his tigers roadkill and accidentally killed dairy cows, with other big cat zoo owners Carole Baskin (Michelle Pfeiffer because even if it’s 2020 it’s still Hollywood) and “Doc” Antle (Val Kilmer). Antle charges a fortune for people to go to his zoo and spends a fortune feeding his tigers. Baskin runs a rescue and presumably feeds them well.

Baskin and Exotic are mortal enemies—the episode does cover the inciting incident, but I don’t remember if it’s when Baskin started tracking Exotic’s mall tours throughout the midwest—the show also goes far in establishing Oklahoma is the Florida of the Middle West—and contacted the mall owners to let them know how bad Exotic’s form of tiger “conservatism” was for the animals themselves. Not to mention the species. Because basically you have a bunch of anti-professionals breeding an endangered species. It’s like realistic Jurassic Park but for idiots.

Anyway.

We see how bad private big cat owning is for the animals, how people with no business having a big cat as a pet—including Shaq—have big cats as pets… we see what happens when private zoos go wrong, which is some rural sheriff’s department having to kill fields of endangered animals (beware, it’s a really upsetting sequence), but what we really see is how—thanks to the Internet—Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin are going to be able to wage a flame war that transcends fiber cables.

In the end, what the episode—which, frankly, isn’t great (it’s way too forced oblivious, like how it avoids accurately presenting craven reality TV producer Rick Kirkham at the start, not to mention Goode egging people on—he’s occasionally onscreen)—establishes is, given Joe Exotic’s personality and persecution complex (he also wars against PETA), it’s inevitable this web-based cold war is going to go hot.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018) s01e09 – The Returned Man

This episode could also be called Everything Falls Apart. It puts Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) through one ringer after another; Shipka’s antics of the last couple episodes have resulted in some very bad, very dangerous situations—soulless cannibalistic husk people bad and dangerous—and she doesn’t seem to want to take much responsibility for it.

It’s kind of weird when “Sabrina,” the show, has less faith in Sabrina than it’s conveyed to the audience. Sometimes when she makes an incredibly bad choice this episode, it seems forced.

In order to put everything wrong back right, Shipka’s got to manipulate this set of folks, gaslight this set of folks, ignore this set of folks. It’s a very intense time and the pressures eventually blow—coming out in a yelling match between Shipka and Miranda Otto (who’s awesome) before Shipka runs off to Michelle Gomez for a more sympathetic ear.

Even with Gomez obviously operating with a suspicious or worse agenda, Gomez and Shipka make a good team. But will Gomez’s enabling of Shipka lead to success or will it all crap out, getting Shipka and family in trouble with Richard Coyle (who’s just hired Otto at the school and made her night mother to his unborn babes) and possibly revealing the witches to the world.

Though the mortals are starting to figure it out. In addition to counseling her to steal books from the bookstore, Lachlan Watson’s ghost ancestor (Anastasia Bandey) also tells Watson how the Spellmans are all witches, probably including Sabrina. Jaz Sinclair also figures out, because after she tells Shipka about the Shining, Shipka enlists Sinclair’s aid in one of her schemes to fix the disaster in progress and Sinclair’s able to figure it out.

Plus Shipka finally goes too far for Ross Lynch, which leads to a great scene for Lynch where he gets to hear the truth (for the third time) and a bad one for Shipka. She makes forced bad choices and you feel for Shipka; she’s not getting the scene she ought to get.

Lucy Davis and Otto get a great scene together earlier. Don’t want to forget about that one, but the scene with Lynch and Shipka… First it’s clear Craig William Macneill’s direction isn’t cutting it, then it’s obvious Axelle Carolyn and Christina Ham’s script isn’t good enough either. It’s a big scene and too bad the show bungles it.

The epilogue is… okay, but relies entirely on pre-existing sympathies for the characters, particularly Shipka.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018) s01e08 – The Burial

Maggie Kiley directs this one and Kiley’s so far the best director on “Sabrina,” so I went in with high hopes. It doesn’t disappoint, which is something given how much the episode does. It starts with a mine collapse in Greendale, last episode’s cliffhangers—mean girls Abigail Cowen and Adeline Rudolph (but expressly not Tati Gabrielle can’t forget) smash effigies of Ross Lynch and Justin Dobies with rocks (payback for hunting and killing a witch’s deer familiar), while they’re in the mine, hence the collapse. Lynch gets out but Dobies doesn’t.

Again with the first act bait and switch—the episode sets up one expectation, then turns it into just a plot point—Lachlan Watson is the only one who can fit in the collapsed mine to search, which leads to her just finding a crushed helmet. A crushed helmet Lynch and Dobies’s dad, Christopher Rosamond, is more than happy to bury the next day so he can collect on the insurance. Writers Christianne Hedtke and Lindsay Calhoon Bring do not shy away from Lynch confronting Rosamond and the repercussions, which only stay “calm” because Miranda Otto’s not going to allow any fighting during a funeral. It’s a great sequence, easily the most impressive acting from Lynch in the series to date.

So Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) gets the great idea to resurrect Dobies—even though they technically don’t know for sure Dobies is even dead—which violates the witch’s prime directive; they can’t meddle in mortal affairs. There’s also the problem resurrection spells don’t work right on humans, Shipka can’t even convince cousin Chance Perdomo to help her, and the whole thing would have to be a secret from Lynch as well. But Shipka’s got to do it because—the whole town agrees—with Dobies around, Rosamond will beat Lynch to death because he’s an extremely abusive drunk. There’s a beat everyone just sits with, “oh, yeah, the dad will totally beat him to death, for real, no joke, hashtag real talk; it’s sad, huh.”

Subplots include High Priest with the pregnant wife at home Richard Coyle sniffing around an interested Otto and Lachlan having more visits from her ghost ancestor, Anastasia Bandey.

There’s some of the virtual Vaseline rub and it’s bad but the episode holds. It’s got a terrifying cliffhanger too.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018) s01e07 – Feast of Feasts

Netflix did drop “Sabrina” all at once so who knows if this Thanksgiving episode was meant to “air” on Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving theme doesn’t last long—enough to introduce the hilarious idea of Miranda Otto sitting and watching football all day for the violence–but once the witch alternative, the Feast of Feasts, comes in… it’s all about the Feast.

Apparently witches don’t do communal Thanksgiving every year and only some people get to attend. The Spellman family—Otto, Lucy Davis, Kiernan Shipka—just haven’t been invited since Shipka’s been old enough to remember. Because she’d remember the event where a woman is chosen as Queen of the Feast and then eaten at said Feast.

While the episode sets it up for Shipka to be Queen—she demands to be the Spellman Family contestant, even though Otto’s already doing it—that setup is just… garnish. Oanh Ly’s script for the episode is strong, dialogue, pacing, plotting. So it comes as a big surprise when Sabrina (Shipka) doesn’t “win,” losing to witch academy nemesis Tati Gabrielle. But to keep Shipka essential to the episode—“Sabrina” has yet to give any of the supporting cast a showcase, it’s very much Shipka’s show—Shipka becomes Gabrielle’s handmaid, which means pampering her until she gets eaten by the coven. A great honor, especially after Gabrielle moves into Shipka’s; they don’t have a slumber party, in fact Gabrielle doesn’t even invite Shipka to the orgy.

One assumes the teen orgy wouldn’t have made it past Standards and Practices at a network, even the CW.

Shipka’s disgusted at the whole “eating another witch” thing and tries to get Gabrielle to see reason, which doesn’t work, but the subplot does prepare the audience for Shipka then discovering things are not what they seem and maybe it isn’t Satan who wants Gabrielle gone but someone else. The discussions of blind faith are fairly sharp so one’s got to wonder if the show’s aware the commentary it’s making on Christianity or if it’s actually as unaware as it appears to be; along with the lack of cellular technology, the world of “Sabrina” also seems absent the Religious Right.

Bitchin’.

Pal Jaz Sinclair has a subplot involving grandma L. Scott Caldwell, who tells her about the family curse—the women go blind, but they get the Shining in return. It’s called the Cunning. It’s whatever psychic power the show needs someone to have to nudge the plot along. It’s not an eye-roll so much as a squint and a nod. Sinclair and Caldwell are good enough to get through it.

And now for the big lede bury—Michael Hogan guest stars as Ross Lynch’s grandfather. They’re all going hunting this Thanksgiving, first time for Lynch, which is important family bonding because they used to hunt witches not deer. Lynch being in a family of witch hunters is a great reveal, especially for episode seven; anyway, on the hunt, they kill a witch’s familiar—in the form of a deer—and get on Sabrina’s witch acquaintances’ bad side.

It’s an excellent episode. Not just because Hogan. It’s got the right mix of Shipka’s justness, witch creepiness, and supporting cast material.

Even if it not being a Thanksgiving special seems like a missed opportunity given how funny it’d be to watch Otto and Hogan watch a football game together.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018) s01e06 – An Exorcism in Greendale

The opening showdown with Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) confronting Ms. Wardwell (Michelle Gomez) about Wardwell being a witch, spying on Sabrina, saving Sabrina from the sleep demon. Wardwell gives her a questionable tale about how she’s fulfilling a promise to Sabrina’s dead dad to protect her, which Shipka doesn’t quite buy and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be buying it either. But am I not buying it because I’ve read the comic and know more of what’s up or because of the show’s handling of Gomez, who’s definitely “protecting” Shipka but also actively working to harm those around her.

Turns out it doesn’t matter because Gomez joins Shipka’s witch gang by the end of the episode and it works out, albeit with Gomez as an unrevealed black hat in the operation. Because it turns out Shipka’s going to need all the witch help she can get this episode, as she tries to organize an exorcism to save friend Lachlan Watson’s possessed uncle, Jason Beaudoin.

What’s interesting is how right after Gomez goes from lying to Shipka about her backstory, Shipka goes and hangs out with her friends—Watson, Ross Lynch, Jaz Sinclair—and finds out whatever demon is possessing Beaudoin has been terrorizing them in their dreams. At this precarious moment in their friendships, Shipka proceeds to gaslight her mortal pals about the demon invading their dreams. It’s maybe the first time on the show Shipka’s ever appeared unsympathetic. It’s frankly disquieting to see her do it. Sure, she runs home and tells her family she’s got to save the humans and all but… still.

Especially since Shipka’s then got to back things up with Lynch especially, as he thinks he once saw the same demon in the mines, not yet realizing they really are just tunnels to Hell and who knows who he would’ve seen as a kid. Lynch and Shipka then go down into the mines to try to figure out what happened to Beaudoin, which at one point gives Lynch the great line, “this isn’t The Goonies.” Even if it doesn’t seem like the right line for a sixteen year-old in 2018 to spout.

Meanwhile Sinclair has a weird freakout she’s not religious enough.

Lots of Exorcist references throughout the episode, including a great shot of the suitcase and some not so welcome projectile vomit. The way the exorcism plays out with Shipka, Gomez, and aunts Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto is fabulous.

Even with the iMovie Vaseline smudges appearing at the end, it’s definitely the best directing I’ve ever seen from Rachel Talalay. Though I didn’t know she directed it when I was watching, so maybe I wasn’t looking out for issues as much. It’s a good episode. Though I wish Watson’s arc, which involves Beaudoin being… gay maybe… possibly queer… ish, was better. Whatever Joshua Conkel and MJ Kaufman are trying to do there doesn’t work. Especially with Beaudoin’s demon calling Beaudoin a sodomite, especially with Sinlcair’s religiosity becoming a plot point.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018) s01e05 – Dreams in a Witch House

This episode starts immediately after the previous one—Kiernan Shipka has just opened a demonic Rubik’s cube, designed by her dead father when he was in the same witch academy she now attends, and released a sleep demon (a make-up encased and excellent Megan Leitch). The episode is just the demon getting into everyone in the house’s heads. So Shipka, aunts Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto, cousin Chance Perdomo. Meanwhile Michelle Gomez finds out about it because she’s been remote spying on Shipka, turns out she knows Leitch, they don’t get along—Leitch is going to kill everyone to take revenge on the father, Gomez doesn’t want Shipka harmed—so Gomez ends up traveling through everyone’s dreams.

It starts fairly amusing then starts getting really good and not stopping that upward quality climb. It’s the first episode of “Sabrina” to really deliver a special hour or whatever of television. It’s terrifying. Leitch is great. Even when the nightmares are predicable—Shipka’s worried about human boyfriend Ross Lynch rejecting her (like he did before she magicked his memory away in the first episode)—they’re well-executed and full of emotional weight. Like when Perdomo finds himself in a loop of performing his own autopsy from both perspectives simultaneously, it all turns into great acting material. Everyone in the cast—save Leitch because make-up—is able to find extremes for their characters and, well, frolic in them.

Like witch aunts (and sisters) Davis and Otto; turns out have very different feelings about one another, which gives them an endless fount of acting possibilities. It’s all excellent character development as well. The episode has a decompressed narrative but does a bunch of expository work with that extra time. I’m not sure if Matthew Barry writes the best “Sabrina” script or Maggie Kiley directs the show the best, but this episode’s a definite standout. It leverages the actors far better than any of the previous episodes, giving them a lot more range, while still acknowledging their caricature aspects.

Wonderful scene for Bronson Pinchot too.

And the cliffhanger with Shipka confronting Gomez? Awesome. It’d be really frustrating to have to wait another week for what comes next.

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