Gavin Leatherwood

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.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018) s01e04 – Witch Academy

I’m very confused; the witch school is within walking distance from the farm where Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) lives. I thought it was a boarding school far away. Turns out it’s a boarding school—Shipka has to do three nights there—but it’s within walking distance. So she was never going to see her human friends again by just not… going to town anymore. Or something. It’s not explained and confusing but fine.

Because the welcome to witch school episode, which is mostly about how the other witches haze Shipka, works out. The characters it introduces, the twists it introduces, the whatever—they all work out. Shipka being terrified when the mean girl trio of witches (Tati Gabrielle is the leader and good, the other two are fine but background) lock her up in a well or simulate burning her or hanging her—it’s called harrowing and the established students put the new ones through it because it’s what the witches went through back in the olden days and the witch trials. Or something. The backstory on it isn’t very important, not after we find out Miranda Otto majorly harrowed sister Lucy Davis back in the day. Also not after Shipka discovers she’s fairly old to be a new student, apparently, because the school grounds are inhabited by the ghosts of all the little kids who died in their harrowings over the decades. They’re not exactly haunting the place, not exactly not.

The ghost kids leads to a great subplot for Shipka, Otto, and Davis, where the show does a fantastic “girl power” move and never pauses to acknowledge it much less congratulate itself for it. “Sabrina”’s very comfortable doing well.

But Shipka not being able to get through the harrowing just doesn’t fit; it does the hazing PSA and well, but it doesn’t really work with Shipka’s character as she’s developed to this point.

Anyway. Simultaneous to Shipka being away for a long weekend—she tells her human friends she’s at the state fair or something—boyfriend Ross Lynch gets some more information about the creature in the mines after it turns out Lachlan Watson has a possessed uncle living in her house and never told friends about it even though the guy’s obviously demonically possessed. It’s a scary subplot. Very effectively done.

Overall, it’s a solid episode. Not perfect, but very solid. They succeed at introducing the school, including warlock love interest for Shipka but not really Gavin Leatherwood.

So, solid.

Scroll to Top