Maggie Kiley

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) 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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