The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 4 Review
Happy Friday, everyone! A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I was simultaneously looking forward to and nervous about the latest installment of Netflix's The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I finally watched it all last week, and I've definitely got some opinions!
But before we get to that, I would like to take the moment to issue a TRIGGER WARNING, as one of these seasons deals with suicide. While it is not depicted and only mentioned briefly, I would urge you to be mindful before watching this season, particularly the last episode.
I will keep my discussion and opinions of that topic saved for the end, and give you another warning before I get to that part of the review, just in case you still want some safe, spoiler-free info on this season. But please be mindful and do what is best for you— even if that means not reading this post.
If you feel safe continuing on, let's get down to it!
CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA (PART 4)
WHAT'S GOING ON?
At the end of last season, Sabrina went back in time to help herself, and now there are two Sabrina's in our timeline. Meanwhile, Blackwood summoned the Eldritch Terrors, which are on their way to Greendale. Part Four deals with all of this in a monster-of-the-week style format.
It starts off with The Darkness, which exposes and feeds off people's fears and insecurities. For Sabrina, this is the fear of being alone and questioning whether she chose correctly in deciding to live in the Mortal Realm while Sabrina Morningstar seems to be living her best life as the Queen of Hell.
This all builds up until after facing The Weird (and let me just say, things definitely get Weird this season), where we see Sabrina finally decide to not rely on another person for happiness, choosing to instead enjoy being single and focus on herself— and, ya know, the impending threat of the final Eldritch Terror, The Void, or the end of all things.
Since Sabrina spends much of the season fighting loneliness, I enjoyed the themes of togetherness and individuality that started last season when the coven turned on Satan and was joined/helped by the Wayward Witches. I also appreciate that while one Sabrina is powerful, and two are nearly unstoppable, they still need help from their fellow witches from time to time. While she feels lonely, Sabrina is repeatedly shown that she is never truly alone at all; she has her mortal friends, her coven, her family, and most importantly, herself.
Seeing Prudence finally get revenge on Blackwood, as well as a bit of happiness when Agatha is herself again. As one of my favorite characters, and one that was constantly getting shafted, it was good to see her finally getting what she wants.
THAT CROSSOVER THO! I assumed the original Aunties would be a mere cameo, but no! We got them for an entire episode, which was (in my humble opinion) the best one of the entire show. It was dark, full of fourth-wall humor, and so exciting. Salem was the cherry on top— especially when he talked! The lack of Salem's presence in previous seasons was one of my biggest complaints about the show overall, so this really scored some points with me. I adored his role, which is reminiscent of The Author in Once Upon a Time (one of my FAVORITE shows).
Unfortunately, I feel like this season was often underwhelming and had a lot of The Cheese Factor going on. I'm sure we can blame it on the cancellation, but there was just so much about this season that fell flat for me: Lucifer, despite everything he had to be pissed about, seemed like a tame puppy in this season; Zelda's relationship with Marie went pretty much nowhere; I would have enjoyed an exploration of Theo having the Incubus inside of him (which I really loved and felt was an important plot element for the LGBT+ community); pretty much everything with The Fright Club in the Mortal Realm I could have taken or left, to be honest. I like to think that these flops were solely due to the cancellation and time restraints, but who knows?
Personally, I think writers leaned a little too heavily on the loneliness/relationship factor. I was content with Sabrina choosing to be single about midway through, then all of a sudden Nick comes back around? While he certainly redeemed himself and proved his feelings for Sabrina by the end, I was rolling my eyes a bit at his declaration that they were "endgame."
Then there were all the musical bits, including an entire episode dedicated to a Battle of the Bands. I wanted to enjoy this episode, but . . . Satanic Panic was just as cheesy as their name, that's all I'm gonna say.
And then we have the final episode, which felt like a constant rush to wrap-up. I think, at the very least, they should've made the final episode longer. I remember pausing it and being like, "How the hell are they going to accomplish this all with less than 15 minutes left?!" And then it was a constant push from one scene to another, everything happening so fast that you couldn't appreciate it.
While it certainly had its problems, I think this season was fairly solid; it was dark, emotional, and the ending was somewhat satisfying. When it was good, it was AWESOME, and I really enjoyed the writing and the world, especially having two Sabrinas.
Personally I think that the this show was just starting to get good as it was cancelled. Most of the kinks I complained about with the first season or so were being smoothed out, the character's stories drew me in, and I was so glad/hopeful about witches getting a fresher, more independent and empowered storyline than they began with. But, with so many consistent issues like plot holes, underdeveloped characters (cough, Harvey, cough), and a bit too much cheese, I am not surprised it was cancelled.
And now for my biggest issue with this season, which some of you may want to tune out for...
TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF SUICIDE!
MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!
I kind've figured one of the Sabrinas would die this season, or they'd have to merge together. But killing both Sabrinas was not something I saw coming. At first, a part of me was irritated by it because "Why kill her if they saved the world on time?", but it definitely adds to the writing, and it was certainly true to Sabrina's character to sacrifice herself to save everyone else, like Buffy or Tris. While it was heartbreaking, I could appreciate the writers' decision.
TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF SUICIDE!!!
HOWEVER! I am not okay with the way they had Nick respond to the situation. Of course he would be heartbroken; we could expect that. But having him drown himself in the Sea of Sorrows in order to reunite with Sabrina in The Sweet Hereafter?
This is, in my opinion, the writers' biggest fuckup when it comes to this season. Romanticizing suicide is not cool and is not something we need to present to anyone, especially our younger audience. Netflix's glorification of suicide is something I am not okay with, and I think it needs to be readdressed.
So there you have it, folx! Let me know what you thought of this review, and if you've seen this season, let's discuss your opinions in the comments below!