Read James’ Take on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part Four here.
For a show that was so strongly written in previous seasons, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part Four serves as a disappointing conclusion.
Just when we think Sabrina Spellman’s (Kiernan Shipka) life is heading towards normality, our preconceptions are challenged, and not for the better. The final chapter deceptively appears to start on a high note for our favourite Baxter High students. Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Harvey (Ross Lynch) are now labeled as the ‘John and Yoko’ of the school and the romance between Theo (Lachlan Watson) and Robin (Jonathan Whitesell) is also unwavering. The only trouble seems to be that Sabrina is single, resulting in her feeling isolated and abandoned from the other members of the Fright Club. In my opinion, I enjoyed this storyline for Sabrina, as she was able to explore her identity and discover that a lack of relationship does not ultimately define her. It shows how much the show has progressed from its earlier seasons and that our protagonists have developed and matured, which is lovely to see.
However, further into the first episode, we are introduced to the main plot arc of this season: the Eldritch Terrors, which were teased in the trailer. In total, there are eight of these terrors, and each addition subsequently brings closer the arrival of the ‘void’: an unstoppable force wanting to consume Greendale. Unfortunately, the use of a ‘monster of the week’ format to me felt a bit cliché, as each episode I was expecting just another new villain, and some didn’t meet the potential of the show.
Though one terror was excellently devised: the ‘Endless’, which lurks in episode seven. This chapter commences with the arrival of Sabrina Morningstar in an alternate dimension, where the Spellman home is the set for a sitcom. Nothing seems right. For a start, Beth Broderick and Caroline Rhea from the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch star as her aunties, alongside her original familiar (cat) Salem Saberhagen. Episode seven perfectly paired nostalgia and darkness to create a thrilling world that could have been straight out of Stranger Things. I wish all eight episodes of this season had been as strong as this one.
“For many characters to truly obtain the justice they deserved, either the conclusion needed to be different, or fewer plots points should have been introduced so close to the end of the show.”
Another aspect where Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (colloquially known as CAOS) delivered an enjoyable watch is that it referenced previous seasons and reminded us of why we love these characters. If you are careful, you may even notice some remarks towards the sister town and show of Riverdale, which runs parallel to this universe. During Sabrina’s bittersweet goodbye, flashbacks take centre stage as we watch Sabrina grow up into her present 17 year-old self, and the cinematography doesn’t falter. The final encounter between lovers Nick and Sabrina mirrors their first ever meeting, with Nick repeating the same lines from Part One in a heartbreaking, Romeo and Juliet-esque scene. Viewers also witness the love between the Spellmans, the strength of the Order of Hecate, and the undeniable bond between all of the Fright Club, though it is a shame we weren’t able to see more of these dynamics blossom, like that of Roz and Prudence, or Mambo Marie and Zelda.
On a brighter note, the soundtrack for this season was brilliant, featuring lots of throwback hits like ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ and ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, which were engaging and livened the mood after many depressing and morbid scenes. Most of the musical instalments were performed by cast members, with the main covers performed by the Fright Club along with a surprise song from the Dark Mothers (episode six).
Disappointingly though, not all of the characters get their happy endings. Two of my favourite characters throughout the duration of the show have been Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) and Ambrose (Chance Perdomo), yet sadly, neither got the closure they deserved. Both of these characters had great potential, with such strong personalities and displays of loyalty that, in theory, should have got more screen time. I hope in the near future they will be able to grace our screens in a spin-off together, but with CAOS‘s cancellation, this seems unlikely. For many characters to truly obtain the justice they deserved, either the conclusion needed to be different, or fewer plots points should have been introduced so close to the end of the show.
Overall, CAOS’s final season had good intentions, but lacked development. It was certainly an enjoyable watch, but was too rushed to deliver the quality to match the standards we expect of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 4 is available on Netflix now.
Words by Emilia Butcher-Marroqui