‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ loses its way

Season 3 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina dropped January 24 on Netflix. While I don’t typically do horror, it’s my one exception. The show typically walks a fine line between nerve wracking and good witch-y fun. 

I watched the first season of The Chilling Adventure of Sabrina in a little under a weekend, curling up under my blanket and covering my eyes at moments. Season 1 played on all the beloved tropes of “where do I belong?” Season 2 began with Sabrina navigating her double life as a human and as a witch. Sometimes the plot got too weird and sometimes it got too teen drama. 

Season 1 started off on a high and ended on one too. Season 2 was a much bigger rollercoaster, sometimes entertaining and sometimes a little boring. Season 3, though, could not figure out if it wanted to be a horror show or a Riverdale rip-off. 

*Here’s where a lot of spoilers are going to come so if you have yet to see the third installation of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, avert your eyes.*

I won’t give a summary of all that happened in season 3, but I will tell you the highs and lows. Fair warning, they were on the very far ends of the spectrum. The highs were fabulous and the lows made you want to turn Netflix off. 

From Refinery29.com

Here’s the good news: Sabrina introduces Caliban. The man made from clay who is fighting for the crown of Hell is straight out of a rom-com and has a clear objective. All Caliban wants is the throne and no shirts (see the picture for reference). He’s a character that’s loveable and easy to root against because he so clearly stands in opposition to our heroine. 

The second thing Sabrina gets right is the plot line of Nicholas Scratch. Returning from an eternal wrestling match with the Devil can be hard, especially if he’s your girlfriend’s dad. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina shows the struggles in a way that makes sense while being sufficiently warlock-y. Scratch’s relationship with his girlfriend, Sabrina, changes, his relationship with his sexuality changes, and he creates coping mechanisms. It highlights how someone can never know what another person has gone through. In fact, Scratch even says so, much to Sabrina’s dismay. 

The last thing that CAOS gets right is Theo. Not only does he have a love interest, but he grapples with how to talk about his own sexuality with his new boyfriend. I don’t love the boyfriend’s own plot line, but I can’t deny that Sabrina’s ability to embrace a transitioning character and explore the pressures that arise from any first love are important. 

Unfortunately, that’s where the good ends for me. Yes, Prudence and Ambrose have their moments, but their ending is disappointing. Sure, Lilith comes into her own, but she’s still subservient. Most importantly, the final episode ends up stacking the bad so high, you can’t see through to remember what you enjoyed.

From popsugar.com

Let’s start the bad news with the very worst. There are four – yes, four – musical numbers. Now, I didn’t hate Glee, but I definitely did not sign up for it from the coven of Greendale. Maybe Kiernan Shipka wishes she got her chance at romancing a hot singing football player, but Satan, I don’t want that. 

The second wrong that Sabrina commits is having far too many plot lines. While the quest for the Crown of Hell is compelling, it gets lost in everything else that is happening. I couldn’t keep track of who was actually Satan or Blackwell or Scratch. I also don’t care about a teenage boy losing his virginity, as crazy as that sounds. If the main plot line doesn’t appear for a few episodes, you’ve got a problem.

Lastly, the main villains are not fully introduced until we are halfway through the season. Therefore, as much as I want Sabrina to win this fight, I’m actually unsure of what it is. I don’t know the rules of the game and I can’t remember who the Green Man is. I’m also confused as to why the pagans need virgins. Seriously, can anyone tell me?

Yet, Season 3 ends on a cliff-hanger. Clearly there’s somewhere we’re going on this adventure with the Spellmans and the Queen of Hell. But, is it a journey worth taking? That largely depends on the first episode of season 4 – which we won’t have for quite some time. 

Here are my two requirements, though: a very defined goal or enemy and no more musical numbers (I mean it, zero).

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