Sabrina isn’t just a teenage witch; she’s the new face of postmodern feminism. Hidden in plain sight of the funny storylines and creepily quirky characters is a hard look at society, gender identity, and self-determination. This show is a master class in how Horror, when done properly, can make a political statement.
In our society, we have a lot of words I don’t understand: hypermasculine – is where I assume you workout too much. The Patriarchy which is mentioned by name in the show. I guess I’m technically part of the Patriarchy, but I must have missed my meetings because I never got a single check. Maybe, I was busy with the Illuminati and the Tri-Lateral Commision guys that week and they’re all about volunteering these days; I swear you sponsor one Children’s Hospital and you lose sight of the things that matter like World Domination.
In any case, all these new weird words, which I don’t understand and probably won’t bother to learn (because I barely have enough time to find me a sitter for date nights) is FREEDOM! As a good Libertarian, I get all groovy over Freedom! This show gives me some serious gooseflesh because Sabrina is one BAD ….shut your mouth….Just talkin’ about Sabrina. She is one Freedom-Lovin’ Witch and I can dig it!
Many 90’s folks like myself at least saw Sabrina on tv while flipping channels. I didn’t watch it because….well, it looked….stupid. This story takes that show and burns it to the ground and from the ashes rises a female empowerment story that made me want to take on this Mr Patriarch fellow who must workout A LOT and punch him right in (I’m assuming) his well-defined abs!
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was adapted for Netflix by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Supergirl, Riverdale) from the eponymous comic. The first two episodes were directed by Lee Toland who is definitely a David Lynch fan because everything looked off, but beautiful. Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka- Mad Men) plays the burgeoning feminist theme perfectly.
Sabrina lives with her aunts Hilda, Zelda, and her cousin Ambrose. They are full-witches and want Sabrina to follow convention and subordinate herself to a Man (aka Satan) think of it like the 1950s, but with broomsticks. However, Sabrina is having doubts. Her ambivalence is fueled from three facets: she’s in love with a mortal and not too bright boy named Harvey, her male peer classmates want to forcibly closet transgender students and need some ass whoopin, and lastly because she’s a FREEEEE BIRRRRRD Baby and this bird you cannot Chaaaaaaaain!
Sabrina’s aunts don’t like her rebellion or at least her Aunt Zelda doesn’t and calls in Faustus Blackwood (Richard Coyle) to talk some sense into the young lass. He promises that she will still have free will and can walk away from Satan if she feels like it. Well, I can’t blame her for being interested in it now.
As Halloween and her dark baptism approaches, she starts to seek out guidance outside of her family to make her decision to marry the devil. The devil doesn’t take this sitting on his hooves and sends his minion Mary Wardell (Michelle Gomez) to push her back onto the dark path and ward her away from the path of light by possessing one of the school’s teachers. Ms. Wardell develops Sabrina’s confidence. She believes that if she helps Sabrina to ass whoop the boys who are harassing the LGBTQ kids at the school, she’ll be able to leave her old life behind for her new one with Satan. Sabrina gets some mean girl witches to aid her in giving the harassers a beat down, which is very gratifying in a CW kind of way. Ms Wardell thinks that with this obstacle out of the way, Sabrina will get in line for Satan.
Halloween, Sabrina’s birthday arrives and dark baptism ceremony is at hand where she will become Satan’s Stay at Home Mom. The ceremony is in the woods and looks sort-of like I’m guessing a furry convention, but with some books. Sabrina must sign her name in the Beast Book and she is ALL-IN. AHHHH, but Faustus Blackwood wants her give up all her autonomy to the Patriarch…I mean the Devil – see what they did there???? And, Sabrina’s like hooooooooold on; that’s not what you told me before. Sabrina makes like a tree and gets out of there.
Her dark baptism passes and she remains a half witchy woman and she thinks everything is groovy. But is it? She is called into the Principal’s office and she sits down with her principal (Bronson Pinchot). It turns out the principal – Brandon Pinchot is NOT a Perfect Stranger- he’s the Devil and wants to take away Sabrina’s Freedom and turn her in some Stepford Stay at home mom and I’m not having it and neither is Sabrina! Between the Devil vs Sabrina my money’s on Sabrina and I don’t think she’ll even have to fiddle for it!