Witch Academy opens with Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka), Harvey (Ross Lynch), Roz (Jaz Sinclair), and Susie (Lachlan Watson) debating just what exactly The Fly was about. Harvey just thinks it was just a film about a guy who turns into a fly. Ros says that it’s about body dysmorphia. Sabrina points out that Cronenberg said that the film was about STDs.
(Actually, they’re all wrong. The Fly was actually a pilot for a Canadian TV series about a sarcastic fly and an earnest tabloid journalist who team up to help people, solve crimes, and battle climate change.)
It’s the weekend and that means that it’s time to debate horror movies and get ready for three days of terrifying drama in the lives of Sabrina Spelmman and her friends. Ros is desperate to get out of having to do church stuff so she agrees to spend the weekend hanging out with Susie. Harvey would love to spend all of his time with Sabrina but it turns out that Sabrina is going to be gone for the entire weekend. She tells Harvey that she’s going to a farm expo with Hilda. But we all know that she’s actually starting as a part-time student at The Academy of the Unseen Arts!
Unfortunately, the Academy turns out to be a fairly unfriendly environment. Sabrina is not even allowed to bring Salem with her and she’s immediately bullied by Prudence Night (Tati Gabrielle) and two other witches. Sabrina is put through the harrowing, which is a witch version of extreme hazing. Sabrina even meets the ghosts of several children who, over the years, have died during the harrowing. They want revenge but, in a rather sweet twist, they can’t pursue it unless someone gives them permission to do so. Fortunately, despite having been excommunicated last episode, Zelda (Lucy Davis) still comes to the school and gives them permission to do what they want.
(At one point, Sabrina points out that the witches are treating a fellow witch as cruelly as the mortals once treated them. Unfortunately, Prudence and her witches fail to appreciate Sabrina’s point.)
Perhaps even worse than the hazing is the fact that Sabrina isn’t being allowed to take any conjuring classes. Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) says that he needs to make sure that Sabrina is capable of handling conjuring but could it be that he secretly suspects that the only reason Sabrina agreed to attend the Academy was so she could learn how to defeat Satan. Father Blackwood gives Sabrina a puzzle and says that, if she can solve it, she can take conjuring classes. It turns out that the puzzle was made by her father and, with the help of a student named Nicholas Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood), Sabrina does solve it. Of course, as soon as she does, a demon shows up and things end with Sabrina screaming in terror. Nothing’s easy when you’re a witch.
While Sabrina was dealing with Witch Academy, her friends were dealing with Susie’s Uncle Jesse. Apparently, Jesse used to work in the mines and he hasn’t been the same ever since he saw the same monster that Harvey saw when Harvey was a child. In fact, Harvey’s attempts to tell Uncle Jesse about his experience led to Jesse going crazy and attacking him.
Meanwhile, Ambrose violated the terms of his sentencing by using astral projection so he could go on an extremely awkward date and Madam Satan (in the form of Ms. Wardwell) managed to get into the Spellman house. It was a busy three days in Greendale!
This was a pretty good episode. If I’m not as enthusiastic about Witch Academy and I was about The Trial of Sabrina Spellman, it’s just because the whole hazing subplot was a bit predictable. That said, Kiernan Shipka continues to impress in every single scene in which she appears and Lucy Davis had some great moments in the episode as well. After watching this episode, I’m a bit concerned that Sabrina and Harvey are heading for heartbreak because 1) the Witch Academy is a huge part of Sabrina’s life that she won’t be able to tell him about and 2) she’s going to have to keep coming up with excuses for why she can’t spend the weekend with him. Add to that, she seems to have a lot more in common with Nicholas Scratch than with Harvey Kinkle.
But for now, Sabrina’s main concern has to be with the demon that’s just been conjured up in her bedroom. We’ll see how she deals with that in episode 5!