They say you can tell a lot about someone by what they dream about. I certainly believe that to be true. (In fact, I’ve got an entire site dedicated to that very concept.) That’s certainly the argument made in episode 5 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
The plot, simply enough, is that Sabrina has unleashed a sleep demon named Batibat. Years ago, Sabrina’s father trapped Batibat in a puzzle box. Unfortunately, it was the same puzzle box that Sabrina had to solve to earn her right to take conjuring classes. As soon as Batibat gets out, she announces that she has two goals: 1) revenge on the Spellmans and 2) screwing stuff up in the outside world. Zelda casts a spell to trap Batibat inside the house. The spell works but then Batibat casts a sleeping spell and soon, Sabrina, Ambrose, Hilda, and Zelda are all having nightmares designed to cause them so much pain and anguish that they’ll reveal how to break the spell.
Ambrose’s nightmare is simple but effective. The nightmare deals with Ambrose’s inability to leave the house. The dream starts with him performing an autopsy on a corpse who looks just like him. Ambrose even eats the corpse’s heart, leading to Hilda asking him what it tastes like. “Bitter,” is the reply. The self-cannibalism is interrupted by Father Blackwood announcing that Ambrose’s sentence has been commuted and he can leave the house. However, before Ambrose can walk through that front door, he’s stabbed by Batibat and finds himself in morgue, being cut open by himself. Agck!
Hilda’s nightmare is finding herself sewn to her Zelda. Meanwhile, Zelda, in his nightmare, jealousy kills Hilda and then can’t bring her back to life. It’s an interesting dynamic. Hilda’s greatest fear is never escaping from Zelda’s shadow. (She’s also apparently worried that Principal Hawthorne will ask her out, just to reveal that he absorbed his twin brother in the womb.) Zelda’s greatest fear is losing Hilda.
(It’s also interesting that Zelda’s dream opened with her mocking the biblical version of Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden but then quickly turned into a retelling of the story of Cain and Abel. Just as with Cain, Zelda’s anger was sparked by her God’s preference for her sibling’s offering. After Zelda killed Hilda, she even asked, “Am I my sister’s keeper?”)
And then Sabrina — oh my God, poor Sabrina. I felt bad for her because I’ve had nightmares like the one that she had. After dreaming that her school has become a combination of Baxter High and the Academy of the Unseen Arts, she also dreams that Harvey has asked her to marry him. Even though everyone tells Sabrina that witches and mortal can never marry, Sabrina is convinced that things will work out with Harvey. (Though, interestingly enough, Nick Scratch shows up pretty prominently in her dream, as well. Considering that she only met Nick three days ago, it’s telling that Sabrina is already dreaming about him as a possible rival for Harvey.) Sabrina even tells Harvey that she’s a witch and Harvey says he doesn’t mind. Sabrina’s father comes back to life to walk Sabrina down the aisle. However, as soon as Sabrina and Harvey marry, Harvey’s family turns on her. While the mortals in the church scream at her, Sabrina sees that her side of the family, the witches, are resentfully refusing to come to her aide, leaving her with no one. Sabrina is dragged away from the altar and tossed in an iron maiden!
Fortunately, for Sabrina, Ms. Wardwell is wandering through everyone’s dreams and she gives Sabrina some advice on how to escape. Even more fortunately, Sabrina has a familiar named Salem….
Look, I’m as disappointed as anyone by the fact that we don’t actually get to hear Salem speak in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. That said, this was a great Salem episode. Salem not only bravely distracted Batibat but he also gave Sabrina good, if unheard (by us), advice. I have to admit that, considering how dark this series tends to get, I was a bit worried when Batibat started chasing Salem through the house. Well, fear not! Salem lives!
In fact, everyone lives, Batibat is once again imprisoned, and Sabrina finally figures out that Ms. Wardwell is more than just a reclusive teacher. At the end of the episode, Sabrina is at Wardwell’s house, demanding to know “who and what” she is.
This was the best episode that I’ve seen so far. Not only does this episode do a great job of capturing the twisty logic of dreams but it also provides insight into whose these characters are. Of course, we already knew that Sabrina is conflicted over being half-human and half-witch but now, we know that she’s worried that the other witches will abandon her and that Harvey wouldn’t be strong enough to stand up for her if her secret got out. We knew that Hilda felt inferior to Zelda but now, we know just how desperate Hilda is to escape her sister’s shadow. And, at the same time, we now understand why Zelda will never allow Hilda to escape. Zelda needs Hilda even more than Hilda needs Zelda. And finally, this episode was elevated by Batibat, a frightening creation if there ever was one. Batibat not only gave people nightmares but she was a nightmare herself.
Next episode: Sabrina confronts Ms. Wardwell!