Is Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the most underlit show on Netflix?
Seriously, every scene on the show seems to take place in near darkness. I get that’s because the show itself is supposed to be dark and spooky and I appreciate the fact that the show is trying to maintain a proper atmosphere but still, as I watched the fourth episode of the 2nd season, I found myself shouting, “Will someone turn on a freaking light!?” Like a lot of things about this show, the constant darkness seems like one of those “it seemed like a good idea at the time” concepts.
That said, I also have to say that I liked this installment a bit more than the previous episode. Though it can probably be correctly stated that this was something of a filler episode, it still had enough surreal moments to remain entertaining. In fact, it reminded me a bit of last season’s superior Dreams In A Witch House. Like that episode, House of Horrors largely took place in the minds of the show’s characters. Whereas Dreams In A Witch House used the character’s nightmares as a way to provide a glimpse of their subconscious fears and desires, this episode used Tarot readings.
The episode begins with Hilda and Dr. Cee hanging out at Cerebrus Books. No mention is made of the fact that Dr. Cee apparently has an incubus inside of him, which seems like an odd thing to go unmentioned. Anyway, a fortune teller (played by Veronica Cartwright) shows up and asks if she can do readings in the back of the store. Hilda and Dr. Cee promptly agree because …. well, when do they ever say no to anyone?
For the next hour, various characters wandered into Cerebrus Books and got their fortune read. The fortune teller turning over her cards would lead to everyone having a surreal vision of the future. The visions rarely turned out well but, with one huge exception, the fortune teller was always quick to explain that the ominous vision was actually a good thing. For instance, Sabrina may have seen herself getting killed during Nick’s magic show but the fortune teller was quick to explain that the vision meant Sabrina should put her faith in Nick and not trust anyone else. Theo may have had a vision of turning into a boy and then having his body turn to wood but apparently, that meant Theo should trust others to help him out. Roz was thinking of having an operation to get her sight restored but her vision — in which a blind girl accused Roz of stealing her eyes — convinced Roz that she should remain blind. Harvey saw that going to Rhode Island would lead to him having a Satanic roommate. Hilda envisioned telling Father Blackwood the truth about the baby but then discovered that would just lead to Blackwood cheating on her. “Some secrets,” the fortune teller announces, “should stay secrets.”
Finally, Ambrose showed up and got his vision of the future. Four things disturbed him. First off, Luke was nowhere in the vision. Secondly, in the vision, Father Blackwood made him a member of the Judas Society and ordered him to murder the Spellmans. Third, in the vision, Ambrose did just that. And fourth, the fortune teller told Ambrose this was going to happen, regardless of what he did.
Rushing to Father Blackwood’s office, Ambrose asked for an assurance that Father Blackwood would never hurt the Spellmans. “Of course not!” Blackwood replied before informing Ambrose that Luke was dead and that Ambrose was now a member of the Judas Society….
After all this, it was revealed that the fortune teller had actually been Ms. Wardwell in disguise. I can’t say that I was particularly surprised by this reveal. Since Wardwell was, up until the show’s final five minutes, the only regular not to have made an appearance, it was obvious that the fortune teller would turn out to be her. I’m going to assume that her advice was intentionally bad and we should definitely be worried about Sabrina’s relationship with Nick.
Anyway, this episode was entertaining enough. Since Sabrina is really the only multidimensional character on the show, Chilling Adventures can be uneven when it doesn’t focus on her but this show managed to do a pretty good job with the other characters. We may not have learned anything new about any of them but some of their visions were enjoyably surreal and macabre. The scenes of Theo’s body turning to wood were well-handled and Roz’s vision was genuinely frightening. Even though you knew they weren’t real, the scenes of a murderous Ambrose stalking through the Spellman House were appropriately creepy.
Up next in the TSL’s Sabrina review-a-thon: Case returns with his reviews of Episodes Five and Six!