Keepin’ It Reel: “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Pt. 3”

When Netflix announced they were rebooting everyone’s favorite series about a teenage witch, the news was met with raised eyebrows by all generations. But by the time everyone binge-watched part one of the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” even the most skeptical and pickiest fans had been won over. The TV series writers blended teen romance with low-budget horror to create a charming tribute to the ‘90s classic, but with fresh, vibrant aesthetics that blends with another popular show across the river, “Riverdale.” Part two continued in this glory, but part three aired this month and fan’s appreciation halted for the first time since the series released two years ago.

When we last saw Sabrina in part two (played by Kiernan Shipka), she’d just defeated her father, The Dark Lord, otherwise known as Lucifer Morningstar, in a huge season-ending battle to save the world. Sabrina’s boyfriend Nick Scratch (played by Gavin Leatherwood) sacrificed himself for the cause and used his body as a vessel to trap the devil. A bittersweet ending, to be honest; the opening scenes of part three are dominated by a pretty miserable atmosphere because of it. We return to find Sabrina in Greendale, unable to come to terms with the fact that her boyfriend is trapped in hell by the evil Lilith, otherwise known as Madam Satan (played by Michelle Gomez), and she vows to rescue him. After a successful trip to the infernal regions, she returns with Nick only to find that he suffers from PTSD and has become a very different person.

Elsewhere, last season’s poisoning by Father Blackwood has depleted the witch coven, The Church of Night. Zelda Spellman, Sabrina’s aunt, played by Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings), has ascended to High Priestess as a new threat rolls into Greendale: a carnival of pagan witches.

Now, while most people would assume, like me, that all this action makes for a good nail-biting season. But, in all honesty, it was crazy and bizarre. Random interruptions by musical numbers break the tension of the drama, and part three has an uneven tone. Sabrina and her best friend Roz (played by Jaz Sinclair) join the cheerleading team and perform a version of Run-DMC’s “It’s Tricky,” before Roz, Harvey and Theo form a band called The Fright Club, covering songs like “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus and The Knack’s ’70s rocker “My Sharona.” That sounds great at first, but trust me, as a longtime fan of all those things it’s not.

In this season, Sabrina is battling her relationship with the new Nick, while also trying to win the throne back from a literal clay-made Prince of Hell. The depleted witch coven is struggling against the newly established pagan tribe in Greendale. On top of all that drama, each character has their own little storyline going on as well, adding to the madness.

This chapter of the series does a great job with elevating the characters to different spaces in their life while still keeping it consistent with the series. The plot progression often seems incredibly organic considering the chaotic setting through the series. But, for me, it was all a little too much going on at once. It was crazy, wild and all over the place, but I guess that was to be expected from a show literally based upon Satan’s half-mortal daughter. In light of all of this, this new season deserves a 6 out of 10 in my book. I cannot wait to see where the screenwriters go in season four and, hopefully, they will reign in the storyline enough next season to make it a little more understandable for the longtime fans of this series.