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Season 3 of ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ is the new ‘Riverdale’

Season 3 of ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ is the new ‘Riverdale’

Season 3 of ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ is the new ‘Riverdale’
January 29
12:00 2020

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is supposed to be a dark yet feminist take on the classic we all know and love. But with the new third season, it is becoming more and more like Riverdale — that is, a teen drama where musical numbers and cheerleaders take precedence over plot and character development. 

In season three, Sabrina, a supposedly badass and independent character, lacks agency. The few decisions she makes on her own have very little effect on the storyline, and most of her decisions are not even truly her own. Most of the time when making an important decision, Sabrina takes advice from what someone else suggested to her or flat-out does what she is told. Furthermore, her independence is finished every time she gets herself into trouble. Sabrina is always having to be rescued from mortal peril by someone else, whether that be Ambrose, Lilith or even herself from the future. Sabrina is never crafty or independent enough to find her own way out of any given sticky situation.

Sabrina also seems out of character at the end of the Queen of Hell plot thread. We are supposed to believe that Sabrina — to whom family has previously been one of the most important things in her life — abandons everyone she loves to claim a throne she did not actually want up to this point alongside her father, the literal devil whom she has previously rejected. This, obviously, doesn’t make any sense.

Sabrina herself was not the only character problem with the show’s third season, though. Lilith has seemingly lost the fire that made her such a force of a character playing mother hen to Sabrina. When the men of the Court of Hell challenge her ability to be queen, she first tries to have Sabrina crown her Queen of Hell. Then when that does not work, she simply gives in and lets Sabrina be the queen. The fight Lilith would be expected to put up is gone and she goes straight from breaking free of being the Dark Lord’s pet to rolling over for the Court of Hell.

Robin has very little personality. He is a flat character whose only traits seem to be working for and against the Church of Night. Caliban has the same exact bad boy personality that we saw in Nick when he first met Sabrina. Caliban is terrible to Sabrina and just when you think he is about to do something nice, he turns on her and reminds her who he is. Caliban’s only real difference from Nick is that he feels the need to remind Sabrina every five minutes that he is made of clay.

Father Blackwood showed up only occasionally this season. At the beginning of the season, Prudence’s revenge plot thread seemed to be a large part of the story. But once it died off, Father Blackwood’s relevance died off too. As did that of his children, who were living dolls for most of the season until plot dictated they not be. 

The show decided to tackle the hard topic of PTSD, but instead of using Zelda or Lilith, two characters with existing trauma from their abusive relationships, the writers decided to give Nick PTSD from having Lucifer inside him. While this exploration of PTSD was certainly valid and had its merits, such a feminist show should not have simply glossed over the trauma of two female characters and the effect it likely had on them.

The plot this season was weak and the stakes were low. The enemies Sabrina faced both in Hell and on Earth are boring and one-dimensional. Not to mention that while the evil witches were referred to as Pagans and their ranks include Pan and Circe, the Church of Night prays to Hecate, and Sabrina and her friends call upon the powers of Aphrodite to save Roz when she is turned to stone. So then what differentiates the pagans from the Church of Night? Why, plot of course. 

Furthermore, the subplots fail to tie into the main plot, especially the Queen of Hell subplot. The subplot has no relevance to the main plot until the very end, when Sabrina is written into a corner and the lazy deus ex machina that saves her ends up being what solves the conflict of the season.

Finally, during the main plot, the Church of Night begins to worship and pray to Lilith instead of Satan. This ends up being a pretty big deal, as Satan does not like that one bit and ends up sending bugs to control people and one eventually makes Zelda slap Agatha for acting out in class. However, the writers seemingly forget how important they have made Lilith to the Church of Night by the end, because although they need to be able to protect themselves and the academy, Zelda turns away Lilith when Lilith is seeking shelter.

All in all, the third season of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a lazy continuation of the first two seasons and a letdown to fans of the show who feared that it would become like Riverdale. Unfortunately, this show is becoming just another teen drama full of angsty love triangles and made up slang that no teenager would be caught dead using.

Final rating: 2/5

Featured Illustration: Olivia Varnell

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Peyton McFarlain

Peyton McFarlain

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1 Comment

  1. Mickey
    Mickey January 29, 13:33

    Brilliant. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Reply to this comment

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