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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 4 review: too much plot, too few episodes


[#Ed. note: #This review contains major spoilers for seasons 1-3 of #Chilling #Adventures of #Sabrina, and reveals some general plot points for season 4.]

#Like its title character, #Netflix’s #Chilling #Adventures of #Sabrina has always been pulled in too many directions. #Half-mortal/half-witch #Sabrina #Spellman (#Kiernan #Shipka) started the series by dividing her time between getting a normal teenage education at #Baxter #High, focusing on social-justice causes, studying magic at the #Academy of the #Unseen #Arts, trying to fight the patriarchy running the #Satanic #Church of #Night, and protecting the town of #Greendale from supernatural threats. #Her life and the show’s plot got even more complicated in season 2, when #Sabrina was revealed to be the daughter of #Lucifer #Morningstar (#Luke #Cook), leading to her using magic in the season 3 finale to simultaneously both rule with her father in hell and stay in #Greendale.

#So when #Netflix cancelled the show in #July, it seemed pretty unlikely that showrunner #Roberto #Aguirre-Sacasa would be able to tie up all #Sabrina’s subplots satisfactorily with his eight remaining episodes. The show’s messy, chaotic fourth season, which drops on #Dec. 31, emphasizes #Chilling #Adventures of #Sabrina’s familiar strengths and weaknesses at the same time. The finale doesn’t do justice to many members of its overstuffed ensemble, but it does deliver a powerful mix of genuinely creepy monsters and escapist romance.

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#Based heavily on the work of H.P. #Lovecraft, season 4 sees #Sabrina and her allies trying to fight eight eldritch terrors, which conveniently appear at a rate of one per episode. #Chilling #Adventures of #Sabrina has often been at its best when dealing with contained monster-of-the-week style plots, and the final season leans into the formula with a series of strange and terrible threats: The #Weird, a primal aquatic parasite that wants to strip humanity of free will, combines elements of #Alien and the DC #Comics villain #Starro. The #Uninvited is the manifestation of every folktale that results in people being punished for failing to show kindness to a stranger.

#Photo: #Diyah #Pera / #Netflix

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#But those thrills are bogged down by #Aguirre-Sacasa and his writers’ past missteps. They’ve repeatedly failed to eliminate characters who’ve outstayed their welcome or narrative use, and the bloated cast means that many characters who feel like they deserve compelling arcs are largely ignored. #Sabrina’s best friend #Rosalind #Walker (#Jaz #Sinclair) gets some powerful payoff this season for the oracular abilities she began developing in season 1, but their other close friends, #Harvey #Kinkle (#Ross #Lynch) and Theo #Putnam (#Lachlan #Watson), are left with nothing but romantic plots.

#This was probably inevitable for the foursome, whose garage band and monster-hunting group #Fright #Club closely resembles the #Scooby #Gang of #Buffy: The #Vampire #Slayer. #As the threats #Buffy faced grew more world-shaking, characters without some connection to the supernatural couldn’t keep up with the power creep, and real-world concerns felt increasingly irrelevant. #Sabrina’s final season follows the same course.

#When #Sabrina and #Roz run for co-president of #Baxter #High in season 4, #Sabrina’s aunt #Zelda #Spellman (#Miranda #Otto) points out that #Sabrina should be focusing on defeating the eldritch terrors. #Sabrina retorts that she can’t exactly put “vanquisher of eldritch terrors” on her application to #Vassar. #That might be true, but having #Roz and #Sabrina make a rousing speech to defeat some bro strawmen feels like a waste of precious screen time for the series.

#So does all the time devoted to misogynistic warlock #Father #Faustus #Blackwood (#Richard #Coyle) and #Lilith/Mary #Wardwell (#Michelle #Gomez). #Blackwood hit his peak as the primary antagonist of season 2, but has weaseled into the plot in increasingly unnecessary and ineffective ways for the last two seasons. #His presence also limits the potential of his daughter, the mean-girl witch #Prudence #Night (#Tati #Gabrielle), who’s spent that time obsessed with trying to kill him. #And #Mary has been a constant low-level annoyance to #Sabrina since her major plot resolved. #Gomez was fantastic while scheming and vamping it up as #Madam #Satan, but both of her characters feel irrelevant in season 4.

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RICHARD COYLE as FR. FAUSTUS BLACKWOOD in CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA

#Photo: #Diyah #Pera / #Netflix

#Greendale is #Riverdale for goth kids, a vision of small-town bliss where you can get milkshakes at the local horror bookstore, then head to a midnight showing of The #Rocky #Horror #Picture #Show. The show’s soapy romances have always been just as important as its magic-fueled plots, so unsurprisingly, much of season 4 is devoted to making sure everyone gets some form of happily ever after.

#Yet again, the rush to resolve everything leaves much of those arcs feeling unearned or off the mark. “We’re endgame,” #Sabrina’s warlock ex-boyfriend #Nick #Scratch (#Gavin #Leatherwood) tells her, in a groan-inducingly meta bid to get back together with her. #His attempt to get to know her fully by enrolling at #Baxter #High could have made for a really entertaining fish-out-of-water arc, but it barely lasts beyond a scene showing how good he looks in a varsity jacket. A plot where #Dr. #Cerberus (#Alessandro #Juliani of #Battlestar #Galactica) is exorcised of the incubus possessing him feels like a repudiation of the kinky aspect of his relationship with #Sabrina’s aunt #Hilda (#Lucy #Davis), since previously, they could only have sex with him chained up.

#Not all the romance falls short. Theo has precious little to do throughout season 4, but his #Midsummer #Night’s #Dream-inspired plot with his hobgoblin boyfriend #Robin #Goodfellow (#Jonathan #Whitesell) nicely mixes the supernatural and sappy. The best overall arc of the season, if not the show, goes to #Zelda, who after a long time being unlucky in love finds a surprising romance with the voodoo witch #Mambo #Marie #LeFleur (#Skye #Marshall), but struggles to believe she deserves the affection.

#One of the most terrible eldritch terrors #Sabrina must face is the #Endless, which manifests in an extremely meta episode where she’s trapped in a sitcom alongside #Caroline #Rhea and #Beth #Broderick, who played #Sabrina’s aunt #Hilda and #Zelda, respectively, in the 1990s show #Sabrina the #Teenage #Witch. The #Endless represents both the unchanging nature of classic sitcoms and the constant reiteration of established properties, but also the inevitability that all things actually do end, even if they believe they deserve more time.

#Chilling #Adventures of #Sabrina was never a perfect show, but it was a bold one. #It was never as sharply written or innovative in its direction as #Buffy: The #Vampire #Slayer, but #Aguirre-Sacasa tried to make up for any weakness with scripts that were much queerer and hornier. Their inability to get rid of characters is somewhat understandable, since all the actors seemed to be having so much fun diving into high camp in their garish costumes and overabundant eyeliner. #Like #Sabrina herself, the show’s writers wanted to have it all. They never really achieved the right balance, but watching them try was thrilling.

#All eight episodes of #Chilling #Adventures of #Sabrina season 4 launch on #Netflix on #Dec. 31.



[ source link ]
https://www.polygon.com/22206035/chilling-adventures-of-sabrina-season-4-review-netflix

##Chilling ##Adventures ##Sabrina #season #review #plot #episodes

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