A Very Chilling Sabrina Roundtable: Episodes 1 & 2

Welcome to A Very Chilling Sabrina Roundtable: a recap series where we chat about the chills, thrills, and top shelf witchery in Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. That’s right: we’re kicking off another series to catalogue our Archie Cinematic Universe Hot Takes ™. Today, we’ll be recapping the first two episodes of the Sabrina reboot: October Country and The Dark Baptism. Join us as we praise crones, slide into Ms. Wardwell’s DMs, and take a closer look at some of Sabrina’s less enchanting plot points.


Rachel: well, it’s here, we’ve finally made it
spookytown USA



CC: Peak Cronetent
that’s a few eps from here, but still

Jenny: i’ve waited so long
it really delivered
i’m going to go ahead and say that right now
but today
we’re just talking about eps 1-2: the dark baptism arc

CC: yeah!
for those of y’all following at home, we’re doing a Sabrina roundtable for 2 reasons
1) This week’s Riverdale was delayed and we have to entertain you with the Grimdark Archie Cinematic Universe somehow in the meantime
we were gonna reserve this content just for our patreon but Halloween is such a giving time of year that we are opening this roundtable up for all of y’all~~

Rachel: and honestly, we’ve been looking forward to it for so long

Jenny: like fully over a year

Rachel: CC, have you read the comics?? I know Jenny has
I’ve only read the first volume
but it really hyped me up

CC: i have not but from everything I’ve heard, it is too scary for me & my delicate constitution that can’t handle anything scary
as a person who was literally once afraid of the End of Evangelion DVD menu, I have to set my limits v firmly

Jenny: it is definitely more fucked up than the show

Rachel: in the first volume, Harvey literally gets murdered by witches
that hasn’t happened yet, which I am glad about because Netflix Harvey is very sweet and pure!!

CC: he is a sweet boy!
an actually sweet boy!!



Jenny: in this scene especially, when sabrina test-runs telling him about witchcraft, i think he really achieves something that other riverdale show boys miss
like, he’s so so sweet
and he’s insecure about his intelligence in the way that archie is
but he doesn’t try to compensate for that by being mr. macho

CC: yeah he hasn’t literally joined the mafia yet or anything lol
don’t let us down harvey

Jenny: no vigilante groups for this sweet boy

CC: I can’t imagine him joining one, much less STARTING TWO DIFFERENT ONES
smdh archie

Rachel: ok let’s go through the cast of characters
1. Sabrina and her pals

Jenny: Roz and Susie

Rachel: she has a very realistic group of friends, all who look about her age and aren’t just assorted sexy adults

Jenny: what this world needs, tbh

CC: also they have good banter about movies, which I did find relatable even though their conversations are way smarter than the convos I had with my teen friends

Rachel: yeah! so Roz is her bestie and is helping her start a women-supporting-women group at school called WICCA, which is rad
Susie uses female pronouns and presents very non-binary, or at least non-traditionally femme, and gets bullied a lot for that



Rachel: this really puts Sabrina down a path of using her magic maliciously against the horrible boys at her school
which is something I can get behind
although I do worry for her Paragon/Renegade status



CC: i’m a bitch i’m a lover
i want freedom i want power
that’s how that song went right

Jenny: p sure

Rachel: lol

Jenny: there’s also Ms. Wardwell/Madam Satan
the woman possessed by Lilith to ensure Sabrina’s turn to the dark side
we only see actual Wardwell for a few minutes right at the beginning
but she seems iffy, in any case



Jenny: a bloody woman stumbles out in front of your car and you DON’T immediately drive her to the sexy murse hospital in Riverdale???

CC: honestly that hospital does not do a good job
they saved fred andrews but so many people also get murdered there

Jenny: yeah, but do you really instead, TAKE HER TO YOUR HOME???
where she can then murder and posses you???

CC: a fair point

Rachel: yeah it’s iffy motivations for sure
wow now she is bodacious teacher here to lure Sabrina down the Path of Night



Jenny: oh yeah def i love her with my whole heart

CC: this lady gets even hotter and more evil looking every year

Jenny: goals, tbh

CC: definitely better at being hot and evil than she ever was on doctor who imo
so powerful
tell me how 2 live

Jenny: honestly
when she’s like this i think it makes a little more sense to ask her out



Jenny: but like, that was def a weird choice right then at the beginning
it felt like it was meant to establish Sabrina’s “maturity” in being able to see teachers as people
but it really felt like establishing her as someone who doesn’t have the firmest grasp on boundaries
which — hey — is kind of what the whole dual-nature, young half-witch having it all thing is about

CC: why WOULDN’T this teacher want to hang out w these cool teens
— sabrina
which like: i can’t even hang out with cool 23 year olds without feeling like my bones are crumpling into dust so like, same, ms wardwell

Rachel: I think Sabrina is probably real comfortable hanging out around older women though, after living with her aunts for so long

Jenny: and what great aunts

Rachel: which brings us to Hilda and Zelda, and also my absolute favorite character, who better never have anything happen to him

Jenny: hilda is so important to me
and ambrose is fine as hell
(lololololol — hell — see what i did there)

CC: (lololol)
agreed on all these points



Rachel: Hilda and Zelda have a real Cain and Abel from Sandman thing happening
in that — spoiler alert — Zelda has been killing Hilda for ages
and she keeps coming back



CC: as an older sister these two images make me feel so much guilt lol

Rachel: lol yeah!!! jeezzz
But I love Hilda, I can’t wait for her to pop off and get a murder in on Zelda
I’m def placing my bets that that happens at least once before the season is out

Jenny: hilda is all i have ever wanted to be
should we make clear where we’re all at in the series?
like, rachel — are you planning to come to each roundtable w the fresh perspective

CC: oh yeah def

Rachel: oh yeah! I have only season episodes 1 and 2

CC: omg
I’ve seen up through ep 8

Rachel: I’ll be the baby, fresh to each arc

Jenny: ok and i will be the keeper of the spoilers
until cc finishes

CC: lol then there won’t be help for any of us L O L
I’ll wait as long as I can to keep watching

Jenny: such restraint
so i will not say whether or not hilda kills zelda in this season
but i will say, that i love this house



Jenny: right up there w thistlehouse tbh
i think i like the outside of this better, actually

Rachel: i love the outside AND the inside of this house

CC: it’s full of actual magical objects so I am going to put it to the top of my witch house #goals list

Jenny: i was reading some behind-the-scenes stuff, and apparently, all those shoes on the wall outside hilda/zelda’s room represent a curse that zelda has placed on someone
it never gets brought up w/in the text of the show
so i figured it didn’t count as spoilers


Rachel: ahh!! i love that!!

Jenny: but yeah — she, like, traps the hex in the shoe
or uses the shoe to manifest the curse??
idk idk

CC: Zelda coming out with the cursed shoes
what a hero
so: I want to jump in w some meaty content right off the bat
I wanna get yalls’ pulse as we go through the season
My opinion about resurrection and death magic is: not even once; the only time people get brought back from the dead by magic and AREN’T all messed up about it is like, every season of sailor moon
otherwise: do not kill anybody, but especially not because you think they’ll just walk off their resurrection

Jenny: i mean, we’ve def all seen practical magic

CC: A+++
what do y’all think
death magic:
even once??

Jenny: personally i would not trust myself to successfully resurrect somebody?? but also just w/in a narrative framework, resurrection never works and can never work — death in stories is meant to be as final as death in life/is meant to teach people to deal w the finality of it; so having a resurrection work is usually a sign of lazy writing
like, just a do-over for the writer so they can explore something new
which, is maybe not necessarily lazy
but which does feel more like a personal exercise than like something to present to an audience
feels v indulgent

Rachel: my question about zelda killing hilda so much, I wonder if it counts as death magic
or if there’s something there about how they’re sisters
Zelda literally says “I’m your older sister and it’s my Satan-given right to kill you as many times as I like”
there’s something specific happening there

Jenny: yeah so maybe the rules are just different for witches?

Rachel: yeah, especially familial witches??
like, if Zelda killed Ambrose, I doubt he’d come back

CC: i feel like that sentiment would be right at home with all those wine mom birthday cards at the witch grocery store
on a sister witch birthday card

Jenny: lolololol

Rachel: oh wait, let’s talk more about Ambrose
and also Salem
so Ambrose is Sabrina’s cousin and has been trapped in the Spellman house for 75 years, as punishment for some crime we don’t know about



Jenny: and Salem is a goblin whom Sabrina called forth from the wilds to become her familiar
salem’s goblin form is so scary
like a scary lil ghost

Rachel: yes!! he’s so spooky!
it’s interesting that he talks to Sabrina, but he never talks where we, the viewers, can hear him

Jenny: this is his goblin form — rarely seen — but he’s usually a cute black cat, as we’re familiar

CC: (you’re on a roll tonight lol)

Jenny: (thank)
yeah idk about that decision — i think it makes sense to avoid a recreation of that sitcom puppet
like, the presentation of talking animals is almost always too cheesy
and i think having him talk would’ve been weird w this tone

CC: even though that puppet was the high point of television
maybe the greatest puppet of all time, at the very least

Rachel: yeah I think it’s great that he talks to sabrina
but not to us
like, it implies there’s a magical connection there
which I dig

CC: ok but on the other hand:



Rachel: lol
we could be getting this content

Jenny: they would’ve had to break that back out if this had been a 90s period piece
instead of whatever weird timestorm it actually is

Rachel: I am kind of bummed it’s not a true period piece
set in the 60s

CC: the time period as per the show really feels weird
we know they have cell phones but otherwise
this show seems to take place in a weird historical vacuum

Jenny: yeah cell phones and laptops and modern vernacular but also old-ass cars and so much plaid

Rachel: well it does leave room for more progressive and modern politics
and characters

Jenny: i feel like the decision to specify “This Year” felt like too much
like, they could’ve just said, like Tuesday, October 28th
and left it at that
“This Year” really felt like too much
like they were a little self-congratulatory for Really Making This TIMELESS, as we know the riverdale writers to be
not timeless
but self-congratulatory
i mean

Rachel: yeah i def see where you’re coming from

Jenny: i love this show, absolutely, but these writers always think they’re better than they are
and speaking of the “TIMELESSNESS”



Jenny: if we were really going off the laptops and cell phones and phrasing
this picture would’ve been taken in like, 2002??
maybe 1999??

CC: what a couple of GOTHS
getting that filter at the Glamor Shotz at the mall

Jenny: went to one of those fake western ghost towns where you pose with the props and they take a sepia-filter picture of you

CC: yeah 100%
that’s my read on it

Jenny: but these writers



Jenny: like, this is the whole show
we’re going to throw this spooky shit at you but it’s not really as spooky as all that
i mean — some of it is
definitely this is better than riverdale
but i think there is a little issue w their spooky eyes being a little bigger than their spooky stomachs

Rachel: that’s for sure true at least in these 2 episodes

CC: I guess just from these first 2 episodes, they kinda hint at all this spoopy nonsense but at the end of the day

Jenny: like was def p disappointed by the satan mask they’ve got — could be scarier

CC: the show is like 80% witches saying “satan bless you” whenever somebody sneezes

Jenny: lolololol

Rachel: oh wait!!!
we have to talk about my other three favorite characters!!
the students from the Unseen Academy

Jenny: hell yes hell yes hell yes
i love them!

Rachel: at first I was like, I dunno, they’re going to hard on my girl Brina
but their aesthetic is just so
so so good



Jenny: i think we all know what “gal pals” means in this, the year of our dark lord, 2018

CC: satan bless prudence

Jenny: prudence is THE BEST



Rachel: i cannot wait to see how this relationship builds in future episodes
and really, this leads me to the thing that CC pointed out to us IRL
that I think will be the big crux of this show
all these witches (men and women, but specifically women) are doing the bidding of a dark LORD
and Sabrina is here to fuck up the witch patriarchy

CC: man this show
this show is So Much
it’s really hard to figure out what they are trying to do and what is incidental, imo
for the same reason it is with riverdale

Jenny: ain’t that just the way

CC: there are so many good points and so many problematic things that they either overlooked or just didn’t seem to think through all the way????
I stand by the point that I think this show sets up patriarchy as the real big bad of the season, in that for some reason powerful men are calling the shots when all of these women are actual witches and there are only like 3 male characters with lines
I don’t wanna get too far into stuff that is ahead of us though so I will focus on this episode and say I heard about the scene where sabrina and the 3 mean boarding school witches hex those boys to make out and while it was tamer than the internet led me to believe it’d be, it was def still an uncomfortable moment for the show

Rachel: yeah i feel like they try to take it as an opportunity to point out / exploit the homophobia that most bro squads in high school encourage
but it also felt so icky and weird and it could easily be interpreted as way more problematic

CC: god i can’t believe i’m in “team two wrongs don’t make a right” right now and resent this show for ever bringing me here bc I love 2 feel vengeance but I do think that making this point by eroding the bros’ consent is not excellent – even though these bros almost definitely wouldn’t care about consent if the shoe was on the other foot????? given the way they talk about women???
god!!! how am i supposed to be feeling about this ?????????? god damn it riverdale writers
i’m sure we’re collectively thinking about this 40 times longer than they did

Jenny: p much guaranteed
they’re just out here all



Rachel: oh def
but having said all that, y’all ready for final thoughts?

CC: oh my god wow we’re already here!!!

Jenny: there’s so much more to discuss w 2 eps, but yeah i think final thoughts time is upon us

Rachel: so here’s mine
and y’all probably already know this but



and also I’d like to personally apologize to Richard Coyle because I know he left Coupling because he didn’t want to get typecast as Jeff
but damn, I fucking flipped

Jenny: this guy really turned is life in some direction

Rachel: I’m so proud of you Richard Coyle
you’ve come so far

CC: somehow still using the same amount of hair gel for both of these #looks

Jenny: lololol

CC: my final thought is:
even though ms wardwell got like 10x hotter after she got possessed by madame satan
I am just going to say it
she had it in her the whole time

Jenny: it’s true

CC: let’s all live our lives with the confidence of a spinster teacher possessed by an ancient evil and bring that sexy ambiance into the world
ambiance isn’t the right word
that sexy atmosphere
just take it with you everywhere you go
a demon possessing you couldn’t just manifest it from nothing

Rachel: that je ne sais quoi


Jenny: yes we all have the potential for demonic sexiness
it’s been in us all along
i think my final thought is
if this show has taught me anything, it’s that you can love something with all of your heart and all of your soul and still be aware of and critical of its faults
like, def the consent issue in the shitty-men cave scene
but also prudence
i love her so so much
but these writers
they have all this hanging imagery around the executed witches
and they’re just not addressing that??

CC: oh god yeah

Jenny: it’s important to cast people of color, but it’s also important to write for people of color
idk idk
i’m not sure i’m someone to be going on about this
but it’s that old riverdale laziness coming through
but i still love this show
and prudence, especially
and i like that they’re so about women supporting women!



Jenny: i just wish the writers took that more to heart

Rachel: despite its faults, i am still pretty stoked to watch more

CC: i really just want to see where this ends!
also: kiernan shipka is killin it and so are her eyebrows and I am hoping for the best

Jenny: oh def
she’s too good for these writers




In the mood for even more Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Hot Takes? Head on over to our Patreon and check out some extra content we couldn’t fit into this post. See y’all back here next week for even more Sabrina-themed hexin’, cursin’, and cussin’.

Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Rachel is a designer and artist from Texas. She is pro-feminism, pro-crones, and pro-dogs. She's also Boss Crone at POMEgranate Magazine, and one day hopes to be able to drink her tea without so much milk and sugar.
CC Calanthe

CC Calanthe

If you prick your finger and write “Cat Fancy” on your mirror during a harvest moon, CC will appear behind you and make you put human clothes on your pets. CC is Head Crone in Charge at POMEgranate Magazine, as well as the co-host of Moon Podcast Power MAKE UP!!
Jenny Mott

Jenny Mott

Jenny is just a Silly Nerd with a lot of Feelings about Comic Books and Friendship and also This Capitalist Yoke We All Share; she enjoys Dogs and Sleeping and Cartoons. Her three favorite words are: Breakfast All Day.

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