10:00 am EST, January 25, 2020

‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ part 3 review: Is this now the magical ‘Riverdale’?

Read our spoiler-filled review of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 3!

After Nick sacrificed himself to condemn Lucifer to hell, locking Lucifer within his own body, Sabrina’s on a mission to rescue her love from the depths of hell… though someone doesn’t want him to leave.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 3 focuses much more on Sabrina’s high school life than the previous season, though the magical world continues to grow as Sabrina’s trip to hell in the premiere leads to a few unexpected consequences, changing the course of her life once again. Meanwhile, with Father Blackwood ousted and the coven realizing that Lucifer is a piece of shit, Zelda takes charge of the Academy and sets Greendale’s witches on a new path.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 3 is definitely not what I was expecting following the aftermath of part 2’s near apocalyptic, challenging events. These episodes saw some major changes from the first two parts, especially in terms of tone and character development. It was like a completely different show.

(Spoilers to come)

Summing up ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ part 3: magical ‘Riverdale’

When watching Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 1, I declared in my review that Sabrina was everything Riverdale is not. While this was true for the first 20 episodes, the same cannot be said about Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 3.

Riverdale has taken a lot of heat over the last few years, for many various reasons that are much too complicated and drawn out to explore here. When Chilling Adventures of Sabrina began, myself and many others were surprised by the quality of this show in comparison to Riverdale, even though both shows come from the same mind(s).

Sadly, that’s no longer the case. Instead of thoughtful commentary on the world, morality, and social issues, with strong characters to back it up, the characters became very one-dimensional this season, and W.I.C.C.A was replaced with cheerleading and musical numbers — a staple of Riverdale since their first season.

Everything about Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 3 was very one note, not really leaving behind anything impactful or memorable (like the first two parts did). The stories didn’t particularly flow, and the finale was absolutely terrible. I don’t know who in Hollywood said that time travel and multiple timelines should be a part of every television show, but I want them fired. Sabrina was on a different level because of the depth and darkness of the characters and the world, but that all but faded away and made way for Sabrina to refer to Harvey and Roz as “endgame” (the worst line in all of today’s teen dramas).

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 3

Planning a move to The CW?

With how this season was written, it felt like the writers were preparing for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to move to The CW, where Riverdale is currently airing, to be open for crossovers in the future and match the tones of the show. Aside from the tonal and character shifts, there were also many Riverdale references, many more than previous seasons, including a few mentions of Riverdale’s infamous Blossom family, Pop’s, and even a trip to the “town with pep” for Sabrina and Ambrose.

With Katy Keene premiering soon on The CW (read our spoiler-free review of the series premiere), this universe is growing. Add in Netflix’s habit of cancelling shows after three or four seasons, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the writers were preparing for the inevitable.

Sabrina Spellman’s complete character assassination

Above all, I’m most disappointed in how Sabrina was written on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 3. I could have gotten past all of the above, because I actually do enjoy Riverdale for what it is, but this did not feel like the Sabrina Spellman that was previously one of my favorite TV characters.

During these episodes, Sabrina feels unbelievably selfish and even narcissistic at times. Sure, she’s had her moments in the past, but isn’t the point of telling a coming of age story to see the characters grow and learn from their past mistakes? With every passing episode, Sabrina feels like she’s regressing; she’s far regressed past the incredible, thoughtful character she was in the series premiere. Her attitude almost feels like that of Riverdale‘s Cheryl Blossom; if they had Cheryl fill in for Sabrina this season, it would have made just as much sense.

And somehow, a lot of this always seems to come down to a man, doesn’t it? 90% of Sabrina’s attention throughout the episodes was on Nick. Since they got together on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 2, it’s been all about Nick. Whereas Harvey was a character in Sabrina’s story, Sabrina often feels like a character in Nick’s story.

I understand that he went through something traumatic, but he treated her like shit so many times (and let’s not forget he was spying on her for Lucifer before going to hell). There’s no excuse for that, no matter what, but Sabrina just sat around and excused it until the final episodes. The Sabrina from part 1 would have never done that.

Lastly, much of Sabrina’s magic over the previous 20 episodes has come with often-terrible, unforeseen consequences. Resurrecting Harvey’s brother and cheating the spell? That led to a terrible outcome, much worse than if she had just let Tommy die as he was supposed to. And that’s just one example. How am I supposed to believe the Sabrina who has seen magic backfire would, 30 episodes in, cheat the system and create a timeline where there are two of her (which is going to be disastrous)?

Chilling adventures of sabrina

Looking on the bright side of ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ part 3

While my thoughts about Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 3 are mostly negative, it wasn’t all bad. For instance, I really adore what the series has done with Zelda Spellman. Taking over the Academy to teach the Greendale witches a new way, and appreciating Lilith in all her glory, was impeccable. Zelda has been meant to take charge since the very first episode, and it’s inspiring to see her do so and face the struggles that come with starting over.

(Plus, can we talk about that KISS? I absolutely did not see that coming, but it’s thrilling, and is one of the aspects I’m most excited about when part 4 comes around!)

Additionally, giving Theo a boyfriend was a great move, and it’s nice to see that the show isn’t shying away from showcasing Theo in all of his glory. Robin and Theo are an interesting couple, especially because he’s supernatural, so that’s another relationship I’m looking forward to seeing advance in the coming episodes.

All in all, I’m disappointed with Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 3. This show was so good and had so much potential, especially as it was darker and told better quality stories in the first two parts, but it’s like an entirely new writing staff was hired because the show did a 180 and became something else. Sabrina Spellman and the Greendale residents deserve more than to be treated as Riverdale 2.0.

Stay tuned for news about Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 4!

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