The Coven Is Under Attack in ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Chapter 26 (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Chapter 26, “All of Them Witches.”]
Throughout the history of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the characters have battled sleep demons, murderous angels, cannibalistic witches, and a whole host of other ghastly creatures. But who knew that a group of pagans would pose the biggest threat to the Church of Night? I’m not sure we’ve ever seen the coven on the backfoot quite like this and all because of some creepy carnies with a thirst for virgin blood.
Let’s not bury the lead here; we have two dead Spellmans on our hands. Hilda (Lucy Davis) is shot by her sister in an act of mercy and then buried in the Cain pit — hopefully, to reemerge no longer looking like a human-spider-monster. And Zelda (Miranda Otto) is shot on her own doorstep by a vengeful, witch-hating Ms. Wardwell (Michelle Gomez). Talk about a double whammy dramatic cliffhanger! Now, it’s often hard to buy into a character’s death in a show like Sabrina, which can magically bring people back to life with a cutesy rhyme or sip of potion. But if there was ever a time for death to stick, it’s right now, with the Church of Night weakened and powerless.
The rise of the pagans has come at the worst possible time for the coven, who have had their powers drained by a butthurt Dark Lord (Luke Cook). It’s forced them to take desperate measures, like summoning a group of hedge witches to the Academy in the hope of joining forces. “We have a common enemy,” Zelda explains. “There are only two options: unite or die.” But these disenfranchised witches aren’t exactly jumping at the chance to help the Church of Night, which for years rejected their kind. Child-stealing Gryla (Heather Doerksen), especially, is not pleased to have been summoned against her will.
Thankfully, Zelda finds a supporter in Haitian High Priestess Mambo Marie (Skye Marshall), who was invited to the party by Prudence (Tati Gabrielle). “Witches should not fight each other, that’s what men do,” she says. “Witch women, we can do more than fight.” Zelda offers sanctuary (and gin) to the hedge witches and the promise of a new coven, one which they can rebuild together. In exchange, she needs their powers to help hold off and potentially defeat the formidable pagans. And so, once all is settled, this ragtag group of outcast witches begins sharing their abilities and skills.
Meanwhile, Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) steps away from the Academy — mostly to avoid Nick (Gavin Leatherwood) — and goes to check on her mortal friends. Roz (Jaz Sinclair) is still frozen into stone, and her situation isn’t improving. Robin (Jonathan Whitesell) has also come clean about his ties to the pagans, but he makes it clear he wants nothing to do with them. While a double-cross is never out of the question, I believe we’re meant to take Robin at face value here. He tells the group about the pagans’ plans, how they want to resurrect the old gods, starting with the Green Man, which requires a virgin sacrifice.
For once, Sabrina seems unsure of what to do. She has always been the person her friends turn to in their time of need. But she is powerless right now. In steps Caliban (Sam Corlett), who promises to help lift Roz’s curse, but only if Sabrina will listen to his proposal. With her options limited, Sabrina doesn’t have a choice. She joins Caliban in his research of a Pygmalion spell that can be used to return Roz to flesh. The spell is based on the Greek sculptor Pygmalion, who carved a woman out of ivory and fell in love with his creation. He wished the statue to come to life, but in exchange, he had to give up his greatest love, sculpting. Harvey will have to make a similar sacrifice to bring Roz back to life.
As for his proposal, Caliban suggests working with Sabrina to find the third Unholy Regalia item. They could align and take the throne together, ruling over Hell in tandem, as a married couple. He’s even willing to take attacking Earth off the table. Sabrina initially scoffs at the suggestion, but it’s a trade to save her best friend. And so, the young monarch humors the cocky surfer bro, suggesting a few other terms to the potential deal. Not only will Earth remain off-limits, but there will be no more enslavement, and their relationship would be strictly “political, not romantic.” Caliban seems willing to accept, as he wants exactly what Sabrina wants… “power.”
The trouble is, Caliban’s spell doesn’t fix Roz, although it’s not entirely his fault. As the gang carries Roz’s broken body parts (oh yeah, the statue was knocked over and smashed to pieces) to where she and Harvey first kissed, at Baxter High, Caliban tells Harvey that after he casts the spell, he will never be able to kiss Roz again. If he does, Roz will be turned back into stone forever. Harvey does his best sad face and accepts the deal, reading out his message to the ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite. But nothing happens. Caliban explains that the offer was rejected because Harvey must not really love Roz — she is not his heart’s true desire.
As always, Harvey flies off the handle and wants to fight. But Caliban is not wrong. The young Kinkle boy clearly still loves Sabrina; we see it in his actions and reactions. When Sabrina tells him that she and Nick never had sex and that they’ve broken up, Harvey can barely disguise his delight. And this conversation happens over Roz’s broken body, for Satan’s sake! It’s not all on Harvey, though. Sabrina obviously still cares for him too. He was her first love, after all. She even admits, to Salem, that part of her will always love Harvey, though that might be a rose-tinted view of the past due to her current issues with Nick.
Nick’s pissy attitude post-break-up isn’t doing him any favors. He is nothing but mean and selfish. Prudence offers Sabrina some advice, telling her to use a cord-cutting spell, which would make all the pain of her broken heart go away. But Sabrina is hesitant, in case the break up is just temporary and they get back together. “Is that what you want?” asks Prudence before telling Sabrina that she and Nick were never a match. “Did he ever say thanks for saving his life, for helping him get clean?” The answer is no, and Sabrina knows it. Nick never once said thank you for what Sabrina did to save him.
In fact, the way Nick has treated Sabrina since she brought him back from Hell has been rather sh**ty, and he can’t blame it all on the Dark Lord. In this episode, his jealousy rears its head, as he accuses Sabrina of already moving onto the Prince of Hell. I mean, Nick is right that Caliban wants to marry the young witch, but he is wrong to judge Sabrina and call her a liar because of it. “I never lied, unlike you,” she snaps at Nick before delivering the ultimate burn. “I’m truly sorry for what you went through, but you’re not a martyr or innocent,” she says. “So don’t ever disrespect me again. I have more to deal with than your drama and narcissism.”
Anyway, romantic hubbub aside, the Pygmalion spell is a bust, so the Fright Club needs another way to save Roz. Suddenly, Robin pipes up to suggest using the carny fortune-teller, Circe (Lucie Guest), who has the power to transform people with merely a single touch. Sabrina says what we’re all thinking: “Why didn’t you tell us this earlier?” To be fair, Robin has a valid reason for not sharing this particular plan sooner. Circe is an incredibly dangerous witch and could just as easily turn them all to stone as she could return Roz to flesh. So getting to her is going to require some nifty work — enter the hedge witches.
Sabrina gets the witches drunk on wine and convinces them to stop waiting and playing defense and instead take the fight to the pagans now! Using Ambrose’s (Chance Perdomo) circle of stones, this rabble of witches gathers to cast a protection spell over Sabrina as she strides into the carnival. Each of the witches uses their unique powers to dispose of any potential attacker, allowing Sabrina to grab Circe and teleport her to the Academy, where she is forced to turn Roz and Dorcas (Abigal Cowen) back to flesh. Oh, and shoutout to Salem, who plays his part in distracting Circe.
It’s a small victory for the coven, but there is a bigger problem brewing. The spider spell that Circe put on Hilda is spinning out of control. Hilda is basically a full-on spider-woman now and believes it’s only a matter of time before she dies. She wants to spend one last night with Dr. C (Alessandro Juliani) , watching The Munsters and singing Sweeney Todd tunes. And even though Dr. C is petrified (and who wouldn’t be?!), he sticks by his fiance in her time of need. But the thing is, Hilda isn’t dying, if anything, she’s getting stronger, especially after she wraps up a rude customer in her web and devours him. Later, she unable to stop herself from suffocating Dr. C in her web, though we don’t see him die, so I’m not counting him out yet.
Having tried various spells and incantations, Hilda realizes there is only one option. She calls Zelda and asks her to bring a gun. “Shoot me, please,” Hilda pleads to her sister. While Zelda hesitates at first, she realizes this is probably the only way. Remember, when we first introduced to the Spellman aunts in Season 1, Zelda enjoyed killing Hilda and then burying her in the garden where she would reanimate a few hours later. Zelda’s hope is that when Hilda reemerges, the curse will be lifted, and she’ll return to the normal, adorably awkward sister she knows and loves. Though, as the episode ends, Hilda is still underground, which is certainly worrying.
And Zelda might never know if her plan worked. You see, while she is focused on the pagans, the Dark Lord is busy plotting his revenge. Firstly, he tracks down Lilith, who, after abandoning Hell and being turned away by the coven, takes shelter in the home of a “good Christian woman.” Of course, that good Christian woman is Ms. Wardwell, and Lilith tricks her way into the good Samaritan’s home by disguising herself as Adam (Alexis Denisof). But Lucifer is on hot on her trail. Still held within Father Blackwood’s (Richard Coyle) flesh, the Devil tells Wardwell all about the dark forces of Greendale, revealing that the Spellmans are witches and the ones responsible for Adam’s death.
This false revelation, combined with seeing a version of herself when Lucifer reveals Lilith’s face, sets Ms. Wardwell on a revenge mission. She sneaks over to the Spellman house, where she watches Zelda burying Hilda in the backyard. After Zelda returns inside and talks of putting the family unit back together, she is interrupted by a knock at the door. An optimistic Zelda walks over to the front door, expecting her dirt-covered sister to be on the other side, only to be met by a pistol-packing Ms. Wardwell. “This is for Adam,” she says as she fires a bullet into Zelda’s chest. Damn.
As I said earlier, you have to take a death in Sabrina with a huge sip of witch’s brew. But, I don’t know, something about this one makes me think the show could make a bold move in killing off a main character. It would be a necessary act to show that there are real stakes involved. Although, I’m not sure I could take the loss of both Hilda and Zelda at the same time. Whatever happens, the coven is in turmoil, which should make for a compelling couple of final episodes.
- It should be noted that at the end of the episode, Sabrina follows through with the cord-cutting spell. But she doesn’t just scratch Nick’s name on the candle, she writes Harvey’s too. This is just inviting Caliban to swoop in.
- Thinking about it, maybe Hilda deserved to die for picking The Munsters over The Addams Family.
- There’s a great scene between Zelda and Mambo Marie, where the Haitian High Priestess assuages Aunt Zee’s fears and promises to use her magic to help fight off the old gods. And it seems, by the episode’s end, Mambo Marie and her brand of magic are accepted into the coven. She’s even given a role as teacher to twins Judith and Judas (still living inside that dollhouse).
- Even though Lucifer gets his hands on Lilith, one should not count out Madame Satan just yet. While bathing the Dark Lord and prepping for a separation ritual, Lilith is able to put him to sleep and wake up Blackwood.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Part 3, Streaming, Netflix