Brutal Deaths & Betrayals in 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' Chapter 27 (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Chapter 27, "The Judas Kiss."]
There is one word that comes to mind for this season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and that is — brutal. This episode, in particular, is relentless in its brutality, which is shocking given how bloody and violent this season has already been up until this point. And, once again, there are no quick fixes or easy plot resets. If this season has taught us anything, it's that there are lasting consequences to a person's actions.
"The Judas Kiss" (written by Lindsay Calhoon Bring) picks up immediately where the last episode left off, with Zelda (Miranda Otto) sprawled on the floor, blood pouring from her gunshot wound. Thankfully, she is not dead, well, not quite. Zelda is lost between the land of the dead and the living, according to Mambo Marie (Skye Marshall), who is on hand to help. She is essentially trapped in limbo, along with her sister Hilda (Lucy Davis), who was shot and buried in the Cain pit. But there is no easy way to bring the Spellman aunts back to the mortal realm, especially with the coven having limited powers.
This journey through the Nether Realm is a clever way to keep Hilda and Zelda in the episode without seeming like a cop-out. They're still technically dead but have an important role to play from beyond the grave. It also means we get to see Edward Spellman (Georgie Daburas) again, who guides his sisters on a sort of Christmas Carol style tour through the past, present, and future — or "the three phases of a witch's life" as Zelda puts it. This includes Zee's school days at the Academy, the arrival of baby Sabrina, and an old, gray-haired Zelda on her deathbed. "I didn't think I'd have to walk," moans Hilda of this Nether Realm odyssey. "I thought there would be some perks."
Initially, when I saw that Zelda wasn't "dead-dead," I thought, 'Ah right, Sabrina is going to go to limbo and bring her aunts back, and all will be well again.' But the show doesn't take the easy road. Early on, we're told there is going to be death, as signaled by the black-cloaked "banshee" that haunts the Spellman house; her distressing wails an omen that someone in the household is going to die soon. "Maybe more than one," warns Prudence (Tati Gabrielle). Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) refuses to accept that — there must be a way to save her aunts.
Once again, Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) comes up with a crafty plan, a siphoning spell, basically absorbing energy within the stone circles and transferring it into effigies of Zelda and Hilda. But to create enough power, it requires a group of young, energetic women who can chant in unison. Where would one find such a thing? Sabrina has just the idea — the Baxter High cheerleaders. With Roz (Jaz Sinclair) on board, Sabrina convinces the rest of the girls that the Academy is a performance art space. So we get High School Musical meets the occult, as the cheerleaders perform Toni Basil's "Mickey" while the witches chant an incantation.
However, the performance is interrupted by Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle) and the pagans, who are clearly not musical fans. Lilith's (Michelle Gomez) separation spell worked, meaning Lucifer (Luke Cook) is free of his flesh prison, and Blackwood is back. And not only that, but in exchange for impregnating Lilith (meaning she's carrying Satan's spawn), Blackwood is given the Mark of Cain, so he can't be killed. This makes Faustus more dangerous than ever, giving him the confidence to cut a deal with the pagans. He will help them destroy the coven if they help him get back something that was stolen from him — referring to both the magic Loch Ness egg and the twins.
Not only do we have this deadly alliance between Blackwood and the pagans, but the Dark Lord is back in Hell to reclaim his throne, and he is not happy with the state his daughter left the underworld in. Yet, Lucifer is sort of on a leash this episode. Firstly, he is unable to kill Madame Satan because she is now carrying his child, a son, according to her. Secondly, the lords of Hell reveal that there is an ongoing quest for the Unholy Regalia and that due to the Infernal Protocol, not even the Devil himself can interfere. Apparently, even Satan has to follow the rules and procedures.
When Sabrina teleports the coven to Hell in order to escape the pagans, she is confronted by her father, who tells her that "playtime is over." He needs her to forget about her aunts and the carnies and focus on finding the final item of the Unholy Regalia — Judas' 30 pieces of silver. If she finds them before Caliban (Sam Corlett), she can secure the throne, and therefore, rule alongside the Dark Lord. Sabrina, of course, wants to get back to save her aunts, but she doesn't have much choice. Even Ambrose tells her to do it, as securing the throne could give her the power to defeat the pagans. "All I have to do is betray my aunts," she says. "It is the Judas challenge," replies Ambrose.
It's harsh to say Sabrina's decision is a betrayal, but her absence does have destructive consequences. She heads to the ninth circle of Hell, where Judas is entombed in stone. In exchange for water, the great betrayer will tell her where to find his silver. There is an easy way and a hard way. The easy way is to betray someone she loves with a kiss. While Sabrina considers kissing Harvey (Ross Lynch) and ruining her friendship with him and Roz, she can't bring herself to do it. So the hard way it is, which means heading to the crypt of Vlad the Impaler and prising the coins from his cold dead hand.
I've really enjoyed these side-plot quests for the Unholy Regalia; they've all have had a nice mixture of horror and history. And this one might be my favorite, even though it's relatively short. Sabrina portals through to Vlad's crypt and takes the silver, but this awakens his skeleton corpse. Vlad, who apparently is Judas' son (was Judas a vampire?!), puts Sabrina into a hypnotic trance and manipulates her into letting him drink her blood. But when he bites his neck, her blood burns his tongue. That angel blood is potent! "Also, consent, it's real," Sabrina says as she boots Vlad in the face and takes the bag of silver.
But Sabrina's dance with the dracula is all for naught. It's all a dastardly trick. As she returns to Judas, he asks to feel the bag of silver in his hand one last time, which Sabrina stupidly obliges. As you might have guessed, Judas turns out to be Caliban in disguise. He swipes the silver and melds Sabrina into the rock, alongside Lucifer and Lilith, who have already been frozen into the stone beside her. Not only does Caliban gloat, but he hits Sabrina right where it hurts the most. "You chose this over your friends and family. That is betrayal..." he says.
Nick (Gavin Leatherwood), who is somewhat of an afterthought here, tells Sabrina something similar earlier in the episode before she heads through the portal. "The Sabrina I know would never leave her family for some stupid quest," he says. "But I guess you're not a Spellman now; you're a Morningstar." Is there some truth to this statement? Of course, it's been a recurring theme of the season that Sabrina enjoys the power that comes with ruling Hell. But to say she doesn't care for her friends and family is ridiculously out of touch. Everything she does is with them in mind.
That said, things are looking bleak for Sabrina's loved ones. Roz, Harvey, and Theo (Lachlan Watson) are hounded by the pagans, who are desperate to sacrifice a virgin to bring the Green Man to Earth. While Theo and Robin hook up, taking Theo off the table as a potential sacrifice, Harvey and Roz are unable to seal the deal because Roz's cunning keeps showing her Harvey and Sabrina getting it on---which is a bit of mood killer. Not only does this give Roz a crisis about her relationship, especially when Harvey accidentally mentions the Pygmalion spell not working, but it means Harvey is still a virgin and, therefore, a prime target for the pagans.
Robin, who reveals himself to be a Hobgoblin (that janky baseball cap was hiding his elf-life ears), does his best to save his new mortal friends, teleporting them out of harm's way. He also explains what the pagans are planning, which involves lots of plant-based analogies. But the carnies are too powerful and continue to track them down. As Roz states, they need Sabrina. They even try using Sabrina's magik marker to contact her, but the SOS message ends up going through to Nick, who does show up to offer his help, but with the coven weakened, not even he is strong enough to fight off the pagans.
And so, at the end of the episode, with Sabrina in the far beyond, Greendale descends into utter chaos. You have the Fright Club kidnapped, Robin and Nick allegedly dead (though we don't see Nick's body, so I don't buy it), and Harvey about to sacrificed to some freaky tree god. There's some gnarly business as the tree vines wrap around Harvey's naked body. Meanwhile, Blackwood rampages around town, picking up Agatha (Adeline Rudolph) as his lackey. Agatha, still under the pagans' spell, kills her sister Dorcas (Abigail Cowen) and attempts to do the same to Prudence. But Prudence fights her off, having to kill her.
Blackwood uses the distraction to stab Prudence — his own daughter — in the back. Prudence was right that more than one person would die in the Spellman house, as she passes away in Ambrose's arms. Unfortunately, Blackwood's killing spree doesn't end there. You see, just as Zelda figures out what she needs to do and wakes up from her limbo coma, Blackwood sends her right back to the afterlife with a vicious stab to the gut. It's perhaps the most shocking moment Sabrina as ever pulled off, not just for its brutality but for the way it sneakily plays with expectations. Just when you think Zee is back to save the day, she is snuffed out, maybe for good?
Now, the way this usually goes, we should expect Sabrina to somehow escape her predicament and return to Earth to rescue her friends and family in the season finale. But with how this season has gone, part of me wonders if we're about to see a really bleak ending. Remember, Sabrina splits its seasons into two-parts, so with Part 4 likely heading our way later in the year, perhaps they want to leave us on the darkest, most shocking, and yes, brutal cliffhanger.
- No word on whether or not Dr. C is dead for real. I mean, in the Nether Realm, Zelda reminds Hilda that she killed him. "Even in death you have to ruin things," Hilda says. But as I said with Nick, unless we see a body (and even then you can't be sure), I'm not buying it.
- Not much action for the real Ms. Wardwell this episode after her assassination of Aunt Zelda. But murder sure has made her crotchety, as she snipes at the school children, an uncharacteristic outburst from the usually genial teacher.
- The one thing I am concerned about for the finale is regarding the magic Loch Ness egg. We were told that the egg can bend time and space, so I just worry about some deus ex machina cop-out where everything that's happened is wiped out and reset by traveling back in time. I hope the writers are above that trickery.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Part 3, Streaming, Netflix