'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' Chapter 31: All Things Weird & Wonderful (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Chapter 31, "The Weird One."]
The Eldritch terrors continue in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as The Weird descends upon Greendale for some tentacle-filled trauma. It's another solid monster-of-the-week installment; however, I'm starting to worry that the Eldritch terrors are losing their impact. For what are supposedly "unkillable" ancient entities, it hasn't exactly taken much to defeat them so far. Don't get me wrong, I get that there are still five more terrors to come, and each one is meant to be progressively worse than the last. It's reasonable then that the first few are not going to be too powerful. But I would like to see some cause and effect on the way to the finale.
The Weird itself is cool — a slimy octopus creature that can attach itself to a human host and take control. This maniacal mollusk slithers around looking for an empty vessel, and it finds the ideal candidate in Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka). Thematically, this all ties together. Sabrina currently has a void in her life, an emptiness she is desperately trying to fill. Her desperation is seen here as she concocts her Frankenstein spell, making a hybrid of Harvey (Ross Lynch) and Nick (Gavin Leatherwood) from candle wax. I mean, who doesn't wish they could grow their ideal romantic partner in the bathtub? Remember those Baby Alien Egg toys that were meant to hatch and grow when put in water? That's what this reminded me of, except Sabrina's spell actually worked and didn't just leave a pile of goo in the kitchen sink.
While Sabrina waits for her wax-boy to grow, she meets another potential suitor, Lucas, who recently transferred to Baxter High to join the swim team. Sabrina and Lucas hit it off when they're assigned each other as lab partners. There's some mild flirting and a dinner date before an eventual hook-up. But their first kiss comes to an abrupt halt when it's discovered Sabrina's tongue is covered in octopus-like suckers (Sabrina later blames it on an allergic reaction to calamari, which is pretty funny). Lucas is freaked out and makes a run for it, while Sabrina consults with her cousin to find out what the hell is happening to her. Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) confirms the worst; she's possessed by the third Eldritch terror.
There's some excellent body-horror here between the suckered-tongue and the tentacles wriggling around Sabrina's intestines. Ambrose is afraid of surgically removing the creature in case he damages a vital organ. So, it's decided the best way to make it leave is to make Sabrina's body inhospitable. Octopi need water to survive, so if they drain the water from Sabrina's body, perhaps "the naughty little bugger" (Ambrose's words) will leave of its own accord. Ambrose enlists Sycorax (Kaylah Zander), the river witch, to cast a draining spell on Sabrina, and Nick tags along too, I guess for moral support? The spell works, relatively easily, as Sabrina pukes up the lifeless body of The Weird.
Except, that's not quite it. While The Weird's physical form might have died, its consciousness remains inside Sabrina's head. The terror suddenly takes over Sabrina's body during an afternoon biology class. "We are The Weird," she states as she puts her entire class under mind control. Well, everyone except for Lucas, who remains awake and thoroughly confused through all of this. Possessed Sabrina orders her teacher and classmates to take their scalpels to their throats. "Kill yourselves in tribute to my brothers and sisters," she demands. This is where I thought we were going to get some real consequences to show the threat of the terrors. Unfortunately, Ambrose gets there in time and puts everyone, including Sabrina, under a sleep spell.
Similar to earlier, Sabrina now has to make her head inhospitable. This requires an even greater effort as Sabrina is essentially fighting with her own consciousness. "You were an empty vessel waiting to be filled," The Weird tells her, playing on her recent insecurities. Meanwhile, Ambrose brings in Pesta (Leanne Khol Young), the witch of pestilence, to infect Sabrina's brain with "every disease known to mankind." But Pesta's spell alone will not be enough; Sabrina will also have to engage in a battle of wills. While Pesta does her work, Sabrina sings "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" from The Sound of Music. Nick joins in the musical number as she begins to fade, and this is enough to catapult The Weird's consciousness out of Sabrina.
The scene itself is entertaining, and connects nicely to Sabrina's current predicament. Again, though, the terror is defeated rather handily without causing any lasting damage to Greendale or its residents. If anything, The Weird actually helps Sabrina gain some clarity. "The Weird told me I was empty," she tells Ambrose. "In a way, it was right. I'm empty and lost. But I've been trying to fill myself with the wrong thing." With this, Sabrina heads upstairs to the tub and decides to pull the plug on her wax-boy. "Boys, I think I need to be alone for a little while," she says. "I need to figure out who I am on my own."
This is a positive for both Sabrina and the rest of the season. I didn't like the idea of Sabrina thinking she needed a boyfriend in her life to make herself feel whole.
- Speaking of characters coming to realizations, Roz (Jaz Sinclair) has an interesting development of her own. In fact, the Roz story is perhaps more intriguing than The Weird: It turns out that Roz is a witch, news which is delivered to her via Mambo Marie (Skye Marshall). What Roz refers to as "The Cunning" was just a term her God-fearing ancestors came up with to distance themselves from witchcraft, which has always been seen as the devil's work.
- Mambo wants to bring Roz into The Academy to help in the war against the Eldritch terrors, though Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) is skeptical. Roz aces her witch test, though. There's a great moment where Roz, Prudence, and Mambo declare themselves the new Weird Sisters, assigning themselves as watchers of the realms.
- Roz's arrival at The Academy comes just at the right time, as she's able to use her Cunning to foresee an attack from the Plague Kings, who are sent to Greendale by Caliban (Sam Corlett) on a mission to snatch Lilith's (Michelle Gomez) baby. While Lucifer (Luke Cook) and Sabrina are touring the nine circles of Hell, Caliban is left in charge, and he never wants to relinquish that power, which could happen once a new heir is born. A pregnant Lilith heads to the sanctuary of the Academy, where Zelda (Miranda Otto), Hilda (Lucy Davis), and the rest of the witches use their combined efforts to bring about the safe birth of baby Adam. When the Kings arrive to take the child, the witches call upon the Dark Mother Hecate to hold them off, killing one and sending the other scurrying back to Hell.
- It also should be noted that the tentacle aesthetics of this episode are excellent. There's even a cupcake in one scene with frosting that looks like suckers.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Part 4, Streaming, Netflix