Note: Contains MAJOR spoilers for Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 3.
"Oh of course, it's about a boy," said Lilith, cuttingly, when she yanked Sabrina and little Lucy Anderson back from the brink of death.
The pair, despite the young Morningstar's best efforts, were trapped inside Jimmy Platt's freezer with no hope of escape.
Her powers had been rendered useless by sigil magic, and her only option was to sit and wait in the hope that someone would rescue them, like the Disney Princesses of yesteryear – a hard pill to swallow considering she had faced much worse, and won.
But just in the nick of time, Madam Satan appeared, freeing the pair from an icy demise and taking a moment to impart a very important lesson:
Sabrina season 3 kicked off with the protagonist on a mission to drag her boyfriend back from Hell, which she managed a lot quicker than we expected because that was only half the battle.
Sabrina's father the Dark Lord had been imprisoned within the young warlock, and to truly get him back she would need to exorcise Lucifer and trap him in another host.
That's where Jimmy Platt came in. But her plan backfired spectacularly. Sabrina, blinded by love, cast aside her better judgement, and it would have been curtains if not for Lilith.
For a significant chunk of part three, Sabrina's only concern is "a boy", abandoning her family, the Fright Club and the coven for Nick.
Lilith is forced to remind her, repeatedly, that the consequences of blindly following her heart will result in ruin – "The business of Hell doesn't stop for anyone, not even for a queen" – as it very nearly did when the pagans resurrected the Green Man, slayed the witches and assumed power the first time around.
It's deeply frustrating watching a protagonist that Kiernan Shipka previously branded "a strong, independent woman" (via Variety) agonise over her boyfriend, risking it all for him. She is unrecognisable in places, particularly when she pleaded with Nick not to end their relationship.
Teen love has always been a fun part of the show, but it's never been Sabrina's sole motivation or its driving force.
After initially looking like CAOS had lost its way, however, there was a crucial shift. Granted, it was Nick that ended their relationship, but the turning point arrived when Sabrina read him the riot act after he made a barbed remark about her and Caliban.
She acknowledged his suffering, but she also gave him what for, referencing his cheating and his lies – Nick willingly worked for the Dark Lord, after all.
"Don't ever disrespect me again," she said, rejecting his "drama and narcissism", her black leather jacket fitting her that little bit better – cue dramatic music, sassy head tilt and a walk to rival that of Gisele Bündchen.
Following on from that, she performed the cord cutting spell, severing her emotional ties with Nick as she slowly started to find her feet again.
Mr Scratch wasn't the only one who had lost part of themself. Sabrina had too.
We should add that without Prudence's prompting – she questioned why Sabrina would want to be with him considering how mismatched they were, not to mention the warlock consistently blaming the titular character for his actions – CAOS has gone some way to righting its past mishandling of her.
The series has been accused of failing its characters of colour on multiple occasions, one of the most striking examples being the lynching of Prudence, a mixed-race woman, at the hands of Sabrina, a white woman, as part of The Harrowing in season one.
The character of Prudence has also been criticised for further feeding into the angry black woman stereotype, the Weird Sister painted as a villain in contrast to Sabrina, the socially progressive defender of the realms.
The barely-there clothing and gratuitous nudity, especially given the age of its younger characters, is another area where it can also detract from the good work that the series does in other places.
You could argue that the world the characters are operating in is an imperfect one and all of its women, magical or not, are bound by traditions that hinder them, internalising that misogyny as a result. But regardless of their actions, the camera could choose not to linger. We don't have to see everything.
Sabrina had to fall down to rise up again. She needed to fail, repeatedly, to give her that moment of clarity and shut the door on that chapter with Nick.
We all stumble from time to time, even the Queen of Hell, but with "an even darker force on the horizon", Sabrina needed to remember exactly who she was in preparation for the battle ahead.
Digital Spy now has a newsletter – sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox.
You Might Also Like