The show’s creative team decided to take pity upon us with “The Returned” after putting us through the emotional ringer in episode five but, they still came for us a little and toyed with our hearts. There’s a battle of the bands brewing and the latest Terror is bringing back the dead of Greendale, for better or worse. This episode was filled with equal parts camp and bittersweet sadness, taking you on an emotional roller coaster that is so satisfying, even with all that tears, that you don’t want to get off.
Camp Level 11: Satanic Panic, a band that Harvey’s dad used to play with is back from the dead and they’ve got a bone to pick with Mr. Kinkle because he ratted them out and got them burned to death in a woodshed after a possible devil’s deal. It is every 80s teen movie about those darn satanic killers in the wood mixed with a huge dose of Sometimes They Come Back. It’s a nice C story that adds a bit of fun to the rest of the episode.
Terms of Endearment: This episode has our characters coming face to face with their loved ones back from the dead but, they haven’t come to spread love but, pain and suffering and watching so many hearts get broken after everything they’ve already been through, it cuts deep, not as deep as the last episode but, I still got caught in my feels.
Overall: “The Returned” ended with a few more heartbreaks one of which I saw coming and had time to prepare for and one I didn’t see coming at all even with all the breadcrumbs that were dropped ever since one of my favorite characters entered the show! They also managed to put in a sweet moment that brings you to tears amidst all the sorrow only to have it boomerang and break your heart. This show consistently draws you in, makes you feel deep, real feelings for imaginary characters so definitely watch this episode but please, bring tissues.
The Mortal Realm: In “Deus Ex Machina“, Sabrina and Roz are co-Presidenting at Baxter High, where Nick has transferred to win OG Sabrina back. Hell is breaking through the mortal world. Lilith is hiding out at the Academy avoiding Hell and resigned to keep Adam away from hell until he 16 and can claim the throne.
The Infernal Realm: Future Sabrina is trying to clear out space in Hell because it’s overcrowding. The mortal world is breaking through to hell. Robin decides to stay with Theo and fight, instead of returning to the unaffected Fae Realm with his people because Theo refuses to go with him.
Heaven Help Us: Metatron comes down to offer a solution because every solution both sides come up with, the Sabrina’s can either kill one of them or merge. The Sabrina’s are given six hours to get their affairs in order before the merge Future Sabrina wants to spend it saying goodbye to her old friends and OG Sabrina wants to spend it with Nick.
Overall: There’s a lot of twists and turns in “Deus Ex Machina” that I left out because you have to see it to feel it and this episode was full of feels. I didn’t mention this episode’s terror because it is cosmic. Everything about “Deus Ex Machina” is heart-filled and centers upon personal sacrifices and all sorts of things that will make you cry, in fact, if you don’t cry at least twice during this episode, I will assume you have no soul or heart. There was a cute little cameo that we’ve been waiting for all season and it added a smile to my face. There’s also the heart-wrenching moment where Lilith faces the consequences of her actions and anyone with a heart feels actual sympathy for the devil. It was a lot going in expecting some simple horror camp and coming out the other end of the episode feeling emotionally drained and raw because you connected to everything that happened in the hour, that felt like more.
So It Begins: Prudence sets out to murder her father just as he mugs the third terror of his Imp of the Perverse and makes himself the supreme ruler in “The Imp of the Perverse“.
The Fright Club: In the warped reality Robin the hobgoblin gets to go full Flash, Theo gets deemed a witch for defending him, Harvey goes junior SS officer in his service to Blackwood, Roz and Sabrina have to save the Greendale in the horror camp female buddy drama that we all needed and Nick and Sabrina flirt in the face of death.
The Third Terror: The Perverse is the Archieverse version of Loki and his level of petty mischief is kind of cool, he tells Ambrose how to reverse his own horror because Blackwood tries to pull a fast one and mugs him.
Overall: “The Imp of the Perverse” is a good one that has Sabrina focusing on something other than her love life and boys. In the end, she gets Nick back in a way that complements her instead of defining her. I really liked that Sabrina and Roz got to spend some sister/BFF time saving the town and restoring things. This episode had a fun twist with a very 1984 style layout and a call to resistance and doing what is right in the face of authority and even death. Overall it knocks another terror off the list and traded the show’s usual fun time campy horror with a real cautionary tale that managed to still tie in with the way the series normally runs. This season seems very into isolating each episode and making it a good stand-alone story while still keeping it tied into the overall season arc.
Oh The Terror: In “The Weird”, we meet the weird, where they turn Sabrina into Seven of Nine level baddie because she is the strongest and the weakest. The Weird has a squid-like appearance and Borg like demeanor. They take over Greendale absorbing its science class and demanding that they all kill themselves to feed the coming Void.
Sabrina’s Love Life: So, not only is Sabrina being slowly taken over and puppetmastered by The Weird, but she also has a new boo in her life who may or not be the love Gollum she created, named Luke who she’s got a crush on. But, Nick is still in the picture more than once when she needs him, even going as far as doing a Sound of Music duet to Sixteen Going on Seventeen while Ambrose extracts The Weird from her.
Plot Twist We All Should Have Seen: From the beginning of the series I thought that it was weird that out of all the families in Greendale, the witches that were slaughtered in the town’s early days chose to curse her family. Well, it turns out Roz comes from a family of witches who denied their power and named it the cunning, and turned on the other witches because they didn’t want to be thought of as in league with the devil.
Best Scene: When two of the Kings of Hell show up to kill Lillith’s baby with the Dark Lord, the coven attacks them, murdering one and sending the other on the run by, inflicting upon them the pain of childbirth which of course the men could not handle. It was campy and glorious.
Overall: “The Weird” is another solid episode that finally focuses on Sabrina and deals with her inner turmoil and finally chooses to forget about her love life and focus on taking a breather, while still trying to stop The Terrors, on romance and focus on herself. It’s a level of self-discovery and a path towards her own personal growth as a woman, giving her agency which is something that her character has needed and deserved since the beginning,
Episode Terror: This episode’s terror is “ The Uninvited” and his special power is removing the heart of the heartless. He appears as a beggar to people and knocks at their door, murdering anyone who does not endeavor to help him or invite him in.
Best Scene: Nick tries to release the incubus from Dr. Cee so that he’s free to enjoy his wedding to Aunt Hilda but, his plan doesn’t go according to plan. The incubus is released into the wild and the whole crew is worried as the incubus hates the divine feminine and is on the hunt for a perfect male host. The newly freed incubus finds its perfect host in THEO ! The reason it is the best, perfect scene because it is a big FU to anyone who is a TERF of anti trans, in cannon Sabrina just said something that most people already knew, TRANS MEN ARE MEN! and, they let people who didn’t know that they are as well and it was refreshing and wonderful to see.
Sabrina’s Bag of Tricks: Sabrina goes all in at Hilda’s wedding during a toast to love where she flames Nick during a pity party speech. She also tries to ruin Queen of Hell Sabrina’s engagement to Caliban who despite her best efforts to rip them apart instead makes him prove his love to her future self in the most painful way,leading Sabrina to approve of the union and Underworld Sabrina to lay out that Sabrina’s real problem is that she is lonely.
The Fright Club: Roz and Harvey escape the Terror by Roz using her cunning and deciding to invite him in. Later Harvey and Roz are able to ID the terror for Ambrose and Harvey uses the drawings from his dream to identify all eight terrors giving a preview of what is to come.
Overall: Beautiful episode that includes a game of incubus wack-a-mole as the demon pops from body to body at the wedding landing inside The Uninvited himself where it not only dies but, allows the terror time to eat Dorian’s heart and start a toasted his own where he tells his origin story. Each episode so far is a fully contained story that is not only well crafted and wonderful but, builds upon the last.
When season three ended, the Fright Club and the Witches joined forces to take down the Pagans, Future Sabrina decided to take her place as a Morningstar and reign as the Queen of Hell by her father’s side while OG timeline Sabrina returned to live her life out as a Spellman. The Dark Reverend Blackwood released something called The Eldritch Terrors to get his revenge on the Spellman family, while Prudence broke Ambrose’s heart and set out into the world to mourn the loss of one sister at the hands of the other. A lot went down in the finale all of which led us to this point, where we are at the edge of our seats waiting to see what will happen next because a time paradox, like the one Sabrina surely created allowing both versions of herself from different timelines to exist simultaneously, instead of merging and restoring the timeline, had to have some unforeseen consequences. That is where we pick up for the current, just released season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrinaand, despite this being the beginning of the end for one of my favorite campy horror shows, I couldn’t be happier to watch how it all plays out.
Where We Begin: “The Eldritch Dark” kicks off with Blackwood in a church revival tent scribbling and chanting to himself a gust of wind signals to him that the Eldritch Terrors that he released in the Season 3 finale are finally free, setting the stage for the current season and this episode. Back at the Spellman homestead, things seem to have returned to normal and Sabrina is still Nick free, he is dating Prudence after their steps of the Academy link up at the end of the last season, so she’s playing the fifth wheel with her friends and she’s missing the band and the Fright Club since life is boringly normal. A murdered homeless man outside of the mines signals something that seems like a normal crime instead of supernatural since everyone seems to have forgotten where they live. Zelda is still in charge at the academy, and dating the voodoo high priestess Marie who she fell for last season, the coven is now the order of Hecate, and Hilda is still going strong with her fiancé Dr. Cee. Ms. Vardwell is visited by Agatha who invites her to join her new “church” which she strongly considers because of her memory gaps and witchy flashbacks.
The Fright Club: Initially the gang is all there for the invented Bloody Mary excuse but, things get a bit harder when the Terrors show themselves. The first terror is a darkness that preys on fears and has set up the mines as a home base. As the Avatars of Darkness shut down the power all over the town, Fright Club stands by as Prudence, Nick, Ambrose, and Sabrina get ready to face it head-on, setting the stage for the B time and the Varsity Squad to join forces to start taking it on.
A Tale of Two Sabrinas: With nothing else going on or sparking joy in her life, Sabrina wants to visit her other self to see how things are going for her, despite Ambrose’s very real and very logical objections. To get her friends back into her life she takes Aunt Hilda’s advice and gives the Fright Club a little something to be frightful of by making blood flow in the boys’ bathroom with a little help from Salem acting as the ghost Bloody Mary. The two get to meet up to generate some light to slay the darkness it’s kind of charming and sweet watching Sabrina see what her life could have been.
Best Scene: Roz and her cunning helped her see through the trick but, she had a one on one chat with Sabrina to explain to her that they’ll always be friends and if she misses her she just has to ask to hang out. I loved this scene most of all because it was the purest, girl-powered, grown-up friendship talks that I’ve seen on a teen show.
Episode MVP: Aunt Hilda. She has stayed the course as the heart of the show. She saved Zelda from the first terror and his emotional bullying by sowing seeds of doubt on her. She was there when Sabrina needed a way to get back in with her coupled-up friends. Plus she stays the epitome of speak softly and carry a big stick and I’m always here for her.
Overall: I tried to keep this spoiler-free because I really think “The Eldritch Dark” is worth a watch. The writing, pacing, and direction set the stage and world for the current season, and if this episode is any indication this season is going to be full of heart, hope, horror, and fun and that is something to look forward to as the end of the Sabrina era comes to an end.
The previous episode of Helstrom left us with a very possessed, after being bitten by the skull, Chris. He kills the brother of the serial killer that Ana made commit suicide in the pilot when he comes looking for answers to his accomplice/sibling’s death. We also found out that mom really loves Ana, and the dark force that the siblings have been hunting from both ends is their father. Those big reveals and changes leave us with a lot to look forward to in Helstrom S1E3“The One Who Got Away” and the build up was worth it because it gets you even more invested in the episodes that are going to follow.
The One Who Got Away: The demon inhabiting mom’s body lets the siblings know that their Dad is back and he’s going after the one who got away. Ana is convinced that the one who got away is her and she’s scared. But, Gabriella’s research leads them to a victim of her fathers who got away. Her name is Zoe and it turns out that despite the horrible things that happened to her, including being burned alive, she managed to survive and has been living in secret at her sisters until Ana, Gabriella, and Daimon come to call. Zoe’s sister pretends to be her and sees this as a way to enact revenge on the little girl who led her sister into a trap, putting Ana in danger in the same way Ana put her sister in danger.
Daddy’s Home: Zoe’s sister gets what she wants, sort of, when she leads Ana into an abandoned building but, she also gets something she didn’t expect. The person who is supposed to get her revenge for her sister is the person who did the horrible things to her sister in the first place, and when he turns on her and kills her, she dies not knowing the whole story. Ana goes toe to toe with dear old dad solo and jumps out of the building to get away from him because, this isn’t the dad she knew, he’s a suped-up version of him with a whole lot of new tricks and powers up his sleeve.
Episode MVP: Ana! No question. Sydney Lemmon portrays her with such conviction, talent, grace, and heart that you forget she isn’t a “real” person. It’s impossible not to want to give her a hug and tell her it wasn’t her fault and that she was just a child and should let go of all that guilt. Her character went through the wringer this episode and you felt every moment of anguish, pain, and fear right along with her. If she was to win an Emmy based on this episode alone, I wouldn’t be mad at it. The way she fought her dad off with such ferocity through her fear and how she broke down in front of her brother almost immediately afterward is the stuff that true character development and amazing acting chops make legends of and I’m here for it.
Overall: Helstrom S1E3 “The One Who Got Away” doesn’t tell us what happened to Chris but, there was so much other awesomeness going on, I didn’t mind that loose end being left hanging, in fact, I kind of forgot about it. The writers seem to be very capable and I’m sure they will double back to that string at a later episode. This episode filled in a few more blanks about the siblings’ dad, their mom, the Caretaker, and Hastings. We learn about the things that Ana was forced to do, to survive, as a child under her dad’s murderous roof and we can see how it impacts her today. The story was very Ana and her trauma centered and I liked it. I also love learning about Hastings and Caretaker’s friendship and the private very human battle that Hastings has been fighting on her own. There was a lot of heart in Helstrom S1E3 “The One Who Got Away” and it aided in me becoming bonded and fully invested in the characters and the story. I can’t wait to see what happens next and make sure that Ana is okay.
Helstrom S1E2 “Viaticum” starts off filling in a little bit more of the siblings’ backstory and gives some much-needed info on their family dynamic and shared family trauma. The family side of this dark supernatural drama is only part of the story in the show and in this episode. No sooner than the full family reunion kicks off we find ourselves drawn back into the mystery of the demon who’s inhabiting mom’s body and what it’s after.
Family Affair: After a decades-long absence Ana finally gets a one one one with her mom. In an attempt to “connect” she slaps her mother coaxing out a telekinetic attack that flings her and Dr. Hasting across the room. Daimon and Ana come to verbal blows and bring up a lot of family history after Ana’s visit with her mom and the slap that followed. There’s a lot of sibling bickering that seems realistic and rings true. There’s a lot of pain and jealousy and it’s nice to see the show showcase a real family dynamic with compassion and honesty.
The Big Bad: A man inhabited by the demon’s henchman gets picked up by a Good Samaritan who repays his kindness with a ruthless attack. Ana’s associate is trying to work out the provenance of an axe when he finds himself face to face with the skull that the demon sent his possessed acolytes to find. Of course, her partner lies to the Caretaker about being in possession of the skull, even though it was whispering in a wild old language when he was checking out the axe. I’m a fan of the way the show drops breadcrumbs in each episode about what the demon is up to, it builds suspense and keeps the viewer invested in what happens next.
Overall: So far the show isn’t perfect, it’s a slow burn on a long wick but, it’s pretty damn close. Helstrom S1E2 “Viaticum” builds on the tension and story from the last one. It’s well written like the pilot, beautifully shot, wonderfully acted and the directing is top-notch. I like the way the show highlights relationships between people and families, the ones you are bound to by blood, and the ones who choose you. We learned in the pilot that Daimon had Dr. Hastings. In this episode, we find out that Ana had the Caretaker when she got a little older. We also learn that there are two different factions who have been keeping the siblings apart for unknown reasons. There’s a lot of mystery going on in this show and while we don’t get a lot of supernatural power showcasing we do get a good story. The build-up to the full power blast that we are expecting to come at some point this season seems like a fun gamble that I hope is worth it. But, if I don’t get it, I won’t be too disappointed because the story is good enough so far that it’s still worth it to watch,
Kicking off the first episode of Helstrom, n Portland, Oregon, Saint Teresa’s in under attack. In Salem, Oregon Sister Gabriella and Daimon have come to call on Mr. Cavallo and his wife who is dealing with an attack of their own from their demon-possessed child. After a few minutes alone with the kid, Damion realizes that the kid isn’t possessed just crying out for attention, and calls his bluff by showing him his power, setting the stage for a supernatural Marvel show that could possibly give us everything that New Mutants could never.
The Run Down: It’s 2020 so obviously I’m naturally afraid of anything that might bring back the murder hornet, so when the escaped Saint Teresa patients and the rogue guard make their way to a crypt in the City of the Dead and decide to open it up for the lolz, I get a little nervous. While Daimon is on the hunt for the escapees and wants to stop their plans, his sister Ana is working on things for the other end as she tries to find out why someone broke into the City of the Dead in the first place and what kind of demon they unleashed. Sister Gabriella is tired of being kept in the dark and her insistence on being kept in the loop she can report back to the Vatican might get her in more trouble than she can handle.
A Family Affair: Helstrom focuses on a family. This episode introduces some of the major players. Daimon, Ana, and their mother. In the first half of the episode, we get to meet them and see what each of them is bringing to the table. Ana has a side hustle where she hunts serial killers and uses her powers to kill them in a way that looks like natural causes, Daimon uses his power to fight demons, and mom is possessed by a demon who is up to something sinister. We are also introduced to Dr. Hastings who raised Daimon to fight demons on Earth but didn’t get to raise Ana, who still grew up to fight another kind of demon, the human kind who are mortal and still your everyday kind of normal monster.
Best Scene: The backstory montage complete with the tear-jerking follow up Ana and Daimon separation scene. It is well done, emotion-evoking, and done in a way that fills the viewer in on most of what they need to know to catch them up if they’ve never read or heard of the comics. We see the mother’s torment at the hands of the demon and her isolation, Sister Gabriella learning about the family history, Ana working on her side of the case, and Daimon trying to figure out what big bad is being set free and hoping to find a way to save her mother.
First Impressions: This was a well thought out, neatly packaged first episode that gave off a Dresden Files tv show vibe minus the campiness. There are touches of a procedural mixed with supernatural fun that gives you a story to follow and adds to the suspense. Every moment in the first episode builds up perfectly to the end scene where the siblings finally reunite and since everything fits together seamlessly you get the feeling like you’re about to embark on an epic journey with them. The show is dark in nature but, doesn’t take itself too seriously or lean into the campiness of the implausible situations that the characters find themselves in. The writers manage to find a happy medium where you get an otherworldly environment that feels based in reality. The show has just enough of the source material to keep the fans of the comic happy but, enough nuance and story arc to bring in people who have never heard of Helstrom. There is a hold back in the first episode that I hope they handle in future episodes, the reasons behind the sibling’s separation isn’t made clear in the first episode, nor is their paternal side fully brought up. I find it to be an interesting thing to tease by not go into because in some ways it adds more to the mystery. In other ways, it feels like a bit of a plot hole in a show that seems to have a huge story to tell and a lot to dig into. Overall I found the episode to be well crafted and enough of a taste to keep me around to see what happens next. I found myself invested in the story and the heart of it all, the characters were well written and the acting gave them enough life that they feel real.
The good news is the Academy averted the apocalypse, the bad news is they’re now tagged as terrorists (except for Five who the government thinks is being held as a hostage). Elliot’s loft is no longer a safe place since the Commission is clearly on the hunt for them and can find them anywhere and at any time. And, they still can’t stop arguing with each other from their individual insecurities long enough to figure something out we’re in for another bumpy ride with our favorite ragtag group of supernatural siblings.
The Vanya Connection: When calling to check in on Sissy, Vanya realizes her connection to Harlan and heads back to the farm to help her. After finally accepting her place in the family she asks her siblings for help and after some initial resistance, they all come along to help her save the kid.
Time Isn’t on Their Side: While Vanya is trying to save Harlan, the Handler and Lila show up to bring Five in for killing the board and she came with all of the available agents the Commission had on hand, so basically an army.
Say What? Remember last season when we were trying to find out what happened to the other kids? Well, it looks like the Handler found one and she’s basically Rogue. Also, Diego can control metal? That’s infinitely cooler than being able to hold his breath underwater for a long time. Vanya finally has control of her powers and Klaus can raise an army of the dead. And, let’s not even talk about the WTF ending!
Side Note: Is it just me or does anyone else wonder why the Commission keeps coming for Five? He’s like a walking, talking, ass-kicking DMX lyric. Why do they keep coming for his level of smoke?
Final Thoughts: Because of the time period this season dealt with some pretty serious things and they did it in a brilliant and beautiful way. They had a realistic 1960s lesbian love story, tackled segregation, AND managed to have an ASD kid who didn’t get “cured” and have that be the ideal end result. All of these different types of people and different issues and they dealt with them respectfully and with integrity. Season One was amazing but, Season Two showed us something even better. The creative time kicked some serious ass, between the color palates and the beautiful shots, the amazing acting and killer scripts, Season Two was an off the chain ride that is binge-worthy AF. This season dives deeper into the Academy member’s lives and origins leaving us to want to keep following their stories and lives. Season Three has got some pretty big shoes to fill and some pretty big questions like do Vanya and Sissy ever meet up again? Does Dave go off to war and if he does, does he remember what Klaus told him and make it back alive? Does Ray become a civil rights icon? What’s up with Herb? Where in the (timeline) world is Lila Super Powered? What’s the deal with the Sparrows? Is Five ever going to grow up?