Movie Reviews

Not A Storybook Ending | “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Part 4 2020 Netflix Series Review

With four wild parts officially come to a close, Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is over. But did it stick the landing?

Part 4 follows Sabrina Spellman and Morningstar (both played by Kiernan Shipka) as they must battle the eight Eldritch terrors, which were released after the events of Part 3, that left two Sabrina’s co-inhabiting both Hell and Earth. 

Containing an Eldritch Terror.

The show more or less covers one Eldritch Terror per episode, culminating in the big bad of the season, the Void, which is an entity that existed before the universe was made (I think?) and wants to again turn the universe into nothingness. They are somewhat comparable to the pagan gods from last season in the regards that their threat levels are bloated, half of them are interesting, while some feel like chores. In my review of Part 3, I complained about how the show just got too big and was juggling with too many ideas to full develop them or implement them properly, leading to a few moments where it tripped on itself, and in that regard, Part 4 is more of the same, and as a result, many of its world-ending threats just seem … boring. 

And because of that, Part 4 is easily the weakest installment in this show. There are things I liked in it. It was great to see Harvey (Ross Lynch), Roz (Jaz Sinclair), Theo (Lachlan Watson), Robin (Jonathan Whitsesell), Nicholas Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood), Prudence Blackwood (Tati Gabrielle) and of course Ambrose (Chance Perdomo), Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) Spellman, as well as antagonists Father Faustus Blackwood (Richard Coyle), Lillith (Michele Gomez), Prince Caliban (Sam Corlett) and of course Lucifer (Luke Cook) himself, the show just doesn’t do much with them, and the show’s villain-of-the-week format doesn’t do justice to the characters they’ve been developing over the course of four parts. 

This season has probably the weirdest episode of the entire show, in which Father Blackwood becomes Emperor of Greendale for a day.

Granted, most of the terrors are done well, with the Uninvited, The Endless and The Void being particularly interesting (The Endless even features cameos from Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick, who played Sabrina’s Aunts in the 90s sitcom). But they come at the expense of using the established cast, with Lucifer, Lillith, Caliban and Father Blackwood relegated to the sidelines for most of the show, while the terrors do their thing. 

I won’t spoil it too much, but I found the show’s conclusion thoroughly satisfying and rushed. It feels very abrupt and cheap, like the showrunners were told in the middle of production that the show was cancelled, and they had to wrap things up. Sabrina gets something of an arc, but the show fails to make proper use of its large cast, as while they experience Part 4’s events with Sabrina, most of them just take up space, with no defined purpose or reason for being there, other than being convenient ways to deliver the show’s boring, though reasonably-executed plot. 

Part 4 really needed to have purpose and meaning to not only give the show drive and form that it lost in Part 3, but also to serve as a proper sendoff. It already had enough conflicting characters that it didn’t need to introduce an outside threat in the Eldritch Terrors. All the showrunners had to do was play with their already-established characters in the sandbox they created and compelling scenarios, drama and direction would have been within reach. Instead, they opted to overly complicate an already overcrowded show, making the show’s legacy not that of an addicting, tightly-crafted drama like Parts 1 and 2 were, but of an over bloated mess with too many ideas.

“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Part 4 gets a 5/10

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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