CAOS Season 4 is Messy, but Worth the Watch

James Newman, Advice Columnist

Spoilers ahead…

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 4 is messy, chaotic, and interesting; alternately, Thrilling and Disappointing, Intriguing and Confusing, and Happy and Sad- The final season of Netflix’s’ popular and addictive teen witch show is full of drama and chaos just like the eponymous main character. The series ends on a particularly sad and somewhat satisfying note but is consistently chaotic and erratic.

We now see Kiernan Shipka playing two versions of Sabrina – one getting to live her “normal’ teenage life and the other to rule as the Queen of Hell, who happens to be the Sabrina that starts to feel cohesive. The character of Sabrina has always to me been a somewhat irritating and confusing character. Sabrina persistently makes the worst possible choices at any given moment. This is also the reason we now have two Sabrinas! It kinda feels as if there is a lack of common sense in Sabrina’s magical but clearly somewhat desolate brain.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

However, in a wonderfully refreshing surprise, Season 4 gives us a Sabrina who is finally ready to take responsibility for her actions and those consequences that come with them. With the introduction of the two Sabrinas, the series allows the opposing sides of herself the shine in their own light, actually allowing her to hold herself accountable, and the best part of having a double is actually the ability to truly love herself. Even though Season 4 does have a fair share of flaws, some beautiful moments shine through the chaos and make the show feel amazing, like the decision to have the Sabrinas actually love each other without the competitiveness and no evil twin ideals.

The representation of the Sabrinas’ genuine love, trust, and respect for each other is one of the more impressive and literal depictions of self-love and confidence that I’ve seen in a while., which makes it all the sadder that these character progressions are there…until they’re suddenly neglected. Somewhere around the half-way mark, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 4 starts to shift a little out of control, dropping some of the more interesting points and hurling into a very bizarre and completely frustrating series finale.

All though it is somewhat understandable as the creative team didn’t expect season 4 to be the end all be all of the series, even had plans for a season 5 and had to do some pretty creative workarounds with this surprise and sudden cancellation. Even with all of that said, the final season still leaves us burdened with pacing issues and sadly incomplete character arcs.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

 The writers really had something going for them with the “monster-of-the-week” format via the Eldritch Terrors, which were brought into the world because of all of the crazy Lovecraftian mess that Faustus was up to last season, Sabrina and her friends have to face a new Terror each episode, each of them bearing menacing and ominous names like “The Perverse” and “The Endless”. As with most of the monster-of-the-week things, it can a tad hit and miss, but some of the Terrors are genuinely scary, and they opened up the door to new exciting places and realms that could have been branched and explained upon even more in Season 5. But again that’s not what we’re left with. Sadly, Season 4 just is at the end of what could have been a marvelous journey.

Conflict in the show is introduced only to just be immediately resolved, arcs that seem very promising just are dropped, characters who seem finally ready to get their due (ahem…looking at you Roz and Theo) fall into the background noise after interesting developments. I imagine that if the writers knew that this would be the final season that this would have possibly been changed but still. Season 3 marked so much promise for Chilling Adventures’ classic aesthetic and chaos, which makes season 4 seem like somewhat of a turn that leads downhill – especially when you realize how much of the major plot and character moments from last season seem utterly irrelevant. 

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Even though there are some problems with this season, there are some excellent moments. Like the character of Lilith, whose rivalry with Lucifer turns the heat all the way up to 1000 degrees and also brings some shockingly dark and sinister developments and how the coven used their goddess Hecate in a particularly unique way to help with the pain of childbirth. Again there is the occasional fun, especially with an amazing multi-talented cast. There were also some amazing scenes with Mambo Marie and Zelda… like when Zelda was afraid that Marie didn’t actually love her because she was an old Crone, which in fact wasn’t the case.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Another amazing moment was when it was revealed that Roz was actually a witch (in her case also known as a Seer) and was then brought to the academy with Prudence and Marie to become the Sentinels for the Order of Hecate, reforming the Weird sisters. This was such a powerful moment for me as to see 3 black women coming together as one to be a powerful force was just so cool. Another amazing moment was seen Hilda and Dr. Cerberus get married…this was really cool as we saw Hilda move from the corny and lonely sister to the happy and in love sister.

The saddest part was undeniably the death of Both Sabrina Spellman and Sabrina Morningstar at the end. As Sabrina morningstar was sent into another dimension to destroy the Terror called “the Endless” who also just so happened to be A talking Salem. But to her surprise, she was also going to be attacked by “The Void” which was a lot for her to deal with as on her way back to the original dimension she died. After her death, this led Sabrina Spellman to be gifted a magical artifact known as Pandora’s Box and went on her way to trap “The Void.”

Photo courtesy of Netflix

But, before she can successfully trap the Void in its entirety, Sabrina’s soul, as well as some of the Void, is pulled back into the mortal realm by the Spellmans and placed into Sabrina Morningstar’s body. With this, Sabrina began to develop Void-like abilities, sending anyone who posed a threat into the Void itself. In fear of the damage, she could afflict with these newfound abilities, Sabrina fled. Sabrina created a plan to help get everyone back…by draining the Void from her. After everyone is out of the Void, Nick Scratch goes to tell Sabrina but is informed that it was too late and she has passed leaving everyone in tears. Ending with a funeral and some sweet moments between people and we soon find Sabrina in the Afterlife where she is surprisingly found by Nick who died to be with her.

Fans will find so much to love in Sabrina’s final eight episodes, but unfortunately, it’s an ending that we’ll never forget and an ending that had so much more to bring.