This Chilling Adventures of Sabrina article contains nothing but spoilers. We have a spoiler-free review right here if you prefer.
Frequent visits to hell! Pagans! Ice Cream! Cheerleading! Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 3 truly has it all. We’ve already gone on record saying how we think that this new batch of episodes is the series’ best yet. Over the course of these eight installments, the show upends not only what we know about how magic works in the Archieverse, but also takes characters into new directions—blowing apart existing relationships and setting up new adversities. It’s all compelling stuff to say the least, but to truly enjoy all of the season’s nuances require multiple viewings. We participated in just that, and along the way noticed tons of easter eggs and hidden things that you may have missed. Here’s a rundown of what secrets we’ve uncovered!
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Chapter 21: The Hellbound Heart
– To kick things off, let’s mention how the amazing opening credits sequence by Robert Hack (illustrator of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic that the series is loosely based on) has been updated to show Lachlan Watson’s Theo character playing basketball and Gavin Leatherwood’s Nick Scratch (now a lead) standing outside of the Academy of Unseen Arts. Hack’s art is incredible, as is this title sequence. It perfectly sets the tone of a show that walks the line between horror and drama.
– Early in this episode Sabrina and Harvey glimpse an ice cream truck, one that plays a crucial role in the next episode.
– Hilda not knowing which way to answer the phone at the Spellman household is both hilarious and a subtle reminder to exactly how much this series is constantly reinventing itself.
– Having no idea that the reason she is consumed by hellish dreams is because Lilith invaded her body for an unspecified amount of time, Ms. Wardwell turns to Dante Alighieri‘s legendary poem The Divine Comedy, specifically its first part, Inferno, in which the writer explores his journey through the dark underworld. It charts that an intellectual like Ms. Wardwell would turn to the classics to help make sense of her intangible experiences, while also foreshadowing the character’s own personal descent into madness that this season throws at her.
– Apropos of nothing, it’s a bit surprising this show has never used any songs by UK pop group The Divine Comedy as the outfit’s poppy bleakness is a perfect match for the show’s aesthetic.
– Over at the Academy of Unseen Arts, we see Zelda destroying the Satan statue that was once the centerpiece of this specific set. This is almost certainly a real-life production response to the copyright infringement lawsuit that the Church of Satan levied against the series.
– While talking to Sabrina, Dorian Gray refers to the teenage witch’s boyfriend as “Darling Nikki,” referencing one of Prince’s best (and most notorious) songs in the process.
– Theo, Roz and Harvey’s band, the suitably named Fright Club, makes its debut here. Although the group serves no narrative function whatsoever this season, it does help the show throw in the occasional Riverdale-esque musical number. The song performed her is The Knack’s power pop classic “My Sharona.” (Their “Good Girls Don’t” is also a jam that would have worked well here).
– The entire journey into hell undertaken by Sabrina and her friends is sort of a twisted inverse of The Wizard of Oz, from the outfit worn by Lilith’s minion to the Blood Red Road and, most obviously, the appearance of the Tin Woodsman.
– In the first (but definitely not last) Riverdale crossover of the season, Nathalie Boltt briefly appears as the woman whose appearance Prudence takes while hunting Father Blackwood in New Orleans. We have no idea why Prudence chose this specific form, and our mind is running wild with the possibilities. (Were witches somehow involved in the still-mysterious Riverdale riots that are sporadically mention on that show?) Maybe Prudence just really loves maple syrup.
– This episode introduces us to Haitian voodoo priestess Mambo Marie LaFleur (the great Skye Marshall). She will become a crucial character by the end of this season.
– Harvey tells Theo to “stay frosty,” referencing Aliens in the process.
– Let’s face it, high school is hell. Doubly so here, as the gang visits the underworld equivalent of Baxter High, where they are reunited with Principal Hawthorne (once again played by Bronson Pinchot, looking here like a zombie Edward Scissorhands thanks to some clever makeup and costuming). Also back is L. Scott Caldwell’s Nana Ruth, here in Satanic Nun garb. Hawthorne would most definitely be in hell, but Roz’s grandmother is likely just a demon as that character would be resting in heaven.
– While impersonating Father Blackwood in front of the Witches Council, Hilda hilariously remarks that she “had a dodgy curry the night before.”
– Nick and Satan are imprisoned together in an eternal shirtless wrestling match, because of course they are.
– We learn that Lilith has some genuine fondness for Ms. Wardwell. “I grew comfortable wearing her skin, and a face like this is hard to beat,” she remarks.
– Ambrose and Prudence’s search for Father Blackwood leads them to Loch Ness in Scotland. Although Nessie doesn’t make an appearance, we do meet a sea monster who looks straight out of Jon Pertwee-era Doctor Who. This beastie gives Father Blackwood an egg that has mystical time powers and a creature inside. The egg becomes a regular McGuffin throughout the season before finally hatching in the finale.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Chapter 22: Drag Me to Hell
– The Baxter High cheerleaders are known as the Ravenettes, named after the famous Edgar Allan Poe poem. (Not to be confused with The Raveonettes, an incredible dream pop group you really should be listening to).
– The Ravenettes perform RUN DMC’s “It’s Tricky,” a song whose video contains a great appearance by Penn and Teller. Watch it above.
– Fright Club performs Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag” in this episode. Why? We have no idea.
– “This is nuts. We’re in high school. We should be worried about midterms, not dragging the friendly neighborhood ice cream man to hell,” says Harvey, ever the voice of reason.
– The back of Jimmy Platt’s ice cream truck promises “chilling adventures.”
– Father Blackwood references the Eldritch Terrors, i.e. Lovecraftian terrors. Sabrina was forcibly married to Cthulhu in the much-missed Afterlife with Archie comic that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa wrote, so perhaps such insanity will occur next season?
– This episode reveals that Sabrina leaves behind a psychic trail that can be tracked.
– Not knowing what to do with Father Blackwood’s unnaturally aged children Judith and Judas, Prudence and Ambrose decide to basically imprison them inside of a doll house. This could be the most unsettling thing ever to happen on this series, which is saying A LOT.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Chapter 23: Heavy Is the Crown
– As the episode opens, Harvey and Roz are watching the 1954 sci-fi classic Them on TV.
– Harvey wears a shirt of his own band. Sadly as of this writing there are no Fright Club shirts available at Hot Topic.
– Sabrina’s bedroom wall includes a movie poster for the original Village of the Damned as well as a still from the German expressionist horror favorite Nosferatu.
– “First purgatory, now hell. What’s next, heaven?” Hopefully in season four!
– The name of the book Hilda writes (as Helga Stillwell) is Buxom and the Beast. Its cover — glimpsed at the 20:13 mark in this episode features a Harlequin romance-styled image of Lucy Davis. “Now is not the time to reinvent yourself as a pulp novelist,” sneers Zelda.
– “Will you wrestle us into submission the way the Dark Lord wrestled you?” And we have the first of this season’s many suggestions that the battle between Nick and Satan had a sexual element to it. Nick later comments that he can feel Satan’s “residue inside of me.”
– King Herod’s crown passed from the hands of Aleister Crowley to those of Riverdale resident Benjamin Blossom, who was subsequently murdered by occultists. Old Dead Benny is clearly a relative of the Blossoms fans of the Archieverse know and love, and hiding the crown in a tree is an on brand move for a maple syrup baron.
– “Riverdale’s a big scary place,” notes Sabrina. You can say that again.
– The back of Riverdale’s welcome sign features grafitti written by Jughead, as well as the remark that the town is the “murder capital of the world.” In the trailer for Katy Keene, Josie also refers to her former home as this.
– The leader of the carnival people is Professor Carcosa (later revealed to be the Great God Pan, but more on that in a bit). The word Carcosa has turned up several times in pop culture: As a mysterious city in the short story An Inhabitant of Carcosa by Ambrose Bierce, a location on True Detective, and even referenced in preliminary art for Afterlife with Archie as seen above.
– Professor Carcosa has a very Jonathan Pryce in Something Wicked This Way Comes vibe.
– Hilda declares her love for The Munsters for this first of two times this season right before Dr. Cerberus proposes. Oddly enough, Doctor C. asks Hilda if she prefers Herman and company over The Addams Family in episode six, so he must have a short memory.
– Nagaina the snake charmer is a Gorgon, like mythology’s Medusa. One look upon her true form will transform anyone into stone. And Roz and Dorcas soon discover.
– Harvey tests his virility at the carnival strongman attraction. He fails where Billy succeeds, and this whole test is one of the ways that the Pagans use to find virgins to utilize in their world conquest plans.
– Speaking of Billy Marlin (Ty Wood), it’s worth mentioning that the character made a brief cameo on the most recent episode of Riverdale. He talked with Betty about getting injured in a football game where the Baxter High Ravens lost against the Stonewall Stallions — with the later squad playing dirty. No recognizable Sabrina characters signed his cast, which is something of a bummer shared universe wise but understandable as Billy is something of an asshole.
– Interestingly enough, a newspaper seen earlier this season on Riverdale mentioned the carnival in its headline — suggesting that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina‘s events also occured a few months before those being depicted now on its sister series. Which may explain why Billy has a cast in one show but not in the other. (If his arm is injured next season on Sabrina, you’ll know why). Timey wimey stuff is always so confusing.
– A student wearing a Riverdale Bulldogs jacket can be glimpsed riding the merry-go-round.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Chapter 24: The Hare Moon
– It is established here that Sabrina is the youngest member of her coven.
– The song Sabrina sings at the Hare Moon ceremony is “The Song of Purple Summer” from the musical Spring Awakening.
– Not so much an Easter Egg as an observaton: Melvin can rock a straw hat.
– All this talk of Nick having the devil inside of him and not one INXS music cue? That’s an impressive use of restrait there.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Chapter 25: The Devil Within
– “You suck Caliban,” says Sabrina, echoing the audience’s sentinments. If you are shipping Saliban, please stop.
– Theo and Robin kiss while The Cure’s “Lullaby” — a song in which its protagonist fears getting eaten by a spider creature — plays. Fitting, seeing how Hilda is going through her own arachnid transformation right now.
– Theo mentions to Robin that her family feels planted in Greendale, subtly paralelling the Pagans’ plans to plant the Green Man on the carnival grounds and reclaim the world.
– With waning powers, how exactly did Ambrose unearth the circle of stones and transport it to the Academy?
– Zelda considers fleeing to “the Mountains of Madness,” further foreshadowing Lovecraftian things to come on the series.
– “Didn’t anyone tell you that queens weren’t allowed to cry?” states Lilith to Sabrina. Michelle Gomez is such a gifted actress, and the growing of the pair’s relationship from adversarial to one of almost mutual respect has been unexpected and welcome.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Chapter 26: All of Them Witches
– “We do not need to fight each other, that is what men do,” declares Marie Lafleur, further cementing this show’s indictment of toxic masculinity.
– Hilda and Dr. Cerberus have an audition for a town production of Sweeney Todd. Could a Chilling Adventures of Sabrina musical episode be on deck for next season? Fingers crossed!
– The pair perform the song “By the Sea,” the best known version of which was performed by Angela Lansbury in her Tony-winning performance as Mrs. Lovett in the original production of the show.
– Zelda accurately sums up Lilith as “the ultimate wild card.”
– Hilda regularly eats at Pop Tate’s Choklit Shoppe! “There’s a diner in Riverdale, it sells the juiciest hamburgers and the thickest shakes,” she tells Doctor Cerberus.
– The customer who enters Doc’s store and is subsequently killed by Spider-Hilda is wearing a South Side Serpents jacket.
– Doc returns with food from Pop’s, which sadly is wasted.
– Sabrina gets the Hedge Witches drunk and sings the sea shanty “The Dead Horse” with them, a song that is familiar to fans of Assassin’s Creed.
– Harvey is a big Zero Dark Thirty fan.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Chapter 27: The Judas Kiss
– Did anyone else get a real The Sopranos vibe from Zelda’s dream sequence in this episode?
– During the impromptu cheerleading flash mob/power siphoning session at the Academy, the Ravenettes perform Tony Basil’s “Mickey.” Basil herself was a cheerleader-turned-choreographer whose video for her 1981 megahit paid homage to her past.
– So what was the meaning of the mystery page that Faustus ripped out? Is it directions to perform the ceremony seen at the end of the finale? If so, the Greendale witches have severely underestimated just how long his world domination plans have been brewing.
– Sabrina refers to Harvey and Roz as “endgame,” echoing one of Riverdale‘s favorite phrases.
– The marker that Sabrina instant messages Nick with is enchanted, literally making it a magic marker.
– Sabrina declares “consent, it’s real” to Vlad the Impaler, a statement that would have much more weight had she not secretly drained her cheerleader friends of their lifeforce earlier in this episode.
– The Pagans’ Green Man is a very on-the-nose homage to The Wicker Man.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Chapter 28: Sabrina Is Legend
– “You know that old movie Ambrose loves, Back to the Future?,” Sabrina asks, channelling Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
– The enchanted lullaby used to put the town to sleep is “Tender Shepherd” from the Peter Pan musical.
– Harvey references Perseus’ method of using a mirror to stop Medusa in 1981’s Clash of the Titans in his attempt to defeat Nagaina.
– Nagaina was also the name of a snake featured in Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Archie horror comics.
– “You just saved my life. That’s so freakin’ hot.” Harvey and Roz are adorable.
– For more on Pan, we heartily recommend you seek out The Waterboys’ 1993 album Dream Harder, which explores pagan beliefs in a much more chill way than this season did.
– The coven now worships the Triple Goddess, a Neopagan diety whose facets correspond with the three stages of a witch’s life cycle as glimpsed in Zelda’s dream sequence in the previous episode.
– This episode’s approach to time travel is a mixture of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Steven Moffat’s most self-indulgent Doctor Who episodes.
– As the episode ends, Blackwood has unleashed something monstrous that will usher in “the beginning of the end.” With the Eldritch Terrors and Void mentioned repeatedly this season, our guess it’s going to be big and bad. And what is bigger and badder than Cthulhu? Stay tuned.
What hidden secrets did we miss? Tell us below!