Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina episode 6 review: An Exorcism In Greendale
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina holds the first-ever witch exorcism in a narrative-furthering instalment.
This review contains spoilers.
1.6 An Exorcism In Greendale
“Cases of actual demonic possession are extremely rare, despite what the false god and his propaganda machine would have you believe.”
When last we saw Sabrina, she had arrived at the door of Ms Wardwell’s house determined to get answers about why the teacher was traipsing through the nightmares of the Spellman family. Ever the crafty liar, Wardwell spins a story about how Edward asked her to look after his daughter. A plausible yarn to be sure, especially when she adds the bit about her unrequited love for Eddie, and how he was planning to reform the Church of Night.
Having firmly bought Wardwell’s bullshit, Sabrina moves on to the more pressing matter at hand, namely that all of her friends are suddenly talking about demonic possession. Uh oh!
As she learns how her friends have been tormented by whomever/whatever is taking possession of Susie’s Cousin Jessie (cue the Full House theme), Harvey gets rightfully pissed at her for not buying into the claims… completely unaware that Sabrina’s disbelief is self-serving due to the chaos that would ensue if the Muggle, er, mortal world were to find out about all the supernatural happenings that were going on.
With the help of Ambrose, Sabrina astral projects to see Jessie and discovers that, yep, he is indeed possessed. “Demons have an awful sense of humour, and can you blame them?,” muses Ambrose. “They live in hell.”
In what passes for couple’s therapy on this show, Sabrina and Harvey then venture into the mines together. Harvey hopes to prove that what he saw down there years ago wasn’t in his imagination, while Sabrina seeks to learn the demon’s true name in order to learn how to best separate the beast from its host body. And Ms Wardwell shows up too, because now that Sabrina has bought her story about having her best interests at heart she can ingratiate herself into every aspect of the teenage witch’s life.
Now knowing the nature of the demon – his name is Apophis and he enjoys long walks on the beach and projectile vomiting – Sabrina wants some help in sending it back to hell. Typically, the Church of Night is a buzzkill about this, saying that witch-performed exorcisms are a big no no. Aunt Zelda initially maintains this hardline stance, so she stays behind as Hilda, Sabrina and Wardwell head over to the Putnam farm.
But before you can say Tubular Bells, Zelda has a change of heart thanks to the insights of Ambrose and the three Spellmans (Spellmen?) and Wardwell unite to successfully exorcise Cousin Jessie. Everywhere you look there’s a face of somebody who needs you…
Sadly, Cousin Jessie doesn’t survive the exorcism. Well, technically he does, but then Ms. Wardwell returns to his room and kills him, because that’s just the way she rolls.
This episode is another example of the fantastic feminist subtext that Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina showcases so well, with the women working together successfully to achieve a common goal without having to rely on men. (Even Wardwell, whose assistance here serves her own twisted goals, but still).
Even Church of Night acolyte Zelda puts Father Blackwood in his place by reminding him that she is helping bring his child into the world, so maybe he best not give her any shit for the exorcism business. Well done, Auntie Zee.
In the episode’s most compelling B-plot, we discover that Cousin Jessie is gay, and was beaten when he was younger after he was caught wearing a dress. This hits home with Susie, who is learning about her own sexuality. Apophis taunts her by calling her “an abomination,” words that obviously leave a scar, as she is wearing a dress by the end of the episode in order to conform to traditional gender expectations. To see the character clothed this way is heartbreaking, but there is hope on the horizon for Susie in the form of a long, lost relative.
Finally, Hilda is definitely seeking to create a life for herself outside of the church she is now no longer welcome in. She begins working at Cerebus Books, which affords her the opportunity to dress like the Bride of Frankenstein and even help give Ambrose’s love life some assistance by dropping love potion in Luke’s drink. Hilda is a sweetheart, so maybe we overlook how this move is utterly creepy and raises all sorts of questions about how such a potion actually works (i.e. consent)? Your favourites are problematic.
Next up: It’s Thanksgiving in Greendale, and wait until you see what’s on the menu for dinner!