This review contains spoilers.
1.7 Feast Of Feasts
“Wait, are we seriously talking about cannibalism?”
It’s Thanksgiving in Greendale, and everyone is getting ready for a big holiday meal. And by everyone, I mean the witches and warlocks…and by big meal, I mean eating an actual witch. In a twist that I will shamelessly call delicious, the Feast of Feasts is the Church of Night’s annual celebration of the Satan’s love in which one lucky witch or warlock gets to win a Shirley Jackson-esque lottery and become the main course at a dinner in his honour.
To the devoted, there is “no greater honoor” than to be eaten. As eventual winner Prudence explains, the Queen of the Feast gets to be “transubstantied, living on in every member of the coven and in the heart of Dark Lord.” Rad.
Unsurprisingly, Sabrina is horrified by this. And again I say, yeah, it’s the Satanic Church, if you want coffee and doughnuts, become a Presbyterian. When Zelda puts herself on the chopping block, Sabrina theatrically interupts the ceremony naming the Queen of the Feast and takes her aunt’s place instead.
As I aforementioned, the “honour” went to Prudence, but there’s a catch… Sabrina must serve as her frenemy’s handmaiden as she spends her last days on Earth. Such duties include preparing buttermilk baths and serving plates of macaroons – apparently the Queen of the Feast still plans her own orgies though. (Not that Prudence, Luke, Ambrose, and even Nick Scratch have any complaints).
But while Sabrina takes every opportunity to attack Prudence’s beliefs, she can’t name what or who she herself believes in. “How sad for you, not to have any faith in anything,” remarks Prudence. It’s a great point too, because Sabrina revels in the benefits of her dual mortal/witch citizenship but she has yet to choose one over the other, something that the Dark Lord won’t stand for. We see this play out later in the season, still the question hanging there is a valid one: What does Sabrina believe in?
We know her love for Harvey and her family drives her, and she has faith in them. But for a teenage witch caught between two worlds, this is hardly enough. It’s ultimately either going to be Satan or Jesus, and the clock is ticking…
Inexplicably deciding to take the woman who nearly killed her days before to Baxter High, Sabrina is shocked when Prudence doesn’t quite click with her peer group. To be fair, Prudence treats the ever-fantastic Susie with respect, telling her that her Aunt Dorothea helped those who travelled to Greendale to escape religious persecution, including witches. As for Harvey, well a meet cute this was not.
Prudence rips into Harvey, clueing him in to the fact that his ancestors stole the land (including the Kinkle mines) from witches, and also helped hunt them down. Harvey is shocked by the confrontation, which Sabrina tries to laugh off while taking Prudence somewhere less volatile. The bright side for Harvey? At least now he doesn’t have to struggle doing his ancestry assignment for Ms. Wardwell’s class.
Still determined to prove that the Feast of Feasts is a huge scam, Sabrina enlists the assistance of Ms Wardwell. Together with all of the Wyrd Sisters, they take a (clearly unsanctioned) field trip to the ominously named Moon Valley, deep in the Greendale Woods. There, they meet Desmelda, a witch who was once Queen of the Feast but fled, after her unnamed High Priest abused her. Sabrina reminds Prudence et al that Father Blackwood isn’t divine, he is just a man, and men can be corrupted. (See literally every news story happening in 2018 for proof of this theory in action). This point doesn’t get a chance to be labored for too long as gun shots ring out – cue the Kinkle Family Thanksgiving Hunting Bonding Session/Example Whatever of How the Patriarchy is Fucking Toxic.
During the dick-measuring contest masquerading as hunting expedition, Grandpa Kinkle murdered a deer that was actually a witch’s familiar. The Wyrd Sisters immediately blame Harvey, guilt by association is extra tough to deal with when your family has witch blood on their hands. They want to kill him on the spot, something Sabrina puts a stop to (for now). Prudence then delivers a crushing blow by asking Sabrina how her faith in Harvey is any less valid than her own in Satan. Good point, Prudence.
Also, I can’t believe that the music supervisor missed a huge opportunity by not using the Siouxsie and the Banshees cover of Dear Prudence in this episode. Or Spellbound for that matter.
After Sabrina wisely puts a spell of protection on Harvey, she helps Aunt Zelda with her midwife duties. It seems that Lady Blackwood has been doing some spellcasting, an act that has dangerously raised her blood pressure. Lady Blackwood begins ranting about the Wyrd Sisters plotting against her, and HIPPA laws be damned, Sabrina immediately tells Prudence, Agatha, and Dorcas.
Sabrina, with the help of Aunt Hilda’s delicious looking Truth Cake, holds a pre-Feast of Feasts dinner where it is revealed that Lady Blackwood arranged for Prudence to win the title of Queen, so that she would be out of the picture. Oh yeah, she’s also Father Blackwood’s daughter, and as such has a claim to her birthright as the High Priest’s firstborn – something Faustus confirms. Ahh Truth Cake, it always does the trick.
Having proven that the Feast of Feasts is indeed bullshit, Sabrina forces Father Blackwood’s hand and has him renounce it as Edward Spellman once did. Or at least that was the plan. An especially fanatical member of the Church of Night isn’t having it, and she slices her own throat in an act of unholy sacrifice. The other witches and warlocks, at least those not named Spellman, begin feasting on Mildred’s flesh. It is unclear if they subsequently fell asleep in front of the TV.
An exhausted Zelda reveals to Sabrina that she would do anything to protect her, including breaking the Dark Lord’s will. And with that, the A-story comes to a close.
But wait! There’s more!
This being Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, we still the Ambrose/Roz/Susie/Wardwell subplots happening. There’s not much for Ambrose to do here, outside of the orgy scene. The same can’t be said for Roz and Susie, who get some time to, er, shine here. Yes, Roz’s Nana Ruth (played by the great L. Scott Caldwell) has a special power called The Shining “The Cunning.” A sort of sixth sense that developed when she went blind during her youth, it gives her incredible insight into people and events. The Cunning was a curse inflicted on the Walker woman generations ago by witches. As Nana Ruth tells Roz, it will help her “see things other’s can’t, and that will save your life.”
Susie gets her own supernatural connection in the form of her Aunt Dorothea, who visits her in this episode, seemingly in a dream. Dorothea’s echewing of gender norms is an inspiration to Suzie, as she continues her own journey of awareness and self-discovery.
Then there is the only blatant Riverdale crossover that the series features during its inaugural season: Ben Button (Moses Thiessen) delivers a pizza to Ms. Wardwell… and subsequently becomes her Thanksgiving dinner. Huh?
Now remember, this show is happening at the same time as Riverdale, and Ben just committed a Gryphons and Gargoyles-inspired suicide on that series. So how exactly is he alive on Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, only to die here too? This is the sort of mystery that Bughead would kill to solve…