This review contains spoilers.
1.8 The Burial
“Life, death, the afterlife… these are not things to be trifled with.”
The darkest episode of Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina to date is also the first to tackle head on how the use of magical powers can have dire consequences. At the end of the previous episode, Agatha and Dorcas had conspired to get revenge against the Kinkle family for the death of a familiar at their hands in Moon Valley.
It didn’t matter to them that Harvey and his brother weren’t the ones responsible, for they are Kinkles, and in the mind of these Wyrd Sisters, all Kinkles are witch hunters. And so they caused a mine collapse that killed several innocents, although Harvey was spared thanks in no small part to the spell of protection that Sabrina had wisely placed on him earlier.
Despite their being no body yet to bury, Mr. Kinkle enlists the help of the Spellman Mortuary to put his son to rest. The ceremony is expectedly grim and contemplative. “Do any mortals really realise life while they’re living it?,” asks Ambrose, quoting Our Town. Roz pays a tribute to her friend’s fallen sibling by singing a song and then Harvey, with the help of another spell from Sabrina delivers a thoughtful eulogy for the one person who looked after him like no other.
Then it all goes to shit when Mr Kinkle wrongly declares that “Tommy, he loved our mines.” This causes an outburst from Harvey, who is burdened with the secret knowledge that his brother turned down a scholarship to Notre Dame in order to stay behind and take care of him. Dramatically, a scuffle ensues and the empty casket falls.
“It should’ve been you” are the words Mr Kinkle throws at his surviving son like a brick. And indeed, Harvey blames himself for Tommy’s death. Ouch.
Sabrina meanwhile is convinced that she can use her abilities to bring Tommy back. “I can fix this” becomes her mantra, even though she avoids the warnings of Cousin Ambrose as to the perils of using necromancy. With her relative unwilling to help, she vents her frustrations to Ms. Wardwell. Blinded by her desire to make things right, Sabrina willfully ignores her instructor’s most blatant manipulations yet. (She does everything but perform the necromancy ritual for Sabrina).
Make no mistake, this is one ridiculous scene, but acted so well by Kiernan Shipka and Michelle Gomez that viewers – at least this one – are able to overlook its narrative-forwarding contrivances. After realising that “someone has to die for Tommy to live” Sabrina’s plan is temporarily complicated.
Enter Roz. Thanks to “The Cunning,” Roz had a vision at Tommy’s funeral of two girls smashing effigies of the Kinkles in the mines. Quickly realising that Agatha and Dorcas were the pair responsible, Sabrina clues Prudence into her plan. One stolen Book of the Dead (from Wardwell’s office, just where she said it would be) later, and Sabrina is ready to commit her darkest act yet.
“And the child takes another step on the road to perdition,” coos Ms Wardwell, wishing she had a moustache to twirl.
Into the woods goes Sabrina, the Wyrd Sisters and Nick Scratch, and the ritual begins. Sabrina ruthlessly slashes Agatha’s throat, killing her instantly.
But her plan has a failsafe: She will bury Agatha in the Spellman’s Cain Pit. The Wyrd Sister will be resurrected, and the blood sacrifice to bring Tommy back having been fulfilled, all will be well.
“Why must you always insist that the universe grant you special privileges?,” barks Ambrose at his cousin once he realizes what she has done. “You’ve upset the natural order. You realize that, don’t you? There are rules, there’s no cheating fate.”
At that moment, Agatha rises from the Cain Pit, alive once more. Sabrina smirks with some self satisfaction. Everything is going to plan. Or so she wrongly thinks. Then there’s a sinister knock on the door at Harvey’s house, and the credits roll.
Sabrina is getting overly cocky here, and even though she laughs Ambrose’s dire warnings, her actions here will have dire consequences leading into the season’s final two episodes.
The resurrection of Tommy Kinkle is the main focus of the episode, which isn’t the discount the very important developments over in subplotville. After Father Blackwood arrives at the Spellman’s (at Luke’s behest) to discuss Ambrose’s house arrest, he finds Zelda feeling despondent. She tells the High Priest how she feels that she is “running a halfway house for wayward witches.” The ever-smooth Father Blackwood retorts “we are made of flesh and failure, this our nature sister Zelda.” And before you know it, they are having sex.
Later, Blackwood tells Ambrose of a compromise, the witch council will allow him to work at the Academy of Unseen Arts, and together they will attempt to get his house arrest pardoned. This news delivered, he learns from Zelda that Lady Blackwood is expecting twins. Naturally, this good news results in some erotic flagellation between Blackwood and Zelda.
Witches are kinky.
Elsewhere in the episode, it is revealed that Susie has been receiving visitations from late Aunt Dorothea. Inspired by her relative’s heroics, Susie sneaks into the Kinkle Mines, where she discovers Tommy’s mangled hardhat. It is unclear exactly where this Dorothea storyline is going, but Susie, like Roz before her, is yet another mortal with some sort of supernatural abilities.
Next up: Tommy’s back. Or is he?