• sabrina_e16_feat Television 

    Five Thoughts on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s “Chapter Sixteen: Blackwood”

    By | May 13th, 2019
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    Welcome one and all to Multiversity’s very own ‘Witching Hour,’ in which we take a look at Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Join me every Monday for your weekly recap. I was extremely disappointed in last weeks episode, as it was a rehash of an episode from Part One, only not as good. I’m happy to report that this week’s episode really pushes the show forward in bloody fashion, as the Church of Night’s “Anti-Pope” visits Greendale. Warning, Spoilers ahead.

    1. Beware the Spellmans

    The episode begins in Father Blackwood’s chambers. The opening shot is of the High Priest’s back, chock full of satanic tattoos. Father Blackwood is inked up folks. As he’s shaving with a straight razor, the Weird Sisters disrupt him and tell him of a vision they’ve had. They tell him that the Spellmans would bring ruin upon his house and basically watch his back. We’ve known for some time that Blackwood was Edward Spellman’s protege, and this episode heavily implies that Blackwood was responsible for Sabrina’s parents deaths.

    As indicated by the episode title, we spend a lot of time with Father Blackwood this episode. We see his Order of Judas boys in action and act like some kind of secret police. We also get an idea of Blackwood’s vision for the Church of Night and moreover, all the Churches of Darkness. We meet the Anti-Pope (because everything is the opposite of the Roman Catholic Church) played by Ray Wise of Twin Peaks fame, and Blackwood presents his new manifesto, hoping to gain the favor of his Unholiness. But if that doesn’t work, ya know Blackwood has contingencies in place.

    2. Enter Edward Spellman

    We’ve seen Dianna Spellman a couple times throughout the series. She was incredibly vital to “Chapter Eleven.” Interestingly, Edward Spellman has not been featured prominently in the series. While his presence is felt and he’s mentioned on several occasions, we’ve never really properly met Edward Spellman. That is, until now.

    While enjoying some quality time together at Dorian Gray’s bar (we’ll come back to him later) with Nick Scratch, Sabrina sees her father on the floor above. Since we’ve seen Diana before, we know that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Sabrina meets her dad in some way. Edward spills the beans about Blackwood. He tells Sabrina that his vision for the Churches of Darkness are not his. He tells Sabrina that she must enact his ideology for the Church of Night, and Blackwood could not be trusted.

    As Edward fades away and Sabrina and Nick go to search for Edward’s own manefesto, Ms. Wardwell comes out of the shadows, says some forboding shit about Sabrina tearing down the temple, and disappears into the shadows just as Edward did. So is Blackwood responsible for the Spellman’s deaths or is this again Wardwell pulling some strings? Who the Heaven knows, but I’m sure all will be revealed in time, as Sabrina’s destiny inches ever closer.

    3. A Battle of Dogmas

    So it’s safe to say that Father Blackwood is a huge dick. He’s a misogynistic asshole and his true colors are shown here when he reveals his five tenets of his manifesto. Basically he wants to give warlocks all the power in the Church, he wants the witches to be subservient to warlocks, declares, mortals are swine and they should rule over them.

    Conversely, Edward Spellman’s manifesto is quite progressive. Nick Scratch travels to the bottom of the ocean to retrieve the document proving Edward definitely cracked the spell for keeping things dry. Edward proclaims that witches should be the matriarchs of their kind, as Lilith, the first witch was mother to all demons. He obviously doesn’t think mortals are swine, as he married Diana and together brought Sabrina into the world. In fact he believes it’s witchkind’s sacred duty to intermingle with them and usher in the era of the “Morning Star.” Clearly Edward’s version is a more elegant and romanticized vision of the apocalypse. But it still is the apocalypse.

    Make no mistake, the show is definitely commenting on the current political climate, Blackwood representing regressive politics and Edward’s doctrine as its counterpart.

    Continued below

    Blackwood presents his manifesto to the Anti-Pope and that constant thorn in his side named Sabrina Spellman bursts into his chambers and pleads with the Anti-Pope to give her father’s ideology a chance. I just want to point out that Blackwood is the king of glares.

    Using Levaithan, Blackwood controls Ambrose to kill the Anti-Pope. Upon this discovery, Blackwood kills the Anti-Pope’s two other guards and before he gets the chance to off Ambrose, he teleports to Sabrina’s room.Despite the Anti-Pope’s death, Blackwood declares his wedding to Zelda is still on as they need a united front. Nick takes Ambrose to Dorian’s bar and ultimately comes up with a plan to get revenge on the High Priest. His secret police continue to search for Ambrose and thanks to Dorian Gray’s painting manages to escape for the time being. I must say that I like Dorian’s portrayal. I haven’t really talked about him, but his line of dialogue here, explaining that his painting is literally hell. I’m interested in what role he plays moving forward, other than the ambiguous barkeep that plays both sides.

    4. Hilda Spellman: Maid of Dishonor

    As Zelda prepares for her marriage to Blackwood, she asks him to reinstate Hilda to the Church of Night. He agrees, so Hilda can properly perform her duties as Zelda’s Maid of Dishonor. Hilda has had many wonderful moments throughout the series. Last season I made Zelda the character I loved to hate. It’s just so damn easy. And Miranda Otto does a masterful job juxtaposing her inner conflict between her faith and her family. After Hilda somewhat emancipated herself from under Zelda’s bullying,she’s become one of the strongest characters on the show.

    Lucy Davis brings such wonderful facets to the character, my praise is not enough to do her justice. Hilda shows her true colors this episode when she confronts Zelda’s own bully, sister Shirely. Shirley, ever the jealous type conjures Constance Blackwoods ghost to haunt Zelda. After releasing Constance to a peaceful afterlife, Hilda confronts Shirley. She serves Shirley almond cookies and tea and discuss why Shirley is heavenbeant on ruining her sister. Basically Shirley is a petty person and Hilda informs her that the almonds in the cookies mask the cyanide she used to make them. Shirley dies immediately. Hilda’s last duty is to prepare Zelda in the event that the Dark Lord will “christen” Zelda before her wedding. Before the Dark Lord has his chance, the Anti-Pope is found murdered.

    5. A wedding, A Funeral and An Assassination Attempt

    Because Father Blackwood is the way he is, Zelda and he are married after the Anti-Pope’s funeral. Deciding that Blackwood can’t get away with his transgressions, Sabrina and Nick attempt to disguise themselves as Edward and Diana Spellman in front of the whole coven. Blackwood immediately sees through this and expels both Nick and Sabrina. Suddenly Ambrose attempts to kill Blackwood only to be stopped by Prudence who is finally named a Blackwood and legitimate child. Anyone else getting a Game of Thrones vibe with the High Priest and his heirs?

    Ambrose is locked up in the Witches Cell, Nick and Sabrina are cast aside and Father and Lady Blackwood are married. While walking out of the Church, he tells Prudence to watch over the school in his stead. He also makes sure Zelda knows her place with him as he tells her that a wife must walk behind her husband. Ummm Zelds, maybe this wasn’t the best idea.

    So that’s it folks. We got a pretty good episode that ultimately changes the entire landscape of the series moving forward. With Sabrina out of the way, how will Ambrose fare in the Witches Cell? What’s wrong with Zelda, she’s basically abandoned her family for a chance at more power. Also I was very pleased that we weren’t in the halls of Baxter High as much as usual.

    One Side Note
    Ms. Wardwell had little to do after her initial stunt. However she had some great character development as we see her get attached to Alexis Dennisoff’s Adam. We see her as Lilith, a subservient woman to Lucifer. This is made clear when the devil tells her to get rid of the mortal because she’s neglected her duties. It’ll be interesting to see how she ultimately deals with Adam. Thanks folks, join me next week as we see some of the fallout of this week’s episode.


    //TAGS | The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

    Matt Garza

    Matt was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, but is really a Cubs fan. When he's not reading comics and writing about them, watching the Cubs or playing Dungeons & Dragons with his roommate, he's most likely sleeping next to his dog. Despite several warnings, he will never stop giving the children in his family superhero clothing. You can find him on Twitter here.

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