The End of Days is upon us in the jam-packed season finale of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which sees witches and mortals coming together to fend off the Dark Lord and the impending apocalypse.
“The Mephisto Waltz,” written by show-runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, certainly does not skimp on the drama. There is A LOT going on in this episode. Exposed family secrets. Heartbreaking betrayals. Bloody violence. Biblical flashbacks. Even a musical number! And yet through it all, one thing remains consistent: the power of family.
If there has been one through-line to this series, it’s that family matters, especially to the Spellmans, whom despite their differing outlooks on life, always have each other’s backs in times of need. Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Zelda (Miranda Otto), who are prone to bickering and occasional sibling murder, have continuously leaned on each other this season, and Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) avoided execution because his family worked together to save him. As Zelda tells Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka), even if it means standing against the all-powerful Dark Lord, “family comes first.”
Sabrina needs her family now more than ever, as she has lost all her witch powers. The Dark Lord (Luke Cook) is back in his true form (which seems to be sexy underwear model) and plans to rule over Hell on Earth with Sabrina by his side as his Queen. Zelda has always been the biggest supporter of the Dark Lord within the Spellman household, but even she will not allow her niece to become Satan’s child bride. And so the Spellmans get to work, putting a protection spell on the house to try and ward off the Devil.
Let’s talk about the Dark Lord and his human form. A flashback reveals the origin story of Lilith and Lucifer Morningstar. Other than the wounds on his back where his angel wings were removed, Mr. Morningstar is perfectly groomed, like he’s stepped out of a Gillette advert, all abs and smoldering good looks. Young Lilith is equally teen-drama hot, with her flowing hair and plucked eyebrows. I get why this is, Netflix is aiming at a specific audience, but it’s all a bit too glossy and makes the Dark Lord far less menacing than he should be.
That said, Luke Cook gives a serviceable performance as Lucifer, even if he is more Fifty Shades of Grey than Nine Circles of Hell. He swaggers around half-naked making demands. He tells Lilith (Michelle Gomez), whose ruse as Ms. Wardwell is now exposed, to bring him Sabrina and prepare her for her coronation. This is, of course, devastating for Lilith, who has once again been passed over for promotion in spite of promises made by her former lover.
The coronation of Sabrina is also a humiliating blow for Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle). The Dark Lord chastises the High Priest for his Church of Judas bulls**t and tells him he must now “report, answer, and bow down to Sabrina Spellman.” Unable to “lower” himself to answer to a woman, let alone a Spellman, Blackwood retaliates by poisoning the coven with communion wine and making a run for it with baby twins Judas and Judith in tow. Fortunately, Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) is able to save Agatha (Adeline Rudolph) and Dorcas (Abigail F. Cowen) and a few other members of the coven by teleporting them to the Spellmans.
As for Sabrina, she wants no role in the Dark Lord’s plans, but after listening to Lilith’s story, she agrees to face him, if only for answers. In one of the episode’s best and most honest scenes, Sabrina asks Lilith why she continued to believe Lucifer’s lies all these years. Lilith tells an all too familiar tale of domestic abuse, explaining how the Dark Lord was kind and gentle at first, but over time became consumed with evil. She continued to follow him because “it’s all I’ve ever known.” Sabrina’s reply cuts deep: “What a terrible, weak reason.”
Sabrina’s conversation with the Dark Lord is equally wrought with tension. Lucifer demands gratitude from the young witch for bestowing her with “beauty, power, and strength.” She tells him she never asked for or wanted those things, to which the Dark Lord calls bulls**t. “You’ve loved the power I’ve given you,” he says, and you know what, he’s right. Now Sabrina must blow Gabriel’s horn, thereby opening the gates of Hell, and take the throne next to Satan where she will rule with him for all eternity. “Sorry, but I have school,” is Sabrina’s brilliantly childish response to the proposal.
Then come the shocking revelations. The Dark Lord brings out Nicholas Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood) who it turns out has been doing Lucifer’s bidding all this time. He was told to get close to Sabrina, though he admits to genuinely falling for her and to not knowing the extent of the Dark Lord’s machinations. But that trust is broken, regardless of how bad Nick feels about the whole thing. A heartbroken Sabrina just wants to know one thing, did her dad have any part in this whole messed up prophecy - then comes the next bombshell.
“Edward Spellman isn’t your father,” says the Dark Lord. “I am.” WHOA! HOLY STAR WARS! Hilda later admits that Edward and Diana struggled to conceive and so went to Satan who “blessed them with a child.” No one seems to ask why Lucifer wants to marry his own daughter, but for Sabrina, it doesn’t matter, nothing has changed, she will always be a Spellman no matter what. “He tricked my father and used my mother and now expects me to fall in line. Well, I say not today, Satan.”
Sabrina and Lilith end up joining forces to take down the Dark Lord; Lilith confessing she selfishly wants the crown for herself and if Lucifer doesn't give it to her then she’ll just have to take it. Their first plan to lure the Dark Lord to the woods and stab him in his wing-wounds fails miserably, so Sabrina comes up with another idea: trap Satan in the Acheron Configuration she used to hold the Batibat demon. An apologetic Nick offers to help fix the configuration in exchange for Sabrina “not hating him for the rest of her life.”
While all this is happening, Harvey (Ross Lynch), Roz (Jaz Sinclair), and Theo (Lachlan Watson) locate the gates of Hell in the Greendale mines. Roz uses her cunning and sees a series of symbols. She somehow transfers her vision into Harvey’s mind by basically touching his head, and he begins sketching the symbols onto pieces of paper. These ancient icons somehow keep the gates locked. This whole segment feels very first draft, and it’s disappointing how Theo is reduced to third wheel.
Back at the coronation, Sabrina, Lilith, and the Spellmans perform “Masquerade” from Phantom of the Opera because what better way to distract the Devil than with a musical number? While Sabrina and the Dark Lord dance the Mephisto Waltz, the rest of the group chant an incantation, allowing Sabrina to zap her fiery father into the magic puzzle box... but only momentarily, he soon breaks out. Lilith says there is only one prison that can contain him: the human body. In steps Nick to make the ultimate sacrifice, offering to accept Lucifer into his body as a way of apology to Sabrina.
The ending is a moment of redemption for both Nick and Lilith. The brooding warlock essentially gives up his life, not just for Sabrina, but for the mortals of earth. He is carried into Hell by Lilith who promises to look after him while she rules the underworld as Queen. If you thought Madame Satan was wicked before, you should see her in a crown. She also leaves with two final good deeds. Firstly, restoring Sabrina's powers, and secondly, bringing the real Ms. Wardwell back to life. It's not a perfectly happy ending... but it's probably as close as we were ever going to get.
The landscape of Greendale has drastically changed and the power dynamics of the Church of Night have completely shifted. Prudence and Ambrose weapon-up as they go on the hunt for an AWOL Father Blackwood - the former lovers bond over how their desire for a father-figure blinded them to the High Priest's manipulations. Hilda and Zelda prepare to rebuild what remains of the coven in Lilith's image, with Zelda declaring herself the High Priestess. Meanwhile, Sabrina and the gang (nicknamed the Fright Club by Harvey) promise to work together to fight evil forces.
In a tease for the next season, Sabrina announces the group's first mission: "Let's go to Hell and get my boyfriend back." Hail
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Streaming, Netflix