Chapter 3 of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, “The Trial of Sabrina Spellman”, takes us into the courtroom, witch style, as Sabrina faces the (satanic) music after her last-minute dash from the altar.
This recap of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Chapter 3, “The Trial of Sabrina Spellman”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Life seems to be pretty tough for Sabrina in the Netflix Original Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Chapter 3, “The Trial of Sabrina Spellman”, sees our favourite half-witch being forced to defend her decision not to sign her life away to The Dark Lord. I can’t say that I actually blame her though; it might just be my own unconscious bias, but I just don’t think someone calling themselves The Dark Lord is going to be a well-balanced individual. They certainly won’t be what I’d be looking for in a partner.
As if a trial in a paranormal courtroom wasn’t enough for any teenager to handle, Sabrina also has to handle regular teenage life. An American high school drama wouldn’t really be complete without some overzealous censorship by the stuffy school administration. Baxter High School certainly doesn’t want to buck the trend as this chapter reveals that there are a number of books that have been “permanently on loan” from the school library. Ros, Sabrina and Susie make it their mission (with some help from Miss Wardwell) to change Principal Hawthorne’s mind.
I thought I’d got the time period all figured out for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as I rewatched Chapter 1, and it started with the title “this year”. As I started Chapter 3 I felt happy that I’d just missed something obvious and it was set somewhere in the 2010s. Chapter 3 has pulled the rug out from under me on that one though, as we see Sabrina and friends searching the library using an old card catalogue. The fact that students are even going to a library, let alone searching in an old card catalogue, doesn’t exactly scream modernity. Perhaps it is actually set in the present day but technology has slowed to a crawl thanks to the influence of The Dark Lord. I wouldn’t put it past him, the miserable old goat.
“The Trial of Sabrina Spellman” gives a deeper look into life as a witch and the contract that every witch is meant to sign up to. If this episode has taught me anything it’s that there’s more to signing the “book of the beast” than they’re letting on. I mean, signing your name in blood in something called the book of the beast sounds scary enough to put me right off.
I enjoyed the courtroom scenes; it gave a bit more of an insight into life as a witch. It was a nice piece of world-building that made everything feel a little fuller and tangible. The “Infernal Three” and the whole court, really, had a very strong look of the legal process of Krypton, which is perhaps what sold it to me.
I still can’t figure out what’s going on with Sabrina’s family – we have no idea why Ambrose is under house arrest, Zelda seems to have a very dark agenda and Hilda is… well Hilda just seems very nice. I’m expecting that Zelda is being played as a slightly untrustworthy influence on Sabrina so the show can do a last-minute turn of the tables towards the end of the season when it’s revealed she was doing good all along, but I’ll just have to wait and see.
Elsewhere, Ambrose makes a new friend in the form of Luke, which suggested a couple of things. Firstly, when Luke pops over to see Ambrose, he’s asked if he’s a vampire – this suggests that vampires are a thing in Sabrina’s universe. Secondly, the two of them met at Connor’s funeral – it all seems a little too coincidental, and I think there’s a lot more to the death of Connor than we’re being told.
I’m still really enjoying Chilling Adventures of Sabrina but I think that “The Trial of Sabrina Spellman” just took its foot off the accelerator a touch compared to the first two. The series is still in the process of showing us all of the mysteries that it’s setting up and there’s perhaps a bit more of that to come before we can start to crack the real issues at play.