Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 4 is a bewitching and a glorious finale, repeating the elements that work, and providing a courageous ending. The only true negative is that we’ll never see this story extended further.
This review of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 4 contains no spoilers. The final ever season will be released on the streaming service on December 31, 2020.
We recapped every episode — check out the archive.
After many discussions with Sabrina enthusiasts, the one question has been why? Why has Netflix decided to end the story for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina? We can all appreciate that the streaming service has strict thresholds when it comes to viewership and budgets, but let’s be clear, CAOS was not canceled, it was ended. This isn’t the same situation with The OA, where, unfortunately, the justification for continuation was not propped up by a strong fanbase. CAOS has a strong fanbase, so we can only assume a variety of reasons that a narrative coated in levels of mythology, that can be stretched out for many stories, decided to end after four seasons.
So I write this review with a heavy heart. The writers had a great challenge to end CAOS respectfully with many plotlines to fulfill that had been generated with precise care and imagination. Thankfully, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 4 is delivered seriously — it’s not a ceremonial piece of work. There’s thought given to the story. There’s thought given to character endings. It’s not just fan-service, but then again, even the fan-service is brave and creative.
Season 4 is like a Halloween special; Faustus Blackwood released the Eldritch Terrors at the end of season 3, and the writers have used this season to make each episode a treat; releasing a single Terror on to Greendale one at a time, forcing the Academy, The Fright Club, and the Spellmans to fight them off. There’s an obvious theme, with each chapter putting the audience into a false sense of security — it’s constant Doomsday; it’s not a “goodbye” party.
Like previous seasons, the fourth installment is a visual treat of exquisite cinematography and audacious colors. If there’s one element that has not reduced with each season, it’s the direction and approach; the production team had the freedom to enjoy themselves; building a wonderful and stimulating world for the audience. It’s the significance of the production that gives it a true rewatch value for years to come. Although we all loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 1 — it’s hardly a product that ages well.
Thematically, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 4 brings in maturity and accountability for the lead character. Previously, she took on the world with a scattergun approach, daring to push aside her responsibilities and not thinking of the consequences. We all know what Sabrina did in the finale of season 3. It makes sense that her actions have a dire consequence in the final season that integrates into the story’s core. Like Willow bringing Buffy back to life, characters need to understand that actions come back to bite eventually — having two Sabrinas was never going to be plain sailing, and it comes with relief that the writers did not hide away from that conflict.
One negative that can be attached to Season 4 is its inability to fulfill development for certain characters. While the Sabrinas required a focal point, other characters suffer from that season-ending lull, where the writers do not have enough time to conquer all stories. While we can all appreciate that Hilda found her purpose, Zelda feels underused in Season 4, and Nick is pushed to the sidelines while The Fright Club goes into full throttle. However, fans will be pleased that Prudence gets more juice in the script, especially with Faustus Blackwood being the engineer behind the events.
If you’ve kept an eye on social media, then by now you will have seen or heard of the rumors that the original Hilda and Zelda return from Sabrina The Teenage Witch to help give the cast one last hoorah. Fans will not be disappointed in how this is delivered — it’s not only a nostalgic hit; there’s a true purpose to their return.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 4 is a bewitching and a chillingly glorious finale, repeating the elements that work, and providing a courageous and brave ending. The only true negative is that we’ll never see this story extended further.
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