Let’s talk about sex, baby. Oh yes, it’s the time that all dramas with teens – supernatural or not – have to face: losing their virginity. Chapter Fourteen of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina focusses upon Sabrina’s sexuality as the festival of Lupercalia approaches. As explained by Sabrina, Lupercalia is essentially Valentine’s Day for witches – which allows lovely parallels between the stories at Baxter High and at the Academy. What impressed me was how self assured Sabrina was through this episode. Despite the fact that she has her aunt Zelda and peers at school encouraging her to engage in Lupercalia (which is essentially a sex festival), Sabrina is adamant that she needs to decide whether or not she is ready for herself.
Throughout this hour, we explore the relationships that form the heart of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, in the form of Sabrina and Nick; Harvey and Roz; Ambrose and Prudence; Hilda and Dr. Cerberus; and Zelda and Father Blackwood. All of these relationships are very different in their nature.
Paired together in the Lupercalia matching (much to Dorcas’ disgruntlement), Nick and Sabrina start to discover each other throughout this episode. They even attend the Sweetheart’s Dance at Baxter High together, allowing us to see the couple in something approaching normalcy. While we see that with Sabrina she is stepping into new territory in terms of losing her virginity, we also see that Nick – despite his sexual experience – is inexperienced when it comes to genuine connection with another human being, also putting him in a vulnerable spot. It is this vulnerable spot that culminates with a werewolf attacking both him and Sabrina at the Sweetheart’s Dance. It transpires that the werewolf is Nick’s overly possessive familiar who he had to banish. The episode ends with Sabrina hastily dispatching Amalia the Werewolf with a dagger. A slightly dodgy and strange subplot there, but there you go.
Also attending the Sweetheart’s Dance are Roz and Harvey. They finally get that kiss that Roz has been prophesying for the past couple of episodes, and Roz comes clean with Harvey that she is able to see the past and future. While he is triggered by the supernatural, he is appreciative of her honesty and their relationship seems to progress to full-on making out at the close of the episode. All good on that front.
Ambrose, always the wild card, spends most of the episode wrapped around Prudence’s little finger, despite his relationship with Luke. As Ambrose points out, however, Luke is out of town on a mission and therefore will not mind. Hilda, meanwhile, is searching for love in the form of Dr. Cerberus. She is confused why she hasn’t had any shifts at the shop in a while, but Dr. Cerberus indicates to her that a relationship between them would be impossible. After some sisterly advice from Zelda, Hilda returns to seduce Dr. Cerberus, upon which she discovers that he is an incubus (a sex demon). Apparently, however, with chains of Damascus steel, she’ll be fine (according to Zelda).
Zelda, meanwhile, despite being assured by Father Blackwood in the previous episode that they were to remain a secret out of respect for his late wife Lady Blackwood, gets a proposal. Yes, Father Blackwood wishes to marry her. Zelda makes it clear to Hilda that she is going to accept the proposal, but reveals that she is not interested in Father Blackwood beyond the power and status that it affords her and the Spellman name. This can only be a relief, considering all this time I thought that she was insane for being interested in him, so her ruse certainly paid off.
There is also the small matter of Ms Wardwell. It transpires that she isn’t a spinster after all, but rather has a fiancé with the rather appropriate name of Adam who has been doing charity work overseas since before Madam Satan inhabited Ms Wardwell’s body. Considering her current limbo stuck in Ms Wardwell’s body and commanded to continue being principal of Baxter High, it’s nice to give Lilith a function. It’s good to see her have someone under her control and seeing to her needs, as it were.
That’s all on the relationships front this episode, though it was lovely to see some of the interaction that Sabrina had with Hilda and with Roz in this episode. Hilda assured Sabrina that losing her virginity wasn’t to be taken lightly, and it’s Roz that Sabrina turns to before the Hunt that ends Lupercalia and will take her virginity. Similarly, Roz asks Sabrina for her blessing to pursue Harvey before anything happens. It’s nice to see a female friendship on TV which isn’t reduced to any sort of resentment between the two friends, especially considering the seeds of anger that The Dark Lord attempted to plant in Sabrina’s mind in the previous episode. Indeed, it’s Harvey who shows himself to be the more petulant in this episode, seeming to brush Sabrina off and be rude to her when she extends him the courtesy of warning him that she plans on taking Nick to the Sweetheart’s Dance. I do hope that Harvey’s heart is in his relationship with Roz and it isn’t merely a rebound. It would be unfair to Roz’s story arc to have her reduced to some pawn in his emotional journey. I very much hope that both of the relationships work out and we don’t go down the route of Harvey and Sabrina finding their way back to each other.
Elsewhere in this episode, Theo came out as trans to his dad, revealing that he feels more comfortable in boys’ clothes and does not feel like a girl on the inside. Theo’s dad is clearly affected by this and neither has a reaction of great support nor one of dismissal, and instead takes his son to have a haircut to mark the new era of his life. I found the scene to be very real and a really touching moment in this family unit. Hopefully we see more of this in the coming episodes. Theo also has a lovely moment at the dance, where bully Billy comes to apologise and make amends after his accident.
It continues to be a strong start to Part 2, as the series looks inwardly upon the relationships and dynamics between the existing characters instead of furthering any Satanic plots. After all, there is no sense of jeopardy if you do not care about the characters.
Outstanding (and new) questions:
- Also, what’s going to happen once Theo actually has to play basketball and doesn’t have Sabrina to cast magic on him? I have lost faith that we will actually get an answer to this.
- How will Ambrose’s position as Top Boy affect his relationship with the rest of the Spellman family? Apparently his Top Boy position mostly involves him shouting things in ceremonies and boning Prudence.
- Will the fact that Zelda kidnapped Father Blackwood’s daughter be revealed at some point? If it’s beneficial to Zelda, I’m confident it will be revealed.
- Just how dangerous is Ms Wardwell? How far will she go to stop Sabrina being The Dark Lord’s herald? As it turns out, Lilith is forbidden from harming Sabrina, but that does not mean that her friends are safe.
Chapter Fourteen: Lupercalia
Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina Spellman
Ross Lynch as Harvey Kinkle
Lucy Davis as Hilda Spellman
Chance Perdomo as Ambrose Spellman
Michelle Gomez as Ms. Wardwell / Madam Satan
Jaz Sinclair as Roz
Tati Gabrielle as Prudence
Adeline Rudolph as Agatha
Richard Coyle as Father Blackwood
Miranda Otto as Zelda Spellman
Lachlan Watson as Theo
Abigail Cowen as Dorcas
Gavin Leatherwood as Nick
Rochelle Greenwood as Shirley
Alexis Denisof as Adam
Adrian Hough as Farmer Putnam
Ty Wood as Billy Martin
Alessandro Juliani as Dr. Cerberus