Misogyny and Magic
The new season of Sabrina begins with an ominous nightmare and a sign of things to come. As our teenage witch sees her nearest and dearest engulfed in darkness, she awakens to the start of the new school year. Donning a black outfit and a new attitude, Sabrina decides not to go back to high school and instead, wants to go full time at The Academy. With Mrs Wardwell the new principal of Baxter High and Zelda a teacher at the Academy, it’s all change this year in Sabrina.
Aiming to stamp her authority early on, Sabrina puts herself forward as Top Boy to compete against Nick. Much to Father Blackwood’s disapproval, the Academy agree and they’re tasked with 3 challenges to complete, followed by a vote. As Sabrina gets to work studying, a demon appears, conjuring rats that she ends up defeating. Believing Ambrose’s love interest is to blame, she confronts her cousin about it who simply brushes away her claims.
As the three challenges begin, Prudence helps Sabrina with the first, conjuring up knowledge from the ancient books to answer all of Blackwood’s questions. Frustrated, he tells Sabrina that only a man can be high Priest, reinforcing the feminist tones running rampant throughout the episode.
Evading the attacks from a further two demons, Sabrina continues her other two challenges, including one about potion making (which she fails) and a third about conjuring up demons. In a nice little twist, Sabrina and Nick team up together and bring forth the demons that attacked Sabrina, demanding to know who sent them. Failing to get any meaningful answers from them, an irate Blackwood calls off the challenges and instead appoints Ambrose as Top Boy instead.
Dotted around these developments at the Academy are various scenes involving Baxter High. Susie decides she no longer wants to be a girl and embraces the male in her, called Theo. Demanding to be part of the Men’s Basketball Team, she enlists at the try outs and with a little help from Sabrina makes the cut.
The episode then ends with Mrs Wardwell summoning the Dark Lord and asking about his plans for Sabrina, leaving things wide open going forward.
While some of the plot development is quite good here, the agenda-driven writing spoils what’s otherwise an enjoyable episode. Despite this, there’s enough intrigue with the story to keep things interesting and the tonal consistency with what’s come before continues to make Sabrina an enjoyable teen drama.