Just when Kiernan Shipka’s Sabrina has truly, absolutely hit her stride, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comes to an end. Season four, premiering on December 31, 2020, is the show’s best season, so a little solace can be found in knowing the series is going out with a bang and not a whimper.
Kiernan Shipka splits her time in season four as Sabrina Spellman and Sabrina Morningstar. Sabrina #1 is a high school student who shares much in common with your normal, average everyday teen albeit one with incredible power. Life can be hell when you’re not sure of your place anymore among your closest friends. Sabrina #2’s life is literally hell as she rules the underworld with her hunky but not so charming hubby, Caliban (Sam Corlett).
Sabrina being Sabrina, she’s not about to follow the rules and jumps at the opportunity to interact with her other self. This interaction is foretold to have grave consequences, but when you’re battling the Eldritch Terrors all bets are off and drastic steps must be taken.
And speaking of the dreaded Eldritch Terrors, each new Terror is a real treat to behold (the monster effects are stunning) and each takes up an episode to battle. The Eldritch Terrors plotline also allows Richard Coyle as Faustus Blackwood to have a field day bringing the evil this final season.
The fourth and final season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has a devil may care attitude, throwing in massive plot twists and exploring new avenues, all while acknowledging the endgame throughout its eight explosive episodes. There’s not a sour note or wrong step anywhere to be found in this final season. There’s also not a moment wasted feeding us unnecessary red herrings, despite the vibe you might have picked up from the promotional videos. The clip featuring Sabrina’s other aunties not only makes complete sense in context, but it also feeds into a pivotal plot twist.
There’s a sense of urgency streaming through season four, yet the writing team never fail to find the humor in the many bizarre situations the Sabrinas and their friends are thrust into. Season four even manages to squeeze in a satanic version of the Battle of the Bands, giving our teenage heroes a chance to show off their vocal ranges without arbitrarily inserting musical numbers into an episode.
These last eight episodes are, as they should be, driven by Kiernan Shipka’s terrific performance. Shipka’s evolved as an actress over the four seasons, and this final outing as Sabrina is her best work to date. Sabrina’s loyal and fierce, heartbreakingly vulnerable at times yet always quick-witted and determined. Each of her continuously shifting moods is captured perfectly in Shipka’s performance.
There’s a little less for Miranda Otto, Lucy Davis, and Michelle Gomez to do in this final season yet their impacts are still felt. Season four’s really all about the younger cast, with Gavin Leatherwood’s Nick Scratch getting more of a showcase than anticipated. Nick also gets the show’s best arc – other than Sabrina’s, of course.
It’s a real shame to be saying goodbye to Sabrina, Zelda, Hilda, Ambrose, Harvey, Susie, Rosalind, Prudence, Lilith, Nick, and the rest of the colorful characters we’ve come to love (or hate) just when the series is firing on all cylinders. We can hold out hope for a resurrection of at least some of the younger characters showing up on Riverdale and adding some much-needed energy to that The CW series. (A Twitter campaign for a belated Sabrina crossover couldn’t hurt.) But if this is the last outing for these actors in these Archie Comics-inspired characters, then know they’ve gone out with series-best performances.
The final season – and episode eight in particular – takes us on an emotional rollercoaster of a ride, one fans will regret has come to an end. Capping it off, episode eight delivers an unexpected yet completely logical payoff to four seasons of Sabrina watching and ranks as one of the show’s finest hours.