Building upon the previous episodes questions as to Sabrina’s loyalty to the Church of the Night, the second episode explores Sabrina’s second thoughts and whether she really is as dark as she pretends to be.
The Dark Lord reveals to Ms Wardwell/Lilith/Madam Satan that he plans for Sabrina to be his Herald on earth when the gates of Hell are flung open – a contentious point as Lilith herself desires this position. They decide on a wager to determine the true nature of Sabrina’s soul, whether it is light as Lilith claims or full of darkness as the Dark Lord believes.
So begins a game of cat and mouse between Sabrina and the Dark Lord, with Ms Wardwell determined to sabotage it at every turn. The first task that the Dark Lord puts to Sabrina is to steal a pack of gum, something that is thwarted by Ms Wardwell who catches Sabrina in the act and makes her think better of it.
The Academy is putting on a play: The Passion of Lucifer Morningstar, in which Sabrina is understudy to Dorcas’ Lilith. The Dark Lord uses this as an opportunity to try and get Sabrina to sabotage Dorcas so that she can play the role, but Sabrina stays firm. After this refusal, Sabrina suddenly collapses, unable to breathe.
When she awakes she talks to her Aunt Hilda, who talks about her own task that she was asked to perform by the Dark Lord, in which she had to press a button on a box. She tortured herself for weeks over it, until it transpired that the button in fact did nothing. The Dark Lord was more interested to see Hilda’s devotion than for her to actually do something nefarious in his name. Sabrina decides to return to Baxter High in the midst of their Romeo & Juliet assignment.
Sabrina comes back to Baxter High at a pivotal point. Theo is feeling isolated and out of place as a result of Billy bullying him out of the boys’ locker room, which prompts Sabrina to give Theo a magic length of rope that will cause Billy to trip. Meanwhile, Roz and Harvey are working together in the Romeo & Juliet assignment to reenact the kissing scene. Sabrina is forced to work with Billy, who goads her as to how it feels to see her ex and best friend become so close. Despite Sabrina’s obvious upset at this, the Dark Lord’s words are still unheeded by her.
After discovering long claw marks on her back – called The Devil’s Claw by Ms Wardwell – Sabrina goes to Ambrose for help at evading the Dark Lord until she can find a solution to her problem. He advises her, revealing at the same time the own task that he had to perform for the Dark Lord, which involved sending a letter to a boy he used to love. He doesn’t reveal what was contained within the letter, but it clearly still emotionally affects him. Theo is driven to a violent revenge upon Billy after an incident in the locker room, while Roz comes down with chicken pox, forcing Sabrina and Harvey together as they are now partnered on the assignment. The assignment leads to the two kissing. In her brain, Sabrina sees the Devil’s Claw on Harvey’s skin and immediately goes to leave, saying that she must keep her distance from him to keep him from being poisoned with evil. She believes that it is contagious and that the Dark Lord is interfering with Theo and Roz, and she does not want that to infect Harvey too. Harvey attests that if Sabrina leaves, then she leaves for good. Desperate to protect him, Sabrina leaves.
Backed into a corner, Sabrina has no choice but to do as the Dark Lord demands. She is scared for the repercussions for herself and her friends should she not, so she follows his instructions and goes to Baxter High to set it on fire. Her willingness to do this stops The Dark Lord from forcing her to drop the match, and her mark disappears.
Sabrina is then given the role of Lilith in the Academy’s production, as Dorcas has suspiciously contracted chickenpox. Sabrina plays the part of Lilith spectacularly opposite Nick and indeed shares a kiss with him as part of the performance. The real Lilith, Ms Wardwell, watches from the side tearfully, as she sees Sabrina figuratively filling her shoes to match the literal filling of her shoes to become the Dark Lord’s Herald.
Following the performance, Nick asks Sabrina whether she has ever been asked to do a task for the Dark Lord. Sabrina says that she performed the task, but she did not have to do it because the Dark Lord could see her devotion. It is here that we question whether or not Sabrina found a loophole to save her soul and whether she played the Dark Lord at his own game; whether her devotion is as true as it appears, or whether it was merely a strategic play on her part.
This episode really shows us how manipulative the Dark Lord is. He has been seen in the past to have meddled with Ambrose and Hilda for them to prove their devotion, and here he manipulates elements of Sabrina’s life to force her to demonstrate devotion to him. I would argue that if she is robbed of choice, it isn’t at all an act of devotion on Sabrina’s part, but rather love and concern for the people in her life. Pushing Theo to violent acts and pushing Harvey and Sabrina together merely serves to alienate Sabrina from her mortal life and force her closer to the Dark Lord out of fear of what could happen to them should she remain.
- Zelda’s subplot for this episode involves her feud with Shirley Jackson, the bitchy member of the staff from the previous episode. After replacing Shirley as director of The Passion of Lucifer Morningstar, Zelda then coughs up Shirley’s familiar. Zelda is determined to kill it, but instead elects to use a poppet to get Shirley to do her bidding. Once she gets Shirley standing on the balcony, ready to jump, Zelda lets her go. She makes it very clear to the other members of staff that should Shirley cross her again, she won’t stop her from jumping.
- Ambrose and Prudence definitely have sex after the production.
- Father Blackwood is still a sexist butt-trumpet, as shown by the fact that he even rewrites Lilith to be helpless wandering in a forest, instead of a survivalist. When Zelda brings this up, he threatens to fire her from the production. He’s really responsive to feedback.
- What is Sabrina destined to ascend to? The Dark Lord’s Herald.
- What is Madam Satan’s endgame? To be The Dark Lord’s Herald.
- Will Theo’s newfound gender identity be further explored through the rest of the season? Explored in this episode through locker room politics.
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?
- How will Ambrose’s position as Top Boy affect his relationship with the rest of the Spellman family?
- Will the fact that Zelda kidnapped Father Blackwood’s daughter be revealed at some point?
- Just how dangerous is Ms Wardwell? How far will she go to stop Sabrina being The Dark Lord’s herald?
Chapter Thirteen: The Passion of Sabrina Spellman
MJ Kaufman & Christina Ham
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
Ty Wood as Billy Martin