The long wait for more of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is over, as new episodes arrive on Friday.
When we left off, 16-year-old half-witch, half-mortal Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) had finally signed her name in the Book of the Beast, in turn devoting herself to the Dark Lord and the Church of Night in an attempt to disrupt the Church’s operations and prevent her hometown of Greendale from being overrun by the underworld.
Of course, Sabrina’s plan — or lack thereof — represents only one aspect of the new episodes, as Rotten Tomatoes learned from the cast when we visited the set back in November. Here are five highlights coming in Part 2.
Despite signing her name in the Book of the Beast, Sabrina will try to maintain a balance between her old (human) and new (witch) lives. And though those worlds are still very far apart, Shipka said, “they just feel an inch closer, which, I think, just sort of adds a bit of tension and a bit of excitement to the whole thing.”
She added that it still represents “a massive shift” in the dynamic between Sabrina and her best friends Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Susie (Lachlan Watson), who will also face new challenges in the upcoming episodes. And while Sabrina wants to strike a true balance between her devotion to her friends and the Academy of Unseen Arts, the teen could potentially never find it.
“I think her life is going to be ever-changing,” Shipka explained. “Maybe she’ll find a spot that feels like it’s right, but … there is a very long haul to go before Sabrina finds any stability.”
Of course, rocking that stability will be the continued charade orchestrated by Madame Satan (Michelle Gomez) in the guise of Ms. Wardwell. As Shipka put it, their relationships will change as Sabrina feels more understood by Ms. Wardwell than anyone else in the mortal or witch worlds. But because of this, Madame Satan can steer Sabrina toward choices “in a way that Sabrina doesn’t even know is happening.”
“Clearly, that’s one of the few relationships in the show that Sabrina is a bit oblivious to,” Shipka added. “[But] as both of their agendas become increasingly different, it results in some shenanigans of sorts.”
Shenanigans of an entirely different sort will occur as hormones are added into the mix. For one thing, the sexuality on display at the Academy of Unseen Arts is something Sabrina still needs to adjust to.
“Sabrina sometimes feels like a fish out of water,” Shipka said. “There’s definitely a storyline about that.”
Meanwhile, she will continue to have conflicted feelings about breaking things off with her mortal boyfriend Harvey (Ross Lynch).
“To a certain extent there’s that love that’s always going to be there,” Shipka said. “I do think that she is a little broken. But I think that Sabrina’s a fixer. She likes to fix things.”
And as trailers and photos from the show’s second batch of episodes suggest, that fixing may involve one Nick Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood). Nick and Sabrina will grow closer throughout Part 2.
“I think they really complement each other well, what with Sabrina taking on this darker edge and her witchy side. Nick’s really privy to that world and is a good partner, as far as all that goes,” Leatherwood said, adding that the obvious affinity Nick has for Sabrina will continue to be explored throughout the season. “He’s just starting to kind of dive into and explore what love is,” he added. While witches and warlocks are more prone to lust and passion, Nick’s curiosity about the mortal form of love could also lead him to become “a dark, jealous lover.”
Harvey won’t be pining for Sabrina all season long, as trailers for the season have revealed that the character might embark on a new romance with Roz. But there’s no betrayal there — Lynch said it’s a pretty organic development now that Sabrina is out of the picture.
“I think they’ve realized that they’ve always been really good friends, and they’ve always had a good connection,” he said. “They quite like each other and they bond over being mortals and being outside of the magic world.”
Sinclair said the possibility of a relationship between the characters was something of a “surprise” to read in the scripts, but “it almost feels like a little bit of an older version of Roz and Harvey come together because their relationship dynamic is just so different than Sabrina and Harvey.”
At the same time, the actress was concerned how it would change things between Roz and Sabrina. “One of the things that was really important to me was that I did put my friendship first in the script,” she said — which means you should expect a conversation between the two about Harvey sooner rather than later.
While the gender-fluid nature of Susie Putnam was always present within Part 1, the story only had a few chances to focus on that aspect of the character. This will change in Part 2 as Susie continues to learn from the ghost of Dorothea Putnam (Anastasia Bandey) and further embrace the character’s truth.
“I think right now Susie’s on a bit of a solo crusade in a way,” Watson said, referring to the character with the gender-neutral pronoun “they.” “I think they’re still finding who they are as an individual, and I think it’s very jarring to see this one queer kid in this sea of people at Baxter High.”
Added the actor, who identifies as non-binary, “hopefully we’ll branch out a little bit past that.” Watson also expressed a hope that Susie will find a “less ghostly” life influence — “maybe even a non-binary person living their truth to see how that affects Susie and to see that positive relationship. I think that is so important to show people nowadays that a support group is everything. … It’s just such an incredible feeling, and it’s something that I, as a kid, wanted to see reflected back at me and never could. To have that opportunity to show that to the world has been amazing.”
Beyond learning about presenting an authentic self, Susie will also learn more about the Putnams’ past in Greendale and the family’s historic relationship to the Spellmans.
Though she’s spent decades as a helper, Hilda Spellman (Lucy Davis) continues her journey into the mortal world thanks to her job at the bookstore and a tentative relationship with its not-entirely-mortal proprietor, Dr. Cee (Alessandro Juliani). There will be what Davis described as “an issue” between two characters, but “it turns nice.” Also, the kindly Spellman sister will continue to come out of Zelda’s (Miranda Otto) shadow.
“I’ve just done an episode where it surprised me — an action that Hilda took in order to help Zelda,” she teased. “I was kind of pleased with it, and then I was like, ‘Oh, that’s big though, isn’t it?’”
Nonetheless, Davis is convinced the core of the character remains unchanged.
“She’s a helper,” she said. “But she’s also having her own life and doing some things that in the past Zelda would’ve said no to and she would’ve probably just obeyed.”
“It very much is a new world for him. The only experience he has of the world for the last 75 years has been lived vicariously through funerals, probably the internet, maybe a bit of Netflix, and his aunties,” he explained. “So he’s quite concerned and hesitant to jump right into the ranks of Blackwood’s society. But he’s very much drawn to power, as episode eight says, ‘drawn to powerful father figures.’ So he can’t resist it and help himself, but he’s still got his eye out.”
Ambrose’s need for strong father figures no doubt played a role in the Vatican job that lead to his house arrest in the first place, and Perdomo teased that those events will “haunt him to the point where he must do something about it. … Ambrose’s past is a cauldron, [and] it’s beginning to bubble.”
While the cast remained mainly tight-lipped about developments in the season that weren’t included in the trailer, just about everyone was excited to talk about Zelda’s upcoming change in status within the Church of Night. Though it’s too much of a spoiler to reveal specifics, the cast did offer a few reactions to the plot point.
“[Sabrina] has a lot of thoughts,” Shipka teased. “Surprise, surprise, she doesn’t keep her mouth shut [about it], either.”
Davis said the development was both “devastating and brilliant at the same time.”
Added Perdomo, “It just gets darker and creepier.”
As Otto explained, Zelda’s journey in season 2 “is very much about attaining power. [She’s] trying to realize some of her ambitions. She’s attracted to power like a moth to a flame, really.”
And while it is a very personal tale for Zelda, Otto said it mirrors some of Sabrina’s journey in Part 2 as Sabrina discovers her witch side and what her own power entails — which also means there will be some sacrifices for both. According to Otto, Zelda maintains a faith that it will be worth it to attain her goal.
“At times I think Zelda’s like a politician in that way,” she said. “She’s sort of playing a long game of where she wants to get the family to.”
Of course, one thing which could threaten her long-game plans is her decision to steal one of the Blackwood infants at the end of Part 1. Though the child was sent off to be raised by secluded witch Dezmelda (Brenda McDonald) at the conclusion of the Sabrina holiday special, the truth could still bubble up to the surface.
“That’s a dirty secret and it does plague Zelda,” Otto teased.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 2 hits Netflix on Friday, April 5.