Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” returned for a darker, more diverse and thrilling second season April 5, while tapping further into themes of sexuality and gender identity than the first.
Featuring higher stakes than season one, the nine-episode second season of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” never has a dull moment. Every second is important but fun to watch.
Season two picks up where the first left off, with Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) caught in a divide where she thinks she must choose between the witch world and the mortal world.
At the heart of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” are satanic themes and their place in the show’s witch culture, which is featured more prominently in season two. Runic symbols, satanic creatures and demons are more prominent than ever. The witch's religion involves rituals like dark baptisms, exorcisms and evil prayers.
Season two of the series features more mature themes than the first, especially with Sabrina now dating series’ bad boy Nicholas Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood). The chemistry between Sabrina and Nick is stronger than it was between Sabrina and Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch), because Sabrina’s darker and more daring characteristics complement Nick, while I find Harvey’s good-guy personality tiresome and dull.
In contrast to past episodes, the second season not only featured themes of apocalypse and prophecy but also doubled down on the gore. Some episodes featured beheadings, cut-out hearts, stabbings and characters burned alive.
While season one was mainly about Sabrina fighting to keep ties with her mortal friends, season two is more about her life as a witch. Although Sabrina still has her mortal friends Harvey, Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Theo (Lachlan Watson), the connection they had as friends is lacking for most of the season.
The second season of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” featured endless macabre, with death more prominent in the series than ever before. There were many more depressing moments in the season and Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) was not as much of a comic relief as he was earlier in the series.
Building on the message of inclusion, the showrunners made strides in the fight against toxic masculinity. For example, the witches continue to fight with the warlocks over sexist, archaic laws and traditions. Additionally, there was a side storyline about a character’s gender identity and how that plays an overall part in the greater story.
The makeup and editing was more unrealistic and ridiculous than season one, perhaps mostly because of the werewolves and goat people. Despite this, I thought the spell effects and overall dark atmosphere that was created were stunning.
Overall, season two of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” was more fun and interesting to watch than season one, but also more ridiculous and insane. The characters were more captivating and the story was bloodier and more thrilling, even though it was less scary. Given the circumstances to such a detailed and complex story, which left the fate of a key character in the open, the third season will surely not disappoint.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%
The Arkansas Traveler Score: B