Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered Part 3: The Trial of Sabrina Spellman

Were you just itching to watch this supernatural teen thriller turn into a procedural courtroom drama? Yeah, neither was I. Oh well, here’s episode three.

Honestly this episode felt infuriatingly long and dull and exposition heavy, I was left with more questions than anything really, and nothing that happened seemed to really matter. But there were a few things that I want to address.

First I want to talk about Harvey a little bit because I genuinely like him. He’s a good guy and a great boyfriend who truly is in love with Sabrina. He lets her do what she needs to do even if he doesn’t understand it gives them both the space to operate independently of the other which would be impressive if they were adults and is much more so because they are teenagers. The scene in the woods in this episode where Sabrina is trying to find out if she has a witch’s mark really highlights this. Harvey has no idea what’s going on but understands that Sabrina needs this from him so he does it. He takes his own shirt off not because he has any expectations for the situation to go anywhere but because he wants them to always be on equal footing with each other. He would never expect or ask her for something that he would not readily give himself nor would he expect Sabrina to ask of him something that she wasn’t ready to give. We also get to see a little of what Harvey’s home life is like and what his interests are. He likes art and comics and drawing which is apparently in strict opposition with anyone else in his family. He seems to have a decent relationship with his brother but his father is, of course, the literal physical manifestation of toxic masculinity and no son of his is going to be a sensy-boy artist when there’s work to be done in the mines. Does his dad need to be a terrible person for the story to work? Probably not. His dad seems to be a flat character that I’ve seen a million times before who’s just there to yell and be violent. It’s a lazy choice and this family dynamic could have been much more interesting.

We learn a little bit about Roz in this episode stemming from the revelation that she will be blind in less than three months. This terrifies her but she demonstrates how strong she is by resolving to read as much as she can before her sight expires. She also reveals that she, and her family, are religious (of the christian variety). The gang rallies around her and by the end of the episode they’ve set up a secret book club so that Roz will have access to the books she so desperately wants to read while she still can.

I have pretty much nothing but questions about the Connor subplot. We learn that he definitely was a witch (warlock) but I still don’t understand how. Who was teaching him? Why didn’t the coven as a whole know? How did he get baptised? If he wasn’t baptised how did he retain his powers? If he wasn’t old enough to be baptised yet (which I believe he was well past), why is nobody at school concerned that a boy was stabbed to death? Why do familiars die after their witch dies? Who and why is Luke and what exactly does he want? We keep being reminded that Connor is there but almost nothing has been revealed about him and nobody except Ambrose (and that’s just barely) seems to care.

And then we have this whole garbage trial nonsense. First of all why does Satan, Lord of Hell, Master of Darkness, etc., need this teen girl to be tried/convicted/whatever in a court of law in order to get her to sign his book? He doesn’t seem to care about duress or coercion because if Faustus had been able to force her hand at the baptism that would’ve still counted and apparently her being baptised as a baby would have counted too if other stuff hadn’t happened. Why not trick her or intimidate her or some other shady thing? Why do we need to sit through 40 minutes of legal speak and witness statements and leading questions and whatever else unimportant bullshit they write in to this episode? If you want her so badly, Satan, put in some actual effort. We find out that Sabrina has been subject to not one, but TWO secret baptisms which seem to cancel each other out according to this episode but as far as I can tell, nothing canceled out that christian baptism and Sabrina now belongs to “the False God” which should probably be a thing they need to address at some point but they seem unconcerned and don’t make it an issue beyond apparently proving that Sabrina can be a free agent still. I’m not a lawyer but I don’t think that’s how contracts work. After all of this is revealed, the Dark Lord finally actually gets involved (or so I hoped) and opens up his private chambers for further deliberation. But Sabrina isn’t invited, oh no. These two men (three if you count the Dark Lord) are going to go fight over her fate and she will have no knowledge of or input to that decision making whatsoever. Awesome. The decision that’s made, after all of this, is that Sabrina gets to do exactly what she wanted to do in the first place. She keeps her friends, her school, her life, AND gets to keep her powers and go to the Academy of Unseen Arts to learn and hone her abilities. Then for some reason Sabrina still wants to “beat the devil!” For what purpose Sabrina? This is your religion, your belief system, your family’s belief system, the reason you get to have powers, and you get to keep both of your lives. What else could you possibly want? Sit down and learn some new spells and stop pissing off a literal god you stupid child. The only thing that results from this trial that might have any lasting importance at all is the fact that Hilda gets excommunicated from the Church of Night. We have no idea what that entails at this point but, according to some things said in episode one, it is a big deal.

Just a couple more things before I finish up: In the first two episodes, High Priest Faustus seems to be this untouchable almost celebrity-like person who doesn’t usually talk directly to members of the Church. But in this episode he and Zelda seem like old friends. Close old friends. Like close enough to have sexual tension close friends. This just seemed like a strange shift to me and caused some confusion as to what exactly his position is and how that relates to the other people in this world. Also apparently Ms. Wardwell and Faustus are sort of working together. Or at least toward the same goal. But they also hate each other. Which doesn’t do a lot for us except give us just an unreasonable amount of really weird and gross misogynistic phrases such as:

  • “Your methods are weak, your will is womanly.”

  • “I will be the hammer that drives this nail home.”

  • “...bend her to my will, or break her.”

  • And earlier when he’s talking to Zelda he immediately goes to talking about her age and her looks and how she just looks like shit now. Bummer.

I gagged so many times during this episode because of the things Faustus said it was just obnoxious.

This episode was stupid and made me mad but here, as always, are your questions for this week:

  • What did Harvey see in the mines? The Dark Lord seems pretty selective with who he appears to in physical form but what Harvey describes seems very similar to how we’ve seen Satan so far.

  • Do the rules for familiars only apply to those trained to be familiars or do these creatures lose their communication abilities and die when their witch dies no matter what?

  • Where is “the False God” in all of this? The Dark Lord seems to be pretty involved in the affairs of mortals so why wouldn’t other deities be as well?

  • Who or what are the infernal three? Really old witches? Demons? Why are their bits sewn shut?

  • Why waste a good K. Flay song on a nothing scene where the gang is just wandering around school?

  • Why did Connor’s familiar die with like half his goblin form showing?

  • What are they mining?