9 Lingering Questions We Have After Watching 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' Season 1


Welcome to Greendale, the home of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, where witches are very real, the era is inscrutable, and school seems optional. Yes, Netflix's new series has charmed us -- in a seriously creepy way -- with its take on the Archie Comics witch now played by Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka. But now that we've eaten up the first series the way the coven devoured poor Mildred in during the Feast of Feasts, we've got some lingering queries. Some are related to what's going to happen when the show returns for an already announced Season 2; some are, well, a bit more frivolous. Like, when the fuck is Salem going to talk?

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The Weird Sisters, and their Peter Pan collars. | Netflix

When does the Academy of Unseen Arts hold classes? 

A large chunk of the plot of the first season of Sabrina revolves around our heroine's reluctance to let go of her mortal ways because to do so would mean leaving Baxter High in favor of the more sinister lessons at the witchy Academy of Unseen Arts down the proverbial road. Eventually, the solution to this conundrum is simply that she'll do both, which, frankly, seems impossible. In episode four, "Witch Academy," she spends a weekend at the magic school where she gets intensely hazed in a process known as harrowing. And while this provides the episode with the requisite spookiness, it also begs the question: Do witches have school on weekends? After that installment, Sabrina seemingly goes back to attending Baxter High regularly, occasionally popping by the Academy, mostly for social/hijinks reasons. Thus, the schedule remains a mystery since the only class anyone ever seems to be required to go to is choir practice. Which brings me to my larger beef with this whole "school" situation: Sabrina doesn't even seem to need it! She's a pretty capable witch with no training all. Where are my Potter training montages at? - Esther Zuckerman 

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Bein' bad. | Netflix

Is Sabrina bad now? 

In the finale, Sabrina -- with prompting from Madame Satan herself -- finally signs her name to the Dark Lord's book in order to save Greendale from the 13 avenging witches and their Red Angel of Death. It solves the current crisis, but perhaps creates a different one. Sabrina has changed. She breaks up with Harvey for good, and starts swanning around with the Weird Sisters, winking at her warlock pursuer Nick in the halls of the Academy. Also, her hair turns platinum -- more closely resembling the Sabrina of the comics. So... has our morally conflicted Sabrina now fully given herself over to Satan? Likely Season 2, which is already filming, will provide some answers to this question. Perhaps Harvey, Roz, and Susie will have to save their friend's soul. For what it's worth, set photos Shipka has posted feature her with the more honey-kissed 'do. Or maybe she's just keeping secrets. No matter -- I for one wouldn't mind spending time with Bad Sabrina, whatever that means. - EZ

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Aunt Hilda, who deserves the world. | Netflix

What's up with Dr. Cerberus?  

There's something fishy about the love interests of the Spellman family. Well, not Harvey. He's just boring. (Sorry, Harvey, but it's true.) Anyway, we're still keeping an eye on Ambrose's boyfriend Luke, given the latter's connection to murder victim Connor. By the way, Connor's death is still unsolved and Luke's a little too intent about getting Ambrose wrapped up with the Church of Night. Meanwhile, Hilda's got a sweetly romantic thing going on with Cerberus, the nice owner of the coffee shop/bookstore in town where she works. They share a kiss in the finale. It seems perfectly innocent until he walks away. He looks confused. His eyes flash a different color. Huh, that's curious. His name, of course, raises some eyebrows, given that it's the same moniker as Hades' three-headed dog. On one hand, Greendale is weird! On the other hand, don't trust anyone! - EZ

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Father Blackwood doing his signature loom. | Netflix

Why do the witches always have to defer to the freakin' men?

One thing I kept obsessing over during this season (and one thing I wish the show actually delved into more than once) was the fact that, though the show focuses on a coven of witches -- and the layered feminism that entails -- they spend most of their time deferring and kowtowing to men. Satan, their Dark Lord, is a male force, and Father Blackwood, the leader of the coven, is a warlock. Every action from the witches prompts a reaction, mostly in retaliation, from a man, but nowhere in the show does anyone stop and think, huh, doesn't this arrangement defeat the purpose of magical female power? I predict the show is definitely going to revolve around this in its second season -- especially after Aunt Zelda secretly defied Blackwood's authority by stealing one of his twin babies -- but if I were one of these witches, I would definitely be asking myself when I'm gonna get the freedom that was promised. - Emma Stefansky 

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So many goddamn candles. | Natflix

How much does the coven spend on candles?

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Salem, doing what Salem does best. | netflix

Are familiars even that useful? Will Salem ever talk?

One of my main complaints about the show is that Salem, Sabrina's faithful feline familiar who gets a much darker backstory in this version, barely does anything! This is mostly because Kiernan Shipka's violent cat allergy hamstrung any scenes where she had to actually interact with the professional cat actors, so Salem's prominence on the show was reduced to keep the star from breaking out in hives every other day on set. The coolest thing he does is sit in Sabrina's lap during her harrowing and apparently scare bad spirits away. Offscreen. Where we can't see him do it.

Familiars are said to be pretty common amongst the witches, and a few other characters on the show have them, like Miss Wardwell, a.k.a. Madam Satan, and her raven spy Stolas and Aunt Hilda and her spiders -- who do end up coming in handy in a scene that I do not recommend for arachnophobes. When will Salem get his time to shine? And will he ever talk non-telepathically? Stolas (R.I.P.) spoke a few words out loud in the finale episode, so here's hoping. - ES 

The gang, totally unaware there's a coven of cannibalistic witches the next town over. | The CW

How probable is a Riverdale crossover?

Because Sabrina and Riverdale are part of the same comic book universe and both shows are produced by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, lots of folks have been asking if we're due for a crossover event. Both have name-dropped each other's respective towns ("Riverdale" is mentioned twice in the first season of Sabrina), and Netflix owns both in every country but America. Shows have done cross-network crossovers before, and I'm sure everyone involved in Sabrina and Riverdale would absolutely be down with injecting a little bit of magic into Archie's hometown. One actor has already appeared in both shows. Maybe Sabrina and her friends could take a weekend trip down to the Sweetwater River. Maybe, with the Southside Serpents' land in jeopardy, some of them could create an exchange program with Sabrina's school. Then again, that timeline might get a little tricky… - ES 

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Is it future? Or is it past? | Netflix

When does this show take place? 

If you know who Kiernan Shipka is, it's likely because of Mad Men, a show so firmly set in its time period it spawned a whole genre of "Mad Men parties" and "Mad Men fashion" (Where would ModCloth.com be without it?) and misplaced '50s and '60s nostalgia. Kiernan so embodied the Disenfranchised Mid-Century Youth that it's a little hard to imagine her in a modern setting -- and Sabrina doesn't make it easy. Beginning with a Night of the Living Dead screening at a neon-lit movie theater and including references to every decade since the 1940s, the show doesn't overtly anchor itself in any one time period. If you don't spot Harvey Kinkle's smartphone or remember that Fiona Apple's "Criminal" came out in 1996, Sabrina would fit quite cozily into 1965 or 1989. Most likely, the show is just playing around with aesthetic, picking and choosing from different decades to build a singular setting not found anywhere else on TV. Halloween falls on a Sunday on the show, and the last time that happened was in 2014 -- coincidentally, the same year Archie Comics' newest run of Sabrina hit shelves -- but it doesn't feel like 2014, instead imbued with an uncanny timelessness that fits in appropriately with everything else creepy in the show. Maybe the long-lived witches are the ones doing the picking and choosing, trapping Greendale in a decade-less snow globe with no stable connection to the outside world. - ES 

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Gonna need a link to cop this coat, Netflix, thank you. | Netflix

Where does Sabrina get all of her sweaters and other fashion queries? 

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is mid-century inspired fashion heaven. Though it's highly unclear as to when the series actually takes place -- see: above -- Sabrina's outfits feel like a persistent nod to her Mad Men roots. She's got a sweater for every occasion! She thrives in peacoats! She lives in mock turtlenecks! So: Where does she shop in Greendale? We demand answers. (To that end we would also like to know: Do the Weird Sisters just have an endless supply of those Wednesday Addams' dresses? Is a statement mani a prerequisite for witchhood?) - EZ

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