The rave for 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter's Tale' started the day Netflix announced the one-off Christmas special episode on November 12. When on December 4, the trailer dropped, excitement among the witching fandom knew no bounds. When the one-hour episode finally streamed on the giant network December 14, the question of 'did it live up to the expectation' was involuntarily circulating.
The reviews have been on both ends, with The Hollywood Reporter calling it a "delightful continuation" of season one, while Forbes called it "lackluster at best." Meaww's own review said it's a fun watch but the thrill of it is very much downplayed.
Now, moving on to the fans, whose opinions really matter; social media isn't as flooded with reactions as we'd hoped. The mediocre attention is rather underwhelming. Though the trailer promised a really good chill, the episode quickly disappointed. The series described to be a crossover between 'Rosemary's Baby' and 'The Exorcist,' took a turn toward 2005 slasher thriller 'House of wax,' with a scene of a man (demon) melting under the wax.
A user was quick to point that out.
After watching the Winter Solstice episode, another user described it as a "dramatic reading of a 13-year-old goth's Tumblr feed." That might as well have emphasized the new look of the half-witch, flaunting grey short hair and dark lipstick.
As for Sabrina and 'Riverdale' fans, the hopeful crossover neared a "no! no!" instead of a "yes! please" given the plight of Riverdale's season 3 storyline. 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,' had a great premiere in October and instantly had a cult following, but this Christmas episode, gave fans something to worry. Remember what a great season one 'Riverdale' had with the mysterious murder of golden boy Jason Blossom by his own father Clifford Blossom?
Both Sabrina and 'Riverdale' have the same showrunners, and as Riverdale's fandom dwindled overtime because of a prolonged and boring season 2, fans are hoping 'Brina will not meet the same fate. However, this Christmas episode, that boasted a powerful trailer, simmered in the full version, and we just went "What? the chill was for nothing?"
That's almost the same response we had when 'Riverdale' took a supernatural turn in season 3's earlier episodes and now they are just trying to cover up the supernatural elements by giving logical explanations. Without diving too much into that, the Midwinter's episode did cheer some fans who felt the horror was exactly what they needed.
However, the special episode was in no way supposed to be an impactful one, it was rather a treat to its fans so that April 2019 wouldn't be too long a wait. The call may have been an interesting one, but Sabrina's lack of display of power in this episode, especially after signing the Book of the Beasts, disappoints, even if everything else is just fine.