'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, A Midwinter's Tale' review: The 'Chilling' is downplayed but you'll enjoy it anyway
'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' season one debut for Halloween was perfect but the one-off Christmas episode did not give us the winter chills the trailer had promised
It was Halloween when 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' debuted this year, and rightly so, the watch went along with our pumpkin juice. Christmas happens to be another special occasion that calls for another one-off episode of the Netflix hit that has already been renewed for season 2.
Why? Because according to Ambrose Spellman, "Christmas is the best time for ghost stories." The trailer for The Midwinter's Tale gave us a lot of reasons to be spooked about especially the lady ghost in white, which is arguably anyone's nightmare, oh! and even the blinking wax dolls.
It's Merry Christmas in Greendale but in Spellman Mortuary and the witches' world, it's Happy Solstice. The word Christmas is omitted, of course, and Aunt Zelda strictly corrects Sabrina Spellman to address the Christmas tree as the yule tree. A Yule log is also lit in the fireplace to keep ghosts and spirits from entering the house. But as it had to be, the ghosts have managed to enter the Spellman household and cause the chills, however, let me warn you the chill isn't lasting enough.
I had high expectations to be spooked over this one, hell, I even wrote a preview citing how chilling it looks. But 30 minutes into the hour-long episode, the paranormal activity cools down abruptly. It's not even like an ending of a horror movie that gives you closure. It's just a realization that things could have been so much worse, but for the better.
Things have changed now since Sabrina signed her name into the Book of the Beast and Madam Satan aka Miss Wardwell fulfilled the Dark Lord's prophecy. But there's only a passing mention of that and Sabrina just fades into the background despite her new glam look, with dark lipstick and grey short hair. We don't even get a taste of her newly acquired power and that's kind of like a disheartening thing.
What you can look forward to is the new insightful relationships, especially with strict Aunt Zelda gushing over the new baby, who she kidnapped from Father Blackwood, in order to spare the life of a girl child. Sabrina also decides to communicate with her mortal mother, who she came across at a limbo when going to fetch Tommy's soul. Sabrina wants to know why her mother's spirit is stuck and what she can do to help.
The timing for her to practice this witchcraft is debatable since this Winter Solstice seems to be the time the walls of the living and the dead are at the thinnest, but during this time it is a lot more susceptible to let in evil ghosts and spirits even in the Satan's world, who is looking to cause harm.
The episode picks up weeks later where season one ends and sets the premise for season two which comes out next summer. Few curious questions are, thankfully, answered such as why Sabrina's mother was in the limbo and what is the fate of the baby who is now the apple of Aunt Zelda's eyes.
Another highlight is Susie Putnam's winter job as she becomes Santa's assistance finally, only to land up in trouble. We also meet an interesting new witch, and there's a sigh of relief that Roz Walker has not lost her vision yet, Praise Satan! Aunt Hilda is still a potion expert, but her orange skin-tone was a bit distracting this episode, (I don't know why), and as for Harvey Kinkle? Sabrina's ex, he is still there looming the halls of Baxter High in despair.
There's not something fantastic to love about this episode, but it has progressed the town of Greendale "where it always feels like Halloween," to turn into a town brimming with good tidings of Christmas. The scares featuring in the trailer aren't exaggerated in the episode, rather it is downplayed turning the chills and thrills into a "meh! okay."
The best part about the episode remains to be the feature of baby Sabrina and baby Susie, who we hope will appear much more in season 2. As for 'The Midwinter's Tale,' it's not "chilling" enough and doesn't go as well with our eggnog as season one did with our pumpkin juice.