CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA “Chapter Fourteen: Lupercalia” review

Synopsis

Love and lust sweep through Greendale as Harvey surprises Roz with a sweet gift, and Sabrina explores a romantic ritual… and her feelings for Nick.

Review

Remember that episode of Buffy where she and Riley got stuck in his frat house and the sexual energy charged the house and made everyone crazy? Well this episode of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is lusty but it’s definitely not THAT lusty.

“Lupercalia” is instead an exploration of much more of the magical mythology behind the series. Though there are some mixed results this is definitely one of the most interesting episodes in there series to date.

On the positive side it explores the mythology without pushing it to become to comedic or too dark. Though it will undoubtedly be too dark for some more conservative members of the audience that is more because of the implications and the imagery. There’s nothing overtly explicit which goes on in front of the camera.

This episode also does a great job of exploring the power sharing of men and women in sexual relationships. Whilst there are moments which feel like they are representing an antiquated view of gender politics the ultimate act of the episode, the hunt, see’s the women in red riding hood garb chasing the men who are the wolves.

It certainly takes great steps towards positive, powerful representations of women even if the story is overtly sexual in nature.

This all ties in well with the story of Theo (Lachlan Watson) which is playing out at Baxter high. In this episode he takes great strides towards solidifying his male identity by coming out to his father. When I first watched this episode I felt the scene didn’t feel monumental enough given the subject matter. On second watch I realised exactly what this scene was trying to achieve.

It absolutely normalises the conversation of gender identity. Whilst Theo’s father struggles to understand what he perceives as his daughter as saying, by downplaying the scene it feels a lot more natural and more subdued rather than dramatic and over the top.

As we move towards the valentines dance at Baxter high we continue to see the Theo identity develop and it certainly does a lot for gender politics and relationships to see Harvey behave like he would with male friends around Theo rather than still treating him as Susie.

The relationship between Roz and Harvey is my weakest point of the season so far. It feels a little forced given the two are grieving the loss of Sabrina, who is barely around now that she attends The Academy of Unseen Arts. I’ll give it a few more episodes to develop but overall it feels like a way to try and keep the characters relevant whilst Sabrina is away.

Verdict

Another great episode for Sabrina. Though it will undoubtedly be uncomfortable for some to watch if you look below the surface the series is trying (and succeeding) to tell some really important stories about our contemporary culture.

8/10

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina stars Kiernan Shipka as the titular witch. The series also stars Michelle Gomez as Mary Wardwell/Madam Satan, Jaz Sinclair as Rosalind Walker, Chance Perdomo as Ambrose Spellman, Lucy Davis as Hilda Spellman, Miranda Otto as Zelda Spellman, Ross Lynch as Harvey Kinkle and Richard Coyle as Father Blackwood.

“Part 2” is available on Netflix on now.


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About Neil Vagg 3169 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG