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CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA “Chapter Fifteen: Doctor Cerberus’s House of Horror” review

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Synopsis

Sabrina, Theo, Roz and others attempt to navigate the lines between fact, fiction and fate when a mysterious stranger sets up shop in Cerberus Books.

Review

Coming off the back of the excellent “Lupercalia” episode I wondered where Chilling Adventures of Sabrina would go next. Of anything which I had expected an episode delving deep into the psyche of the lead characters for a “what if?” style episode was not top of the list.

That being said “Doctor Cerberus’s House of Horror” does warrant some interesting results. It feels a little like watching a live-action version of a classic “Treehouse of Horror” episode of The Simpsons.

The setup is interesting, this mysterious lady turning up who just happens to have no money and be a tarot card reader. It feels fishy from the start and the final twist in the tale is delightfully evil.

Sabrina’s glimpse in to the future is a great callback to an early episode of the Melissa Joan Hart series. Seeing Sabrina avoid being the glamorous assistant to Nicholas Scratch’s magician was an interesting spin on what we saw in the 90s. Once again the show plays heavily on gender politics with some serious back-and-forth on just who is in charge.

Admittedly Roz has a rather forgettable sequence and Harvey has a disturbing storyline ripped straight from a contemporary horror movie. At this stage I’m beginning to find their characters a little tiresome. Not because they aren’t good characters but because the series is struggling to find reasons to keep them relevant with Sabrina still spending the majority of her time at The Academy of Unseen Arts.

Once again it is up to Theo to steal the limelight from his friends. Seeing Theo get to explore being a “real boy” for a short period had a good old tug at the heartstrings. It’s ultimately heartbreaking to see that dream ripped away from him but I thought an interesting analogy to bring in the gruesome Pinocchio style references.

There is, ultimately, a feeling that this episode leans towards “filler” if you dwell to long on the daydream aspect of the storyline. The reveal of the mysterious tarrot card reader does at least bring the show back in to its long running arc but I can’t help but feel it was all setup to push the characters into certain trajectories for the future.

Verdict

With this episode Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes a “what if?” twist and goes a little of piste for a moment. It provides an interesting insight into a number of the characters but also shine a light on how easily they can be manipulated.

An entertaining watch but perhaps the most “filler” of the initial five episodes of Part 2.

7/10

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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