“Yeah, I’m in my feelings,” Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s Jaz Sinclair admitted to Refinery29 over Zoom on an October afternoon. Sinclair, who plays CAOS best friend/witch Rosalind “Ros” Walker, was pondering the emotional weight of CAOS’s part 4 finale, “At the Mountains of Madness” — the tragedy of its story and its influence on her own life. At the time of filming, the ending was just the cap to another batch of CAOS episodes; then Netflix cancelled the drama, abruptly turning “Madness” into a series finale and closing Greendale to its cast forever.
“Madness” will likely leave fans just as emotional as Sinclair and her co-stars. The finale ends with heroine Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) dead, right along with her “endgame” love interest Nick Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood), to quote the doomed romantic hero. Despite the devastation of the finale ending, CAOS’ stars are ultimately hopeful about the meaning of “Madness.”
“Mountains of Madness” has a lot of narrative ground to cover with its hour-and-four-minute runtime. At the beginning of the episode, The Void, the ultimate Eldritch Terror, has consumed the alternate reality introduced earlier in part 4 and killed Sabrina Morningstar (Shipka, again). It is now headed for the primary reality of CAOS, leaving Sabrina Spellman — who will henceforth be referred to as “Sabrina” — to protect everything she knows. Sabrina attempts to trap The Void in Pandora’s box, but is pulled back to earthly reality by her family and friends. This surprise accidentally forces Sabrina to abandon her body in The Void and bring back a piece of the Terror in her soul (which is now in Sabrina Morningstar’s empty body). Sabrina and The Void are one and the same.
If you’re dedicated to the show and you like the show, you’re going to be crying, probably.
Terrified of eliminating everything she loves — and reality itself — Sabrina goes to hide in the Mountains of Madness, giving the finale its title. Faustus Blackwood (Richard Coyle), now a deranged acolyte of the Eldritch Terrors, joins Sabrina, hoping to kill her and consume The Void himself. Blackwood is stopped by Sabrina’s loved ones. CAOS' heroes help Sabrina drain The Void out of herself and open a portal to save everyone she accidentally consumed earlier in the episode (including Ros, Prudence Night, and Harvey’s dad). The plan works, allowing Sabrina & Co. to trap The Void, and every other Eldritch Terror, in Pandora’s box. Unfortunately, Sabrina dies in the process of saving the universe. The rest of the CAOS crew is left to grieve Sabrina's ultimate sacrifice and, eventually, continue on with their lives.
In the last shot of “Madness,” we see Sabrina in what we can assume is some form of heaven. “The Sweet Hereafter” is written in giant letters in a stark gallery setting (likely giving us a reference to sibling show Riverdale’s season 1 finale title). Sabrina sits there pleasantly reading a book until Nick appears. He died a very permanent death — drowning in one of hell’s nastier seas — to be with her. They kiss. Fin.
“I want [viewers] to feel something … It should invoke emotion in people. If you’re dedicated to the show and you like the show, you’re going to be crying probably. People should take away this great, great, great love,” Sabrina’s portrayer, Kiernan Shipka, said of the ending. “It’s a love story between Sabrina and pretty much everyone in her life — beyond Nick. Sorry, Nick! You’re great, but this is a love story about absolutely everyone in the show.”
Gavin Leatherwood, who plays Nick, agreed, adding, “Love prevails! Love trumps all.”
While Shipka didn’t know “Mountains” would be her official goodbye to COAS, she feels good about the ending. “I think that I sort of knew, in my heart of hearts, that this might be the last go-about. I felt like I got the closure that I needed in a lot of ways and got to say heartfelt, real goodbyes,” she said. “Same goes for the story. I think that there is an ending, which is really nice. I’m happy that the fans can have that.”
Although Jaz Sinclair and Lachlan Watson, aka Theo Putnum, are similarly pleased with the narrative “closure” of the finale, they’re still mourning the unexpected and sudden loss of their TV home. “We really made [the ending] so epic and exciting and wonderful and fun and romantic, so I definitely feel like we’re going out with a bang. As a human, I don’t think that I have closure. I think that I’m still like,” Sinclair began before making jokey-dramatic crying sounds. “I miss everybody all the time … As a human, I would have loved some more closure. But as an actress I feel good about it.”
Watson “seconded” everything their co-star said. “The way that [the series] does end kind of open-ended makes a lot of sense to me. Because that is very human. But for us actual humans, I think it’s a little harder, because we didn’t know,” they said.
“But [our memories] live in the show forever. That’s the really cool thing. We can go back.”