Warning: Spoilers ahead of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina season 2 finale, “The Mephisto Waltz.”
The back half of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina part 2 is truly shocking ride. One minute, the titular teen witch (Kiernan Shipka) is dead after an especially arrow-y showdown with a pair of avenging angels. In the next, she is risen, white eyed, and levitating in the Church Of Night with fireballs for fists. Through death, Sabrina’s powers have leveled up. Over the next two episodes, it seems Sabrina’s souped up new magical abilities may just lead to the end of the world, rather than the human-witch paradise she hoped for.
Finally, part 2 finale “The Mephisto Waltz,” confirms all the apocalyptic conjecture around Sabrina with the entrance of Lucifer Morningstar (Luke Cook), now in his hunky, loin-clothed angelic form. At last, Lucifer unravels his plan for Sabrina, explaining she will blow the Horn Of Gabriel, unleashing hell’s bourgeois; there will be a fancy satanic coronation; the rest of the underworld’s demons will go free; and Earth will be remade in hell’s image. He and Sabrina will rule “together, for all eternity,” Lucifer promises. Yikes.
Then, Lucifer explains why he has such extravagant plans for Sabrina Spellman: She isn’t a Spellman at all. She’s his daughter. Sabrina’s dad is the devil. Between Sabrina’s apocalyptic destiny, which goes from 0 to 666 in part 2, and her new parentage, it’s enough to make The Exorcist's head spins look like child’s play. However, the Riverdale spin-off has been dropping clues about these two devilish twists since part 1.
When Lucifer announces, “Edward Spellman isn’t your father — I am,” about 23 minutes into “Mephisto Waltz,” it feels like a lightbulb has gone off. The reason for Sabrina’s apocalyptic fate — along with Lucifer’s disturbing fixation on the teenager — is no longer due to the random happenstance of a witch and a mortal hooking up a little over 16 years ago. For a series this serious about its own mythology, such a hand wave of an apocalyptic explanation would be cheap. Now, Sabrina’s status as the herald of hell with all-powerful strength fits into the Devil’s M.O., which is a compulsion to pervert God’s Christian tenets and history.
In fact, that desire was the entire point of Sabrina’s “The Missionaries” resurrection. She rose from the dead to smite angels rather than follow them, all while wearing a crown of thorns (a hallowed bit of Christian iconography). Sabrina is even felled by three arrows, which is the same number of nails used to crucify Jesus according to the Bible. When Sabrina is resurrected, she is more powerful than ever and poised to open the gates of hell. When Jesus returned on Easter Sunday, he opened heaven and began the possibility of heaven on earth through a different type of apocalypse. Sabrina describes herself as the “The Dark Lord’s Sword.” Jesus is the Lamb Of God.
“Mephisto” brings all these echoes home, when the Spellmans realize Sabrina’s mother (Annette Reilly) and father (Georgie Daburas) entered into a conception pact with the Dark Lord. The Spellman parents believed they were simply getting a supernatural fertility treatment. Instead, Lucifer gave a prospective human-witch baby his own “infernal” blood, “perverting the holy trinity,” as Ambrose Spellman (Chance Perdomo) explains. Diana Spellman is Sabrina's very own dark Mary.
The comparison between Sabrina, daughter of Lucifer, and the actual son of God are easy to miss amidst all the fire and brimstone yelling in “Missionaries,” and the heroine’s subsequent hurried quest to bring her divine powers to the masses. This same painful case of hindsight applies to the very first episode of CAOS, which very obviously tells viewers something suspiciously satanic is going on with Sabrina’s heritage.
During premiere “October Country,” Sabrina has a vision about the day of her birth. She wanders into the forest and sees two blanketed babies with her parents. When she lifts the sheet, one infant has cloven hooves. Many fans were too focused on the “Does Sabrina have an evil twin?” speculation around the scene to recognize its far more transparent suggestion: this baby is the spawn of Satan. If the scene reveals Sabrina’s birth, no matter how many children Diana birthed, both possible babies would be the spawn of Satan. That is how genetics works. CAOS announced Sabrina's connection to the devil within its first 40 minutes.
The Apocalyptic Prophesying
The true threat of a Sabrina apocalypse comes at the close of part 2’s seventh episode, “The Miracles Of Sabrina Spellman.” Sabrina’s mortal friends Theo Putnam (Lachlan Watson) and ex-boyfriend Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch) find a mural with her face on it in the Greendale mines. The image foretells Sabrina opening the gates of hell. From there, CAOS jumps into high gear towards the possible end days. It’s a large narrative jump from the bloody Lupercalias and Blackwood-Spellman family drama of earlier part 2 episodes.
However, the Netflix show was positively obsessed with teasing the apocalypse during part 1. The first hint comes during “An Exorcism In Greendale,” when Sabrina exorcises Theo’s uncle Jesse (Jason Beaudoin). “Take comfort in the fact you served a greater purpose. She had to perform an exorcism on a mortal. Part of the Dark Lord’s grand design,” Madam Satan/Lilith (Michelle Gomez) tells Jesse. “Such a pity, you won’t be around to see the prophecy fulfilled. I’m sure it will be apocalyptic.”
Later, Madam Satan manipulates Sabrina into bringing someone back from the dead (“And the child takes another step on the road to perdition,” Lilith murmurs from the shadows), crossing into limbo, and restoring a blind person’s eyesight. These were all perversions of Jesus’ miracles that we witnessed for 20 episodes. It just takes “Mephisto” to put them into perspective.
That is why fans should look at one part 1's “The Returned Man” exchange differently. After Tommy Kinkle’s (Justin Dobies) Lazarus-like resurrection, Sabrina tells BFF Roz, “It’s a miracle.”
“Or the exact opposite,” Roz responds. She has no idea.