It’s time to get into the Chris — er, Yuletide spirit. As Zelda (Miranda Otto) keeps correcting her Christmas loving sister, this isn’t a Christmas Special for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, it’s a Solstice special. Titled “A Midwinter’s Tale,” the episode picks up after the events of season one. Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) has white hair, Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Susie (Lachlan Watson) know about her witchy life, and the Weird Sisters have turned over a new leaf.
The episode focuses on two storylines, one with Susie and a grinchy Mr. Bartel and one that almost solely on Sabrina’s longing for her mother. Overall, the central theme of the episode is family, specifically bonds, or lack thereof, between a mother and her child.
As Sabrina searches for a reason as to why her mom is in Limbo, the Weird Sisters help her to get answers and unwittingly let some, as the Spellman aunties call them, “malevolencies” into the house. On the human side of things, Sabrina is still trying to come to terms with her decision to leave Harvey (Ross Lynch) and sign the Book of the Beast, while her other friends — having had more positive magical experiences — seem accepting yet still a little weirded out about the truth. Leaving Susie to have her own experiences with some of the darkness of Yule.
The best thing about this episode is the amount of lore that is put into it. We learn about that the reason behind Yule logs is to keep spirits from the homes of witches. We see some Christmas ghosts that aren’t from A Christmas Carol and we even see the use of the Catholic Saint Lucia, whose feast day falls in mid-December. In one episode, we see a confluence of Christmas traditions and are reminded of their start among Pagans.
Zelda is honestly the best character of the episode, her motherly love is seen with both Sabrina and Leticia and relationship with Hilda (Lucy Davis) is a joy, even when it’s back-handed compliments and casting spells. Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) is also in the episode but we don’t get many answers to his new position in the Church of the Night as Father Blackwell’s assistant. But my heart sang the loudest when McKenna Grace appeared, albeit briefly, as a young Sabrina Spellman. If you haven’t seen the two, Grace is destined to play young Shipka. They’re virtually twins seven years apart.
Because of how well delivered this lore was, and how Sabrina’s world was built out from this celebration, I’m hoping that season two of the show has more magic and stories and less teenager drama. Or at the very least a better balance fo the two. One of the reasons the execution of Christmas stories involving demons, ghosts, and magic worked was the use of practical effects. As we shift into season two, I want to see more creatures as the two appearances of practical effect demons were amazingly designed. If the trailer for season two is to be taken at its visuals we should be getting more screen time of the Dark Lord and hopefully other supernatural creatures.
Overall, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, “A Midwinter’s Tale” captures the Yuletide spirit and delivers worldbuilding along with the perfect atmosphere for our mortal holidays. It also helps tie up loose ends from season one of the show and serves as the perfect transition episode into season two. Within one hour everything is set for the next part of the series and wrapped in a neat bow for us to open on April 4, 2019.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, “A Midwinter’s Tale” is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, "A Midwinter's Tale"
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, “A Midwinter’s Tale” captures the Yuletide spirit and delivers worldbuilding along with the perfect atmosphere for our mortal holidays. It also helps tie up loose ends from season one of the show and serves as the perfect transition episode into season two. Within one hour everything is set for the next part of the series and wrapped in a neat bow for us to open on April 4, 2019.