Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 1, episode 3 recap: The Trial of Sabrina Spellman


Chilling Adventures of Sabrina shows us how witches handle a courtroom.

It seems like the Devil isn’t above being litigious when it comes to getting a witch’s soul. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina deals with the aftermath of her refusal to sign the Book of the Beast. As Father Blackwood sets his sights on the youngest Spellman, Sabrina learns a little more about her family. Also, new secrets are revealed which will change the course of the Spellmans’ lives.

Sabrina is still startled from her run-in with the dark lord during a meeting with Principal Hawthorne that she runs to the bathroom and throws up. Madame Satan is already waiting to swoop in and comfort her, thus cementing their bond. Despite this, Sabrina still spells the rest of the day struggling with anxiety and stress. At least Roz and Susie give her a new situation to focus on.

Roz is furious because her teacher won’t let her use The Bluest Eye for a book report. When Hawthorne claims the school doesn’t have a banned books list but they don’t want to encourage students to read anything with inappropriate material while in class. The girls are encouraged to head to the library and look up all of the books Baxter High would deem “inappropriate”. Turns out, they’ve all been checked out for a very long time. The librarian actually reveals that there was a soft purge of novels a while back which ignites a new passion for Roz.

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Unfortunately, Sabrina gets one more thing to contend with when she’s sent an official summons to the witches’ court. Zelda is furious because this also means the two aunts have lost all of their powers throughout Sabrina’s trial. They expect their niece to grovel and beg for forgiveness before signing the book so this can all be done with. However, Sabrina has come face to face with the dark lord and she’s planning to fight this with everything she’s got. Luckily, Ambrose knows the name of a lawyer who has beaten the Devil in court and directs his cousin that way.

Father Blackwood is serving as the prosecutor in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as well, but the series begins to hint at more of his history with the Spellman family. In the previous episode, we learned he was Edward’s best friend. Now, it’s hinted he used to have a relationship with Zelda previously which draws their past into question. Nevertheless, he agrees that Sabrina will be fine if she apologizes to the coven and then signs the book.

Daniel Webster, the attorney, seems to be living a downtrodden life. Sabrina tracks him down to a rundown house, filled to the brim with boxes. He’s boozed out, and sadly declines Sabrina’s offer to defend her despite being shocked by her Spellman heritage. However, he’s haunted by his own demons, specifically his deceased daughter.

Right before Sabrina pleads guilty to save her family, Webster comes crashing in to announce her plea. That’s the only boost of confidence she needs to decide it’s time to fight even if it’s a losing battle. She’s being accused of breaking her promise to the dark lord and her punishment will be burning for 333 years in the pit after death as well as signing away her soul. Zelda is furious Sabrina would hire a mortal who took advantage of her father. However, Webster reveals that Edward was actually a friend who taught him everything he knew about witch laws.

However, for the second episode in a row Chilling Adventures of Sabrina invokes some disturbing imagery. Father Blackwood equates Sabrina’s escape from her baptism as a bride running out on a groom. Webster continues with this metaphor by saying without a marriage certificate but that’s not exactly true. Turns out Edward had signed away Sabrina’s soul three days after her birth with Zelda as the witness! Looks like Sabrina’s been promised away since before she could even make the decision herself as a way for him to marry her mother. Zelda tries to argue her niece was supposed to sign the Book of the Beast and never learn of her treachery. A bit too late now.

The dark lord isn’t about to lose another chance at Sabrina’s soul though. Madame Satan sends the ghost of Webster’s daughter to lure the young witch to the library to read up on the lawyer. Turns out, he freed a child rapist who was also a cannibal? Basically, the worst human being to ever walk the Earth. Webster does have somewhat of a defense when Sabrina confronts him. Turns out, he signed away his soul as a young ambitious lawyer in exchange for winning cases. However, he was only given clients who had committed the worst possible acts.

As Webster points out, there’s always a fine print with the Devil’s contracts. In this case, he became a great lawyer for defending awful people. The price he paid was one of those criminals breaking into his house and murdering/torturing his daughter. Sabrina is the first person who actually deserves to be saved and Webster is adamant he can do it. At the trial the next day, he argues Sabrina is half mortal therefore a trial by witches is unfair. In human court, it’s innocent until proven guilty which means she’d have a stronger shot at winning. Blackwood says she has the choice of either being drowned to see if she floats (that means she’s a witch) or being stripped in front of the coven to look for a witch’s mark. What is it with him and his inappropriate obsession with of having her disrobed?

Since no one is really sure if Sabrina has a witch’s mark, her aunts want her to take a plea deal. The dark lord will forgo her punishment in the pit if she just signs her name. However, Webster points out that the Devil rarely makes any kind of deal. She tends to agree but is still a little worried. Sabrina finds the only persons she trusts, Harvey, and asks him to inspect her for a birthmark. It’s one of the lightest moments of the series, to see Harvey light up at the possibility of his girlfriend taking her shirt off even if it’s for such a weird request. He takes his shirt off (fair’s fair) and looks over Sabrina but doesn’t find anything.

Confidently standing before the court, she announces she’ll submit to an examination. Webster requests it be done in private, but Blackwood doesn’t seem to care. However, Hilda comes through with a last minute win for the good guys. Turns out, the day before Edward sacrificed Sabrina’s soul, her mother had her baptized in a Christian church. Hilda served as a witness because she thought Diana was just being sentimental. Now it seems like Diana was anticipating Edward’s decision and wanted to save her daughter’s soul.

With competing claims by the Path of Night and Light, the court comes to an agreement. Sabrina will not be forced to sign the Book of the Beast and can keep her mortal life so long as she attends the Academy of Unseen Arts. She agrees to these terms, and her aunts get their powers back for now. Webster walks back into the path of the light, earning a slight reprieve from his bargain by saving an innocent woman. Unfortunately, Hilda is excommunicated from the Church of the Night because of her part in the baptism. Could something serious happen to her next?

Throughout this episode of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, we also get to learn a bit more about Harvey. While he might be the world’s sweetest boyfriend, he’s dealing with some serious stuff at home. His older brother Tommy is supportive of his artistic talents and wants to see his brother take a job at the comic book store. Unfortunately, their dad overhears and yells at his youngest son that if he wants a job it’ll be at the mines with Tommy.

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However, Harvey is actually terrified of the mines. When he was little, he wandered into the mines for a game of hide-and-seek. Unfortunately, he finds the devil himself in the mines and poor Harvey was paralyzed from fear. He stayed there crying for hours until Tommy found him. It seems like the supernatural has been circling the Kinkle family before he started dating Sabrina.

Other than Harvey, both Roz and Susie have been kept out of the main storyline for the most part. It seems like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is about to change that. Madame Satan delightfully tells Father Blackwood the only way to get to the youngest Spellman is to break apart her mortal relationships. This episode ends with Roz looking in the mirror as her eyes turn black. Baxter High is about to get a lot scarier.

What did you think of this episode? Be sure to comment below!