TL;DR – It emphasises the ‘things that go bump in the night’ theme of the show, but also some of its get out of jail free cards, for a mixed result.
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
A Christmas special is a time honoured tradition of many shows, indeed when I was growing up we would always get this great Christmas in July moment because TV took about 6 months to get down under back then. With that in mind, and with the more schlocky nature of the TV show so far, it felt like this would be the perfect fit for Sabrina. With a Christmas but not themed show. But while it hits all those notes, I was left feeling all a bit meh at the end of the day.
Soto set the scene, it has been a while since the end of Part One of Sabrina (see review) and Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) is starting to work through the world where she has signed her name in the book of Satan. But the holidays stop for no man or woman or witch for that matter and precautions have to be made.Because when the night is the longest the spirits come out to play. But because the barrier between the world of the living and the dead is so thin, Sabrina feels that now is time to talk to her mum Diana (Annette Reilly) who she found in limbo. However, while Sabrina was séance-ing, Madam Satan (Michelle Gomez) was busy plotting, and so she douses the house’s Yule Log and something that should not be let in the house is let in the house. A quick reminder that we will be looking at the episode as a whole from this point so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
Now there is a lot going on in this episode and all of it based around taking the traditional Christmas narrative and themes and warping it, and that is not just by adding a couple more ‘Hail Satans’ around the place. So instead of joyful children, we get the demonic yule time lads, instead of giving presents we have taking babies, instead of Santa we get a daemon who like casing children in wax. It is sort of what the show has been based on, taking all those trappings of the comical world of witches and stretching it back to the original non-Disney version of the Hans Christian Andersen tales where everything is that little bit macabre.
However, the one thing we see this episode is that if this is all the show has,it ends up being a pretty dull episode. So yes we have Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Zelda (Miranda Otto) being absolutely delightful, and all those trappings of the show. But when all it is one twist on the norm after another, they start to wear you down. So when that final Christmas carol plays and they subvert it to be all dark and moody, all I felt was an internal role of the eyes.
This was also the episode that started to show, some of the show’s get out of jail free cards a little too blatantly. In the show, Rosalind (Jaz Sinclair) has this ability known as her ‘cunning vision’ something about her family being cursed by witches a couple of 100 years ago. However, here it is used to help wrap the episode up, they needed to find out what happened to Susie (Lachlan Watson) and didn’t have a lot of time to do it so ‘cunning vision’ and let’s wrap this up in time for some magical eggnog.
In the end, do we recommend A Midwinter’s Tale? Maybe. Look if you really like the show and the characters then I think the repeat nature of this episode will not impact you as much. However, for me it just didn’t jell together, it plodded along, and felt more like a waiting pause rather then a strong standout episode of itself or a good bridge to the next Part.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Directed by –Jeff Woolnough
Written by – Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Donna Thorland
Created by – Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Based on – Sabrina by Archie Comics
Starring in Season One – Kiernan Shipka, Ross Lynch, Lucy Davis, Miranda Otto, Chance Perdomo, Michelle Gomez, Jaz Sinclair, Tati Gabrielle, Adeline Rudolph & Richard Coyle with Annette Reilly, Abigail Cowen, Jedidiah Goodacre, Mckenna Grace, Brian Markinson, Lachlan Watson, Heather Doerksen, Adrian Hough, Darren Mann & Chris Rosamond