4 reasons we’re still obsessed with The Magicians
Let’s start off with a Season 1 recap. Just kidding, we don’t have one of those, so you’re going to have to take care of that yourself.
No? Okay, fine, here’s a tiny recap of Season 1.
Warning: spoilers up ahead!
Having begun the week before Halloween, and Sabrina the teenage witch’s 16th birthday, it ended with a Christmas – sorry, Yule – episode.
Half-witch, half-mortal Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka, who still has to shake off little Sally Draper from Mad Men) came of age and was pressured into signing The Book Of The Beast aka Satan aka The Dark Lord etc etc, which she eventually did, while defying authority at every possible turn.
We return to Greendale in the new year where we find Sabrina embracing her witchy half (which all her mortal friends know about now), Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) employed at the Academy of Unseen Arts and flirting shamelessly with Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle), and Miss Wardwell/Lillith (Michelle Gomez) as the principal of Baxter High. What happened to the previous guy? Do we care?
Other notable events this season include Suzy standing her trans ground and changing her name to Theo (Lachlan Watson), and insisting she/he/they be allowed to try out for the boys’ basketball team despite being diminutive and devoid of any athletic skill. Hey, Sabrina – help a buddy out here. Which is what she does.
Sabrina is apparently over Harvey (Ross Lynch), who in turn is slowly and awkwardly getting closer to Roz (Jaz Sinclair). Observing the girl code, Roz is hesitant; your friends’ exes are always off limits, and her “cunning” is giving her some disturbing visions as her eyesight fails, but Harvey doesn’t seem troubled by this.
As for Sabrina, she is being wooed and pursued by the handsome warlock Nick Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood), who is definitely an upgrade.
With her new hair and makeup and supernatural powers, Sabrina feels she is unstoppable and continues to rock the boat at the highest level, every chance she gets.
She challenges Father Blackwood and the entire Academy with her quest to be Top Boy – the student/faculty liaison position – and even contrives to present her late father’s manifesto, which clashes completely with that of Father Blackwood’s, to the unholiest of unholy, the anti-Pope.
The Aunties are a delight. Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis) is the sweetest – which doesn’t mean anyone can or should underestimate her, or her powers (as one character will find out, to her detriment) – and looking for the love she so richly deserves. We really just want her to be happy.
Aunt Zee, on the other hand, is ruthless, determined and ambitious. She has her eye on a prize but the result is a warning to be careful what you wish for…
Fourth Spellman family member Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) is framed for a horrific crime (even in these sinister circumstances) and flung into the dungeon at the academy, where he is tormented and tortured.
Dear Prudence (Tati Gabrielle), who, in another story arc, is relentlessly pursuing the right to use the Blackwood name, is quick to switch her passion for Ambrose from carnal to sadistic.
Lillith is temporarily thrown off balance by the return of someone who was very special to Miss Wardwell, but she is nothing if not resourceful. The Dark Lord disagrees, however, and makes several visits to Greendale in his bestial form, to urge her to do the right thing. Or should that be “wrong”?
There is much wordplay throughout – “maid of dishonour” (yes, there is a wedding), “anti-Pope”, “what the heaven is going on here?”, and so on and so forth.
New this season is the all-male domain called Dorian Grey’s Room (that one, the guy with the painting and eternal youth) which, naturally, Sabrina breaches much to Dorian’s initial displeasure, and that of the trio of angel-witch-hunters of Aryan appearance.
Maybe it’s coincidence that two of the Weird Sisters who are attacked are women of colour, maybe it’s not. Along with the gender identity theme, the writers are apparently not-so-subtly tackling issues of the day.
It will suddenly transpire that Sabrina is a pawn in a much bigger plan, designed and directed by his red right hand, and when that unfolds in the last three episodes, a lot of things happen very fast.
We are pressed into believing Sabrina is some kind of hellish saviour with the ability to perform some impressive miracles, including resurrection, while at the same time sitting surrounded by witches and warlocks at her feet in a very Jesus-like tableau, sharing with them the teachings of her father.
The Dark Lord adopts his former handsome angelic form, the purpose of witch, or rather, which, is unclear since all previous horned and hoofed appearances haven’t frightened anyone in the slightest, but maybe it’s because us viewers will be more likely to accept his intended marriage to his child bride who is actually – gasp! – his daughter. Get your head around that.
Meanwhile, the mortals – Harvey, Roz and Theo – manage to keep the gates of Hell closed without any magical powers whatsoever, and Nick’s unwitting betrayal of Sabrina is revealed.
Lillith gets what she ultimately craves, and the season ends with a tidy little set up for a third outing.
The truth is, this show needs to be seen to be believed. Stream The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 2 on Netflix.