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Oh, hell! Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 3 offers surprises and a scary good time, say critics
Debuting on Netflix this Friday, Jan. 24, Season 3 finds Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) trying to free her boyfriend, Nicholas Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood), from being eternally imprisoned by Satan himself. Naturally, our favorite young witch will get a much-needed assist from her mortal buddies: Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch), Rosalind Walker (Jaz Sinclair), and Theo Putnam (Lachlan Watson). While she's in the fiery neighborhood, Sabrina will also attempt to wrest control of Hell's throne from royal hopeful Caliban (Sam Corlett).
With the series' refreshing change of setting (don't worry, Greendale is still featured this season), the first reviews for Part 3 are praising the fun opportunities allowed by an adventure in the Underworld. AC/DC said it best in 1977, folks. From surprising guest appearances of history's most evil individuals to some truly absurdist imagery, "Hell ain't a bad place to be."
Hop off that flying broomstick and find out what critics are saying about Part 3 below ...
"The character growth of Part 3 is simply put, delicious. The emotional payoffs of each journey keep the show from slipping into WTF!?! territory and firmly ground CAOS as a show with something to say outside of quippy one-liners. The stakes are high in Part 3, and there's no doubt that Part 4 will be fundamentally different than the show we've been watching. But as with everything Sabrina Spellman touches, the storm we'll have to weather to get there will be worth it in the end." — Krutika Mallikarjuna, TV Guide
"With only eight episodes to this season, there isn't a minute of wasted screentime. (In other words, don't expect any of the sluggishness that has become the unfortunate calling card of most Netflix series.) This isn't always for the best. Big emotional moments sometimes aren't given the time they need to breathe, and the motives of the evil carnies aren't nearly explored as deeply as they should be." — Chris Cummins, Den of Geek
"It gets tiring, watching the characters fail, and having to keep up with which is the most immediate threat at each moment, since there are always at least four or five going on at once. The tone of Sabrina remains the same, I give it credit for that, but I hope that next season course corrects and regains that balance between the teen stuff, and the world ending stuff. I don’t expect it to though. With the way the season ended, it looks like things are only going to get crazier from here." — Linda Maleh, Forbes
"Part 3 proves that the series has perfected its blend of humor and horror, while offering a storyline with more urgency, despite still suffering some setbacks in its momentum ... Part 3 goes deep into a variety of different mythologies to excite the audiences who return to the series for the more horrifying and fantastical elements. The narrative brings in Biblical stories, cosmic horrors, voodoo, Old Gods, Green Man, and much more." — Patrick Cavanaugh, ComicBook.com
"Arguably the best installment of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina so far, Part 3 builds upon well-developed characters, and a fully realized world and mythology. Although the latter expands, with the additions of pagans, repeated visits to Hell, and even more intricate ties to Riverdale, the audience has by this point become so immersed in Sabrina's raucous universe that those are hardly curve balls. Viewers simply settle in and enjoy the crazy ride." — Kevin Melrose, CBR
"The biggest appeal for Sabrina is its ability to manage the balance between supernatural horror and teenage melodrama. Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is best known for his work on Glee and Riverdale, and he keeps the spirit of these shows alive while also injecting some truly dark stuff. An episode can feature court intrigue, scenes of sweet romance, child murder, and a frothy cheerleader routine all without any tonal dissonance. It’s a bubblegum goth drama that manages to push the boundaries of camp without becoming overly ridiculous." — Marshall Estes, The Spool
"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 continues important character arcs and delivers some truly excellent storytelling without forgetting the series’ roots in dark, magical camp. As Aguirre-Sacasa steps up the absurdity, he also steps up the intensity and the emotions, with the cast absolutely rising to the occasion." — Samantha Puc, Comics Beat
"One thing that Sabrina has never been much good at is addressing trauma, and don’t expect it to get much better in this season, either. In this aspect, the most is given to Nick, who had Lucifer inside him and suffered in hell under Madam Satan’s rule. But not a lot of thought is spared for traumas of other characters ... It’s disappointing to not see the show at least try to tackle these ideas. Sabrina loves putting their characters through horrible experiences, but it doesn’t seem interested in discovering how these experiences change them." — dilaraelbir, much ado about cinema
"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 has the perfect mix of sensational storytelling and rewarding character arcs with a few swings that will shock you. There are some fun guest appearances from characters ... With a vast history of horror-minded stories and characters who have crossed through into Hell, the cast of characters is endless, and the possibilities are worth exploring." —Carissa Pavlica, TV Fanatic