The Cast Talked to Us About What to Expect in the Chilling Holiday Special of Sabrina
The days are short; the lights are up. It’s the perfect time to gather round with family for a some holiday cheer by the Netflix-side. I’m talking old school traditions, including yule logs, ghost stories, and eggnog—oh, and demons. Can’t forget the demons.
I’m of course talking about the holiday special dropping this week from the creepy folks over at Chilling Adventure of Sabrina on Netflix. Titled “A Mid-Winter’s Tale,” the hour is technically episode eleven of season one, the final nine episodes of which will drop in April.
The story picks up pretty soon after the tumultuous events of the end of the season’s part one, but slows things down a pinch to explore how members of the Church of Night spend their holiday. This holiday is, of course, the winter solstice, rather than Christmas.
Some characters aren’t seen, as they’re off visiting family in their dark homelands, which gives us more time with the Spellmans. Also, some of the shocking twists of episode ten—especially that cute baby that Zelda stole—have a big role to play.
We’re super excited for the world to see this special, and we have a few teases from the cast about the episode, from when we paid a visit to set last month. (We also have some more specific scoops from Miranda Otta (Zelda) on her full season character arc).
Lachlan Watson (Suzie Putnam), out of the cast members we talked to, was maybe the most excited for audiences to see this episode, especially because of what the structure of the episodes means to them personally. “It has more of that nostalgic kind of feel to it,” Watson said, and compared the episode to the Doctor Who Christmas specials they enjoyed as a child.
And yes, they mean David Tennant’s era of specials, and realizing that made this writer truly feel like an ancient witch talking to a young mortal. Those episodes, like this, “lived within the universe and lived within the plot, but it was this standalone sort of tradition,” Watson shared, and they think the episode “just has that fantastic holiday feel.”
Watson adds to that holiday feel personally. “I definitely get to run around in a little elf costume the whole time which I am very happy about. If anything watch it to see me in my little fuzzy hat running around,” Watson laughed.
Suzie dressing as an elf though is one of my favorite subtle elements of the episode, in how it informs the character’s ongoing exploration of gender. Wearing that elf costume is a socially acceptable way for Suzie to inhabit a gender role that’s more comfortable. It’s something that brings Suzie joy and confidence, and it’s sweet and wonderful to watch.
Hilda is also deep in the Christmas spirit, according to her portrayer, Lucy Davis. “So, Christmas. Zelda is not all warm and fuzzy, and then Hilda is,” Davis shared. “In the Spellman house, cause of Sabrina and Ambrose and Hilda being all warm and fuzzy about mortal Christmas, it’s not really Zelda’s way.”
Still, Zelda has a quite a few presents for herself under the tree. “I’m quite sure Hilda has nothing under there for her,” Davis joked. “In the Spellman house, we were quite traditional in many ways.”
Zelda, of course, is the most traditional, and that means keeping the Yule log lit in the fire place in order to keep out mischievous spirits that target witches on the longest night of the year. “It’s about not letting the Christmas imps in,” Davis shared, though the imps are just one of several supernatural problems the Spellmans and their friends will be dealing with.
The hijinks include Sabrina doing some holiday séance-ing with the help of her best frenemies, the Weird Sisters, which Addeline Rudolf (Agatha) described as “our version of trying to have a family experience.”
Sabrina also makes an attempt to spread some holiday cheer, or at least get some forgiveness from Harvey, even though the break up is still fresh in her heart. However, it turns out the mortal boy isn’t so into magical presents.
We also meet a few new characters that make you wonder just how many weird things live in Greendale. I guess when you have a possible portal to hell in the mines, things get weird, and do we think the fact that the term “hellmouth” was dropped in the Riverrdale midseason finale has any connection?
The episode, however, isn’t just about the wild and weird; it’s about family and tradition. “The holiday special is really wonderful,” according to Sabrina herself, Kiernan Shipka. “It’s a really emotional episode. And it’s beautiful for the holidays.”
That, of course, comes with a caveat. “Obviously, this show wouldn’t be our show without some excitement and some demons—literally. It’s action-packed and it’s fun, but at the same time, there’s a lot of heart, and there’s a lot of soul to it. A lot of relationships develop in it really beautifully.”
For the first time, we really do get to see Roz, Suzie, and Harvey interacting with Sabrina as a witch, and see Sabrina become more confident in her magic. “I think it really fuses the witch world and the mortal world in a very lovely way. It’s a very special episode; I really love it.” Shipka said. “It really just kind of focuses in on the characters and takes its time. It’s super perfect for the holidays.”
“A Midwinter’s Tale” will be available on Netflix on December 14.
(featured image: Diyah Pera/Netflix)
Jessica Mason is a writer and lawyer living in Portland, Oregon passionate about corgis, fandom, and awesome girls. Follow her on Twitter at @FangirlingJess.
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