The third part of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina saw Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) do something truly shocking: take the throne of Hell. She’d once vowed never to rule a place with so much darkness, going so far as trapping Lucifer Morningstar, her father, to prevent him from expanding his reign beyond the underworld.
But when the demons of Hell protest anyone who tries to rule in the Dark Lord’s absence but a Morningstar, Sabrina’s hand is forced. Though she heeds warnings that the power she’s inheriting can destroy the person she is, she soon realizes that with it, she can change the way Hell operates. Leading with her heart, Sabrina uses her power to make Hell, Heaven, and Earth more just places.
“I always feel like you can tell when somebody’s motivator is love or power. You can tell almost instantly by how they do what they do,” Jaz Sinclair tells MTV News. This feels particularly true in Sabrina, which shows a constant back-and-forth between the power-hungry Dark Lord and his do-good heir, Sabrina. “I'm personally of the belief that love always wins.”
In the first three parts of Netflix's hit occult drama, love has been on a winning streak, though not without obstacles. First, Sabrina herself had to learn to use her magic for good, then she had to enlist the aid of her mortal friends, and finally, she had to figure out just how much power she really wanted. And there are definitely more troubles coming down the line when Part 4 drops. (The cast has finished filming the next installment, but the release date is yet to be announced.)
Jaz Sinclair's Roz and Lachlan Watson's Theo support Kiernan Shipka's Sabrina.
For Sabrina’s mortal friends Roz and Theo, tapping into their own powers seemed to be inevitable. It was either step up, or certain doom for all of humanity. At the end of Part 2, Sabrina’s loyal pals put down their human drama — dating, cheerleading, and homework — to help close the gates of Hell. Roz armed with her inherited cunning, Theo with his gun, and both with the confidence of a full army, they haven’t wavered from Sabrina’s side since, literally going to Hell and back before defeating a carnival of Pagans attempting to demolish the planet in Part 3. For the actors who play them, Sinclair and Lachlan Watson, understanding what their powers looked like took a bit more time and effort. The key was self-love.
“The root of empowerment is power,” Sinclair says. “It’s a wonderful thing to realize that you have infinite capacities and that you can really channel your own power and put that to good use.”
Finding and wielding your power is not always easy, especially with social pressures and fresh anxieties cropping up. For both Sinclair and Watson, it has been a gradual examination of their emotions. As Sinclair struggled to find confidence over the years, she’d reflect on what experience triggered her negative thoughts and behaviors, then ask herself, “What would someone who loves themselves do?” Watson adds that they’ve had to learn to accept how they actually feel, rather than how they think they should feel.
But knowing they want to be kinder to themselves and actually doing that have proven to be different things, and connecting point A to point B can get intense. For Sinclair, who has learned to accept those parts of herself that are “stubborn” and “emotional,” sometimes it felt like her only option was to fully ride those waves and “have my ass handed to me before I would let go.”
Mortal trio Roz, Theo, and Ross Lynch's Harvey in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Meanwhile, Watson adds, there are always surprises around the corner, even when they think they have a handle on their emotions. “It's funny how you morph and you can't always predict and it's not always just an easy jump,” they say. Just about a week before our chat, they had a panic attack unlike any other they’d ever experienced. Even though this was a new experience for Watson, in that moment, they dug into the power they could access: their friends and family. “Sometimes things come out of nowhere, but I think it's allowing yourself the space to accept that and to forgive that and to be OK with not always being OK,” they say.
“And then the other thing is not over-identifying with that,” Sinclair chimes in. “Just being like, ‘Last week I had a panic attack. I am not the panic attack.’” The ability to separate emotions from identity has been a helpful tool in recovering from the fallout. After all, it’s hard to love something that is bad to its core; it’s easier to love something that is essentially good, but sometimes struggles with the bad. That’s the power Gavin Leatherwood’s warlock, Nick Scratch, struggles to harness throughout Part 3 once he stops serving as Lucifer’s holding cell and reflects on all of his past deceptive behaviors. It nearly kills him; Sabrina’s love saves him.
Those struggles, real or fictional, are when self-exploration really happens. “I don't really learn that much when I feel amazing; I learn so much when I do have those off days,” Watson says. “Let’s allow ourselves to be human and have compassion for yourself, and then everything will come with that — this acceptance and therefore the ability to let go.”