Here’s the story, as Ms. Wardwell tells it.
She was a private secretary to Sabrina Spellman’s father and an admirer because she, too, was pursuing a relationship outside of the coven. The two became close, so close that he asked her (not Zelda, not Hilda) to watch over Sabrina not long before his death — so close that she’d fallen in love with him. That’s why she showed up in Sabrina’s dream. That’s why she stays close to Sabrina at Baxter High. She’s just trying to protect her, to keep her promise to Sabrina’s father.
This is the explanation Wardwell gives to Sabrina in “An Exorcism in Greendale,” the sixth chapter of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, after the youngest Spellman showed up on her doorstep at the end of the previous episode. Whether her story is meant to get Sabrina sympathizing for her or to extract a false sense of total trust in her, it actually peeves Sabrina off. Just another secret her dad kept from her. She’s so ticked off, in fact, Sabrina demands Ms. Wardwell keep her distance. She doesn’t need someone looking after her. She’s an independent witch, and she’s been doing just fine.
But Ms. Wardwell is able to keep herself close by when Sabrina’s plan to save her friend’s uncle isn’t a slam dunk. Sabrina wants to perform an exorcism on Susie’s uncle to rid him of the demon inside him, something that she, as a witch, is not allowed to do. Soon, Wardwell is back by Sabrina’s side because she’s a willing assistant to it. Maybe it’s not allowed, but you sure can still do it.
Why’s she so willing to help? It’s all a part of her plan.
She put the demon inside Susie’s uncle, thinking that Sabrina, being the loyal friend and self-assigned heroine of those friends, would ultimately want to save him by performing an exorcism. An exorcism, as Wardwell later privately reveals, is one of a string of things she must get Sabrina to do to make her into what she and the Dark Lord, who’s also orchestrating this, want her to be.
What that is, is not so clear yet. What’s alarming is that Sabrina is, it seems, falling into Wardwell’s trap.
We haven’t seen Sabrina outsmarted to this point in the series. She’s always out ahead of everything coming to her. But by the end of this episode, she’s sitting in Wardwell’s living room, sad that her plan — the exorcism — didn’t work, as Susie’s uncle died soon after.*
(*Spoiler: Wardwell killed him.)
She’s second-guessing herself. Worse, she’s doubting her entire plan that she can outsmart the devil himself. And beyond that, she makes a reference to that plan when she’s confiding in Wardwell. Wardwell, you bet, doesn’t miss Sabrina’s slip. She’s at least got Sabrina accepting her tall tale about who she is — even if she didn’t particularly like the explanation — and it keeps hidden her real intentions. But, now, is Sabrina giving up the truth about her own personal intentions to the last person she should be telling them to?
If so, the dark lord is winning this match. So far.