Greendale’s history is complicated for a half-witch

Whether or not one influenced the other, I don’t know, but it is awfully Hunger Gamesian of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to have a Feast of Feasts, a coven tradition, in place of Thanksgiving, in which tributes are selected for a lottery that determines a witch to be sacrificed and feasted upon in honor of a witch, a long, long time ago, who sacrificed her body for the starving coven to survive. Sure, several of the details don’t match up — Panem’s hunger games vs. the Church of Night’s feast — but it’s not as if this tradition is all by itself being compared. I wrote, from “Witch Academy,” how a segment of Sabrina’s harrowing was not unlike Katniss Everdeen’s jabber jay attack.

“The Feast of Feasts,” like “Witch Academy,” ranks, for me, a top-three episode (so far) of the show. Not far from the top of my reasoning is that both are especially-good Sabrina showcases. Where “Witch Academy” puts on a display of Sabrina’s badassness, “The Feast of Feasts” showcases her sensibility, framed to be very funny. It’s her human nature to call bull shit on the tradition of Feast of Feasts, just as if she’s someone from the pre-apocolyptic Hunger Games world time-traveling to the reaping and being so totally like, “Seriously, you guys?” Not as if to say, “You’re just gonna take this?” 

It’s an honor to draw the unlucky straw to be killed and eaten by your peers, to put it as ironically as possible, because then, as Prudence puts it after being the one chosen (as “Queen”), you’re a part of every single person in the coven … and, I mean, literally you are. Sabrina tries her darnedest to figure out why in the world Prudence would be so pumped to die because she just doesn’t get it, because of course she’s human. That’s the humanizing way to see it, and it’s absolutely hilarious by Sabrina’s facial expressions alone. Moreover, it’s funny because this is exactly the way we react to the show as a whole or any other one like it that asks its viewers to imagine something totally different — norms and traditions that go against everything we believe. In “The Feast of Feasts,” we live vicariously through Sabrina’s perplexity with what’s going on.

But this is not the sole reason why the episode is so good. What separates it from everything that’s come before it is how much is going on and, specifically, how many people are involved.

There’s more intermingling of the two worlds than ever, all because Sabrina invites Prudence to Baxter High in an attempt to entertain her during her final days as she’s obliged to do. It’s a pretty air-headed idea, of which Sabrina is not immune to making, and it’s the precursor to the cliffhanger at the end of the episode. Because the roots of it will certainly grow into the next episode, we’ll save many of those details for the next episode recap.

Earlier this season, in “The Trial of Sabrina Spellman,” we started to learn about the history of Greendale, it’s humans and it’s witches and the connection between them. In “The Feast of Feasts,” we learn a heck of a lot more. It turns out witchcraft has a much more significant influence on the town’s history than we realized — spotlighted this time is how it impacted the families of Harvey and Ros.

Ros is going blind remember, which is turns out is hereditary because a witch cursed their family many years ago. We meet her grandmother, who is also blind and bluntly reminds Ros that, yes, it’s going to happen to you soon, too.

It’s much less black and white for Harvey but it’s pretty clear that when his grandfather was a young adult, there were towns people and “hill people,” people who lived up on a hill, some distance away from central part of the town. (Ask Prudence, the “hill people” were the real settlers of Greendale). The “hill people” are witches, though it’s never specifically stated. The Greendale towns people ran them off the land and hunted them, Harvey’s grandfather being one of the primary hunters.

Neither family history would be great news to Sabrina, who, like us, is only just beginning to see the full scope of the complicated history between the human world and the coven’s world.

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