Cheryl Blossom has officially just given us Riverdale's new tagline, courtesy of her reaction to Sabrina Spellman informing her that she has the magical resurrection powers of the phoenix: "This is cuckoo bananas, but I'm also kind of feeling it." Same, every single time we watch this show.
Riverdale just brought neighbor Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) back to offer some assistance, because she's a formerly dead expert in necromancy and half of Riverdale's main characters are dead. Archie (KJ Apa), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), Toni (Vanessa Morgan) and Fangs (Drew Ray Tanner) all dropped dead at the end of last week's episode thanks to Percival's (Chris O'Shea) latest biblical plague, and this week's entire episode was spent trying to bring them back from the sweet hereafter—a peaceful place where everyone is happy, no one is dead, and Jughead is a famous comic book writer. After making Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook), Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) witches and creating a coven with Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) and Heather (Caroline Day), Sabrina first headed into the great beyond alone to see if she could convince Jughead to return with her. Jughead said no way, but he did agree to Sabrina's odd request: her dead boyfriend Nick (played in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Gavin Leatherwood) could totally use his body to be alive for a second.
So while Sabrina went on a date with Nick/Jughead, she sent Veronica, Tabitha and Cheryl to go get their loved ones back. Betty obviously couldn't go to heaven since she's the Harlot of Babylon, whatever that is, so she stayed behind, and it was Veronica's job to talk to Archie. Once again, no one wanted to return to bad Riverdale, at least at first. While they all contemplated what their friends had told them about the war against Percival, Sabrina informed Cheryl that she's a phoenix, and she could just force all her friends to come back to life, which she did. Just as Archie was gearing up to come back to life for his favorite thing, a war, he suddenly got very hot, thanks to Cheryl's fiery new powers. Soon, all the dead friends were back, including a couple surprises in the form of Jason (Trevor Stines) and Polly (Tiera Skovbye).
But of course, before she headed off to whatever realm needs her next, Sabrina had a warning for Cheryl. Resurrection comes with consequences, so be prepared.
The very end of the episode came with a couple of revelations from Tabitha, who briefly chatted with an angel in heaven, that may give the average Riverdale viewer a whole lot to think about. 1) She has seen an equal number of futures where Varchie and Barchie are endgame, 2) She is Riverdale's guardian angel, and 3) Baby Anthony is immortal. And if you're thinking perhaps Sabrina should have stuck around to help with everything to come, you're not alone.
"Yeah, she has to come back. I think they're gonna need her help again," Shipka told TV Guide. "Like for entertainment's sake, I would say [they should] lean into the chaos—no pun intended—as much as they can and work hard and have faith that it's all gonna work out, but at the end of the day, just truly probably call Sabrina again. I think they're gonna need her, to be quite honest."
Shipka says she felt right at home filming this episode, which was the most like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina any Riverdale episode has ever been. "It felt like CAOS to me!" Below, Shipka shares her thoughts on the latest Riverdale drama, what it was like to date Cole Sprouse as Nick, and what her hopes are for the future of Sabrina Spellman.
So first of all, tell me about your reaction to the Nick Scratch situation and having to go on a date with Cole Sprouse.
Kiernan Shipka: I mean, like thrilled, honestly. I was very excited, and I felt lucky that Sabrina just…I mean, I guess she kind of picked Jughead too, but she just has good taste, and she hangs around really cute guys, and I'm kind of the lucky recipient of that, so no complaints from me.
Did you have to give him any tips on how to play Nick/Gavin? Did he watch the show?
Shipka: I was happy to, but he showed up very prepared. Look, Cole showed up and had done his research, and I think that my job then was just to make sure that the chemistry was palpable and it felt like Nick and Sabrina gazing into each other's eyes and being touchy and flirty and all that kind of stuff. That was obviously my job and Cole's job as well, that was our teamwork. But as far as him playing Nick, I didn't need to give him a single pointer. He was just very, very, very on it.
And does Gavin know about this?
Shipka: Well, he will on Sunday! I don't know. I think I forgot to tell him. I think he might be surprised, unless Roberto told him. It'll be really weird on Sunday to wake up and see a bunch of tags.
I don't think I was expecting to get so much CAOS closure from this episode of Riverdale. What was that like for you?
Shipka It was really beautiful. I mean, the CAOS finale was a beautiful episode and left a lot of people wanting for more, so to even get little bits of it for these characters that we care so much about felt really nice and really important to me.
Do you imagine in their offscreen life that Nick and Sabrina will get to reunite like this again?
Shipka: Yeah, maybe not even on screen. I mean, maybe on screen. I don't know. I think that people care about these characters so much, and it never quite feels over. It feels like we leave a little bit unanswered, and it seems that for these witches and in these universes, life is long and there are many lives and many things to be explored, so I think the fact that their love is alive and well is really great confirmation that really anything can happen in this universe and these shows.
Do you have a hope for Sabrina returning in the future in some way, especially now that we know she's not dead anymore?
Shipka: I mean I have hope for her returning, but in what way, I can't even begin to tell you. I would not know.
There was a lot of very Riverdalian drama happening this week, with the possible return of Varchie and Cheryl becoming a phoenix and a war going on. What was it like for you to join in and have to manage all of that?
Shipka: It was intense, but it was so fun. I mean, I feel like that is sort of the point of Sabrina is being a guide and being this powerful witch. I felt very her. It felt like her to manage a situation and make the best of it and help people find hope in something that feels so hopeless. So it did feel so right for her.
What if Riverdale just ends with a giant CAOS crossover?
Shipka: That's what we've been saying. I think Riverdale deserves a wild last season. It's been doing so much stuff, why not have one episode where it's just a full Riverdale/Greendale town merge?
My favorite line from the episode was Cheryl's "This is cuckoo bananas, but I'm kind of feeling it." I just feel like that sums up both Riverdale and CAOS.
Shipka: Literally, that is life. This is cuckoo bananas but I'm kind of feeling it. That's the way I kind of always operate.
Did you have a favorite scene to film in this episode?
Shipka: I loved the scenes with Cole, I really did. I mean, I think that Pop's scene in the Sweet Hereafter was really the highlight for me. It just felt so cool, because as much as I've played this character for a really long time, to be able to play the fullest comic book version of her just felt right and it felt real and it felt like, man, this is cool.
Tell me about getting to wear the comic book Sabrina outfit.
Shipka: To be quite honest, it was one of those moments that just felt really surreal. It was sort of a "Wow, I'm so lucky and my job is so freaking cool" moment. I was in Pop's, they're pumping the atmosphere in there, comic books all over. I'm sitting across from Jughead Jones. It's the kind of stuff you dream about, and I felt really lucky.
Since you said you'd be happy to come back as Sabrina again, what more do you want to do with her?
Shipka: Oh my gosh. I mean, I feel like I would still love to see Sabrina with her aunts and Harvey and Ambrose. I know we got a little bit of Sabrina and Nick closure, but I would really really really love to see Sabrina with the other characters as well. That's something that I want, and I think a lot of other people would want too. She's fostered such interesting relationships with everyone in her world and I think seeing that would be wonderful.
I mean, have you pitched anything to Roberto for the final season of Riverdale?
Shipka: For the final season of Riverdale, I told him whenever you need me, I'm there. I'm your girl. And besides that, I think that both Roberto and I—and I don't want to put words in his mouth—but I really do think that we're both so passionate about this character and keeping her alive and well in the zeitgeist, in the universe. She means a lot to a lot of people, and it's fun to share her with everyone and it's really fun to not only be her, but to get people excited about her. One of the joys of doing this is sharing the work, and when people love it, you want to keep doing it. I, certainly, and I think Roberto too, want to continuously see where she could go. I truly don't know what that looks like, but I am up for it. I don't know if it's a year from now, I don't know if it's two or three, but I'm still Sabrina.
What is that like as an actor who knows what the TV world used to be like, but now it's possible that you could pop back up any time, or your show might actually come back someday.
Shipka: It's sort of thrilling. It's amazing. I feel like I continuously get to bring new versions of myself into this character. She grows and I grow and growing with a character is something I'm super familiar with from being on a show for 10 years. I know that drill well, and it's a wonderful part of it. It really is.
Riverdale airs Sundays at 8/7c on The CW.