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Justice for Sabrina’s Prudence

The Chilling Adventures of our favorite Weird Sister are in need of a course correction.
  • Tati Gabrielle as Prudence on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
    Tati Gabrielle as Prudence on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)

    Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a show that knows exactly what it is, and that’s precisely what makes it such a delight. The show’s first season had a plethora of pop-culture references, from The Craft (the Weird Sisters and Sabrina’s slow-motion walk out of the woods) to The Evil Dead (those branches attacking Kiernan Shipka’s Sabrina in the woods), to freakin’ RuPaul’s Drag Race (“Not today, Satan”). CAOS succeeds where a lot of Netflix original shows fail in that it has some really great standalone episodes that are fun to revisit. The show itself feels like a queer fever dream with a good budget. Michelle Gomez’s Lillith, Lucy Davis’s Aunt Hilda, Miranda Otto’s Aunt Zelda? Gay icons for sure. And who ever thought we’d end up thirsty for Satan (Luke Cook)?

    But one of the biggest standout characters is Prudence, due in part to Tati Gabrielle’s performance. Prudence is the Queen Bee of the Academy of Unseen Arts, leader of the Weird Sisters, and daughter of Father Blackwood (played by Richard Coyle). She’s vicious with great style and a ton of daddy issues. While Sabrina is purposefully anachronistic, Prudence is styled like a badass adult Wednesday Addams who still hits up Hot Topic. Whether Prudence is torturing mortal boys or strutting down the hallway at school, she is always iconic.

    But Prudence also needs to get her shit together and pick a side.

    Prudence started the series as a bully who would occasionally help Sabrina and her cartoon pals. She cursed Sabrina right before helping her take on the Baxter High bullies but then also nearly hazed Sabrina to death once they started attending the Academy of Unseen Arts together. After Sabrina got revenge on Prudence, Dorcas (played by Abigail F. Cowen), and Agatha (played by Adeline Rudolph) for torturing her, they all seemed to come to a truce. Prudence and Sabrina even teamed up to punish Dorcas and Agatha for trying to kill Sabrina’s man, Harvey (played by the extremely adorable Ross Lynch).

    Toward the end of Part 1 of Season 1, Prudence learns Father Blackwood is her biological father. Blackwood is a nightmare of a sexist man who rules the Academy of Unseen Arts with an iron fist and perfectly shaped press-ons. Father Blackwood, alongside Satan himself, represents the patriarchy. Something that Prudence we watched grow across the first half season would have been completely against. Remember her stellar “You had me at boys to torment” line? Prudence, in what felt like a big turn for her character also helped Zelda hide the birth of Blackwood’s daughter, baby Letitia at the very end of Part 1 of Season 1. But in Part 2, when Blackwood lets Prudence start using his name in a very obvious attempt to manipulate her, she completely falls for it.

    Prudence knows her father is bad, that’s why she helped hide his new daughter from him. Yet she blindly falls for his crap. When Blackwood frames poor sweet Ambrose (played by the insanely charismatic Chance Perdomo) for murder, she sides with Blackwood and even tortures her former lover in the process. She also betrays Zelda and informs Blackwood of baby Letitia’s existence. She then seems shocked when her very evil father, who she helped hide the baby from, says his newly discovered baby daughter will be forced to marry her twin baby brother once they are of age. It felt like a betrayal of the strong, confident mean girl we’d come to love over the course of both parts of Season 1.

    Prudence eventually defects and rejoins Sabrina and Co, but it's hard to forgive her at that point. Her betrayal of her father only happened when it directly affected her and her kin. She genuinely put the entire Spellman family and her fellow Weird Sisters in serious danger. 

    At the end of the season, Prudence vows to kill Father Blackwood, and lets hope she keeps to that. She can still roll her eyes at Sabrina and her cohorts, but she needs to stop betraying them at every turn — it does nothing but hurt her character arc.

    For more Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, join the conversation in our forums.

    Ian Carlos Crawford is a freelance writer, host of the podcast Slayerfest 98, and someone with way too many feelings. Follow him on Twitter at @ianxcarlos.

    TOPICS: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Netflix, Tati Gabrielle