Netflix’s "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" was created by "Riverdale" showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa as a spin-off to the popular CW series. Based on the comics of the same name, also written by Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated by Robert Hack, "Chilling Adventures" follows Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka), a half-witch/half-mortal teenager whose life is turned upside-down when she turns 16 and is asked to sign the Book of the Beast and fully embrace her witchy side.
There’s a lot packed into "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina"’s 36 episodes. Alongside her friends, family, and coven, Sabrina faces new and ancient threats and saves the world a few times. She also becomes Queen of Hell, not-so-accidentally creates a time paradox, and falls in love (twice). The series straddles Earth, Hell, and an alternate Earth, as well as multiple time periods, some of which run parallel to each other. Finally, there’s tons of pre-show history that’s necessary for contextualizing the plot, which all coalesces in a fast-paced timeline.
How witches came to Greendale
Hundreds of years ago, a group of Scottish witches fleeing persecution were taken by boat to Greendale, Massachusetts, by Dorothea Putnam. Unfortunately, these witches were no safer in Greendale — which isn’t far from Salem — and thirteen of them were hunted and hanged by ancestors of Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch), Sabrina’s first boyfriend. The Greendale Thirteen and their coven were the earliest incarnation of the Church of Night, to which the Spellmans have belonged for generations.
In the first season of "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," the Thirteen are summoned by Lilith to attack the town, but they’re defeated when Sabrina becomes a full witch and summons Hellfire to destroy them. This is the only time Greendale’s original witches are actually present on-screen, but their story informs much of what happens in the Church of Night and in Greendale as a whole, especially as Sabrina starts learning more about her magic and how to use it.
When Sabrina Spellman is born, two things happen: Her aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) forges her signature in the Book of the Beast, effectively taking away her ability to choose whether to sign when she comes of age as a witch, and her aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis) witnesses Sabrina’s Christian baptism, which is strictly forbidden by the Church of Night. This information is revealed in "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Season 1, and it leads to Hilda being excommunicated from the Church. It also lessens the trust between Sabrina and Zelda, and presents complications regarding Sabrina’s eventual decision to sign the Book of the Beast herself.
Sabrina’s parents, Edward (a warlock) and Diana (a mortal), are killed in a plane crash when she’s very young. This is originally believed to be an accident, but Sabrina later learns their deaths were calculated by Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle), who saw Edward’s progressive ideas as a threat to the Church of Night and witches in general.
Lilith arrives in Greendale
In the "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" pilot, Sabrina’s favorite teacher, Mrs. Wardwell (Michelle Gomez), provides shelter to a distressed young girl she finds on the side of the road. Upon bringing the girl home to her remote cottage, Mrs. Wardwell is promptly murdered by the girl, who then assumes the slain teacher’s appearance and identity. It’s revealed that this apparent shapeshifter is actually Lilith, aka Madame Satan, and she has come to Greendale with her crow familiar, Stolis, to manipulate Sabrina into signing the Book of the Beast. Lilith believes this will give her what she wants, which is shared reign over Hell with her beloved Lucifer.
Lilith pretends to be Mrs. Wardwell so she can influence as many aspects of Sabrina’s life as possible. When Sabrina curses the Baxter High principal, Lilith replaces him, giving her even more power. Eventually, she reveals her true identity to Sabrina and the Spellman family, then pretends to be a mentor to Sabrina, rather than a solo agent with ulterior motives.
Sabrina turns 16
Sabrina turns 16 on Halloween night, in the first episode of "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina." Her boyfriend, Harvey, really wants her to celebrate with him and their friends, Roz (Jaz Sinclair) and Theo (Lachlan Watson). Unfortunately, Sabrina is expected to sign the Book of the Beast and be fully initiated in the Church of Night coven. As such, she can’t spend her birthday with her friends — and after her birthday, she’ll be expected to leave the mortal world behind.
Her aunts allow her to go to Roz’s Halloween party, but she’s expected in the woods before midnight, so she can sign her soul over to Satan. Up until she’s actually standing before the Book of the Beast, Sabrina believes that signing her name is a choice that will allow her to embrace her power and freely perform magic as a full witch. When she learns that she’ll actually be at Lucifer’s beck and call, she panics and runs out of the woods. The coven follows, but Sabrina’s cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) prevents them from crossing the Spellman property line, protecting her from harm.
Sabrina signs the Book of the Beast
When Lilith summons the Thirteen to Greendale, it’s part of a master plan to force Sabrina to sign the Book of the Beast. The whole reason Lilith’s in Greendale is to sway Sabrina to embrace her witchy side, in order to appease Lucifer. By summoning the Thirteen, Lilith puts Greendale and the Church of Night at risk, which means Sabrina is the only one who can defeat them and save everyone. She can’t do that without the full use of her magic, which she can only acquire by agreeing to sell her soul to Satan.
In the "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Season 1 finale, Sabrina finally puts her name in the book and becomes a full-blooded witch. She then summons Hellfire to destroy the Thirteen. In Season 2, she starts using magic more frequently and tells her friends she’s a witch — which does cause problems, particularly in her relationship with Harvey. Sabrina starts attending the Academy of Unseen Arts more often than she attends Baxter High, and she even starts dating a warlock, Nick Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood).
Lucifer returns to Greendale
With help from Lilith and Nick, Lucifer Morningstar (Luke Cook) returns to his human form and to Greendale at the end of "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Season 2. He makes several revelations which alter the course of Sabrina’s life and the show. Perhaps the most important one is that Edward Spellman isn’t Sabrina’s father: Lucifer is. This means she’s in line to become Queen of Hell, and Lucifer needs her to claim her throne and rule alongside him so they can remake Earth in Hell’s image. He also needs her to blow the Horn of Gabriel in order to open the gates of Hell, which will allow the dark aristocracy to attend her coronation on Earth. Sabrina refuses, but Lucifer isn’t concerned — saying "no" hasn’t helped her stop any of his plans so far.
Lilith is furious about Lucifer’s betrayal, so she turns on him and begins working with Sabrina to stop the Dark Lord’s plan. All Lilith wants is the throne, and all Sabrina wants is to continue being a mostly regular teenager. If they work together, they might be able to accomplish their goals and remove the threat of Lucifer once and for all.
Sabrina traps Lucifer and Lilith becomes Queen of Hell
With Lilith’s help, Sabrina attempts to trap and imprison Lucifer so he can’t force Sabrina to become Queen of Hell and destroy Earth. Unfortunately, their original plan falls through, and they realize the only way to trap Lucifer is to put him in a human body. Nick, Sabrina’s boyfriend, is the most powerful conjurer and binder since Edward Spellman — so as an apology to Sabrina for befriending her on the Dark Lord’s behalf (although he later fell in love with her for real), Nick volunteers to become the vessel and keep Lucifer contained. This traps him in Hell, with Lucifer in his body, and he suffers intense trauma from the experience.
Meanwhile, Sabrina abdicates the throne and makes Lilith Queen of Hell, which is all the latter has ever wanted. In exchange, Lilith restores Sabrina’s magic (which she lost for defying Lucifer) and resurrects the actual Mrs. Wardwell.
Prudence and Ambrose hunt for Father Blackwood
While Sabrina deals with Lucifer in "Chilling Adventures" Season 2, Prudence learns she’s Father Blackwood’s biological daughter. When Blackwood’s multiple attempts to return the Church of Night to its old, sexist ways end with him being scolded and punished by Lucifer, he takes his infant twins — Prudence’s siblings — and flees. Prudence and Ambrose go on a worldwide hunt to find her father and kill him, but when they eventually find him in Scotland, they discover he’s manipulated time to age both himself and the twins up.
Blackwood becomes a prisoner of the coven, and Sabrina’s aunt Zelda becomes the new High Priestess. The coven also turns to Hecate for its power, leaving Lucifer behind completely. When Sabrina frees Lucifer from Nick’s body, she instead imprisons the Dark Lord in Blackwood’s body, though he doesn’t stay confined for long. The hunt for Blackwood ultimately damages Prudence’s relationship with Ambrose, because he tells her not to kill her father … and then Blackwood nearly ends the world, which she could have prevented if Ambrose hadn’t stood in her way.
Sabrina battles Caliban for the throne of Hell
When the aristocracy of Hell decides Lilith isn’t a legitimate queen, Sabrina realizes she has to take her rightful place on the throne and somehow balance her life on Earth with her responsibilities in Hell. However, the aristocracy also doesn’t recognize Sabrina as a legitimate heir. They instead support Prince Caliban (Sam Corlett), a clay demon formed in Hell itself. Caliban and Sabrina compete for the throne by completing a series of challenges known as the Unholy Regalia. This requires them to go back in time, acquire certain "holy" objects, and battle monsters — as well as each other.
The competition is tight, and Caliban nearly wins by tricking Sabrina into giving him the final object needed to claim the throne. However, Sabrina creates a time paradox when she realizes her attention on the Holy Regalia has doomed the world to end, and in doing so she’s able to stop Caliban and become the Queen of Hell.
The Pagans arrive in Greendale
Shortly after Nick becomes Lucifer’s vessel and Sabrina gives Lilith the throne of Hell, a group of Pagans arrive in Greendale. They are determined to return the world to the Old Ones, which in this case means sacrificing virgins to awaken the Green Man and end the modern world. The Pagans disguise themselves as carnival performers and attempt to seduce Sabrina’s friends in order to sacrifice them.
In the end stages of the Pagans’ plan, Sabrina is too caught up with the Holy Regalia to realize how desperately her loved ones need her help. Before she figures out how to go back in time using Blackwood’s time egg, which Prudence and Ambrose brought back from Scotland, she gets trapped in Hell and the Pagans murder her friends. Luckily, using the time egg allows Sabrina to stop the Pagans and save the world, though she creates a new set of problems in the process.
Sabrina creates a time paradox
To prevent the Pagans from winning and stop Caliban from becoming King of Hell, Sabrina has to manipulate time. The version of her that’s trapped in clay in Hell is awoken by a different version, who has already fixed everything and then closed the time loop. This version of Sabrina tells the trapped version that she must close the time loop by returning to Hell and trading places with her, lest they create a time paradox that could have massive ramifications. In classic Sabrina Spellman style, she ignores this advice and instead decides that it would be easier for her to continue living her life if there are two of her.
Therefore, after Sabrina Spellman fixes everything, she returns to Earth, while Sabrina Morningstar remains in Hell and is coronated as queen. Eventually, Morningstar marries Caliban and contentedly rules over Hell — with Lucifer, Lilith, and her husband, doing all of the things Spellman didn’t want to do. When Ambrose discovers what his cousin has done, he forbids her from ever being in the same place as Sabrina Morningstar again. Spellman abides by this rule until she needs Morningstar’s help in "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Season 4, which is a successful enough endeavor that she thinks Ambrose is overreacting. The two Sabrinas start sneaking time with each other, which does cause major problems.
Father Blackwood unleashes the Eldritch Terrors
After he leaves the Church of Night, acts as a vessel for Lucifer and is then given the Mark of Cain so he can’t be killed, Faustus Blackwood decides to unleash the Eldritch Terrors — gods so ancient they haven’t been seen in thousands of years—to end the world. This is ostensibly a power play spurred by Blackwood’s anger at the Spellmans (particularly Sabrina), though he also seems to think he will somehow be spared when the Eldritch Terrors destroy everything.
Blackwood unleashes eight inhuman, immortal entities: The Darkness, The Uninvited, The Weird, The Perverse, The Cosmic, The Returned, The Endless, and The Void. They are unkillable and will destroy every realm, not just this one. At first, Sabrina and her loved ones are able to beat back the Eldritch Horrors, even when Blackwood uses the Perverse to become Emperor of Greendale and rewrite reality. However, stopping the most powerful Horror — The Void — requires a powerful witch or warlock to sacrifice themself to contain the Void’s power and make the Eldritch Horrors become dormant once more.
Sabrina Morningstar is sent to another Earth
The Cosmic is the first Eldritch Horror not to manifest in Greendale itself. Instead, it begins to condense the realms — Hell, Earth, and Heaven — until they bleed together, which will ultimately lead to mass chaos. An angel, Metatron, arrives in Greendale when this begins to happen and tells the coven that it’s occurring because there are two Sabrinas. The continued existence of both Spellman and Morningstar has created a parallel cosmos, which is being pulled toward Earth. To stop the inevitable collision and The Cosmic, one of the Sabrinas must be sent to an alternate Earth.
Spellman and Morningstar both have lives here on Earth, so they decide that the fairest way to determine who stays and who goes is to play "Rock, Paper, Scissors." Morningstar loses, so she’s sent away. On the alternate Earth, she’s an actor playing herself in a sitcom version of her life, surrounded by her family and friends who are also playing versions of themselves in the TV show. However, it isn’t quite that simple: The Endless, in the form of an animatronic Salem, has turned this realm into a never-ending sitcom for its own amusement. Like the other Eldritch Terrors, The Endless is working for The Void. When Morningstar realizes this, she returns to the main Earth to warn Spellman, then dies seemingly from a combination of injuries and the trip through realms.
Lilith banishes Lucifer
In a last-ditch effort to keep Lucifer from murdering her, Lilith convinces Faustus Blackwood to sleep with her while he is Lucifer’s vessel, so she will become pregnant with Lucifer’s child. This is when she helps Blackwood get the Mark of Cain, which prevents him from being killed. Lilith intends to use her child as a means of becoming Queen of Hell; once he comes of age and can kill Lucifer to claim the throne, she will be Queen Mother. When Lucifer attempts to take Adam from her, she kills the boy and makes a meal of him, then tries a new plan.
Lilith’s final act in the "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" series finale is to stab Lucifer, drink his celestial blood, and then banish him to wander the mortal world so she can rule Hell in peace.
The coven tries to stop the Eldritch Terrors
Throughout "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Season 4, the coven works with hedge witches to try to stop the Eldritch Terrors. When they learn about The Void from Sabrina Morningstar, they quickly realize they are out of their depths. Sabrina Spellman tries to solve the problem herself by trapping The Void in Pandora’s Box, which will also require her to sacrifice herself. Her family isn’t willing to let her go, however, so they summon her spirit back to Sabrina Morningstar’s body, which creates a war between Hell and Earth once Lucifer finds out Morningstar’s body now contains Spellman’s soul. Spellman realizes she’s taken part of the Void into herself when she starts disappearing objects, then does the same to Caliban and Harvey’s father. She fears hurting her loved ones, so she flees to the Mountains of Madness, where Faustus Blackwood claims he can "train" her to contain The Void.
Of course, Blackwood has ulterior motives. He aims to find the rest of The Void that isn’t inside Sabrina, bring the whole entity together, rip it from her body and claim its power for himself. Sabrina’s friends eventually find her and attempt to save her from Blackwood and The Void. Unfortunately, returning the people Sabrina accidentally disappeared requires her aunt Zelda to cut Sabrina open and drain The Void from her body. This opens a gateway, allowing Ambrose and Harvey to put the Eldritch Terrors they trapped earlier inside The Void and retrieve the people inside. Once everyone has been returned from The Void, Nick once again uses Pandora’s Box to trap The Void forever — but Sabrina doesn’t survive the process, and her family mourns both her and Sabrina Morningstar back in Greendale.
"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" ends with Sabrina and Nick in the Sweet Hereafter, which is a much friendlier seeming version of the afterlife than any that have been shown in the series before.