In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the perky teen witch from the Archie comics has to face a wild array of challenges, from a misogynist school principal to a scheming mentor, family pressures, magic mean girls, and Satan himself. But Sabrina’s path—to dark or light—would be so much easier if she did one simple thing: dump the dink, Harvey Kinkle.
First love can be a blinding thing. Intoxication overwhelms your senses. You experience lust and think its romantic fate divine. So, it’s understandable that Sabrina has fallen so hard for Harvey. He’s been a major motivation for her throughout season one. Her desire not to leave him behind in her mortal life was a big part of why she wouldn’t sign Satan’s book on her 16th birthday. His tangling with a demon was why she broke a slew of rules to perform the first witch exorcism. His grief over his brother is what led to her casting spells way about her grade level and flat-out murdering a witch. But girl, enough is enough.
Harvey is deeply dumb. From the first moments of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina we learn Harvey’s not as sharp as his grinning girlfriend when she and her friends dive into the subtext of George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead, and he responds with a big wet huh?! But the hits keep coming. Here are just a few of Harvey’s responses to conversations with Sabrina and her friends.
Ros: You mean a club to topple the white patriarchy?
Harvey: Wait, what?
Sabrina: I’m leaving my girlhood behind.
Harvey: In the woods? Is that a metaphor?
Susie: The Fly is about body dismorphia.
Harvey: Isn’t it about a guy who changes into a giant fly?
Ambrose: If I’m risking banishment to the hellish nether realm it’s going to be for something better than a high school masquerade.
Harvey: Nether realm?
Sabrina: I gave him a sleep potion.
Harvey: What do you mean ‘potion’?
For most of the first season, Harvey is so stupid, it’s facepalm worthy. But after the mystical truths of Greendale start creeping out, we see a bit of a change in Harvey. He realizes the creature he saw in the mines all those years ago was a demon. He realizes there is more to this world than meets the eye. And he even confesses to Sabrina, “I thought maybe I was too stupid to understand.” But the problem isn’t JUST that Harvey is stupid. (Which again. He is.) But that he’s selfish.
When Sabrina turns his dead brother into a revenant, she defends this dastardly decision by insisting he’d do the same for her. As dumb as Harvey is, I doubt he would! He doesn’t seem to make decisions based on much more than what he wants. On her birthday, Sabrina lays down firmly it’s a family affair. But he keeps pushing, just as he pushes his way into the bedroom of Susie’s uncle, exposing them all directly to the demon’s influence. But most infuriating is when Sabrina first trusted him with her secret, that she is a half-witch. She bravely tells him about her family and upcoming dark baptism and what’s his response? “Are you saying all this because you don’t want to be with me?”
Harvey Kinkle is the kind of crush a lot of us fall for in our youth. He’s cute, simple and seemingly sweet. But Harvey is not as nice as he seems. Sure, Sabrina trusts him enough to look over her naked body for a witch’s mark, and he doesn’t use that as an opportunity to push her into anything sexual. That’s a decent thing to do. But when she bared her soul to him, his response was to make it all about him. So Sabrina erased the memory because he couldn’t cope. And when she told him again later, he rejected her once more. Harvey is not a good boyfriend. He is not a dreamboat. He is just better than the other Greendale options, who seem to be a batch of bullying football players with deeply ingrained homophobia and transphobia. But next to those cretins even Stranger Things’ Jonathan Byers seems like a catch.
But there’s a suggested alternative beau for Sabrina, and that’s dashing Academy of Unseen Arts student Nicholas Scratch. He’s half-heartedly set up as the third side to a love triangle that never quite takes shape in season one. (Though Harvey sparks with jealousy over Nick after he broke up with Sabrina!) But Nick is presented as a perhaps more appropriate partner for a growing witch. Not only can Nick handle any of the magical mayhem Sabrina’s dealing with, but he’s also a help! He snuck her one of her father’s forbidden journals to help with that pesky puzzle box. He helped her with her spells and pegged down the Weird Sisters when her plans went awry. Plus he’s sexy! But there’s a catch. He’s probably deceiving her. My suspicion is he’s another of Satan’s operatives working to lure Sabrina to the Dark Lord’s side with all the seduction of a brainy bad boy.
But that’s a story for season two.
Header Image Source: Netflix