Cousin Ambrose is the most compelling part of Netflix’s ‘Sabrina’
The best boy. Sweetest boy. Oldest boy. Just lovely.
The best boy. Sweetest boy. Oldest boy. Just lovely.

Image: Diyah Pera/Netflix

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is commonly abbreviated to CAOS for brevity, but if the world were perfect and CAOS were a show that revolved solely around its most interesting character, that acronym could easily stand for something else. 

Cousin Ambrose, Occasionally Sabrina. 

Cousin Ambrose is by far the breakout character of The Chilling Adventures. Pulled from the rebooted comics on which the show is based, Ambrose is Sabrina’s warlock cousin who is on house arrest for committing a crime in the eyes of the magical community. Though he has the appearance of a teenager, he is over a hundred years old. 

His age and experience, which is explored in later episodes, make Ambrose a living mystery in the context of the show. It takes a few episodes to even learn what his crime was (attempting to blow up the Vatican, apparently) and even more to find out the details of what his life was like before. 

The slow unraveling of his backstory offers an extra layer of intrigue to the ordinary A-plots of The Chilling Adventures, and every time he shows up on screen the audience learns something new and fascinating about him. Ambrose went to Oxford. He’s a poet. He was friends with Harry Houdini and joined up with a gang of extremist warlocks led by Aleister Crowley. 

That kind of history is prime spinoff potential, or at least capsule episode potential.

But Ambrose wouldn’t be as compelling if he didn’t have something else going on. Sure, he’s an incarcerated badass who knows a lot about raising the dead, but he’s also a young (for a warlock), pansexual dude who longs for freedom over everything else. His profound loneliness drives him through almost every decision he makes in Season 1, be that to try and find love in a fellow warlock or to join up with Father Blackwood’s boy-squad of potentially malignant wizards in the finale. 

That kind of history is prime spinoff potential, or at least capsule episode potential.

In episode 8, Ambrose has a defining moment that speaks volumes of his character. He is faced, as many characters in The Chilling Adventures are, given a choice: give up the names of the other men who attempted to bomb the Vatican and commute his sentence, or stay silent and continue his sentence in the Spellman house. 

In this choice, another of Ambrose’s salient traits comes through for him. He refuses to give up his friends…and is granted the commutation anyway. His loyalty, and the people he chooses to give it to, may very well prove to be a defining factor in any upcoming seasons of the show and can have disastrous (or beneficial!) effects on any of the show’s newly warring magical factions. 

Of course Cousin Ambrose would only be words on paper without the actor inhabiting his fascinating character. Relative newcomer Chance Perdomo plays the housebound warlock with all of the grandeur a centuries-old practitioner of magic should muster, while never underselling the loneliness of his imprisonment. 

Perdomo’s performance makes Ambrose a tragic figure who is also an object of envy — a difficult balance that gives him the opportunity to stunt on almost every other young actor on the show. No shade to the rest of the cast, but Perdomo’s campy, wounded characterization gives him much more to work with than many of the other roles. 

So if there’s anything The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina could afford to do next season, it would be to give the world what it wants. More Ambrose! Give him a bottle episode, maybe a couple fun flashbacks, and a big role to play in the upcoming conflict. He’ll bring his all and the audience will benefit massively from it. 

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