Chilling Adventures of Sabrina viewers praise Theo's trans storyline in season 2
9 April 2019, 18:08 | Updated: 14 April 2019, 07:22
Susie comes out as a trans man in Sabrina season 2 and names himself Theo...
Ever since Chilling Adventures of Sabrina first aired, it's received acclaim from fans and critics alike for its LGBTQ+ representation. As well as featuring multiple characters on the queer spectrum, it also stars a trans character played by a non-binary actor. Susie (Lachlan Watson) is one of Sabrina's best friends and in season 1, they don't label their gender. In season 2, Susie comes out as a trans man and names himself Theo.
Who plays Theo in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?
At the end of season 1 of CAOS, Susie hasn't established any official language they identify with. The TV show is remarkable because it gives Susie the chance to discover themselves at their own pace. In season 2, Susie gradually begins to work out exactly how they identify. They start to use the boy's locker room, try out for the boy's basketball team and then they come out as Theo to their friends and reveal that they use male pronouns.
What's great about Sabrina is that even though Theo experiences bullying from his classmates, like so many trans people do in real life, he has such a strong support group of friends, who accept him for who he is. They aren't perfect (Harvey is a little confused initially) but they are loving and caring and immediately work to change their habits of calling Theo 'Susie' and not using male pronouns for him.
In a scene with Ros, Harvey says: "We just call her Theo now?" Ros then replies: "No, we call him Theo. Theo might look like a girl but he's not, he's a boy and that's how he's always been. He's just ready now to live as himself, as Theo". Harvey then answers: "Ok, Susie no more. Now Theo." This is important because Harvey isn't asking Theo insensitive questions. He's doing the work himself.
Theo later comes out to his Dad and, while his Dad struggles to come to terms with the news at first (he calls Theo his "best girl" and dismisses him initially), he comes round after Theo says: "I can't keep going on as a girl anymore". The scene is so necessary because it's real. It's not a squeaky clean coming out scene but it shows that Theo's Dad loves him and is still there for his son.
Theo also goes from being teased by most of his basketball teammates at the start of season 2 to being respected and liked by them by the end of it. His main bully, Billy Marlin, even apologises for his actions later in the season. In doing this, CAOS effortlessly shows how important and easy it is to support trans people and provides hope to LGBTQ+ viewers who are bullied.
Perhaps what's best about Theo is that he is played by a non-binary actor who brings their own experience to the role. Lachlan's story crosses over with Theo's. Speaking to Bustle, Lachlan said that they used to identify "fully and completely as a trans male" before realising they were non-binary. Taking this into consideration, it's easy to see why fans resonate with Theo.
Here are just a few of the reactions to Theo's season 2 storyline.
Theo coming out as a trans guy in the chilling adventures of Sabrina made my heart CRY of happiness 🥺🥺 pic.twitter.com/SuL4ZoooJO— oliver (@oliverx1999) April 8, 2019
"we just call her Theo now?"— yara (@xbasicunicorn) April 5, 2019
"no, we call him Theo. Theo might look like a girl but hes not, hes a boy and thats how hes always been, hes just ready now to live as himself, as Theo"
"okay suzy no more, now Theo,"
in👏🏻this👏🏻 house👏🏻 we👏🏻 stan👏🏻transgender 👏🏻representation👏🏻 #CAOS pic.twitter.com/P8hZwTHoWt
the chilling adventures of sabrina has a trans character called theo that's played by a trans actor! biggest uwu pic.twitter.com/r1as3VeqDu— ً (@kkutopia) April 5, 2019
I have to commend the producers of Chilling adventures of Sabrina for Lachlan Watson’s role as Susie/Theo. It’s not often I witness queer roles played by queer people. I can never get tired of this type of representation 😌 pic.twitter.com/6uiP1auD0J— mojo jojo (@Mojo_Jojita) April 5, 2019
This response proves how vital Theo is. In centring a trans character and giving Theo time for his story to naturally develop and grow, they've created a three-dimensional character who LGBTQ+ people can actually see themselves in. CAOS have also done some of the work behind the scenes; they've listened to Lachlan and let them edit the role to make Theo more real.
Talking to Bustle about Theo not identifying as trans straight away, Lachlan said: "I may have influenced the writers to hold off. I talk so much about myself and my identity as a non-binary person and I think they listened, and if anything it helped them understand that labels aren’t everything. Susie is on an ongoing queer journey, just like myself".
Shows like CAOS and Pose (which features multiple trans actors, directors, writers and producers) are finally providing on and off screen trans representation that has rarely existed in TV before. Here's hoping that other series follow their lead.