Prue Halliwell – Shannon Doherty
Piper Halliwell – Holly Marie Combs
Phoebe Halliwell – Alyssa Milano
Leo Wyatt – Brian Krause
Andy Trudeau – Ted King
OTHER CHARMED SEASONS
OTHER WITCH SHOWS
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Something Wicca This Way Comes
In a major storm someone is killing off witches. The Halliwell sisters, reunited when wayward Phoebe comes home from New York, discover that they come from a long line of witches and have inherited the Power of Three, which makes them a perfect next target.
This is an origin story, a how the girls got their powers story, and so there is a lot to fit in, too much to make for a truly effective opening episode. It really needed the extended space that a feature length pilot might have afforded it. There is the less than perfect relationship between the sisters to set up, Prue losing her job, Prue finding a new love interest, Piper losing her love interest and getting a new job and them all discovering their powers and that's all before we get to the witch killer. That storyline is given the least amount of time, feeling rushed and almost crowbarred in to give some sort of threat that wasn't really necessary.
The sisters are somewhat obviously sketched (the responsible one, the flaky one, the peacemaker), but it's early days yet and that will surely change. We hope it will change. The actresses are perfectly fine in the role, though there seems to be far too many teeth on display at times. The special effects are a bit ropy in the end showdown and it is to be hoped that will improve, but the sequence in which Phoebe finds the attic door opening all by itself is pretty spooky.Top
I've Got You Under My Skin
Whilst Prue comes to terms with having old time ex Andy back in her life, Phoebe tries a little makeout play and lands a top photographer who really wants to take her picture. Except that he's really a youth-sucking demon out to take her life energy and leave her as an old woman to restore himself.
This is a fairly straightforward tale that passes the time, but really doesn't come up with that much in the way of invention. I mean the creature is defeated by using a mirror to reflect the magic? That's surely an idea that's never been used before (note the use of irony here).
There is some fun to be had from the continuingly spiky relationship between the sisters, but things need to get better if CHARMED is to retain any interest.Top
Thank You For Not Morphing
The Halliwell sisters are somewhat shocked when their absent father returns to their lives. Prue goes one further and is absolutely irate. This is, after all, the man who abandoned her and her sisters when they needed him most. Matters are not helped when it becomes clear that he has returned to get the Book of Shadows.
The third episode is a bit early to be getting into the daddy and abandonment issues of the family since we're hardly comfortable with the sisters yet. Still, this deals with exactly those issues, but in an annoyingly superficial manner. Prue has been mad at their father for so long and yet one declaration that it's alright to kill him to save everyone and it's all smiles again? Life is rarely that simple, if simple can be applied to being under siege from shape-shifters.Top
Dead Man Dating
Phoebe finds a job as a psychic, but when a real vision tells her a man is about to die she finds it really hard to convince him. Prue has to deal with the fact that cop Andy has an ex-wife and Piper finds herself falling in love with a man who was murdered several hours before.
Matters of the heart are dealt with in this episode and the Piper story, with the witch helping a man stay out of hell and falling for him at the same time is the more interesting one, almost moving at the end. By comparison, Phoebe's comedy of errors and Prue's love spats are unfunny and dull.Top
A man confined to a wheelchair takes his frustration out on the women who reject him by entering their dreams and killing them. His latest target is Prue.
Not exactly a new idea, but there is just about enough in the execution of the dream sequences for it to get by on. The ease with which the previously terrified Prue deals with the man, though, is somewhat brusque.Top
The Wedding From Hell
Piper is catering a huge society wedding, but it becomes clear that things are not well with the groom's family and the death of a priest suggests that the bride is some sort of demon.
The plot isn't exactly going to strain anyone's brain, but events play out in a fairly diverting fashion. The bachelorette pizza delivery stripper becoming the pre-wedding meal is fun though.Top
The Fourth Sister
Aviva is a young and misguided girl who believes that the fairy she has conjured up in the mirror is on her side and is working to make the Halliwell sisters open their arms to her. The truth is that the mirror demon wants the Halliwells' powers for her own.
A poor, misunderstood goth girl is just the kind of character to appeal to the young ladies watching CHARMED and this one is rude and obnoxious, but still expects to be given our sympathy because her mother is in rehab. Of course, it all works out for the best, all sins are forgiven and for once the fashion in which the unimpressively fire-spitting demon is dealt with is satisfying.Top
The Truth Is Out There...And It Hurts
A warlock from the future has come back in time to kill those involved in creating a 'cure' for him. Prue, meanwhile, has used a truth spell on everyone in the house so that any question they ask will get an honest answer, including questions they are asked themselves.
For once the warlock from the future is an interesting and reasonably creepy bad guy, but the main focus of this episode is on the truth spell and the consequences of using it for everyone involved. Prue doesn't get the answer she wanted from Andy when she reveals the truth about her and her sisters, but everyone's memory is wiped clean after 24 hours.Top
The Witch Is Back
A powerful warlock is released by Prue from a locket and he immediately steals her telekinesis power. He was trapped in the locket by a distant ancestor of the Halliwell sisters and they must bring her to the present to teach them how to trap him again.
At last there is a villain that is strong enough to actually challenge the sisters and that makes for a more interesting episode. Bringing characters into the modern world also allows for some fish out of water moments that are quite fun, but it still remains rather too lightweight.Top
Prue's boss makes his move to steal the Halliwell's powers by using his skill of astral projection to give subliminal instructions that make Prue steal a valuable tiara and then makes Andy throw her in a cell for it.
There are moments in this story that don't make a lot of sense such as when the boss threatens the sisters with a polaroid and Piper doesn't freeze time and take it off him. The revelation that the handyman who Piper has taken up with is something more than he appears doesn't come as a suprise, but provides a deus ex machina solution to the problems before he is promptly shunted off to one side.Top
Feats Of Clay
Phoebe's ex-boyfriend Clay comes to make a call, but it isn't to make up with her. He has an ancient urn from Egypt that he has stolen and that comes with a deadly curse.
This episode suffers in that the urn that is so valuable actually looks a bit of old tat and the story deals more with Phoebe's prior relationship with the man than it does with the supernatural stuff. It's also true that detective Andy would have wrung the truth out of Prue by now since she keeps turning up in murder cases all the time.Top
Piper is attacked by a beast that she identifies as a Wendigo, a creature that survives by eating the hearts of people. These people are either in love or AB negative blood type depending on what you believe, but since she is turning into one because of her injuries, she just wants the thing dead.
More of the troubled relationship between Prue and Andy and it's all getting a bit tiresomely repetitive. Piper's turning into one of the creatures herself is more interesting and some of the best work that Holly Marie Combs has done on the show so far.Top
From Fear To Eternity
Every 1300 years on Friday the 13th, a demon is released that must destroy 13 unmarried witches in 24 hours in order to remain at liberty. He uses their greatest fear against them, causing them to die in terror and the Halliwells are his next target.
Prue's near drowning in the shower is the highlight of this episode that comes up with a good demon as a villain, but then makes him far too easy to destroy. If one witch can confront and overcome the fear that he brings them then he is sent straight back to hell.
The secondary story about Prue's coming to terms with her mother's death and learning to say 'I Love You' is close to vomit-inducing in its oversweetened excess.Top
Secrets and Guys
Whilst Prue helps one man, Phoebe learns that handyman Leo is really a guardian angel sent to watch over good witches, leading him to break up with Piper.
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Is There A Woogy In The House?
A tremor opens up a crack in the floor of the basement, allowing a shadow demon to leak out into the house. It takes over Phoebe on the night that Piper is cooking dinner for an important client of Prue's.
It takes an inordinate amount of time for Prue and Piper to figure out what is going on when it is fairly obvious from early on. This has the effect of making them look stupid. Then there is the fact that the solution lies in a rhyme that they were told by their grandmother, but which they can no longer remember, until just in time, of course.
Phoebe's released 'dark side' turns out to be nothing more than speaking her mind and wearing more makeup. She is also incredibly inept at killing her sisters when the opportunity arises. Alyssa Milano doesn't get a lot to work with in creating the new persona and doesn't do a lot to distinguish between the two.Top
Which Prue Is It Anyway?
Prue is targeted by a man with a glass sword that can take the powers of the person it kills and pass them on to the owner. He has targeted Prue, so she says an incantation that will increase her power by three. Instead of tripling her power, it creates two doubles each with the same amount of power, but wildly different personalities.
Only one week after an alternative Phoebe we get two alternative Prues. At least this time they prove to be markedly different, though that is mainly acheived by Shannon Doherty grinning inanely and mussing up her hair. The villain is a total waste of space, though his ruthlessness in turning the tables on one of the doubles is welcome against all the cuddliness. The action, such that it is, is pretty rubbish.
The episode, though, is given a little edge by Prue having to feel the 'deaths' of her two copies, something that is a bit darker than the show is used to presenting.Top
That 70s Episode
The Halliwells are visited by a warlock who has come to claim the powers that were granted to him by their mother. They manage to hold him off long enough to cast a spell that kicks them back in time to 1975 where they can try to undo what their mother did, or rather is going to do. They are without their powers, however, and how can they possibly convince their mother, who does not even know that she is pregnant with Phoebe, who they are?
The warlock taking their powers storyline here is merely a framework for the show's real purpose of taking the girls back to see their dead mother and grandmother one last time. This is particularly significant in the case of Phoebe who has no memories of her at all. That emotional underpinning, well played by the three lead actresses, makes up for the fact that the rest of the episode is pants. The ease with which they deal with the warlock's ring is utterly unbelievable and the finale doesn't make a lot of sense since the ring is never unblessed.Top
When Bad Warlocks Go Good
Following one of Phoebe's premonitions, Prue goes to the aid of a man about to become a priest. He is one of three warlocks, as born into his powers as the girls are, but he doesn't want to be evil, and being ordained is the best way of avoiding that. His brothers, though, will stop at nothing and the three of them together will be more powerful than even the Charmed Ones.
Considering that the two truly evil warlocks are on a timescale here, they go about getting their brother back in the fold with a confusing lack of urgency. As a result, there is little real threat and no real tension until it all finally ends.Top
Out Of Sight
The son of a friend of the family is kidnapped by some blue-skinned bald demons who steal his sight so that they can track down people with powerful auras and then kill them. Prue is seen trying to save the boy by a reporter who then dogs her steps trying to prove what he saw for his story, giving the game away to Andy in the process.
The story here is designed purely to finally put poor Andy out of his misery and let him into Prue's secret. The two boys being kidnapped and the blind man who helps track them down is merely dressing to get us to that point. Where it takes us from here we shall have to wait to see.
It's surprising how callously the show, and everyone in it, treats the death of the reporter, however unlikeable he was.Top
The Power Of Two
Piper jets off to a conference in Hawaii, leaving Prue and Phoebe together alone for the first extended length of time. They have a difference of opinion, of course, but that has to be put on hold when the spirit of a dead Alcatraz prisoner sets about killing off those who saw him executed. The only way to get rid of an angry ghost is to battle him on his own astral plane, which means one of the two sisters is going to have to die.
The vengeful spirit story is dull and unconvincing, although it does introduce a female demon in the shape of Brenda Bakke who looks like she might become a recurring character, though with only two episodes of the season left to go she's more likely to be the big finale.
On a personal level, Andy finally comes to terms with Prue's nature which leads to a decision that isn't the one she might have hoped for, though she doesn't look too cut up about it either.Top
Leo comes back into Piper's life, but with a poisoned arrow through his chest. Piper learns that he is a whitelighter, sent to look after good people, including good witches. A darklighter, who is the opposite, has fallen in love with a woman under Leo's protection, but with Leo dying the task of saving her falls to the three sisters.
We're racing in towards the finale and plot threads are being tied up. As well as the demon of the week we have a conclusion, of sorts, to the Piper/Leo love story and Detective Andy has come under the scrutiny of Internal Affairs, but there is more to them than meets the eye. That's a lot going on and since the girls have all switched powers in a bid to save Leo it all feels a bit rushed to get everything in.
This, though, is all about Holly Marie Combs as Piper. She has to suffer for Leo and then watch him die and it is the best work that she has done on the show, proving herself as an actress in a way that the show hasn't required of her to this point.Top
Deja Vu All Over Again
Rodriguez from Internal Affairs is really a demon out to kill the Halliwells and he is going to get several shots at it since a being capable of turning back time is going to keep returning him to the beginning of the same day until he gets it right.
It's season finale time and big hitter David Carradine is hauled in as the guest star, though he has little to do in reality. The plot is, of course, CHARMED does GROUNDHOG DAY, but it works well enough as Phoebe's power of premonition means that she can remember some of what is going to happen each time the day repeats. There are enough interesting changes to each running of the day to stop it from getting too stale.
And this being the end of the season, there has to be something big to sign off on. That something big comes from the relationship between Andy and Prue. That's one dynamic that won't be going into any second season.Top
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