Monday, September 27, 2004

Charmed - Cheaper by the Coven 

What's going on? I actually enjoyed this episode. No eye-rolling, no seeing things coming 45 minutes in advance. Okay, mostly.

Of course, this might have something to do with my having watched it at 3:30 this morning when I finally gave up on getting back to sleep. Anything that would distract me from the "bing - I'm awake" sensation was welcome.

Paige has decided that Chris needs a wiccaning, but Piper is trying to minimize magic. Guess now that Paige is off the no magic wagon, Piper has decided to leap on. Phoebe as usual is caught in the middle. But she's really only there to exhibit the sexual side effects of whatever spell has gone awry, and she fulfilled her role quite well in last night's episode by doing some leaping of her own. But more on that later.

Grams gets conjured, Dad gets an invitation, Mom gets conjured. The gang's all here. Finola Hughes seemed a little off, like she lost some weight and some of her charm and charisma along with it. But no need to fear - Charisma Carpenter guest starred as The Seer, and brought plenty of both. Charm and charisma that is, not weight. Although she did bring some much needed acting weight to the show. Damn, she was good. She wasn't over the top, she wasn't hamming it up, she wasn't oozing evil or telegraphing her motivations. More Charisma Carpenter! And more John de Lancie!

Anyway, some masked demon is after Wyatt. Meanwhile, Wyatt is after attention.

The kids get whisked off to magic school with Paige, who is digging out from under bureaucratic paperwork. Leo goes demon hunting, which brings him to The Seer. She reveals through her pool in a cauldron that said demon either is or looks just like Leo. He freaks out and orbs off to check on the boys, who were napping. The Leo-Demon pops in, and they get into a lightning bolt match, during which time Grams pops in and gets a gander. She is now fully convinced that Leo's lost his moral compass and isn't to be trusted.

In the other story, Wyatt is all jealous of baby Chris getting all the attention, and is doing things like orbing away his pacifier, his blanket, or Chris himself. Now that was funny. Wyatt orbed him over to Grandpa's house and into his arms. Which was convenient, since he was heading over for the wiccaning anyway. Grams decides this is all just sibling rivalry, and casts a spell she used to use on the girls. Turns out she used lots of spells on the girls. Magic as grandmother's little helper. Good thing she's a witch and not a pharmacist, or the Charmed Ones would have been permanent residents of The Tenderloin by now. The spell removes The Rivalry from the boys (how was Chris exhibiting sibling rivalry? This looked like a simple case of one-way jealousy to me, but anyway), but unfortunately it then deposits itself in the nearest set of siblings, i.e. the Charmed Ones.

So what happened back in their youth? Everytime they had a spat, Grams would cast out their rivalry only to let it hit random siblings throughout the Bay Area? That's responsible.

For some reason The Rivalry didn't just bring out their intersibling squabbling, but also reverted them to generally childish behavior. They act like petulant 11 to 13-year-olds. I couldn't quite figure out the logic behind this plot device, but this was the only big hole this episode, so I'm okay with it.

Paige embarrasses herself by making out with a 21-year-old magic school student teacher, Phoebe embarrasses herself by attending a Reader's Choice Award ceremony and accepting an award for a column that Lesley wrote, then literally leaping into his arms after he rescues her from questions she can't answer. Leaps into his arms and fully wraps her arms and legs around his neck and torso, respectively. She tries to explain it away later, but Les isn't buying it. I don't recall Piper embarrassing herself, but she did enough of that in A Call to Arms.

Anyway, Mom and Dad give Grams the boot and say they'll fix their own children's problems, thank you very much. Even though neither of them were around much to get the parenting experience, and Paige isn't actually Victor's daughter, but that's okay. They're a family now. Nice.

Long story not so long: Mom casts a grammatically improper yet still effective reversal spell on the girls. Mom remembers Piper having night terrors when Dad left, and the Leo-Demon only shows up when Wyatt is asleep, so they figure out that Wyatt is blaming himself for driving Leo away, but at the same time is making it all Leo's fault, but because of his oh-so-fabulous powers his internal psychodrama is made manifest. Showdown at the site of Gideon's death match, and everything is hunky-dory. Wyatt got to act a little bit this episode.

All is right with the world, the Halliwell ghosts (except Prue, although her name was mentioned!) glow their way in, and we end with the wiccaning underway.

Oh, and a cameo appearance was made by P3, whose beer supplier is behind on delivery for the weekend rush, but Piper's got two cases of Red Bull on the bar and a handsome employee checking on why she's so calm. Yep, that was it. Perhaps next week there will be an exterior shot or something.

Next week: A Pirate Story. I do not have high hopes.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:58 AM