Charmed (2018): Exorcise Your Demons

“There's a woman that needs our help and you want me to kill her?”

While still suffering from generally flat performances, ‘Exorcise Your Demons’ was the first episode of Charmed 2.0 to really encapsulate what this version is all about. The all-out feminism was reined in and felt more subtle and assured, the characters acted in ways that were organic and appropriate, and the tone of the hour was one of confidence. In the wake of the general misfires of the last couple of weeks, it’s exciting to see the series get it mostly right for a change.

With Angela Wu’s body still taken over by the Harbinger (or “Harby”, as Maggie so affectionately nick-named it), the girls struggle with the possibility of killing a human being when tasked with the destruction of the Harbinger by a member of the Elders Council, Charity. I liked the introduction of an older female role model for the sisters. With Marisol out of the picture there’s a massive gap in their lives for someone like this, and Charity certainly fits the bill. Not only is she an experienced witch, she’s also a businesswomen who uses microloans to help disadvantaged women. Little tidbits like this are a great example of the show engraining a feminist agenda into the script without having to berate the audience with as many real world references as possible. We don’t need “me too” posters to understand what the show is trying to accomplish.

While she was a character that ends up becoming more open that she first appears to be, Charity initially represents the hierarchy in this instance, with the sisters playing the role of the martyrs, doing their utmost to save Angela’s soul. By tackling bigger questions than we’ve seen on this show before, this episode immediately feels more necessary that the screaming fests of the last couple of weeks. We also see what makes these girls so special; they’re not just concerned about stopping evil, they want to save the innocent first and foremost. I love that Marisol knew this, and left a spell only they could use to save Angela’s soul. The girls succeed in saving Angela and removing the Harbinger, but end up losing another innocent in the process; Niko’s partner, Trip.

Though I admire the show for going to a dark place so early on, this part of the hour fell completely flat. We never knew much about Trip, and his suspicions didn’t really get much time to develop. We’ve seen Niko and her partner show up a few times since the pilot, but there’s never been any sense that either of them suspected anything was seriously amiss in the Vera household. Trip's death so soon after his investigations amped up feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. But maybe the whole point of this is to get Niko to go harder on her own investigations. Charity framed Trip for the Halloween murders and staged his suicide to throw suspicions off the sisters, something I’m sure the young detective will not accept at face value.

Plus

Marisol was a member of the Elder’s council, alongside Charity. I really like this change to the original, which went for the more clich├ęd angels in the clouds thing.

Marisol’s power was “prophecy”.

Charity cast a spell on Marisol when they were young witches to remove the pain Marisol was feeling over a tremendous loss, which Macy now believes to be the reason why her late mother never came looking for her.

There was definitely some untold history between Harry and Charity. I’d like to see more of them together.

A mysterious man played by Craig Parker uses some sort of mind control on Charity to steal the Harbinger after the girls expel it from Angela. I really enjoyed Parker’s performance in Reign, which was the perfect blend of callous and sarcastic. I hope he has the same appeal in this role.

Maggie kissed Parker to distract him from the Harbinger chained to the sorority float. I really don’t like this plot but I don’t think it’s going to be finishing up any time soon.

He Said, She Said

Macy: “You heard witch-Olivia Pope; there’s no Angela left.”

Charity: “Years ago, when we were young witches just starting out, she asked me to place a spell on her. She wouldn't tell me what it was about, just that she couldn't perform it on herself. The spell was... brutal. It extracted all of her pain and anguish over some tragic loss, so she could go on living. I never knew what that loss was... until now.”

Charity: “You're an impressive witch, but you don't know what you don't know. Let me be a source of wisdom for you. That's what we Elders are here to help do.”

The series still feels like Charmed light, though material of substance is finally starting to grow under the surface. This episode accomplished more than previous episodes have in terms of delivering an episode that was full of genuine suspense and important choices for the sisters. If the writers can flesh out the more drab elements of the series in the same way, it would solve a lot of Charmed 2.0’s problems.

6 out of 10 paint cans.

Also posted at PandaTV.

1 comment:

TJ said...

This show so far feels a bit like 'The Librarians'. The British-butler-ish sidekick is the same.

But this ep gives me hope. Craig Parker!! Oh my, this show really needs him. I luurrved him in LotS as Darken Rahl. For all I care he could be the new Cole! Please! Let him be the new Cole!!