Charmed (2018): Other Women

“Maybe love is just something we have to sacrifice.”

The crux of ‘Other Women’ is a powerful one; a twist that tears down a pre-conceived relationship that’s been crucial to the life of one of the sisters, and throwing the show into a darker and more interesting direction. The change to the status quo feels like it’s come at the right time, though the execution of said change was a tad silly.

Niko’s been a constant presence since the pilot. Unlike Trip who barely had a chance to get his hands dirty, Mel’s girlfriend has been heavily involved in the lives of the sisters. We know that she’s a very competent detective (truth spell mishap in episode two aside); she cares a lot about Mel; and she fights for what she believes in. Her sudden removal from Mel’s life stings and the script doesn’t shy away from the powerful ramifications of something so big.

The hour starts off with Mel’s desperate attempts to quell Niko’s disbelief over Trip’s apparent suicide, to no avail. Naturally Niko ends up pursuing her suspicions, which leads to a nearly fatal encounter with a demonic assassin; a shapeshifter whose father is a benefactor of the University lab where Macy works. Through a series of events, Mel comes to the conclusion that she needs to undo history so that she never met Niko. It’s an extreme reaction, but that’s something the script addresses. She gets support from Harry, her sisters and, most surprisingly, the Elders.

Before we know it, Mel is caught in a tearful goodbye with her frozen lover, while a montage of their memories plays out around them. This is one of the elements of the spell that didn’t work, tarnishing the emotional resonance of what was happening by trying and failing to make an already powerful scene flashier. On the plus side, the spell did wonders from a character perspective, even if it looked a little silly. I’m still not sold on Melonie Diaz as a performer, but I’m finally starting to like Mel, and her decision to protect Niko was one of the smarter ones she’s made since she became a witch, though that may not be saying much given her current track record.

Ironically, just as I’m starting to like the middle sister, the remaining two are starting to bug. There were a few little references to the “demonization” of other women, but self aware dialogue doesn’t make the boy-crazed side antics of the hour any less demoralizing. Maggie is better than this Parker melodrama, and Macy is sure as hell better than charging head first at her crush’s new girlfriend and accusing her of being otherworldly with very little evidence. It’s disheartening to see the girls act so single minded, though they do come to their senses by episode’s end; Maggie confesses to Lucy, and Macy apologizes to Galvin, though the latter is mostly a ruse to get a sample of a magical mark Macy spotted on Galvin’s side.

Plus

The aforementioned shapeshifting father and son duo are the first major demonic presence of the show. The latter is typical CW casting, and the former is played by Reign’s Craig Parker, who loses approximately 65% of his appeal with his feigned American accent.

Macy’s suspicions went from legitimate to crazy way too quickly, but however misplaced they were, there is clearly something up with Galvin. Perhaps his proximity to Alastair Duncan is something to note in the quest to find out what that magical mark on his body is?

Maggie told Lucy about kissing Parker, something I’m glad she got off her chest sooner rather than later, but I want this plot to end now. It was tired before it even started.

Harry doesn’t remember anything of his human life before he became a whilelighter, just that it was an act of bravery that convinced the Elders to offer him a new life.

Mel discovered that the spell she cast to alter history meant that she never interviewed for her job at Hilltowne University, since Niko was the one who woke her up that day. I’m curious to see what other consequences the spell had.

He Said, She Said

Mel: “I will always love you, Niko, and maybe some part of you will always be able to feel that. That's what I'll tell myself, anyway.”

Maggie: “I've been telling myself that kiss was an accident, but I could have distracted Parker some other way. You know, on some level, I wanted to kiss him. Lucy's demonizing Parker, but I'm the real bad guy.”

Lucy: “Don't you dare play the sisterhood card with me.”

I feel like my reviews of this show are changing angles a bit more than I would like, but that’s more of a symptom of a show that’s still struggling to strike a balance that works best. The glimpses of what does work are working for now, but sooner or later the training wheels will need to come off, and the “new show” excuse will stop working. This episode had those glimpses in spades, but I was rolling my eyes more that I should have. At least the consequences of the history spell will give the series a few ripples to explore going forward.

5 out of 10 history altering spells

Originally posted at PandaTV.

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