Charmed: You're Dead to Me

“I can’t escape my darkness.”

This was a satisfying episode on a number of levels. Past storylines that had mostly fallen flat were given more meaning and purpose; a major mystery was undone, which threw a lot of momentum behind another one; and the magical hijinks in the Vera home felt very reminiscent of the OG’s fun showdowns at Halliwell manor back in the day. In short, I really liked it.

This week’s A-plot follows directly on from the discovery of Macy’s resurrection as a child at the close of ‘Witch Perfect.’ A campy flashback opens the hour, revealing Marisol’s deal with a Necromancer to bring her first born back from the dead, despite Macy’s father’s pleas. The true extent of the deal itself is kept shrouded for most of the episode, but the fun build up to the full truth makes the slow reveal worth the wait.

The Necromancer responsible for bringing Macy back is a key player in the episode. Despite a more evil and conventional appearance (by demonic standards) in the past, Knancie (yup, with a K) has taken up a run of the mill job to pay her bills and fit into the modern world (and to stay hidden, which is something we figure out later on). Guest star Mackenzie Marsh brings bundles of fun to the episode, infusing Knancie with a real sense of self, something that helps to fill the gaps in Macy’s lapse in judgement – it’s obvious from the get-go that Knancie was holding something back – and Knancie’s confusing messages about not trusting those in power.

After a jilted witch named Cyd hunts Knancie down to punish her for bringing her husband back wrong and takes Maggie hostage to get her revenge, Macy and Knancie turn to Parker to help them save the youngest Vera. After a clumsy attempt to stop Cyd, Parker’s half-demon nature reveals the truth behind Knancie’s resurrection abilities; she uses demon blood to do it. Not only does this mean that Cyd wasn’t completely wrong about Knancie, it also means that Macy’s darkness comes from a very real place and there’s a chance she could go off the deep end – like that poor mouse that was used to summon Knancie in the first place.

Struggling with a demon side is something Parker is all too familiar with, and now his mother’s attempts to cure him will be very dependent on her ability to do the same for Macy. I really liked the eldest Charmed One taking the lead and using her pretty awful situation to her advantage by demanding Julia’s help. I also like how these two plots have come together in a very believable way. It’s really helped to get this slightly banal Caine family drama off the ground.

Mel wasn’t a part of the quest to help Knancie, but she had a very valid reason; she was stranded thousands of miles away in Manchester thanks to Harry’s malfunctioning powers. His decision to quit his job as the Charmed Ones’ whitelighter was a little unexpected, but it’s given a lot more significance this week, and makes sense from Harry’s perspective; he can’t keep the sisters safe if he’s distracted by his past.

Though Mel helps him to track down his son Carter, who appears to be living a very happy life, Harry decides not to speak to him. But just knowing that he was safe was enough to satisfy Harry. The same can be said for Mel, who is temporarily sucked into helping Niko just to be close to her again. After spending time with Harry she comes to realise that she’s better off keeping Niko at a distance to keep her safe. It’s a wonderful parallel to draw between Mel and Harry, who make a wonderful pairing despite my general dislike of Melonie Diaz.

Plus

We now know the reason why Marisol had to give Macy up; as part of the Necromancer’s deal she got to spend two years with her daughter, but could not lay eyes on her after that or else Macy would die. A pretty big consequence, but I guess it was better than Macy not living at all.

It’s a shame Knancie bit the dust. I could have gotten used to her maybe folding in and out of the series.

Lucy’s recurring presence is suddenly a whole lot more important than just a link to Maggie’s sorority dreams. We find out in the episode’s final scene that she’s being mesmerised by Alastair into helping him enact his evil plans. How long has this been going on? That final line was hilarious either way. “Okay, betches, who took my zit cream?!”

He Said, She Said

Harry: “Carter's okay, and he seems happy. And now I know I'm a great- grandfather, so there's that. And that's enough. It has to be.”

Finally, an episode that was almost universally solid. It had flaws in some of its overall themes for sure, especially with regards to the anti-leadership message it was sending with Knancie, but it really worked in spite of all that. And I am very excited to see where the series goes from here.

8 out of 10 demonic rodents

Originally posted at PandaTV.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It’s really quite frustrating that the show remains clunky on many levels despite being over half a season in. The potential is there — and this episode was actually better than most of the episodes so far — but I really wish the writers would just step back and let the plotlines breathe and grow more organically. The show is going too fast, burning through so much story that almost none of the emotional beats have time to sink in. As a consequence, the story (and most of the characters) feel shallow and flat. It’s too late to improve anything this season, I think, but I hope the writers change their approach in the next one because despite all of the show’s problems, I actually really like this reboot.

And speaking of things I like, I think the standout character so far (imo) is Harry. He’s consistently funny and provides a lot of the familial warmth that is, at times, missing from the sisters themselves. Rupert Evans is wonderful in this role, far better in the first fourteen episodes so far than Brian Krause as Leo ever was in the OG show. I say this as someone who loved Leo, let’s be clear. Harry has distinct relationships with each of the Charmed Ones that feel real and lived-in (one of the few things that the warp-speed storytelling actually benefits). If there’s anything on this show that is dependably delightful, it’s the family dynamic that’s formed between the core four.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the Charmed Ones by themselves. There’s something missing from their interactions together, some sense of family that the show has neglected to build up. Often, as a trio, their sisterly bond feels forced and awkward. The only time the dynamic truly works is when either Mel or Macy are paired up with Maggie. Sarah Jeffery has so much bubbly charm that it smooths over the more stilted acting from Madeleine Mantock and, especially, Melonie Diaz (although in her case it’s less stilted and more... Hayden-Christensen-as-Anakin-like, in which she’s not good but okay enough so long as she doesn’t have to deliver any lines). The writers must realize this as well because Macy and Mel have barely any scenes together by themselves and whenever they do, it becomes glaringly obvious that they have little to no chemistry together. I hope the show figures out how to make this dynamic work.

As far as future storylines go, the one I’m most interested in is Fiona. To me, she seems the most compellling thread with the most possible impact (to the story, to Harry and Charity, to Mel who is in with the Sarcana). The show has been surprisingly spare with development on that front which makes me, perhaps foolishly, optimistic about its execution.

Thanks for the coverage you’ve provided this show, by the way, whether you continue it or not. I’ve enjoyed catching up with your write-ups which are often insightful and fair.

Panda said...

Thanks so much for that comment. You raised some fantastic points, some of which I’ve discussed in the past, like Melonie Diaz being the weak link, and the Fiona sub plot shining brightest.

Agreed on Harry. I especially liked your comparison to Leo. Both characters have had their respective growing pains, but Evans has been far superior to Krause in this opening stretch. Let’s hope he gets more to do when the Fiona plot kicks off properly.

I will be continuing to review so please keep an eye out. Appreciate the interest!