Charmed: Touched by a Demon

“I think this is where they cut to commercial.”

Last week the series suffered under the weight of clunky political commentary, with the humor of the story getting drained out by shoddy execution. In ‘Touched by a Demon’ the real world narration was infinitely more successful because it was implied, not shoved down our throats. As a result, the writers were able to let go and have fun, without constraining themselves by being overly ambitious.

One of OG Charmed’s best episodes was ‘Chick Flick,’ an hour that poked fun at the general silliness of the show’s premise, and the fantasy genre in general, when horror movies began to come to life around San Francisco. It was smart, hilarious and a whole lot of fun. This episode is the modern day version of that, and it hit exactly the right kind of tone this series has been struggling to get to for a while.

After Macy accidentally releases two misogynistic characters from her favorite 90’s TV show, the show wastes no time in making fun of the situation, and its own flaws at the same time. The one-liners came hard and fast, and most of them were genuinely side splitting; the digs at the constant exposition and cliché villains were particularly inspired. This was also one of the rare occasions that Charmed 2.0’s message of feminism in the modern day felt organic and genuine; a symptom of the girls facing two entitled men from a very different time and approaching them in a way that felt normal for three strong women taking control of their own destiny.

The magical hjinks were even better, with some fantastic developments on the powers front. Notably, Maggie’s ability to “manifest energy” from her emotions came back into play, causing her and Parker some trouble when they try to have sex for the first time. After a little soul-searching, and some understanding of the male perspective, Maggie’s able to let go and be with her half-demon boyfriend, though Parker’s powers later take the forefront, transporting them mid-coitus to some strange magical dungeon. Is it linked to Tartarus? The witch who was brought back from that particular hell dimension was woken up by their arrival, so it’s possible. I’m very much looking forward to this particular story getting off the ground.

Mel’s powers also advance, here, thanks to some guidance from Jada. It turns out there’s a whole lot that the Elders haven’t taught the sisters. Is it because they want them to take their time to hone their craft, or are they trying to control them? Mel is certainly starting to believe the latter, and it’s affecting her relationship with Macy, who decides to accept Charity’s help with her demon side. Will the Elders actually help her? Mel raised some valid points about what they’ve held back from them. Who knows what else they’ve been hiding.

Plus

The people who attacked Jada were jilted relatives of a douchebag she burned a couple of years ago. They wound up being kind of irrelevant, since it was having Niko around to protect them that was the real goal.

There’s a spell the Elders never told Mel about that would have allowed her to keep Niko in her life rather than erase her. Did they do it to protect Mel or for another reason?

He Said, She Said

Maggie: “God, the characters on this show repeat a lot of exposition.”

Gideon: “Maybe, in our dimension, you're the one who's on some critically acclaimed TV show.”
Harry: “It's actually quite rubbish.”

Mel: “Even fictional guys are gross.”

Meta humor works best when a show lets go and doesn’t hold back on its own flaws, something this series isn’t short on at the moment. ‘Touched by a Demon’ was sharply written, though that fact is frustrating in and of itself considering that kind of writing is only barely starting to show in other areas of this series so far. A little self-awareness might go a long way for Charmed going forward. At the very least, this was a nice reminder that it is absolutely possible for the series to get there.

8 out of 10 misogynistic angels.

Originally posted at PandaTV.

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