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Charmed: Season Two, Part One

“Witch-ness Protection.”

(This review covers the rebooted series Charmed episodes 2.1 through 2.8, and includes spoilers!)

The first season of the rebooted Charmed, like many other reboots of its kind, suffered in comparison to its superior predecessor. The characters were never as interesting, the cast never as talented, and the stories were completely bound by the direction of the original. There was never much space to breathe, or to let this series grow into its own. With new show-runners at the helm, season two of Charmed 2.0 sees this re-imagined series sever many of its ties to the original, to mostly satisfying results.

The first of these cuts is the immediate relocation of the show from the fictional town of Hilltowne to Seattle, and the communal workplace SafeSpace. Following an attack at the hands of a masked assailant, and the destruction of the Book of Shadows (!) in the season premiere, Mel, Macy and Maggie are transported to a magical bunker, which happens to be housed underneath SafeSpace. With their powers mysteriously wiped, and an assassin desperately tracking them down, they soon make Seattle their new home. Luckily, the manor followed them (a pretty silly way of keeping the Vera home set, I’ll admit) so they were able to get comfortable pretty easily.

Cue the sisters’ struggle to face magical threats without the aid of their undeservedly developed magical abilities, a change that was welcome since I always felt their powers grew far too quickly during the first season. With higher stakes, and no additional whitelighters or elders to come to their aid, things felt a lot more precarious than they ever did last season, and the series has benefited from that increase in urgency.

The Charmed Ones aren’t alone this season, though. Harry is still around, and is now an honorary member of the "Power of Four." Sisterhood is still a major part of the show, but with more of a focus on the whole "family," things feel more rooted in something genuine, rather than an attempt to re-create what came before. His romance with Macy is also a cute new development, one that has a lot more layers to it than you would assume initially given Harry’s darklighter – his dark half, shaped out of the bad parts of the person he once was, and the masked assailant from the premiere – is starting to draw more of Macy’s interest than the man who’s been a part of her life for a year.

The series’ renewed focus on supernatural drama also reaped some rewards, the biggest of which is Abigael, the series’ most interesting character to date. Initially she’s steeped in mystery, with her true allegiances and intentions remaining frustratingly vague. Eventually her identity as a Caine is outed, and we start to see what she’s really after; power and the chance to prove her family wrong. It would seem that she’s willing to burn just about anyone to get what she wants, including her own brother.

Parker’s reintroduction was a bit of a let-down for me. I never liked him all that much, and despite a more interesting role as a temporary leader of the underworld, he’s still pretty dull. I did appreciate his ties to the demon hierarchy, though. To date there’s been very little rhyme or reason to the demon world of Charmed 2.0, and this first batch of episodes helped to establish more rules around all that. Abigael’s quest for power has played into all these new aspects quite nicely, too.

Potions and Notions

Macy isn’t the only sister who has found love in Seattle. Mel gets close with Katrina, a wiccan store owner who is later revealed to be a medium. They prove to be a wonderful pairing, but they haven’t been afforded the chance to get together just yet. Here’s hoping it happens later in the season.

Maggie gets tangled up with Jordan, a boxing instructor. He’s only marginally more interesting than Parker thanks to his ancestor – the "Witchfinder General" – which I'm sure will become more significant in the present day as the season progresses.

Macy's demon blood has proven to be very useful this season with the sisters' witch powers remaining mostly inactive. It also means she has a lot in common with Abigael, who is half-witch/half-demon.

Abigael has been a major foil in Macy and Harry's relationship, taking advantage of Macy's rejection of the whitelighter. Hopefully Macy sees sense, soon. Or, better yet, Harry finds a way to reverse the separation that the Elders subjected him to and brings both parts of him together. It would certainly prove to be an interesting transition for him to go through.

Spells and Chants

Maggie: “It's time for us to step up.”

Mel: “I may not have powers, but it doesn't mean that I'm powerless. I'm fierce, loyal, devoted to my sisters, and if that's all the power I have again, the power to love, it'll be enough.”

Macy: “I was disgusted by him, but strangely intrigued at the same time.”

There’s still a certain level of uneasiness to Charmed, but the fact that it’s now freed itself from the narrative constraints of the original it’s starting to prove that it has its own story that’s worth telling. I doubt this change in direction has swayed many of the rabid OG fans back around, but it's certainly held my interest after the shaky end to season one. I really hope the new team will be able to stick the landing because this was a promising, if imperfect start to the show's sophomore year.

7 out of 10 swipe cards.

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