Charmed: Season Two, Part Two

“I guess the sisterhood has some issues to work out.”

(This review covers the rebooted series Charmed episodes 2.9 through 2.14, and includes spoilers!)

Where the first eight episodes of this season focused on the new normal of the Vera sisters’ surprise relocation, these next six episodes went back to the heart of the show – the Power of Three – and made some serious changes to what we thought we knew.

While they attempted to restructure their lives around SafeSpace, and the wider Seattle area, there was no time for Macy, Mel and Maggie to take time to maintain their strong bond. As they dealt with numerous magical threats, and personal ones, their stories were very much separate. In episodes nine to fourteen, their inability to reconstitute the Power of Three was their primary focus. Even after getting Abigael to remove Macy’s demonic abilities, there was still something in the way. Eventually the sisters learn about the real history of the Power of Three, and the Charmed Ones; they were not the first.

Of all the switch-ups on original lore that this sophomore season has given us, I think this one has the biggest effect. The destruction of the Book of Shadows was big enough, but the Book of Elders is essentially the same thing so it ended up just being a bit of statement in the end. Nixing the idea of the Veras being the first of their kind, like the Halliwells were, takes apart the mythology in a way that’s not been done yet.

I really like how they’ve tackled the Power of Three itself. Rather than taking its power as being inherently good, it’s now being touted as potentially destructive. The previous iterations of the Charmed Ones all fell victim to it, and now with a broken bond, the Veras could be next unless they work to bring themselves back together. It’s an exciting way to ramp up the sibling tensions that were (understandably) sidelined in favor of world and character building in the first part of this season.

Thanks to that work, the second part of this season was able to really take advantage of the dynamics that were put in place. Macy and Harry’s star-crossed romance was continually put on hold given Macy’s feelings for Harry’s darklighter self, and Abigael’s courting of Harry. The melodrama of it all tends to get a bit basic at times, but the dialogue remains mostly tongue-in-cheek, if a little on-the-nose.

Abigael herself is still fun to have around, though I do feel like the series hasn’t fully committed to one version of her. Sure, she’s got layers, but those layers are only ever on show depending on how she needs to fold into the story. When Macy needed her demonic abilities removed, she was power-hungry; when Harry was around her, she was a conflicted anti-hero; and when she was around Parker she was jealous and petty. All of these different versions of her feel legitimate, but I’d like to see them start to bleed together in order to make them all seem earned. In many ways, she’s like Paige from the OG version; changing personality week-to-week depending on the magical circumstances, with little pay-off or continuity.

Abigael's relationship with Harry is still great. She folds into his inner turmoil nicely, given how incomplete he feels without a dark side. They can both see how much they want to be more like the other. I wonder how Harry’s quest to reconstitute himself with his darklighter will affect the bond they clearly share. No doubt she’ll take it badly, but I hope there’s potential for a bit of redemption for her. She’s the only one looking to bring the magical world into some semblance of order, something both good and bad clearly need with the mortal world now waging war on all sides.

When entrepreneur Julian shows up at SafeSpace looking to make big changes, including the indirect destruction of the sisters’ secret bunker underneath the building, he seemed like an unwitting roadblock to their magical safehouse set-up – and a cute new non-whitelighter love interest for Macy. But it's his mother Team Charmed need to watch out for since she’s the one leading the charge to wage war on all of magic. What are her reasons for wanting to do this? And assuming she’s been tracking down magical creatures, including the Charmed Ones and Abigael, in order to build some sort of monster, how long do both sides of magic have to team-up to fight them off?

Potions and Notions

One of my favorite parts of this crop of episodes was the discovery of how the whitelighters and darklighters are linked. I always had a feeling the only way to resolve Harry's darklighter would be to make him whole again, but the way the story was tackled with Helen was well executed.

Jordan faces the curse placed on his ancestor and manages to bide himself some time; with Maggie’s help, of course.

Katrina is still pulling herself together, and so Mel has found someone to look after her store. She’s also found herself a new love interest, but I can’t see things ending well given Mel's track record with women so far.

I really don’t like Parker, but I do love how Maggie is keeping her distance and realising how much better her life is without him in it.

Spells and Chants

Guardian: “Since the dawn of time, the Power of Three has come to sisters of great promise in times of great need, to save the world from its own destruction. But the power is too great. No matter the time, the place or the realm it always ends the same [...] The destruction of the sisterhood.”

As we enter the latter part of the season, the show is starting to reap the rewards of the narrative switch-up this season has given us. It’s also managed to capture a tone all its own, something it struggled with in the past. I’m glad I’ve stuck with this iteration of Charmed now that things have started to really pick up.

8 out of 10 vials of black amber.

2 comments:

TJ said...

Finally Charmed has come to its own when compared to season 1 which was old Charmed's eight seasons stuffed into one. I still have problems with the actresses though, they are not very good...

But overall, season two is way better.

Panda said...

Yeah, they’re not a patch on the OG cast. I have a soft spot for Sarah Jeffrey though :)