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Charmed: Season Three, Part Two

"Six feet apart for the rest of our days?"

(This review covers the rebooted series Charmed episodes 3.04 through 3.13, and includes spoilers!)

It’s hard to disassociate the clever COVID swerve that is Charmed season three’s major story from the real-world reasons behind its conception. Following on from the opening three episodes that wrapped up the second season's story, the sisters and Harry are struck with a mysterious magical “allergy”, and find themselves unable to make physical contact with any other magical being. Conveniently, this allergy keeps all major cast members at a safe distance from one another. With TV these days acting as an even more important source of escapism than before, I initially struggled to push this obvious social distancing to the back of my mind. Everyone remained six feet apart, kissing was non-existent, and lack of human contact was a major focus. After a few “warm-up” episodes, the story has so far proven to be a fun use of the current COVID environment, whilst still taking advantage of the strong groundwork of the second season, pushing each of the characters in new and interesting directions.

The allergy is the main crux of the season so far, as the sisters and Harry’s primary focus is finding a cure for their mysterious ailment. Their investigations lead them to the Tomb of Chaos, and the many ancient monsters that are trapped within. This new mythology provides a fun detour from the science heavy second season story, eventually resulting in the introduction of the Perfecti, the creators of the tomb (who give me major Avatar vibes).

Along with offering the Charmed Ones’ aid in their search for a potential cure to their allergy, the Perfecti assist in tracking down the monsters set loose from the tomb, giving the sisters a much needed break from demon hunting. It's a dream come true for the overworked witches, but all is not as it seems. Much like the Avatars in the original series, the Perfecti end up becoming more of a threat to the sisters than a help, as their rigid approach to good and evil puts the people in their lives in harm's way.

Abigael’s struggle with her literal inner demons ties into this major narrative quite nicely. Her search for her mother and sister that we saw in the opening three episodes reaches a climax of sorts here, as the mysterious item she got Jordan to find for her causes her demon side to come out whenever she lets her guard down, making every attempt to destroy her. Eventually Jordan’s nice guy approach gets him locked away with her when the Perfecti deem her a threat. While the Charmed Ones save her from imprisonment, the truth spell that Maggie works on Abigael forces her to speak some uncomfortable truths, including her real feelings about Mel. Hopefully her subsequent resignation to prove herself to the sisters, and especially Mel, keeps her on a more consistent path than the second season allowed her. As far as redemption arcs go, this one is a bit heavy handed at times, but Abigael is such a wonderful character that I can’t help but get excited by it all.

Elsewhere, the sisters themselves resume their lives that were put on pause when they fled Hilltowne a year prior. For Mel and Maggie, that means returning to academia. Mel nabs a teaching position at Seattle University, while Maggie returns to studying psychology at the same college. While neither story has provided much of import so far, bar some interesting touches on transgender identities within Mel’s class, I loved seeing these two get back to doing things for themselves. Last year's reset meant they lost everything outside of their magical identities, and now they get a part of that back. It’s never really made clear how they manage to do these kinds of things despite being presumed dead elsewhere, though.

Macy finds her own professional career in a very unexpected place, as SafeSpace is left in her care. Much like many other corporate environments, Macy is confronted head first with the bigotry and ignorance that is so prevalent in a world that’s dominated by those with privilege. Though initially thrown, Macy does begin to use SafeSpace for good, donating resources to do pro bono work for those that need it. Here’s hoping she gets to tell those nasty higher-ups to stick it later on in the season.

Macy’s relationship with Harry is hindered by their inability to consummate their feelings due to the allergy, so there’s angst aplenty between them as they struggle to keep the romance alive. The most interesting part of this struggle is Harry’s realisation that he can’t remain immortal for much longer, or else he’ll risk a life without Macy when she eventually grows old. His decision to eliminate that risk by shedding his immortality should prove interesting if the Charmed Ones are down a whitelighter and can no longer be healed or orbed at a moment’s notice.

Potions and Notions

Melonie Diaz is currently expecting, and is starting to show during these episodes.

Jordan's brush with the Tomb forces him to take some time away from Seattle, and Maggie.

With Jordan out of the picture for now, perhaps Maggie will finally get to see that premonition of her classmate Antonio that she clearly has a thing for come true.

Abigael's mother Francesca makes a few appearances during these episodes, played by Diane Farr. As much as I loved her in OG Roswell, she does a pretty woeful English accent, here. The dynamic between Francesca and Abigael is great, though.

A fun new addition this season is Josefina, the sisters' transgender cousin from Puerto Rico. She's pretty green when it comes to magic, or "Brujeria" as she likes to call her own version of magic, but she adds a bit of color to the show that's very much appreciated.

Spells and Chants

Maggie: "Bitch, I am way more than just a cute little thing in a faux-leather skirt."

Macy: "I'm done dwelling on what we can't have, Harry. Because what we do have is... is pretty magical."

Macy: "What does this mean for us, Harry? Six feet apart for the rest of our days?"

Despite some obvious production workarounds, season three has so far proven that it's possible to actually take advantage of a more stripped back approach to TV making, and use this weird time to double down on the characters at the heart of it all. Hopefully that approach leads into a strong finish to the season over the remaining few episodes.

7.5 out of 10 tomb monsters.

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