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Charmed: Season Four, Part One

"The Charmed Ones have always been... sisters."

(This review covers the rebooted series Charmed episodes 4.01 and 4.06, and includes spoilers.)

Here we are, starting Charmed’s fourth season one sister down, and with a complete revamp of the dynamic that we’ve known for three years – sounds familiar, right?

Interestingly, this version of Charmed has opted to handle introduction of the newest witch by shrouding her true identity in mystery thus far, instead opting to spend more time getting to know who she is as a person, and how she might fit into the Power of Three despite potentially not sharing blood with the remaining two Charmed Ones. It’s an approach that’s so far been strong from a character building perspective, but the mythology and world building that blossomed in the previous two seasons has so far felt a little... off in these opening episodes.

Starting with the elephant in the room: Michaela, a.k.a. Kaela. I feel like everything has been stacked against this show from the start, not the least of which has been the hostile reaction the original show’s fans (and stars) have given it since it was announced. Given that, it’s a rather large feat that this silly little show has now overcome the same obstacle the original Charmed did back in 2001, and has managed to reboot itself once again, by incorporating a completely new character into the forefront.

As this version actually started out by introducing the long lost sister, relying on Marisol Vera’s secrets to unearth another unknown sibling would have been a huge mistake. Thankfully the showrunners understood this, and have decided to bring Kaela into the fold in another way. At this point we don't know what her true lineage is, though we do know she isn’t a full blooded sister to Mel and Maggie. Opting to keep this a mystery to this point has allowed us to get to know Kaela for who she is, not who she needs to be, and it's been fun to watch her build up a bond with Mel and Maggie from scratch. So far she’s injected a lot of energy and light into the show, something that’s kept this uneven string of episodes afloat, and balanced out the grief that Mel, Maggie and Harry have been dealing with following Macy’s sacrifice last season.

All of those closest to Macy have dealt with her death in different ways. Mel has been seeking solace in the company of a lot of different women, many of whom she’s met in one of our new recurring locations: The Blue Camellia, a magical bar full of magical patrons. Maggie has been filled with anger, something we now know has been fuelled by the guilt she feels for not seeing Macy’s death coming. Harry has been mostly on the periphery this season. He seems to have lost his purpose, and has now given up his whitelighter abilities in order to communicate with the dead, and potentially speak to Macy again. Luckily, Jordan is now the resident almost-whitelighter, offering a healing hand when needed. All of these reactions to the events of last season feel quite organic, and nothing has felt rushed for the sake of settling into any new sort of “new normal”.

While the sisters deal with massive changes in their lives, the magical world is also in a state of flux. The Tallyman – a radicalised member of the supernatural community – has made it his mission to sully the Charmed Ones' name, and turn once allies of the Veras against them by making them believe they only serve their own interests, and not those of the people they’ve tried to save. This story feels under baked at times, but it actually harkens back to the tragic story of the final season of OG Charmed where enemies of the Halliwells tried a similar tactic. If anything, what transpires over these six episodes does at least prove this version is miles ahead of the awful final run of its predecessor, and has something of value to say about real world politics at the same time. But with the Tallyman dead as of episode six, I’m uncertain where this story will go in the latter half of the season.

Potions and Notions

The owner of The Blue Camellia, Roxie, is a decent new addition to the cast. She seems to fill the void left by Abbey, begrudgingly assisting the Charmed Ones with their magical endeavours. She also seems to have some chemistry with Mel.

Mel’s previous relationship with Ruby ended when she turned down Mel’s proposal. She’s now dating Swan from SafeSpace.

Ray returns to help Maggie deal with her repressed anger, but he’s also brought a magical curse with him. I’m glad to see him back again, since we haven’t seen him since season two. A cute Marisol guest spot would be fun, too.

I really hoped that we would be free of the awful leprechauns that plagued the original Charmed, but this version’s take – people of regular height with horrendous Irish accents – is just as bad.

Sunny, a bartender at the Blue Camellia who helped the Tallyman, seems to need Mel’s blood for something. We don’t know what that is yet but I’m sure we’ll find out before the season's out.

Spells and Chants

Harry: “It doesn't make sense. This random person, seemingly unconnected to either of you, and she's the one who's supposed to replace Macy?”

Kaela: "The S word? It's a big one."

So much could have gone wrong here, but somehow this retooling of an already retooled series has managed to keep things ticking along with a surprising amount of confidence. I’m not sure how much longer it’ll be sticking around at this point given behind the scenes changes at its home network, but I’m hoping it can survive a bit longer because I will genuinely miss it if it goes.

8 out of 10 Tallyman Spiders.

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