Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Charmed, Season 1, Episode 5: Other Women

Harry is now living with the Charmed Ones which comes with funny little misunderstandings around the bathroom which apparently doesn’t have a lock. What bathrooms don’t have a lock?

Also Harry in a dressing gown? Yes. Yes we can have that. Yes yes we can. Oh yes

This episode actually contains a lot of good which is a little surprising after the last couple episodes have kind of raised progressive issues and then dumped all over them… but this kind of followed through and then dropped something pretty awful to ruin it all.

So, the elders have the Book of Shadows for vetting and research and everyone has relationship issues. Maggie feels super guilty because Parker kissed her and now he’s dumped Lucy and she’s super super sad and is recruiting Maggie to try and figure out who Parker is cheating on her with. Which is awkward. And Macy is having problems because Galvin has pretty much given up on her and is now with beautiful, successful woman Summer.

But the main issue is Mel. Last episode Tripp, Niko’s partner, was killed and the elders both faked his suicide and had him confess to being a serial killer in his suicide note and dumped lots of evidence on him as well. Needless to say Niko is pretty traumatised by this - not only that a man she cared about and respected killed themselves and was a serial killer but she’s a detective and noticed nothing so she’s beginning to doubt her own abilities and self worth and believing everyone who disparaged her.

Naturally seeing this utter self destruction in the woman she loves is devastating for Mel. But Niko has received messages from Tripp which point to him having evidence about the death of witch elders - several women being murdered including Mel’s mother. She also learns that Tripp has hidden evidence including DNA - she’s super excited about this and thinks Mel will get on board because, of course, Mel has been insisting her mother was murdered since the first episode. This is why Niuko broke up with her - because of her obsession with her mother’s murder. So Mel suddenly saying that nah they shouldn’t investigate this strikes Niko as rather odd.

But there’s motive - a shapeshifting demon is trying to track down this information and that evidence and is willing to kill to do it. He’s faking being an FBI agent, is able to assume Tripp’s shape and follows Niko to Tripp’s fishing cabin where he has lots of evidence for the conspiracy and hidden witch elder DNA. As one does. Niko finds it (honestly her only just remembering this exists kind of makes me think that maybe she isn’t that brilliant a detective) and the shapeshifter arrives to knock her out and set the place on fire with eerie green hellflame. Mel manages to save her despite the time magic resistance

The demon makes another attempt in the hospital, stopped only because Mel realises there’s two nurses and actually (and perhaps most shockingly) calls Harry for help - he’s also been the one offering most comfort and support for her in this hard time. I like this because it’s dealing with their antagonistic relationship and developing a new level between them.

To the others - Macy is super jealous of Summer who has an amazing resume and is just practically perfect in every way and Maggie suggests (having read her mind to get in on the whole drama) that she’s a demon. Macy refuses adamantly to demonise another woman in the name of jealousy but Maggie suggests that maybe Summer is an actual demon. Consulting Harry, he concedes she could be a succubus and gives some pointers on how to identify one (I actually like the idea that demons with wings and tails etc hide them but then replicate them as tattoos because it’s overtly giving the nod to a trope that is used a lot with little explanation). And she has those tattoos.

My eyes rolled - because saying it’s wrong to demonise women is easy when the writers will go on to demonise her for you: this is a tool we’ve seen used a lot. But they don’t go there - the two sisters try to banish her which doesn’t work because she’s not actually a demon. She’s just a skilled, educated, successful, beautiful woman - and one decent enough to put her boyfriend’s ex acting like a fool as one of those things she’s willing to let go and cover up. Points to Summer and points to the writers - a competitive love interest who isn’t evil? My applause.

Galvin does have a weird mark on him - which Macy manages to copy while also recognising his point that she has repeatedly turned Galvin’s invitations down and he has every reason to think that she’s not interested.

A break up where everyone is respectful and understanding and reasonable! I AM SHOCKED SHOCKED SHOCKED!

While Maggie finally succumbs to guilt and tells Lucy that she was the one who kissed Parker - especially since Parker is clear that he broke up with Lucy because he had feelings for her. And again, I have to give kudos because even though Lucy is super angry with Maggie for this and is willing to cut her from kappa, she’s not demonised for this. At no point does this episode present Lucy as the bad guy or having anything less than legitimate reasons to be angry with Maggie here - nor does Maggie deny her own guilt. Again, it would have been easy - and typical - to demonise Lucy in order to make Maggie look justified or give her moral high ground. But instead Lucy has been nothing but good and trusting towards Maggie.

So good stuff. Now for the not good

So Mel is concerned that she cannot keep Niko safe from demons - and that these demons are targeting her because she’s in a relationship with Mel. More, that Niko wouldn’t even be in the demon rich neighbourhood if she hadn’t transferred to be with Mel.

She decides to solve this by casting a power of three spell to alter time - so Mel and Niko never met. A spell that will have lots of knock on consequences and leave the four of them with only memories of their time together (including erasing photographs - and all that evidence that Tripp collected). Harry also reveals that Whitelighters go through something similar - when raised as whitelighters they have their memories of their past lives erased so they won’t be distracted.

All upset, Mel insists they go ahead and in an utterly tragic scene, Niko is removed from Mel’s life.

Hey, we have feminist Charmed with a lesbian lead and she has a relationship and her love interest finally has an episode focusing on her before having that relationship not just end but be COMPLETELY ERASED

Charmed you need to fix this.

So some more aftermath I need to address before I leave to fume. So much fuming:

Because Niko wasn’t around to wake Mel up for an interview she no longer has her job.

And learning Harry’s tragic past the sister decide to embrace him as family which he finds very emotional and American

We learn the Hunter was actually after witch DNA which was among the episode and now he has to focus on the Charmed ones. And he’s working for some super rich science guy who all of Macy’s colleagues are rhapsodising over. Science guy is obviously evil but honestly he was called Alistair Caine. No character is called Alistair Caine without being evil. Alistair is already super suspicious but you could, maybe, spin it as sinister antihero. Add in Caine and there’s no way he’s not a villain