Thursday, November 22, 2018

Charmed, Season 1, Episode 6: Kappa Spirit

Moping time - and Mel hasn’t been out of bed since she magically removed Niko from her life. And I thought - and kind of hoped - that this episode would be all about either removing this terrible event or at least underscore how absolutely awful this event was and how much Nico and Nico and Mel’s relationship meant.

Except we’re going to talk about sororities

And before I even get into this recap I want to say how annoyed I am by this because this show - especially this show that was waving around its progressive credentials to the hilt - is perpetuating some awful tropes here. I mean well fecking done you didn’t kill your lesbian, have a cookie - the bitterest, most awful cookie in the world - because removing her from the plot while erasing their relationship from memory is just killing her without the damn blood

Having Mel’s sisters cluster round her bed to poke her, gods Mel, haven’t you mourned the love of your life long enough?! Any longer and we’ll have to spend some actual episode time on it! We have sororities to worry about!

Oh and Harry has got her a new job which is another layer of angst. Or rather the angst because we’re not going to make this relationship valuable

Yes. I am annoyed.

So after some brief researching over whatever demon was killing elders (lightning demon. Unfortunately there’s a lot of them it seems) they cover the real worry: Maggie is on the outs with Lucy and won’t be able to join Kappa

THE HORROR (bye Niko)

So it’s time to go out and have mojitos and talk about Mel’s lost love Kappa. Only the Kappa sisters are there and Lucy is still not a fan! So Maggie decides to go take a pitcher of Mojitos to Lucy to try and make nice… and it’s kind of… not good because it kind of feels like Maggie is pushing to get back into Kappa hear more than acknowledging Lucy is pissed for a reason. Lucy is hella pissed and tries to pour that drink over Maggie’s head which… I kind of understand? And, quite good, Maggie accepts she’s kinda got this coming but Macy and Mel with telekinesis and time freeze make sure their sister isn’t getting no diet cocktails poured on her hair.

So Lucy is still pissed. In fact even her sorority sisters are kind of out of line. So Lucy goes back to the sorority house to meditate to a haunted candle

Oops, haunted candle.

So when Maggie, unable to take the slightest hint, knocks on the Kappa house the next day she finds that Lucy is both a) still pissed and b) joined by a new Kappa in full 80s gear called Brenda who both hates Maggie and is encouraging Lucy to hate her even more.

Maggie is confused because she’s never met this woman before and part of Rushing for Kappa involves knowing who all the current members are. And no current members would be running around in 80s fashion. They do some research - Mel joining to avoid the job interview that Harry has set up for her. They realise Brenda is a ghost and there are 10,000 different kinds of ghost (honestly i kind of like the idea of 10,000 different kinds of ghost)

Time for some time travel ghosting to go back and see what Brenda’s deal is. They find that she was kicked out of the sorority by the then head who also seemed kind of mean about it. They look to follow up on it but then they see their mother as a young woman, pregnant with Macy - and ominously saying there’s something wrong with her child. Which is ominous from a witch who can see the future.

Back in the present they take what research they have and decide Brenda is a banshee and that she’s going for revenge against the girl who cut her from Kappa (and she died soon after falling off a building) so they go and find the woman that girl became. Except she has a different story - she’s very clear that Kappa doesn’t bully people (hmmm) and that while they did cut Brenda they had good reasons because she was kind of nasty. And she died while drunk on the roof of the sorority house trying to hang a nasty sign. She’s also concerned about alcohol and the sorority because a whole lot of sisters over the years since then have died in exactly the same way - only when reported no-one mentions links to the influential society

Brenda isn’t a Banshee, she’s a Revenant - recreating her own death. Back to the sorority house, using Harry for magical transport in time to find all the sisters tied up (Harry do the memory thing!) and Brenda on the roof with Lucy encouraging her to jump

Which she would but time freezing and white light teleportings are good for stopping someone dying from falling from a roof.

They now have to banish this ghost by making the human feel less vengeful - and so Maggie says sorry to Lucy

What works this time though is Lucy’s drunk is that Maggie doesn’t just apologise for being such a terrible friend to Lucy and betraying her, but also acknowledges she’s been super pushing trying to get back in her good graces because she felt excluded: what Maggie wanted and needed rather than what Lucy needed. Lucy needed space

And this is something I think Charmed did really well - because Maggie’s apologies before this, even the “I deserve to be splashed with bad cocktails!” were self serving. She was seeking forgiveness for her own purposes without any real regard for what Lucy, the wronged one, actually wanted or needed. I have some huge issues with this episode but I have to applaud this, we have such a culture of mandatory forgiveness, especially from women, that even having a scene where a wronged person can be NOT READY to forgive, to want space to maybe never be ok with this, is radical.

This works at banishing the ghost and saving Lucy. What’s more powerful is Maggie leaves her without expectations - she wants to be friends again and hopes one day it will happen and she will be there for Lucy if she wants to rebuild that friendship. Maggie isn’t rewarded with Kappa membership just for apologising and being a good person. There’s no payoff, no reward, no prize.

So from that storyline which is great (even if we focus more on Kappa than Niko) we now move onto a much more dubious one. See we had Marisol worried that her daughter had darkness in her. Her Black daughter. Well, Macy is worried that only she can see the mark on Galvin and decides to invite herself over to his birthday party in a move that is like 300% awkward, brings Harry along as a date which is 450% awkward (and he brought welsh rarebit. I mean I love welsh rarebit but it’s not party food) and then denies he’s her date which is 6,893% awkward. She sees the symbol but, again

And Summer notices her weird behaviour and makes it clear that while she’s been super patient with Macy so far but she really really needs her to back off now.

Macy recognises the symbol from a picture of Galvin’s grandmother - a woman from Haiti who practiced Yoruba

She believes it is a protection spell - and Harry speculates this is why they suddenly broke up because the protection spell drove them apart. But Macy is right that her relationship with Galvin was pretty sabotaged by her own behaviour.

They decide to check with a Yoruba priestess - who they find in Yelp. Because this is the resource these magical people have. And the priestess quickly confirms that Macy has big evil darkness inside her… and the key to it is the pillar of her home

No, really, it’s literally a box with a key in it hiding in one of the posts holding up the porch. I’ve never known a psychic be this clear. While it’s very silly I want more shows to do this. I look in my crystal ball and see the monster is a werewombat that can be killed by a bronze chisel to the 3rd vertebrae!

When she tells her sisters this they decide to not tell her about what they learned about her mother worrying about her evil wombness.

Do we even have to say that having the Black sister have a darkness in her is super problematic?

A cute side plot and/or a creepy side plot. With lots of cute moments of family and friendliness we also see Harry being part of that and being super happy with them and liking living with them. He even reveals he could have left earlier but has been hanging around because he likes them. It’s cute

But… are they trying to set Harry and Macy up? Am I the only one getting this vibe? Because they have zero chemistry but I think they’re forcing it...

Oh I forgot the big bad Alistair EvilDude. He’s murdered Macy’s boss and has her blood ostensibly for a drug test (and a blood sample for a drug test is rather excessive). This will be relevant at some point