Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Charmed, Season 1, Episode 7: Out of the Scythe

Emotions and secrets and life changes are the themes of this episode. So, each sister is having life changes:

Macy has just been promoted by her new boss, Julia, who is known as a hardarse. She thinks Macy would be an awesome boss but there’s a hitch - she also needs to make some major economies which means firing Galvin. Macy is all “nooooo he my friend” and Julia hits back that men do this all the time then go play golf. Which is a gendered way of saying “if you’re a supervisor hiring and firing goes with the territory time to be professional.”

And are they friends? I mean the last half a dozen episodes have kind of shown them to be super super awkward lately

She decides to see Galvin for a dinner firing only he babbles constantly, stops her getting a word in edgeways and praises her lavishly for her promotion while positively

Mel is struggling choosing her Thesis, with Harry gently prodding her to choose soon, even suggesting she use her time bending powers to give herself more time to choose because he cannot give her more extensions. She is dodging the subject and currently working as a bar tender

And we have Maggie who is still mooning after Parker. And using the magical training orb to have fantasies about him. And part of me rolled my eyes at Maggie’s pathetic fantasies but then I roll them twice as hard at the writers who think this is a woman’s sexual fantasy. Because really? Really really?

She’s also having trouble choosing her major and considering dropping out because she’s not sure about academia in general. Something she explains to Parker when they finally get together - Lucy has moved on and sends a group text saying they totally have her blessing. That was super quick and easily resolved… hand wave that storyline! Handwave it away! (And I generally approve of getting her blessing because, sure, you don’t own your exes. But if you’ve hurt a friend by kissing her boyfriend, respect demands not jumping on that boyfriend if you value that friendship). They have a low key date with veganism and lots of hyper empathetic insight which makes Parker feel all understood as they both discuss the overwhelming expectations their family puts on them. Parker talking about his rich family why Maggie dealing with a family of brilliant academics and the pressure to go to college from all of them

It’s all going well, but when she kisses Parker she hears his thoughts - that he has a secret he hopes she never learns.

This puts her off - but when she tells Macy, Macy wisely points out that lots of people have occasional dark thoughts and that doesn’t make them bad people so Maggie should explore more.

So Maggie goes to see Parker and walks in on him injecting himself. Because she hasn’t seen the 9,678,976 shows which have done the “legitimately taking medicine mistaken for drug use” storyline before now. She storms off in a huff before, inevitably, by the end of the episode when Parker reveals he actually has an immune system condition which will probably kill him before he’s 40 and this is why he injects himself. He finds himself feeling weak because of this and his whole family cruelly treats it as a dirty secret. Of course Maggie hugs him and tells him she’s not abandoning him. He thinks how wonderful it is that he has told her his secret

Because a guy can only have 1 secret

I’d make comments about disability but we have a you-should-have-seen-this-coming-twist. But more on that later

So it’s time for the plot line. We’re introduced to a wine selling satyr who is attacked by a shadow demon. He staggers to the Charmed ones (because apparently they’re on the supernatural radar as the place you go to for help - Harry mentions upgrading the security system). To mention the demon took part of the Scythe of Tartarus, which the satyr has been a guardian for for generations. He uses satyr power to bring out the booze while explaining lot of Greek myths which basically comes to: magic scythe opens evil hell prison.

Naturally being able to open the hell prison is not a good thing.

Also drinking with a satyr will get you badly hungover - and Harry manages to be pretty adorable both hungover and feeding them. I have to say how Harry has added to the household has really been one of the best pluses of this show.

The second piece of the scythe belongs to a Tawet, an Egyptian royal fertility god which has Harry poking the sisters to show proper decorum. She’s lost her scythe to the shadow demon as well. There’s only one left now and they need to find it.

There follows some weird magnetism science segue which attracts insects and I wonder how hard these damn things are to hide when a compass can find them, revealing the last scythe fragment in the Charmed One’s attic. And it’s unlocked by the key Macy found last episode - and it’s finding the key that put the Scythe in play in the first place

This causes a lot of soul searching with them as they all admit that keeping secret - Macy because she thought she was evil, Maggie and Mel hiding their vision of their mother to not upset her - has been a disaster and they need to be more honest with each other. Which is nice and all but as Harry points out they have a shadow demon to face

So, lots of light spells later, the shadow demon arrives and there’s lots of nifty conflict and Maggie touches the shadow demon and FEELS ITS PAIN.

And then a woman who was flirting with Mel in the bar shows up and throws lightning around - literally, this isn’t a euphemism - and steals the scythe. Oops. Also because she threw lightning that left similar scars on Mel as it did on their mother they realise she has to be a suspect for their mother’s murder

On the plus side, big evil demon Alistair McEvil-Naughtiness doesn’t get it either so the lightning woman doesn’t work for him. Harry isn’t even sure she is a demon. Alistair wanted the scythe because he can’t open the paint can full of evil harbinger (a plot line which will only get sillier) because magic and hoped a demon in tartarus would be an expert in paint can opening. I guess. So he sent his son, the shadow demon to go get the scythe and he failed

Oh and his son is only a HALF demon and judged by his full demon family

And this shadow demon is Parker. Those who didn’t see this coming, yes both of you, can now gasp in shock. Parker is a good demon and in love and we’re doing the Cole storyline already it seems

Let the angst begins.

Maggie decides she wants to major psychiatry since she’s feeling all these thoughts and emotions she wants to understand them more

While Mel decides to drop out - she realises that she’s pursuing academia because it was her mother’s dream and not necessarily what she wants. She wants to find her own motivation since she’s been in her mother’s shadow so long.

And Macy realises that having darkness in her doesn’t make her evil - and further that she won’t fire Galvin. She goes to her boss and presents other ways they can save money so she doesn’t have to - though I think she also fires other well. She presents this as not having to play by “their” (male rules). Except it’s not really?

“We don’t have to play by those rules” which sounds nice and would be a great take down of overly aggressive patriarchal corporate culture…  but that’s not what we saw? I mean she wasn’t against firing someone, she was against firing her FRIEND. Oh, sure she backed that up with his justified competence after the fact but her first reaction is “he’s my friend.” And she went on to fire someone else who is apparently less competent - or we’re supposed to assume because he was goofing a little in the 10 seconds we saw of him? That’s still disposing of someone. Either way, this isn’t new rules. Refusing to sack someone because they’re your friend? That’s not new rules, that’s nepotism. Sacking someone for being incompetent? Isn’t a new way of working, it’s how the system is supposed to work - all it shows is that Julia is a really shit office manager because she picked the employee to sack based on their wages rather than assessing their competence. Which also doesn’t speak well of her promotion of Macy.

Again it shows how Charmed gets that there are issues and talking points around something - like aggressive corporate culture - but doesn’t really understand them