Thursday, December 6, 2018

Charmed: Season 1, Episode 8: Big a Boo

After last episode the sisters chase after the apparent lightning demon with the Scythe but she has shields and teleportation and is juuuust a little out of their league. So they stop and regroup and head back to the house

Which would make sense if lightning woman didn’t have the power to open that evil prison cell - which she does

I mean, regrouping is sensible. Regrouping when your quarry is about to do something apocalyptic? Slightly less so.

So back to the house and calling the elders - Charity - to try and brainstorm what bad wrong naughty things are happening. This will largely involve Mel and will be important. But this being Charmed each sister has a storyline so let’s jump on those first. And they are both free to go do their thing and live their lives because, unlike ol Charmed the powers that be seem ok with them having normal lives.

So - Maggie issue. Or rather Maggie and Parker. Parker is the New Cole, only more angsty and dying from his Humanness. We have this established with a scene with his evil dad, Alistair McEvilName and his older full demon brother, Hunter. And while Alistair is all pissy that he can’t make Maggie do his bidding, his evil demon shapeshifting smoke brother is really supportive and protective of his baby half-demon brother

Which is kind of weird because he’s also worried that his baby brother is really falling for Maggie which only humans do - this whole caring emotional thing isn’t demonic. Except Hunter obviously cares about his brother and they don’t see the contradiction of that.

Anyway apparently to help Parker live he needs a serum made up of the Charmed One’s blood and he needs it soon as he’s definitely getting worse. While trying to get Maggie a job with his company in Chicago and then a fake drug test (using blood? Not urine?) fails, just saying he’s dying and needs a plasma donation so of course Maggie volunteers (it helps that he’s always thinking JUUUUST the right thoughts when she touches him. Honestly, telepathy on these shows makes me think my brain is even weirder than I know it to be - someone reading my mind wouldn’t get useful coherent thoughts but coffee obsessions, random fantasies and freaky non-sequiter questions about camels in Peru).

Not only does this get him Maggie’s blood, but Mel donates at the same time so bonus. + 10 points for Parker

Along the way Maggie decides she doesn’t actually want to go to Chicago to work or as an intern over the summer as she’d much rather spend the summer with her sisters since they could all die at any time.

Which brings us to Macy. She’s working away and her boss looks at this hardworking employee putting in unpayed overtime and declares that she needs a better work life balance! Go home you can totally be a workaholic later! Uh-huh. I’ll believe in witches, magic and all kinds of demons but I’m not buying this boss being all concerned her staff are working too hard.

Maggie agrees and thinks Macy needs to date more and be more outgoing and fabulous (and also touches Macy’s hair which Macy quickly tells her is a complete no-no and should not be happening which is nicely addressed) in part to try and get her to sign up for a dating app. Macy is reluctant, pointing out that because of sexual racism, Black women and Asian men are the least likely to be swiped on dating apps and it’s not worth her time… at least it’s not worth her time until Maggie agrees to the do the dishes

She does plan on not going on one of the dates but does end up accepting one anyway (with an Asian man who talks about the same issues) unfortunately he’s a cicada monster. So, monster of the week? Hibernating cicada monsters who sleep for a decade or so, rise up, seduce mortals and lay eggs in them. This time round using the dating app to seduce those victims. (Hey and one of these is a gay man. You can tell, they’re the one couple that doesn’t kiss. Yes Charmed I see you. He appears just to be attacked and killed/kidnapped, at least let him have the kiss the straight victims had). Macy gets trapped, nearly died until everyone comes to the rescue with magic and a big heavy thing being used to squish the insect demon

Y’know it kind of reduces the impressiveness of the power of three when you can just Squish Things

Duly not infested by insects, Macy decides to embrace what she wants rather than focusing on whether people want her (which is an excellent line, especially looking at her issues over who is seen as appealing and racial prejudices) and decides she wants Galvin! Who is a bit down and depressed because Summer broke up with him and now his funding’s being cut (but I definitely appreciate that even while sympathetic with him, Macy is totally not accepting him speaking to her disrespectfully). So she’s asking him to be back on a again which he agrees to and, wow, Summer’s shadow is still on his door! He hasn’t changed the sheets yet, Macy!

He’s in for this - but then he gets hit by a car. Oops. Listen to the magical protective symbols!

So now to the real plot - Mel. Mel opens with some frustration that Charity disapproves of her using magic to help mortal problems - they fight demons, they don’t solve perfectly human crime. And I think I’m meant to disagree with this but… Charity’s not wrong? There are demons out there, apparently doing terrible things and they can (bug squishing aside) only be stopped by magic. It makes sense to prioritise here and let mundanes handle what they can so you can focus on what they can’t. And, anyway, given Mel’s interests, passions and causes I would have thought she’d be duly wary of magical, unregulated vigilantes solving crime according to their own unchecked, unbalanced ideals guided mainly by their super powers that put them at an extreme advantage over their opponents: especially since criminality itself comes with a lot of shades of grey, addiction and socio-economic drivers that “freezing time and kicking arse” would not address.

Mel should think about things like this. Mel should know better than to see human crime as something as simple as “catch the bad guys”. If you’re going to create a character who is all about social justice then MAKE HER ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE and this means far more than chanting buzz words - it means recognising systemic problems that disproportionately affect minorities.

So Mel is upset and this is when the lightning woman finds her. She is Jada, half witch, half whitelighter and she works for the Sarcana. Or the Sisters of Arcana.

Now, according to Jada: these are young witch rogues who oppose the tyrannical hatred of the Elders, want no rules, use magic openly and like to use magic to deal with mortal problems. Oh and she is hunted because she’s an “abomination” child of a forbidden relationship. She does have knowledge of the Book of Shadows which suggests some contact with Marisol. And she has cracked open Tartarus to free a powerful witch the elders locked up

While Charity and Harry say the Sisters of Arcana are terrorists who, at best, use their magic carelessly and recklessly and, at worst, use magic without caring who they hurt. They’re also responsible for Harry’s lost charge and Charity’s little sister Fiona dying.

Oh and Charity and Henry are confirmed to have been a thing now

I think it’s going to turn out the elders are evil or at least misguided and the Sarcana are good. But I also think I’ll be frustrated because it will lack any kind of nuance or depth and a general amount of cheering of unregulated vigilantism, lack of oversight and a general assumption that “the protagonist is always good and right” which is always cringe worthy.

Mel does agree to go undercover for Charity… which is going to end with her changing sides. Except she’s knocked out by one of them - because she nearly saw Fiona. Who is apparently alive.