Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Charmed, Season 3, Episode 9: Jingle Hell

After being clonked on the head by one of the Sisters of Arcana, she wakes up to find Jada saying that it’s totally a mistake and she’d totally like her in their club, what’s a little concussion between friends. Also here are our spooky crows which were present when your mother died, honestly they were on her side, pinkie-swear

Mel goes to Harry and Maggie to say that, hey, these people may have killed my mother. Maggie and Harry thinks it’s super dangerous and they really should back off but Mel’s all for it because being a witch is all about danger. I mean they’ve spent as much time on danger as they have the dubious relationships

Speaking of, clearly we need to spend far less time on this secret witch society because we have romances to deal with.


So Galvin was hit by car last episode. Turns out he’s find and his leg is broken. He’s going home to family and Macy is angsting because she thinks it’s the magic mark of his grandmother. Because his grandmother used magic to protect her son from evil by having him hit by cars and be hospitalised. Because this is how protective magic works. Of course it does. I mean ye gods granny’s going to epic lengths to stop her son getting laid

So when Galvin visits and trips Macy spends an unnecessary amount of time avoiding him while Harry has to make small talk and give him cocito (also christmas cake is awesome, Maggie is just wrong). This is all such a really useful part of the episode. Really.

We catch up with Parker and his evil family. Parker and Hunter go rob an entombed saint in a cathedral in Bucharest. They steal the shiny necklace and are nearly killed by a priest who has a nifty stick of dropping you into a burning basement. Or possibly hell. Or tartarus. Instead Hunter kills him and steals the nifty stick.

This necklace will drain the powers of the Charmed ones if he gets Maggie to wear it then it will drain all the powers of sisters and make him fully demon and alive. This is pushed by his human mother - Jessica Vaughn, Macy’s new boss. Yes she hates the demons in the family but she wants her son to live even if it means draining the Charmed ones and making her son a demon

While Alistair McEvil, his dad has a more sinister plan. Apparently there’s a prophecy that says the Source of All Evil will be born into the body of a human born demon (or something similar) so basically he thinks if he turns his son all demon he will become the Source and their family will be super powerful especially with all those dubious morals and emotions silenced

Hunter the emotionless demon continues to feel affection and protectiveness towards his little brother. This is not a contradiction. Apparently.

So Parker also shows up to the Charmed Ones happy Christmas evening to give Maggie her gift and cough messily everywhere. He gives Maggie the necklace and she says, really Parker? Jewellery? We’ve known each other for a hot minute, isn’t it a bit soon for jewellery how wonderful it is.

Oh. She’s also looking forward to her dad visiting for the holiday. She has lots of positive memories and affection of him while Mel thinks he’s like the Worst and abandoned them and unreliable and Maggie is just too loving and caring and trusts too much and is going to get her heart broken. Yup check that subtle foreshadowing

My personal favourite thing about this episode is how Maggie repeatedly mentions her mind reading as the whole show tries to hand wave how utterly impossible it would be for Parker to actually conceal his identity. Like if they mention it often enough then somehow it will justify this plot chasm.

Anyway, Mel notices that the necklace Maggie has quickly changes colour (Maggie: clearly it’s a really elaborate… mood ring? I mean… really?) and Macy also sees Parker flinch away from touching Galvin with his magic mark glowing as he does. Together the sisters realise something is up, with Macy also contacting Mama Roz to ask “hey if a ward against evil glows and makes someone flinch, is that a bad thing” because they actually had to consult someone about that. Credit to Roz for not mocking them cruelly.

Hunter notices they’re on to him and his little brother and quickly knocks out and ties up Macy and then uses his shapeshifting to imitate her. But is now barred from the house by this magical mark which is… surprisingly powerful? Blocks all demons from the House? Maybe we should check Galvin’s grandma for Charmed One-ness?

Mel is confused but Hunter!Macy explains that Mama Roz said the mark was “malfunctioning” so they have to magically remove it.

Mel believes her.

She believes this. She believes the mark is malfunctioning. She accepts this. She even knows shapeshifters exist. I mean, it was a shapeshifter that nearly killed Niko. The concept of a shapeshifter should not be alien to her - in fact how come no-one has considered taking steps to protect themselves against a shapeshifter impersonating one of them.

And why is Hunter, a shapeshifter, so utterly incapable of imitating anyone? I mean, if your go-to-special ability is being able to look like anyone wouldn’t you try to develop some complimentary talents?! Enroll in acting school!

Mel tries to take her concern to Maggie who refuses to hear and is utterly insulted that Mel thinks she’s just too naive and innocent and trusting to not be able to tell she’s dating a demon even when she can read minds.

To no-one’s surprise Parker has a Moral Moment and decides he can’t possibly steal their powers and takes the necklace off her. Maggie has just learned her dad has cancelled his visit and she’s all vulnerable and sad now because Mel was right and she just trusts every bad person and she’s never going to trust anyone again. So of course Parker now has The Sad and can’t hurt her any more because Luv.

To which Hunter decides to tell him about the secret plan to possess him with the Source AND be completely emotionally dead at the same time.



This doesn’t sound like a great sell.

But he’s exposed at this point because Macy wakes up and calls Harry - and Harry realises Macy is stood in front of him AND calling for help elsewhere and Great Scott! Shapeshifters exist! I totally forgot but am hungover on coquito so totally forgiven

There follows much fighting and shapeshifting which would be cunning if Hunter was capable of imitating anyone. Parker joins in showing off his shadowy demon darkness and revealing what he is to everyone. And for some reason Mel decides to call on the Sisters crows rather than them using the power of three. This drives Hunter off

Exposed, Parker kidnaps Maggie to try and explain that while he is a half demon who has previously attacked them and wanted to steal their powers, he’s totally in love with her

She, naturally, says “hell no” and leaves. Parker has the sad. The charmed ones get together for comfort and support and Mel even saying that Parker may actually love Maggie because he can’t help how he was born

Thin Ice Charmed. Do not born this way” a demon.

Maggie vows not to blindly trust again. Which… is not a bad thing?

But Hunter returns because crows are not actually going to be able to kill a demon. Great time for the Power of Three

Except Parker is there with the stick of Tartarus he took from the Romanian priest. And rather than have the Charmed Ones use their magic, he starts to use it to send his brother to Tartarus and when he collapses, coughing, the sisters take over using the staff (but hey, kudos for learning the words to use it in a foreign language so quickly!) to continue rather than use their magic

But Harry, clinging to the sofa near the hole, is dangerously close. So close Hunter manages to grab him by the leg and pull him through the hole as well, watching him plummet into Tartarus to be locked away

Oh, if only Harry had the power to teleport

If only there was someone there who could stop time when they saw the disaster approach

If only there was someone there who could telekinetically wrench Hunter’s hand from Harry’s leg.

I guess I’m supposed to be shocked but I can’t get past how preventable this is

Oh and Galvin saw the whole thing. If you’d stopped time that would have solved that

And thus concludes the mid-season finale

There’s an aspect of this first half season of Charmed I am kind of torn on - rehashing old plot lines. Removing a lover’s memory so they can move on and be safe has shades of the infamous Neighbour Dan/Piper storyline. Parker is a pretty obvious Cole analogue. Even dead Trip has echoes of past plot lines. We’ve also moved reallly quickly into the “elders are the enemy” idea that old Charmed slowly touched on. On the plus side I kind of like that we’re running through these because it kind of stops them being used again… it would be hard to have a 3 season long, “my lover is a secret half-demon” plot line if you introduce it, reveal it and virtually conclude it in the first episode. I can appreciate the writers clearly stating they’re not going to just retread the old steps again. At the same time I also recognise I’m doing some amazing spin here and, equally, it could indicate that the writers are desperately clawing past storylines for inspiration. It also has to be said that Charmed originally made these work by devoting sufficient time to them (albeit occasionally doing them to death - how many times could Cole come back from the dead?!) devoting a couple of episodes doesn’t work so well.

I think there’s a general lack of development - I mentioned this on the first episode and it improved a little but new Charmed never gave itself much chance to pause and explore the characters, their lives, their powers. Like here this episode Mel talks about how, as witches, they often face danger… ok… but… do they? I mean they discovered they were witches, introduced the big bad and didn’t have a whole lot of evil demony stuff? This show needed a whole lot more monster-of-the-week episodes so we could see this and so we could develop the characters and some storylines

This also applies to the romances - Macy and Galvin are not Big enough to make their rocky road worth investing in. I’m not rooting for them, I want them to fuck or fuck off but this ridiculous on-again-off-again-oh-look-another-barrier needs to end. Maggie and Parker are too new for me to think that there’s so much tragedy in his betraying her (they’ve known each other for a hot minute) and Mel and Niko was just offensive and homophobic as fuck - dropping your gays on the bus is not much better than killing them

Everything needed development to make it more than meh

And while I give credit for the diverse racial casting and the ongoing female-led and controlled story, even if two of those characters’ storyline rather heavily focused on men, and appreciate little gems like not demonising Lucy or Macy’s discussion of being a Black woman in predominantly white surroundings; the whole spinning of Charmed as more social justice aware didn’t quite work. It’s like the writers read the cliffnotes but didn’t understand most of the concepts they were referring to. So they’d refer to #Metoo or the Closet or call virginity a social construct and then really mishandle them. It was clumsy, contradictory and shallow all too often. Compounded by the sister whose romance was NOT focused on being the lesbian whose romance was just erased entirely like the writers realised that low-key-possibly-flirting is really how LGBTQ “relationships” should be shown and by removing Niko they could make Mel being a lesbian a much less prominent part of her character

Ultimately I think I can say there is a lot of good but it isn’t developed and the developers tried… but not very hard