This Charmed review contains spoilers.
Charmed Episode 2 Episode 11
Charmed continues its streak of doing too much and not enough, all at once. This week’s episode does finally put a face to the hidden foes behind Dark Harry —the shady woman and her people, who I will be referring to as the Bad Guys until further notice. But it doesn’t really raise any stakes.
At the top of the season, Charmed had a bit of an identity crisis as the series did away with the (admittedly few) things that really connected it to the original. The Book of Shadows was turned to dust and the Charmed Ones lost their powers. After several episodes of deciphering the Book of Elders (same energy, tbh) they finally lucked into finding black amber which restored their powers. It also, it would appear, has the ability to bring back the dead. Last week, the Bad Guys got hold of a vial of the substance, which they then used to reanimate a dead lab animal. This week, they took it to a whole ‘nother level.
Maggie and Jordan are on a mission in New Orleans, following a lead to the Bad Guys. They end up at a club, where they meet the woman Mel and Ray ran into last week, the same one with the vial of amber. Jordan stupidly eats a piece of magical candy she offers, and when a shaman starts doing a resurrection ritual on stage, he and everyone else in the club become transfixed while their life-force drains away. Maggie and her sisters stop the ritual, and discover the candy is a cocktail of Darklighter toxin and black amber. This seems like a convoluted way to bring someone back to life.
Earlier in the season, the Charmed Ones and Abigael discovered a warehouse holding several alpha magical creatures in pods. When Macy was taken by Dark Harry, he admitted to her that he was “collecting power,” and in service to someone else. Ray’s (Mel’s and Maggie’s dad) clients were buying magical relics from him and they recognized (and utilized) the black amber he offered them to spare his life. The Charmed Ones suspected the Bad Guys were behind Dark Harry, and it all tracks, but wait… there’s more! I’ll circle back to it.
Last week I talked about Macy and Julian and how the show would not go there and I was apparently wrong because they go straight to Julian’s bedroom (after they bond over losing their parents. – sexy). The morning after, Macy awkwardly meets Julian’s aunt Vivian (who is unfortunately not the One True Aunt Viv) and she wastes zero time doing that thing rich people do to non-rich people who are dating their rich children. When Macy asks Julian to borrow some lab equipment, Aunt Vivian (the Third) holds it hostage until Macy breaks up with Julian. Classic rich people shit.
Macy is desperate for the lab equipment because Harry has a deadly demon illness and Macy doesn’t trust Abigael’s diagnosis, or want her to administer the antidote. Which is understandable, but Abbie could’ve taken him out a dozen times by now, she clearly isn’t trying to kill him. But when Macy and Mel leave to help Maggie with the resurrection situation, Abbie administers the antidote anyway. Abigael either has genuine feelings for Harry and wants to earn his affection OR she wants to earn his trust so she can take advantage of his relationship to the Charmed Ones. Either way, she is committed to his continued existence, so good for him, I guess.
Unfortunately for Abbie, Harry still has feelings for Macy and Macy still has feelings for him —technically?— except she also has feelings for Julian. And Julian is hipped to Vivian’s chicanery so he convinces Macy to keep their thing going, and poor Harry catches them in a make-up make-out. Ouch. Meanwhile Maggie and Jordan are getting even closer, especially now that he’s atoning for the sins of his forefathers and helping with magic stuff. Sorry to his girlfriend. The relationships are the only interesting thing on this show a lot of the time, so I’m enjoying the different dynamics at play right now, even though I’d still prefer more… I don’t know… narrative momentum.
I do have a theory, though. At the top of the episode, we see a flashback of child-Julian in a car with his dead parents after an accident. The Chases have near infinite money and the power that goes with wealth, but they do not have the power to change the past, or power over life and death. They can however afford to buy magical talismans, and ingeo, and shell corporations that own warehouses. They can certainly afford to hire a person or people to procure said magical items and test them… You following me? I think Julian, Vivian, or both, are the person(s) behind the Bad Guys. My money is on Vivian, since Dark Harry implied his master was not a man and JuJu (go with it) feels entirely too earnest, though that could be the okey-doke.
The only reason to introduce Vivian at this point is for her to be antagonistic, and while c*ckblocking JuJu certainly qualifies, there’s likely more to her than micromanaging her nephew’s love life. Having a strong woman be the Big Bad is on brand for this show, and since the writers continually minimize Abigael, the Overlord, as a legitimate and formidable threat, I have to assume they are looking for their villain elsewhere.
I need the writers to give me something, anything, to take a hard stance on. At the moment, I have no strong feelings about any plot point or potential outcome. I have preferences and things I would like to see, like Harry reintegrating with his Darklighter, and Kat coming back and living queerly ever after with Mel. But I would be, at most, annoyed that those things don’t happen and at best, mildly delighted that they did. I’ve put in too much time to be satisfied with a season that ends on a, “huh, okay.” I’d rather hate what happens next than be utterly indifferent to it.