This Charmed review contains spoilers.
Charmed Season 2 Episode 9
Charmed can be difficult to dive into because it does so much and so little at the same time. From a plot perspective, things are certainly happening. Two of the three Charmed ones are powered up again, and learning to control their new or heightened abilities. Maggie is dealing with the aftermath of Parker going full demon overlord. She’s training with Jordan to get physically stronger while also growing into her newfound power of premonition.
If you forgot, like I did, the literal everything that happened in the mid-season finale, you’ll be shocked (as I was) to remember that Parker a) had come back and b) was killed, except c) I just remembered, Abigael has him alive and imprisoned somewhere. Oh, and d) Jordan saw the whole thing.
Jordan feels protective of Maggie after their violent run-in with Parker. He remembers almost nothing that happened, but does randomly recollect Parker calling Maggie “Vera,” which he searched for and discovers Maggie, and her sisters’, secret. Well, not their secret secret, just the one where they’re technically dead.
“Technically dead but not actually dead” is the new “being dead” on this show. When Maggie gets a premonition of someone holding the Darklighter’s weapon, the Charmed ones and Harry fear the worst, that he’s alive. And he is… But when Mel and Maggie get to where the vision takes place they actually find their dad, Ray, who is also supposed to be dead. Pops has been stealing and selling artifacts on the black market, as one does, and stole a talisman from his own dead ex-wife (and his kids) at her funeral(!) which caused some magical dominoes to fall (including, I think, Dark Harry being released) unbeknownst to him.
Maggie has an emotionally honest conversation with Ray, expressing her hurt and disappointment with him being gone. When the monster that’s been trailing him attacks, Ray steps up to protect his daughters (from a problem of his own making, but I digress) and they begin to mend their relationship.
It’ll be interesting to see how Macy is affected if Ray becomes a more consistent presence in Mel’s and Maggie’s life. Macy has complicated feelings about her parents, and being on the outside of this particular relationship might take Macy to dark places.
Earlier in the season I was excited by the will-they-won’t-they between Harry and Macy but, predictably, it’s gotten old. My issue is that the writers want me to be invested in them as a duo when both of them are, at minimum, distracted by other people. Why would I root for this ship when the show has introduced several more interesting potential pairings?
In this very episode, we meet Julian Shea, the tech billionaire and philanthropist who owns Safespace and can meet Macy where she’s at, intellectually. Macy takes him on a dinner date to dose him with something magical that makes him suggestible (yikes) so she can convince him not to build an underground hydroponic garden where the Charmed Ones command center currently sits. Despite Macy’s motives, there’s obvious chemistry with Julian, and they are immediately a more appealing prospect than she and Harry.
I feel like I should spend a little time on why even the suggestion of lacing a drink is a Bad Look but since Macy deliberately spills the drink after convincing him the old-fashioned way, I’m just going to say to the Charmed writers… do better.
Harry has the audacity to be in his feelings about Macy’s date, like he wasn’t open-mouthed snogging their arch enemy Abigael in their own study. The fact that he’s jealous of her while doing the same thing with someone Macy openly dislikes is… amusing. Harry is going to lose what’s left of his mind when they learn of Dark Harry’s resurrection and Macy is forced to confront her feelings for him.
Meanwhile, as powers go, the black amber that triggered Mel and Maggie’s new and improved abilities doesn’t seem to have affected Macy at all. She still has her demon powers but her Charmed One ability has yet to manifest. It is perhaps her deeply repressed feelings of hurt about her mom, guilt about Gavin, and attraction to Dark Harry that are blocking her witch powers.
Charmed is far too “girl power” for Macy to actually date Julian, which is a pity. It would probably be too difficult for the writers to reconcile Macy being a smart, independent woman with a woman who dates someone of means, who has influence in the very fields she aspires to work in. Any success she’d have in her career could be sullied by even the mere suggestion that her boyfriend got her a job, or funded her project. I am definitely getting ahead of myself, but sometimes dating handsome rich guys is fine. Macy could use the distraction.
Macy could use… something. She’s deeply dissatisfied with her current predicament, more so than the others, because she’d already established herself in her scientific career. Being “dead” means losing all of the work she’s put in, and any version of starting over that doesn’t begin with her own resurrection, means she’s forced to start from the bottom; which is made even more difficult by the fact that she’s a Black woman in STEM.
I don’t know what the writers are building up to with Macy, but this season has been especially cruel to her. What I want most out of this season is for Macy to reclaim herself and be allowed to flourish in the thing that’s most important to her, her work and her career. The time has come for her and her sisters to regain purpose outside of their magic.
Additional thoughts: Why this show doesn’t want to commit to killing characters off or can’t think of ways to introduce suffering without fake-murdering people, I can’t say. But I can say this, death has no meaning on this show anymore. What are the stakes when people who die can come back and almost always do? At this point, I’m mad Gavin hasn’t made his reemergence yet. I get the show tried to burn itself down and rebuild from the ashes but if everyone else gets minimum one (1) resurrection, where’s his? And not the Source-Macy breaking space/time to bring him back resurrection, but the “surprise, I was actually never dead” one.
This season, like the first, will probably work so much better as a binge. Charmed picks up and drops characters and story elements throughout, and it’s easy to forget one thing when it disappears for a few episodes only to come back after you’ve forgotten it to finally fulfill its narrative purpose. I would love for there to be a bit more… consistency. Who and what is important for me to care about?