Charmed - Life's a Witch

In the early 2000s, Charmed would be on when I got home for work. It was kind of a winding down sort of show, nothing too demanding and its frothy nature never was a turn off to me really. It had “good witchcraft”, angels, and any assortment of supernatural menaces to dismantle. I watched the show off and on during its 98-2006 run. It wasn’t a show that I felt demanded great attention. I could just kind of turn it on without any demanding brain power. I think we all need a show like Charmed. The leads are pretty, witty, and single. They cope and learn to adapt to life with witchy powers and the prospects of hopeful romance are often interrupted by danger and alternate villains to upend. Most of the episodes I watched and remember were with Shannen Doherty before she split due to behind-the-scenes drama (much in the same vein as 90210). I can’t say I watched very many with Rose McGowan, Doherty’s replacement. It wasn’t that she had anything to necessarily do with that, but by 2003 the show wasn’t as much a mainstay. An episode was on Tuesday early morning which sounded like fun, so I recorded it for the evening. The synopsis had something to do with a ghost so I thought, why not?

Paige (McGowan) would like some space away from Phoebe and Piper (Alyssa Milano and Holly Marie Combs), having been on a search for a normal job to divert her attention and give purpose to her life. Phoebe is contending with a new empathy power where she’s sensing how her sisters feel, overwhelming and strong. Neither of the sisters likes that at all, too. Piper has decided to officially move on from Leo, although the two continue to raise their child and associate amicably/peacefully despite the occasional awkwardness. Also Leo (Brian Krause) is uneasy with Scott (Drew Fuller) who is after a particular potion, wondering what he’s up to. Scott goes to Mako’s sorcerer for help…it is actually to help the sisters against Phoebe’s empathic ability, a potion that counteracts it. Meanwhile, Paige might just have found a new love interest, Richard (Balthazar Getty), the son of a family deeply entrenched in a long feud with a neighboring family, both equipped with witchcraft capabilities. Paige was serving as a nursemaid to the matriarch of the Callaways while Richard is of the Montanas. Richard lost his fiancĂ© during the families’ bouts against each other; her name, Olivia (Rachelle Lefevre), she was a Callaway. Hence the Romeo and Juliet theme.

Olivia wants revenge for her death, further instigating the feud, as if to escalate it until avenged. Meanwhile she invades her rival’s body, Paige, still deeply in love with Richard, caught in this ghostly limbo state, unable to move on until she allows her vengeance to subside and lets her heart finally forgive. And she’ll need to let Richard go and move on with his life. Not an easy task for her.

The usual banter between the Charmed Ones is here, of course, and Piper, much like Paige, eyes the chance to date again, maybe finding a regular *human* relationship while raising her child. Phoebe is compelled to look after Paige, with an inability to defy the empath that wants to read thoughts/feelings.

I liked Krause a lot in this episode. He’s understanding and doesn’t fight Piper on her desire to try to date others. But he’s clearly conflicted and suffering. The end isn’t easy and Krause conveys that. Scott comes and goes, not a nagging nuisance as much as this kid wanting to help the ladies. He does kind of emerge like a Jack-in-the-Box. But Leo has always done that, too.

The lack of a real villain does kind of bum me out a bit. Families at war, often tossing flaming balls of light at each other, was a bit lacking to me. But that wasn’t what the show cared as much about as the girls and their attempts at conducting something of a life despite their extraordinary gifts and burgeoning adversaries. I think this episode is no different in that regard. I always enjoy Milano. I have grown up with her much in the same way as Drew Barrymore, so I see her and just grin from ear to ear. She pops the dialogue like a firecracker and barely takes a breath, but yet is wholly believable (which always impressed me). Combs is her equal, always at her own concocted potions, a cook who orders a specific meal with grand detail, quite amazing to the guy she’s out on a date with at a restaurant, as Scott interferes. McGowan has tamed her rebellious, bitchy side that often showed up in the likes of The Doom Generation, Scream, and Jawbreaker. She's certainly easy on the eyes, that's for sure. It wasn't a bad gig for McGowan, joining up with Milano and Combs. While Doherty was often the other Charmed One I associated with the show, McGowan was actually on the show longer. Either one is okay with me, but McGowan is my preferred Charmed One, simply out of sheer lust, I have to admit. Her role in this episode was central. She's possessed by a vengeful ghost and her potential romance with Getty is clear. But the show always made sure--and does so here--all three were involved in each other's lives,