Image: Charmed (The CW)

Charmed drops us into the action of the sisters chasing after the electricity demon—who also apparently has the ability to teleport, too—after she got away with the scythe that opens up a portal to a demonic prison. It’s one of the better action scenes of Charmed so far, employing several of the active powers at play. The effects here are campy but in a fun way. Sometimes, Charmed bungles the action with effects that try too hard and yet look bad, as with the cicada demon later in the episode. Charmed still seems to be figuring out its visual style, one of the more inconsistent and lacking parts of the series.

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Parker is shaping up to be a more interesting character the more we learn about his “home life,” by which I mean his abusive demon dad who is pressuring him to steal his human girlfriend’s plasma. We learn that the demonic half of Parker is trying to kill the human half, so the degenerative disease Parker told Maggie about last week is basically true. His father is working on a serum that will “cure” Parker, presumably killing his human half and turning him into a full demon. Parker seems torn between two worlds, not entirely willing to do his father’s bidding and seemingly genuine in his feelings for Maggie. But he’s also dying, and his father has made it clear that he doesn’t really have a choice in the matter.

The sisters continue to be torn between their worlds, too. Maggie’s latest attempt at a normal life is to recruit users for a new dating app in hopes that it’ll land her an internship in Chicago. There’s a cute scene between Macy and Maggie—whose budding closeness has been a really strong part of the show’s character development—in which Macy bristles at the thought of Maggie leaving for the summer. And she has a point. Not only will her sisters miss her, but it’s not super realistic for Maggie to think she can intern in another city and still carry out her duties as part of the Power Of Three.

The twist that the app Maggie’s working for is actually connected to the demon attacks around the city by helping cicada demons mate with humans ends up being one of the more cogent (and fun) bridges between Charmed’s magical and human worlds. Overall, this episode is one of the more focused and coherent installments of the show. And poor Macy attempts to be a little more vulnerable in her personal life by signing up for the dating app only to get encased in a web of magical goo. That’s enough to make a gal not want to go on a first date for a long time.

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Mel, on the other hand, becomes torn between two different magical worlds instead of between her human and witch lives. On the one side, there’s the way she has been operating, within the system that Harry has lined out for the Power Of Three, abiding by the rules of the Elders. We’ve seen Mel butt heads with Charity before, and she does so again in “Bug A Boo,” obviously skeptical right away when Charity explains that witches don’t intervene in human-on-human conflict because there’s simply too much of it. Jada, the electricity demon, stokes that doubt. Because on the other side, there’s the Sarcana, a rogue group of witches who don’t abide by the Elders’ rules and who do help with human conflict and fight human evil. Jada introduces Mel to a new set of rules, claiming that her mother Marisol approved of the Sarcana’s philosophy, which squashes the suspicion that Jada killed their mother.

With the introduction of the Sarcana, Charmed finally has an overarching conspiracy afoot that drives the stakes up. Charity insists that Mel is being manipulated by Jada, describes the Sarcana as a group of terrorists. She reveals that an Elder started the group, which throws into question exactly who is responsible for Marisol and the other Elders’ deaths.

And it’s also maybe implied that Harry and Charity could be Jada’s parents? At least, it’s confirmed once and for all that they did engage in a whitelighter/witch relationship, which is forbidden by the magical world. Supernatural narratives love a mixed-race metaphor, and Jada and Parker are both compelling new additions to the show’s web, complicating the notion that good and bad are clearly defined, fixed categories.

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Because even though Harry and Charity try to warn Mel about the Sarcana and Jada, Charmed leaves enough room for ambiguity. The term “terrorists” often gets used to manipulate people, and it does feel like Mel and Harry are biased in their perception of Jada and the rogue witches. Maybe neither side is necessarily the bad or the good, and that’s why Mel seems so torn. Jada makes a lot of compelling points, and Mel witnesses her use her powers to stop a human man from mugging a woman. Mel’s main motivation has always been to make the world a better place. Do the Elders’ rules go far enough? She has always been outspoken and more radical than her coworkers in the women’s studies department. Maybe working within the system isn’t enough, and Charmed is asking some really interesting questions with this storyline.

“When you’re ready to make a difference for real, come find me,” Jada teases, her delivery laced with a little flirtation. This is bound to be an even more complex and captivating relationship dynamic than that of Maggie and Parker. Charity enlists Mel to join the Sarcana as a double agent in order to investigate whether the group killed Marisol and the other Elders and bring the group down. Especially because there seems to be an underlying attraction simmering between Mel and Jada, this opens up a thrilling new story window for Charmed, expanding the show’s narrative web but also introducing a really fascinating new relationship dynamic. The more Charmed plays in areas of moral grayness, the more compelling it gets. It’s not just witches versus demons anymore.


Stray observations

  • I would care more about Macy/Galvin if Galvin were a more consistent character.
  • “Feelings are for people” made me laugh.
  • Can Maggie only read the human half of Parker’s mind? Her power seems wildly inconsistent. It’s also...not very useful, so I’m hoping she develops an active power at some point.
  • Um, Maggie, if a boy asks you to donate plasma on like your third date, maybe just quickly fact-check his motives.
  • Mel yelling “thanks, but I’m still getting over my ex” in the face of a dating app recruiter is so good.
  • On that note, is Niko really gone for good? That’s kind of a bummer.
  • I’m always interested in TV characters’ alcohol preferences. Macy takes shots of mezcal! That’s not a super common one on TV, and I approve.
  • So, Fiona—the charge that Harry lost—is Charity’s sister and also is alive and working with the Sarcana. This feels like a pretty big reveal, and yet we don’t really know that much about Fiona, so I’m not going to touch on it more until we get some more information.

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