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Macy's origin story gets a lot more complicated on Charmed

Image: Charmed (The CW)
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“You’re Dead To Me” deals with the fallout of Macy learning that she was resurrected, and pretty quickly we’re treated to a flashback that establishes the logistics of that. Marisol and Macy’s father summoned a necromancer from Tartarus to bring their dead baby back, but as with most spells of this nature, it came with a catch. After two years, Marisol could never set eyes on Macy again, contextualizing why she did eventually abandon her with no explanation, the emotional nexus that Macy’s arc hinges on. “You’re Dead To Me” plays into the show’s strengths when it comes to folding strong emotional storytelling into the magical happenings.

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Charmed thankfully doesn’t spend too much time on this resurrection backstory, because the way Macy was brought back doesn’t really matter. It’s the ripple effects that do matter and the way that Macy feels about her past. And she feels confused, scared, and alone. Harry tries to connect with her based on his own experiences of having been brought back by the Elders to become a Whitelighter. Cheating death is, understandably, something that can cause a bit of an identity crisis. And Macy also has the burden of feeling like there’s a darkness within her and not knowing what that really means.

“It’s like no matter what I do, I can’t escape this darkness,” she tells her sisters, who are walking on eggshells around her. Charmed doesn’t explicitly make these connections, but there’s definitely a parallel to draw between what Macy is experiencing and depression. Macy has plenty of reasons to be content with her life, but she isn’t, and that darkness is out of her control, something that’s a part of her but also that she can’t just turn on and off. Charmed is consistently sharp in its exploration of these more psychological and emotional ripple effects of magic and the supernatural.

The same can certainly be said of Harry’s arc. He has gotten to the point where he’s so emotionally distracted by thoughts of his past and his son that his powers are malfunctioning. Charmed draws a direct line here between his unbalanced emotions and his unbalanced powers. So when he tries to teleport with Mel to help Maggie and Macy escape an attack from an unhinged witch, they accidentally end up in Manchester, England.

Mel and Harry bonding over finding his son is sweet, and at first it seemed like this would be another example of Charmed burning through story way too fast since they do end up finding him by the end of the episode in the confines of what’s a very small subplot in the episode. But it lands in an interesting place that justifies the fast-paced nature. It wouldn’t work for the show to drag this out only to conclude with Harry deciding not to talk to his son. He sees that he’s okay, realizes that he can’t feasibly strike up a relationship with him now, and recognizes that the sisters satisfy his desire to take care of someone and have a family. It’s genuinely touching, and the way Harry falls apart in Mel’s arms acknowledges just how much weight there is to this realization.

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Even the fallout between Maggie and Parker continues to have some compelling emotional resonance to it. “You have ruined dating for me forever,” she tells him at the stoplight party after failing to connect with several guys who flirted with her. This sentiment comes from the fact that she could feel comfortable around Parker in the sense that he knows she’s a witch and she doesn’t have to hide that part of her...but at the same time, he gaslighted, lied to, and manipulated her, destroying her ability to trust him or anyone. There’s real-life weight here. Being lied to in that way within a romantic relationship is disorienting and has lasting impact and can indeed ruin dating for a very long time. Maggie’s storyline still feels anchored in reality despite the half-demon/witch details.

Not all of the necromancer stuff in the main storyline works though. Again, Macy’s emotional journey is a strong anchor for the episode, but the necromancer character muddles Charmed’s messaging a bit. She’s yet another example of the show playing on expectations; she’s a normal-seeming young woman who doesn’t really have a bring-people-back-from-the-dead vibe and also works a part time job at a nearby cafe. She tries to convince Macy that necromancers are misunderstood and maligned by the Elders. “When those in power repeat lies enough, people start to believe them,” she says “Just turn on the news.” It’s a fun if heavy-handed example of Charmed tapping into of-the-moment social sentiments, but it’s somewhat undercut by the turn that the necromancer really is evil in the end.

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Charmed can’t seem to fully decide what it’s trying to say about the Elders and the structures of good and evil within its mythology. It’s easy to predict that the necromancer really is bad, and that’s frustratingly simple and an expected direction for Charmed to take. In the end, it doesn’t really thwart expectations with her at all. Still, the ultimate reveal that all of her resurrected souls eventually become demons because of the demon blood she uses to bring them back is powerful. Parker might not be my favorite character—though that has a lot to do with the actor’s performance—but the way he ends up coming into play in the main storyline this week is smart. He recognizes Macy’s struggle to control her demon within, because he has struggled with that his whole life. Again, there’s something weirdly grounded about this connection that helps complicate it into more than just a supernatural plot. Charmed continues to do a lot better with its more serialized storytelling than with the Monster Of The Week setups, and this episode really focuses on a lot of the season’s biggest ongoing stories in a way that propels the season forward.


Stray observations

  • I really like a lot of what is happening with Mel and Nico orbiting each other and am interested to see where it goes.
  • “Maggie, when I move on, I move on. Thank you, next! You should try it.” Lucy is really growing on me.
  • That said, Lucy is unfortunately under the spell of Parker’s increasingly creepier father.
  • Even though she doesn’t work that well as a character in the bigger scheme of things, I enjoy the necromancer on a comedic level.
  • Macy can apparently stop someone’s heart with her mind! She is undoubtedly the most powerful of the sisters.
  • It’s kind of fun but also random that we get into Maggie’s head at the party.
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