Charmed is back for a sophomore season.
This Charmed review contains spoilers.
Charmed Season 2, Episode 1
The first season of Charmed introduced us to Mel and Maggie, and their half-sister Macy who they only learned about after their mother’s death in the premier. It established who they were as individuals and how they fit together as a part of a powerful trio. It not only told us what kind of people they were, it spent a lot of time telling us what their politics and ideologies were. It was deliberately “woke” and it took every single opportunity to remind you of that.
At the end of last season, the Charmed Ones saved the world when Macy took on the power of The Source and defeated Alastair Caine. With the elders gone, magical creatures flocked to the Vera house to appoint the trio in their place. Though the sisters had struggled all season with whether they wanted the responsibility that came with their powers, they seemed hopeful and ready to take them on. That was short-lived.
When the episode opens, Maggie is schmoozing her way through a party at their house. I mean, what else is there to do after you’ve defeated the source of all evil and saved the world? She is celebrating her birthday and looking forward to returning to school. Macy is planning to accept her dream job in another state. Both of them are eager to leave behind their magical duties and continue on with “normal” lives. But Mel is, as always, fully committed to her magical responsibilities.
This dynamic defined the entire run of the original series and was one of the major conflicts of the reboot’s freshman season. They are never fully on board with being Charmed Ones, and there is always at least one of them who wants nothing to do with it. Even when they grow in confidence and strength, they still hesitate to fully commit to their roles. Coming out of last season, I had hoped we would bypass, or at least take a minute to get back to the “I just want to be normal” energy. It obviously will always apply, but so much of the drama comes from them just wanting to “be normal” that I’m often left thinking, “quit, then.”
The morning after their party, they’re hungover and are attacked by a hooded enemy who seems impervious to their individual powers and is only slowed down a little by their combined power — the power of three. Unable to hold him off, they attempt to take the Book of Shadows and run, but when he destroys it, they’re forced to retreat into a portal that randomly appeared. Macy gets hit by one of his darts as she jumps. Once through, they’re in some sort of lair, with a large monitor and nobody there to greet them. They’re stripped of their powers and Macy is badly injured. Back in the attic, Harry is fatally stabbed by the attacker.
The sisters leave the room and realize they’re in some sort of coworking space in Seattle. Why? I don’t know. But the words “magic” are strewn about, and magical symbols seem to be everywhere. There is even, I kid you not, a magic shop. A shop for witchcraft. In a techy coworking space. In Seattle. This place is either a magical haven that everyone is aware of but pretending not to be, or these coincidences are very heavy handed. I hope it’s the former.
Maggie hunts for a first-aid kit and meets a cute medic, who lets her borrow one. Mel is looking for useful information and meets a cute woman at the witchcraft store that makes perfect sense inside a coworking space. Macy is hallucinating a voice, which is drawing her to it. Later it reveals itself to be Harry. But it’s Not Harry, it just has his face and voice.
Back in the lair, they see two red dots appear on the screens and a big red red button also appears on the console. Maggie presses it because, of course, and it opens a portal to who knows where. When they step through, they’re at a B&B in Vermont where they find two dead witches (corresponding to the dots) with the words “die witches” graffitied on the wall.
The shapeshifters who killed them are still there. Still powerless, they try to hide, but when they’re discovered, Macy shoots fire out her palm and turns their attackers to dust. Harry, who hadn’t been able to sense them, finally appeared, alive and well. He tries to heal Macy, whose injury had caused her to hallucinate him, and the poison he absorbs from her nullifies his powers. Macy then learns from a final assailant that there is a war going on.
Luckily, Maggie took a pearl that also randomly appeared at the lair that was a way to open a return portal, so they were able to escape to safety. Harry tells them he died but because he was lo longer attached to the elders, he didn’t die with them as all other Whitelighters had and was returned to Earth. Macy was stripped of her witch powers, like her sisters, but still had access to her demon powers.
Last season, I felt some kind of way about Macy being part-demon, primarily because she was the “other” sister and the one that presented Black. We learn, though, that Mel is actually the “other” and that Maggie and Macy share both parents (and are thus both Afro-Latinx). And while that makes it somewhat better, I still don’t necessarily love the optics of a Black woman having something “dark” inside of her.
That said, I do like the way they have used that darkness as a source of strength for her. It is that darkness that allowed Macy to take on The Source and not be destroyed by it. It was her acceptance of it that allowed her to take control of it. And that darkness is what kept the trio alive in this episode. Going forward, I expect her relationship with that power to grow but I hope it is not at the expense of her humanity or her goodness.
At the end of this episode, the Charmed Ones and the last Whitelighter alive agree to — once again — take on the responsibilities of the Elders and to protect other witches. Though they had to leave their home for good, their house followed them through the portal, so they have hat familiar environment in new surroundings.
My hope is that they will truly embrace their roles as the Charmed Ones and de facto Elders. They, again, made a conscious choice to continue this work. They were given an opportunity to walk away and chose not to. Let them relish in being powerful, magical women and spend less time pining for normalcy.
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