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We're all hypocrites
The show does at least attempt to address its screwed up morals here.How much someone can get away with is dependant on how high in the billing order they are and Max is compromised by protecting a criminal in his own family.(So is Liz, of course, but the show seems too mired in an "All white guys are evil" philosophy to notice that.)It's hard to see how the solution provided here is much of a solution though.And it's a shame Kyle does something significant in an episode where he doesn't appear.
The show also finally remembers Maria exists.(It also remembers Isobel has a husband, but it's hard to see what his point is.)The storyline with her mother raises interesting questions about the effect the aliens are having on the townsfolk.Wyatt Long might be reprehensible but he might also be telling the truth.Jenna, as a blonde sleeping with Max, is potentially suspicious, but she appears to be based on his human girlfriend from the novels, so probably not. She's another one asking the right questions for the right reasons at the wrong time though.
Oh, and Michael and Maria have another moment.Just to confuse us.
High school cliches
At the end of the day...is there any reason for this episode to exist? I guess the answer is "character stuff" but we don't really learn much that wasn't more or less obvious.It's hard to shake the feeling that all of this could have been covered in a scene or two of exposition (at the end of it, we're apparently no more than a few minutes further on from where the previous episode ended).
Instead, it's used as an excuse to have all the characters dress up in silly costumes and pretend they're teenagers.No real explanation is given as to why the aliens look about eight in 2004 and about twenty in 2008.We have children's homes run by abusive nuns in 2004, because that was "the past" and that's what happened in "the past".It's tempting to put Liz's dad using a camera that would have looked old in 2008 in the same category, but we then cut to a digital camera being used at the prom, so that's probably deliberate.
The other problem with this episode is it's hard not to feel like this would have been a good first episode and then we could have spent the rest of the series dealing with the fallout.Instead, it's stuff from ten years ago and it's too late to deal with the consequences.
Also, in the original series, the bad guy alien killed an innocent person and faked a car crash to cover it.Here, the supposed good guy aliens did it.That says a lot about what's gone wrong with television and society.As does the reuse of the "murdered a would-be rapist" idea from the awful Tomorrow People remake.
There's a Tess mentioned, which could be important or could just be an in-joke. Oh, and no sign of teenage Maria.She really is only in the show because she's in the books.
Roswell, New Mexico: Don't Speak (2019)
All you need is an original idea...
Mystery piles upon mystery, which isn't always a good thing.Kyle is increasingly coming across as the real star of the show, or at least it's breakout character, and his relationship with Liz is a lot more compelling than the adults-with-teen-angst Max relationship.So the episode keeps them apart and instead teams Kyle up with Alex to good effect, as they rake over their fathers' past sins.Alex finding an alien artefact however brings back bad memories of the old show doing this sort of thing and forgetting to explain it.
It's also clear no-one has a clue what to do with Maria.
Liz's storyline involves her tracking down an apparently incidental character who knows more than he appeared to.Then he gets killed.By another apparently incidental character who may also known more than he appeared to.Hopefully some explanations are forthcoming.
It's hard to sympathise with the aliens at times: Are we meant to care that Isobel's husband has kicked her out, when we barely know him? The cliffhanger is almost a carbon copy of the one from the previous episode and it begins to seem as though the aliens all think one of the others killed Rosa and her friends.At this point, keep an eye out for the name Nasedo in the credits.
Okay, I'm intrigued
So, the aliens do know more about Rosa's death than the last episode suggested. Viewers of the original may suspect they know where this is going, but there have been enough differences to cause doubt.The ending provides a potentially jaw-dropping revelation, but there's been enough fake reveals for this to be misdirection.
Maria hasn't really had a purpose beyond "Liz's friend" so far but here she finally gets some screen time with Michael and Isobel.Given that the relationship between Michael and Maria was one of the best things about the original, it'll be intriguing to see how this is handled.(Of course, tellingly, this occurs in an episode where Alex is absent.)
Kyle continues to act as a moral centre, with his view of Max softening after the latter performs an unheralded act of heroism, albeit to clear up a mess he caused.It's a relief because it was starting to seem like Manes had a point about him.
This episode continues to demonstrate the biggest flaw in this series.It's taken a series of teen drama novels and a previous adaptation, made the characters adults and yet written them exactly the same.Result:They look and sound ridiculous.But they have more sex, because it's darker and edgier, y'know?
It's hard to tell whether the show's being deliberately ambiguous or they just don't know where they're going.They're not sure if the military are evil or if they're indulging in flag waving.It's not clear if we're meant to sympathise with the aliens or see them as weapons of mass destruction.It's increasingly feeling like Kyle is our viewpoint character and Liz needs to get a life.
And the big reveal is...Max left Rosa alone the night she died?That was the big secret that Liz must never know and which had Michael and Isobel panicking about Max spending time with her?Unless there's more to come, that's the definition of anti-climax.
Of course I'm a teenager, I'm wearing a baseball cap
This is better, although still deeply flawed. It's already struggling to make use of the ensemble, with this version of Maria so far seeming largely redundant, although at least they've carved out a good role for Kyle, while Alex only seems to be there for the gay sex. Having shot their bolt with an anti-alien conspiracy in the first episode, they now appear to not having anything to do with it. With everything else going on, it's hard to care about a bunch of racist rednecks being added to the mix. Oh, and it was a really bad idea to cast someone who looked so much like Max's sister as his partner and then have him sleep with her.
It's hard to tell to what degree we're meant to be unsettled by some of this. Michael is a convincing psychopath and Max is a potential murderer, yet these are apparently meant to be sympathetic characters. There's conflict within this loose group which promises much for the future, so long as someone's actually got their eye on the ball.
Roswell, New Mexico: Pilot (2019)
Is this really a good idea?
And so, American television's obsession with remaking 20th century shows continues, even though most of them are rubbish and get cancelled at the end of the first season or earlier. Of course, the original series was based on books and the multi-ethnic cast is probably closer to the source material than the all-white line-up of 1999. But apparently teen drama is so 1990s, even though we get a flashback to the cast completely failing to look like teenagers. (Apparently Max's designer stubble is there solely to make him look older in the present day.) The result: A bunch of adults who act like teenagers.
And of course, since it's 2019, we get commentary on the US' immigration policy both as metaphor and as reality. We also have Liz, who made it through the original without losing her virginity, nearly having ex-sex in a car; our first sight of Isobel is her in her underwear about to have kinky sex; Alex (originally a geek) is a crippled war vet who's gay lovers with Michael... (So in order to match up the three aliens with three humans, are Iz and Maria going to be gay too?) And there's a conspiracy, but I guess the original had that too.
Basically, this pilot is less of a story than a lot of set-up which alternates between mirroring the original and trying to pretend it's not it. So on the one hand, we get Liz getting shot in that waitress uniform and healed by Max. And on the other hand, we have a hint that the aliens killed Liz's sister. It might get better but this is not even approaching a promising start.
Charmed: The Source Awakens (2019)
But what about?
The temptation is to suggest that someone miscounted how many episodes they had left, killed all the villains and resolved all the plotlines too early, and had to tack this Evil God Macy fan fest onto the end. It's too well-constructed for that, but unfortunately there's about a point partway through (round about the time we have Mel and Maggie living with Marisol, with their powers, with no explanation) that it ceases to make any sense and just becomes a succession of set-pieces that someone thought would be cool, with only the vaguest of character threads to tie it together.
By the end, the decks have been cleared of the sisters' romantic lives, they've saved the world and contained the Source so, er, what next? Well, a bunch of one-off characters from earlier in the season turn up, everyone scratches their head trying to remember who these people are, and apparently the Charmed Ones now rule the world. Or something. It's hard to shake the feeling no-one really expected a Season Two but let's see what they do with it. The show has certainly improved since those dark early days but it's got a long way to go.
Well...that was unexpected.
This one perhaps ends up being less than the sum of its parts. We should be racing towards a conclusion and we kind of do, but by now there's so many loose ends that there's no way of satisfactorily tying them all up. Characters end up dropping dead all over the place, the Niko plotline has turned into an unnecessary distraction to the important stuff, Harry puts in an incredibly poor showing of protecting Charity which renders that plotline pointless, and Galvin makes a noble sacrifice that leaves a bad taste in the mouth and has possibly been reset anyway.
The final confrontation with the bad guys, in which Alistair and Fiona meet their maker and Macy pulls a last minute rabbit out of the hat, is effective but the ending, with the god complex that Macy has been developing over the last few episodes coming to a head, does not feel like a sensible way to end your penultimate episode.
Well, there's definitely no other good guys now
We're on the home stretch of the season here and several plot threads are coming to a head. Mel and Maggie finally work out what Galvin realised two episodes ago, that Macy really shouldn't be encouraged to turn evil in the name of the greater good. Niko finds out what Mel's been keeping from her and understandably views it as a violation, while there's what seems to be the final showdown with one of the season's villains.
There's a lot of shocks and developments and good character moments here (plus Marisol going all Narnia on the sisters), but sadly one massive logic flaw: How do the Elders not realise that Charity didn't make it to Tartarus after not one but two sets of guards got killed escorting her? This makes it feel like things are happening for plot reasons rather than because they make sense.
Charmed: Source Material (2019)
So where are you going with this?
This should be the point where the season starts stepping into high gear. Unfortunately, it seems to be running on the spot, possible because there are way too many plot threads going on by now. The climax point of the episode is an inconclusive confrontation that mainly serves to kill off a character we barely know and aren't sure how we feel about in a bit of a reset. Niko's return feels like it's getting in the way of all the interesting stuff and Macy and Galvin's storyline is basically a retread of the previous episode, although we do get a few hints that Galvin's worry about Macy losing control of her demon side is more than simple paranoia.
Although it's buried a bit, Macy's storyline gets contrasted with Parker, who by the way of some extremely successful gaslighting is led to believe he has destroyed everything good in his life and throws in his lot with Caine. But it really is hard to get any impact from that final scene.
Charmed: The Replacement (2019)
Those pieces keep on moving
There's a decent one-episode plot in here, although the audience probably guess the identity of the villain at least one act before anyone else does. It's mostly an excuse to see the Charmed Ones use their wits and their emerging powers as they all contribute a role to the solution. Even their annoyingly preppy new Whitelighter Tessa turns out to have a way of helping out.
Meanwhile, despite several of the cast being missing in action, there's an awful lot of developments as plot elements seem to be revived and discarded almost at random. Galvin returns after what seems like an age only to find his quest was meaningless. Niko's memory loss hasn't been reversed but she moves closer to the truth about Mel. Maggie deals with discovering she has a new cultural heritage. And the Sarcana face the consequences of backing the wrong horse, although allowing Jada to survive smacks of a cop-out.
We're the Charmed Ones, who the hell are you?
There is some good stuff in here, although you have to work through a lot of so-so stuff to get to it. The Villain of the Week is rather two-dimensional and disposeable; Tyler Blackburn does his best and makes him a rather creepy megalomaniac, but his scheming with a bunch of nameless victims (the only one we really get to know spends the last two thirds of the episode as a silent zombie) is the least interesting thing on show here. It also results in Niko once again being dragged into an episode that doesn't really require her (with her fiance being even superfluous). Her only real function, apart from bringing a case to Mel for rather flimsy reasons, is to provide a contrast with Jada, as Mel finally works out that joining a group that want to take over the world might not have been the best choice.
With Parker and Galvin both MIA and a frustrating lack of follow-up to Charity's escape (have the Elders even noticed she didn't make it to Tartarus?), the real meat of the episode is yet another threat to the Charmed One's bond with Harry. Mel is the most proactive again in trying to help him but it all seems to be no avail until the final twist. Fiona is definitely proving to be no more trustworthy than her sister, but aside from some very dodgy make-up on Rupert Evans, these scenes pack an emotional punch.
Charmed: Memento Mori (2019)
So who are the good guys then?
Up until now, Charity has seemed to be our token good Elder, but this episode turns that on its head and leaves us wondering if there's anyone the Charmed Ones can trust apart from good old Harry. It's pleasing to see things moving along. Despite Macy's memory wipe, by the end of the episode everyone's clued in on what happened to Marisol and also on what happened to Fiona. It's nice to see the status quo getting a shake.
Caine's return is less successful, as it feels like the show's been moving off in a new direction without him, and it's so long since his connection to Lucy was referenced that I'd genuinely forgotten about it. Still, maybe this will seem more important once all the pieces come together, as he definitely seems to have a plan of his own.
Charmed: Switches & Stones (2019)
Jodie Foster or Lindsay Lohan?
This week we have a remake of an old Phoebe and Paige plotline, although it's fun to see Sophia Jeffrey and Melanie Diaz having to cope with playing each other's parts for most of the episode. The result is Mel struggling to survive in Maggie's more feminine world while Maggie gets an insight into the secrets Mel's been keeping. And it feels like more of the show laughing at its initial militantism than embracing it to have Parker realise who Mel is when she's obnoxious to him. Meanwhile, there's a Monster of the Week at work and it does ultimately feed into Macy's storyline, as she gets to be the brains of the outfit again and work out a more sensitive solution than chopping the demon's head off. To be honest, it is hard to see the original resisting the temptation to end the moral uncertainty with a simple vanquishing.
By the end, Maggie seems to have accepted Mel's trust of Jada. The Elders aren't particularly reassuring, but Fiona's hardline attitude doesn't seem much more measured. But just as we're starting to get an idea of who we can trust and who we can't, the ending turns everything on its head. Or maybe it doesn't. Sometimes it's hard to be sure with this show.
Charmed: Touched by a Demon (2019)
Well this is kitsch
There are times when it's hard to tell whether this episode is deliberately bad or just bad. It can't even be bothered to resolve the previous episode's cliffhanger, with Mel and Jada suddenly safe without any explanation. The B-plot that follows is just more of the same, with Niko dragged in to literally do nothing and more of Jada's anti-Elder rhetoric that Mel just falls for even when the consequences of Jada's vigilantism are staring her in the face.
The main plot is a story about a couple of macho 90s TV heroes being released into the real world. There are some good parts to this: the team-up of Macy and Harry, and Macy having spent years working out a better solution to an episode's plot. It manages to be fun and therefore avoid being offensive, but there's still a smug sense that the show considers itself superior to 90s attitudes which aren't really that accurately portrayed anyway.
Oh, and there's a C-plot about Maggie being upset that Parker won't have sex with her (yes, really), which incredibly manages to lead into another cliffhanger that has the audience confused rather than intrigued.
Charmed: Manic Pixie Nightmare (2019)
The show is getting better at intertwining a one-off episode storyline with the characters' ongoing personal dilemmas. The pixie seems to embody the more irritating parts of the previous series, but sadly the resolution embodies the more irritating parts of this one. The show doesn't quite seem to know what it's saying. White males are both the victims and the villains, and the ending of the Charmed Ones sneering at the idea of white males being oppressed on a show that has its one token white male good guy and otherwise only uses them as demons, villains or cannon fodder feels a bit uncomfortable.
In the midst of all this, we have Macy and Galvin making an effective team (and she may even lose her v-card, although we're spared the details) and Maggie wondering whether to take a chance on Parker. Which leaves Mel and Jada to continue to fail to be interesting or show any real chemistry. Mel's involvement with the Sarcana continues to intrigue, and her sisters' horror at her hexing a human shows this isn't meant to be as black and white as she thinks it is, but does she really need to be shagging their spokesperson? (The scene where her sisters find this out is great though.) Giving them the cliffhanger is a misfire that just leaves the audience going "Huh?"
Charmed: You're Dead to Me (2019)
This is England, apparently
Things are really kicking into high gear now, as several elements from earlier episodes are explained, including why Marisol had the scythe and why she gave up Macy. And also the source of the darkness inside the latter. The result is a decent episodic storyline, with the viewer left uncertain just who to trust (if either) out of Cyd and Knansie, whilst also bringing Parker a little bit back into the fold.
In the midst of this, both Harry and Mel have to deal with people from past lives returning. Seeing the two characters teamed up is a sure sign of how far they've come from the adolescent sniping of the early episodes. Mel's involvement with Niki is not only unwise, it's also uninteresting, although sadly it looks like we're stuck with it. Harry seems to draw a line under his past and it's this trip to Manchester that's the episode's main flaw. Some of the architecture looks authentic but the church they visit doesn't look remotely English, or remotely like it's been around since the 1940s or earlier. (And only an American would express surprise at church records that go back 70 years: That seems ridiculously short to English ears.) Carter Westman doesn't sound like the name of someone born in Manchester in 1953 either. And as Mel says, why does that siren sound weird?
Still, there's a couple of stings in the tale, with unexpected alliances among the Caine parents, to keep us watching.
Charmed: Witch Perfect (2019)
It's better to be a hot mess than not be hot at all
The show seems to have well and truly hit its stride now. There's a decent Demon of the Week storyline that manages to involve all three sisters (although Maggie takes the lead with the others turning up late from their ongoing plotlines), Galvin seems to be well and truly filling the role of the Charmed One's human friend, and the reintroduction of Lucy is handled well. Niko not so much, the show's doing quite well without her and at the moment she just seems a distraction, and the potential sidelining of Harry is worrying. But it's good to see the Charmed Ones well and truly in the business of protecting innocents and keeping everyone alive, even the douche.
Macy's news about the sisters' paternity goes down like a lead balloon, although it's hard to be entirely behind Mel and Maggie's shoot the messenger response. It does mean she and Galvin get teamed up for most of the episode before her bonding with Maggie in the final moments...only for another skeleton to come tumbling out of the Vera-Vaughn closet.
The most intriguing thing is Mel getting her first look at the Sarcana's magical vigilantism. What we see Jada do here is relatively benign, but it's a sign of the show's recently acquired nuances, that while the early episodes would no doubt have portrayed the punishment of male predators as unrelentingly positive, here there is a slight suggestion that Mel doesn't really know what she's getting mixed up with.
Charmed: Keep Calm and Harry On (2019)
Are you sure you know what you're doing?
The main downsides of this episode are Harry's flashbacks, which are basically Gotham with fake English accents, and Mel being unable to get through it without making a racist anti-white comment. It's a shame they insist on giving the character lines like this, because she's improved immensely but it's still hard to get behind her being self-righteous, or to see her sudden "Elders bad, Sercana good" attitude, being rude to Charity when she's trying to help them while fawning over the shady Jada, as anything other than stupidity.
There's almost too much going on here at times, with the fall-out of Gavin finding out about the Charmed Ones, the Caine family dynamics and Maggie casting an ill-advised spell to help her get over Parker. There's a sign of things moving forward but also a sign of plotlines being closed off or backtracked. (Nico reappearing, somehow, makes a nonsense of her emotional exit.) The demon broker Dante continues to add to the shades of grey feeling, and the Caine family get more interesting as Julia sides with Parker in keeping things from Alastor. It's also unclear whether or not the Charmed Ones are actually on the right track on what Caine's planning.
The final reveal falls between being a nice twist and being a potentially meaningless one. Hopefully the show knows what they're doing but it's hard to tell.
Charmed: Jingle Hell (2018)
There's a decent amount of plot progression here as secrets come out.The Charmed Ones now know most of the truth about Parker, and we know who Parker's mother is.Sadly, the latter isn't very interesting and the character doesn't provide the necessary counterpoint to Caine: Parker seems to be the only one in the family with any compassion.
Mandeline Mantock gets to spend a good chunk of the episode playing Hunter-as-Macy and rises to the occasion.Mel continues to soften (although she inevitably hates her father): It's hard to imagine the character of earlier episodes giving Maggie the chat she does at the end here.
It's still not clear if we should trust the Sarcana but the answer is at least less straightforward than "No." Galvin losing his mark opens the way for him and Macy but raises questions about Macy's nature, given the reaction it had to Parker.
The episode loses at least a point for its contrived cliffhanger: Everyone can see Harry's too near the fissure but no-one bothers to hold out a hand or suggest he moves.
So who are the bad guys then?
Things are getting pleasingly complex now. Caine's "evil" plan seems to be to simply keep Parker alive, making him not entirely unsympathetic although this is counterpointed by the ruthlessness he and Hunter have shown. We've no real reason to trust Jada's version of events, but the Elders aren't exactly reassuring either and it's possible there are things even Harry doesn't know. In the midst of this, it seems the villains of the week are unconnected to what Jada and the Saranacy are doing with Macy getting to show her darker side in disposing of one.
And while Mel is feeling increasingly and thankfully removed from her original rather arrogant portrayal, Macy seems to get another chance with Galvin, although his protection mark may be the least of their obstacles.
Charmed: Out of Scythe (2018)
Hang on, is that it?
For much of its run, this one seems to be shaping up to be a good episode, with the Charmed Ones on the hunt for a mystical artifact, pursued by a mysterious opponent.We know from fairly early on that Caine is behind the other demon, although his involvement in the season arc remains unclear, but we don't find out who else is behind things until the final scene.Meanwhile, all three sisters have challenges that cause them to redefine themselves.
Unfortunately, it all falls flat.We get an anti-climax climax that doesn't really solve anything an act from the end, and instead of revisiting it, the episode limps to a conclusion by dealing with lesser issues.Some of these are quite good, such as Macy demonstrating steal in sorting out a problem at work, and Mel seems to be becoming a bit more three-dimensional as she decides she doesn't want a career writing feminist propaganda, but it's hard to care that much when there's a demon-freeing artifact out there.
There seems to be a move towards more serialised storytelling, which is necessary, but it leaves this episode very unfulfilling in isolation.
Charmed: Kappa Spirit (2018)
So we're starting to get an idea of what a normal episode of this rebooted Charmed is like, and it turns out to involve very little Power of Three, as for much of the episode it's Maggie and Mel in one storyline and Macy in the other, with only Harry crossing over.The standalone storyline of a sorority spirit seeking vengeance isn't particularly interesting but does at least advance the story of Maggie's estrangement from Lucy.Mel is annoying and judgemental again, making comments about "the patriarchy" for no reason other than that she's that sort of character, and using her powers to stop her sister getting a drink thrown over her doesn't seem a very good use for them. The pair's trip back to the 80s has potential to be interesting but only lasts a couple of minutes and is mostly an excuse to namedrop British royalty.
Meanwhile, Macy's investigation into Galvin's mark raises the possibility that its purpose might be to protect him from *her*, which seems to be connected to why her mother gave her up and which the Caines may already know about...
Charmed: Other Women (2018)
Close but no cigar
There's a curious reformatting of the show this week, as if someone's decided at a very early stage that some elements aren't working.Some of this is welcome: Harry's becoming closer to the girls as he ends up with them full-time and there finally seems to be a toning down of the more aggressive elements of Mel's character.After his cameo last episode, the sinister Caine and his ally Hunter continue to move centre stage, although curiously it seems they're not the Big Bad after all, merely taking advantage of someone else's scheme.
The episode seems to set up an ongoing plotline of Niko investigating the recent events that Mel is indelibly involved in and a one-episode plotline of Macy and Maggie finding out Galvin's new girlfriend is a succubus, only to invert both right at the end.The time alteration spell seems like both a cheat and potentially very dangerous:We get a sign of the consequences to Mel of the new timeline at the end but it's to be hoped they will be more far reaching than that.Is that the end of Niko on the series?Maybe, and to be honest she won't be missed as she's always felt tacked on.Meanwhile, it seems the mystery of the mark on Galvin's hip is deeper than it first appeared but too vague to be intriguing.
The C-plot of Maggie feeling guilty about kissing her friend's boyfriend largely pales in comparison, but at least there's a resolution and a possible end to Maggie's sorority plot thread.