Well fellow Fanatics, first things first: It’s time to celebrate the good news!
The Charmed Ones are officially coming back for a second season, and they commemorated the occasion by returning with a brand new (and slightly darker) episode.
Charmed 2018 Season 1 Episode 12 provided with many long-awaited answers while leaving us with a few newly found questions, as well.
The forefront of the episode revolved around revealing the context behind Macy's innate darkness. And although it was gratifying to see that darkness displayed as an active facet of her personality, the backstory of what originally made her that way felt somewhat underwhelming.
Traveling back 20 years in the past and allowing the audience to witness what happened to Macy as a baby was fulfilling in its execution. It was genuinely shocking to discover her parents had made a blind deal to bring her back to life.
The tone of the scene was darker than Charmed usually delivers. By taking away most of the show's bright cinematography and its lighter tempo, the directional choices instead exemplified a more menacing, grittier quality. A quality that if used more often, would help the show feel more grounded in its mythology.
The actual explanation for Macy’s parents' absence in her life was well constructed. Sacrificing a life with her child to save her child fit into who Marisol Vera was. It felt more natural than if she had been evil in her motives. It also helped to know Marisol was never aware Macy would eventually become demonic. These reveals preserved and cemented her characterization.
It felt like the right time for Macy to make peace with her abandonment issues. They’ve been a topic of conversation from Charmed (2018) Season 1 Episode 1, and finding solace in her mother's decisions became a real moment of growth for Macy.
In general, there were a lot of aspects to this storyline that worked exceptionally well, including the idea that Macy will have to fight against her demonic powers going forward. Madeleine Mantock pulls off the complexity nicely, and evil or not, the audience finally gets to witness a sister doing something they rarely ever do: use their powers.
The only facet of the Macy arc that didn't land quite right was the implementing of the necromancer. The unveiling of Macy’s darkness has been built into quite a large part of the of Charmed's main story. For the climax of that story to merely be a monster of the week theme doesn't quite offer the right amount of payoff.
The pacing and information overload were too much here to properly keep up with the plot. Viewers have wanted answers about Macy for half a season now. The show should dedicate the right amount of time to their explanation. It should also dedicate the right amount of gravitas.
Not to say things had to be linked to Allister in some way. It would, however, have been a much better pay off if the writers allowed the villain who caused Macy’s darkness to be a significant threat to the sisters.
One that stuck around for longer than one episode.
Kancy’s deal with the demon was an interesting twist, but it felt like a twist worth more than a few seconds of screentime. Instead, her motives were revealed by a witch the audience doesn't know, and Kancy was defeated within a minute of the audience discovering she was evil.
It may have given Parker a moment of redemption, but that moment wasn’t really necessary for his character. He had already proven himself by talking Macy off the demonic ledge minutes earlier.
Kancy is, essentially, solely responsible for Macy’s demon issues, but the sisters weren’t even the ones to vanquish her. Technically, Parker didn’t either! She just mistakenly attacked a demon unknowingly and vanished herself.
The sisters just stood there and watched her disappear into a blue cloud of badly CGI’d smoke.
Of course, we did get to see Macy learn more about the strength of her powers and what they can do -- powers that might be dangerous in the hands of a witch who isn’t as virtuous as one would have thought
Having Macy cause pain to a fellow witch while blindly siding with a necromancer was also a twist that rightfully exemplified just how evil Macy could stand to become. It's a jarring turn from the previously tightly wound good girl who spoke of darkness inside her, but never actually showed any of it.
The unveiling still felt cheap. The writers missed an opportunity to implement a bigger (and potentially even scarier) villain into future plotlines for the sisters.
Maybe the demon who put the curse on Kancy will end up playing a more prominent role in the Charmed One’s story? Let’s keep our fingers crossed because that could be some very juicy witch content.
While Macy found complexity, Mel found growth. With every passing episode, she becomes a much more likable character. Her willingness to once again let Niko go was worthy of applause, and her loyalty to Harry (plus the ability to stay calm while stranded in a foreign country with no passport) was a delight to witness.
Mel has come along way from the woman we met in Charmed Episode 1 Season 1. What pilot Mel stood for was noble, but her emotional outbursts forced her into a stereotype of an angry feminist.
Luckily, the writers remembered a woman could be written as strong, as well as soft and vulnerable. It's all about picking the right moments.
Growth and complexity were an overarching theme of “You’re Dead To Me.” New facets of Macy got unveiled, Mel learned to be selfless, Parker was willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good, and Maggie started on her path to forgiveness.
Maggie may not be ready to forgive Parker completely, but the constant push and pull between these two gives them an excellent dynamic. In a world of TV where relationships begin and end in a single episode, watching them organically (and slowly) find their way back to one another makes them a relationship worth the wait.
The only character who didn’t seem to move forward was Harry.
This arc could have been fantastic. Flashbacks to Harry’s past life in Charmed Season 1 Episode 10 were intriguing and mysterious. The identity of his son provided endless opportunities for exciting storylines.
Who was Harry as a human? Who is his son now? What will their reuniting bring about in the Charmed One’s lives? All these questions seemed to be leading up to an incredibly fascinating backstory -- one that could have Harry’s character much more depth.
Instead, nothing came of it at all.
Harry’s son is a normal man. A man who has forgiven Harry and holds no type of remorse or bitterness for his father. Harry's realization was all he needed to restore his powers and return as the girls' white lighter!
How utterly and unbelievably dull.
Harry powers were down for no longer than one episode. How much higher would the stakes have been, if the episodes progressed and Harry still couldn’t heal the sisters? If he delved into a deep depression that forced the Elders into finding them a new temporary white lighter? A white lighter who might shake things up at the Vera manor?
Those ideas alone excite me, and it’s so disappointing to know we won't be getting them. Harry’s son was merely implemented to sideline him while the sisters went on their individual journeys.
Which begs the question -- why do they need a white lighter at all? Harry was too overbearing at the beginning of the series, and now he’s too disconnected. They can't regress the sisters into being utterly dependent on his council, so they could at least give him a strong B plot.
What a wonderful character arc it would have been to see Harry existentially struggle with the inability to remember his past (and seemingly dark) life.
That’s what Charmed needs. It shouldn't be afraid to go darker, grittier, broodier. It would do the show so much service to take that leap. The original series had so many humorous and light moments, but it wasn’t afraid to go dark when it needed to.
OG Charmed took chances. It explored emotional depth by giving its characters heavy, and sometimes traumatic, personal arcs. That balance is what made it so great.
So writers, hear my cry. I've gotten a taste of a darker Charmed (2018), and I want more!
Give me more evil Macy. Showcase a more tortured Harry. Let me witness more of Maggie’s loneliness without Parker; chronicle her failure to let go of how she feels about him. Deliver me a pining Mel who fights to be strong even when every bone in her body is telling her to breakdown.
And show it to me over time. Don't just tell me about it.
I crave angst from your characters. Why? Because it makes them come alive. It puts me on the edge of my seat. It allows me to connect with them on a deeper level. It's about so much more than finding them funny, sweet, quirky, or “woke.”
It's about making them real. I want the real stuff.
- The CGI is still jarringly hokey. Someone over at Charmed needs to speak to whoever did CGI for The Vampire Diaries and get some tips.
- I really liked the idea of Parker wearing red to the party. His response of “you know why” after Maggie asked why he wore that color made my heart flutter.
- Nick Hargoves acting is improving, and I was impressed with him this episode. He didn't feel stiff.
- I’m so interested to see how much Niko truly knows about Mel.
- I am living for Lucy and Maggie's newfound friendship, and I hope it lasts beyond whatever mind control hold Allister has on Lucy.
- The wardrobe department deserves all kinds of kudos. They really individualize each sisters personal style each and every outfit/episode.
Okay, Charmed Ones! What did you think of this return episode? Were you satisfied with all the reveals, or did they feel cheap to you? Are you interested to see Macy explore her evil side more? Are you on Team Parker again?
Sound off in the comments below, and don't forget you can catch up on all your favorite episodes by watching Charmed (2018) online, right here at TV Fanatic!
Kat Pettibone is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.