For a midseason premiere, that wasn’t half bad!
Structurally speaking, Charmed (2018) Season 1 Episode 10 was the biggest success thus far. Finally, storylines are beginning to come together and make for interesting television.
Opting to stray away from the “monster of the week” trope they’ve held on to so tightly, Charmed instead chose to focus more on the arcs which have spanned across the entire season.
Boy, did that work in their favor.
I have believed from the pilot if the writers would just focus on developing more intricate plot lines that aid in world-building, the show would inevitably take a turn for the better.
I’m extremely glad to see I was right.
Previously, things moved fast in all the wrong ways. A demon was introduced, the sisters would make a mess in failing and Harry would ultimately come to save them. A million things were happening at once, half of them completely unimportant to the overall narrative of the show.
Now, things are picking up speed in a different way—we’re finally seeing how all these separate dots connect to one another in a way that makes sense. We're also getting a glimpse at the sisters having agency over their powers and decision making.
A man is no longer rushing in to save these girls. They're the ones doing all the saving. It's about damn time.
Another fresh aspect is the new (and improved) use of Galvin's character. The writers have allowed him the privilege of becoming privy to the witching world, and it's truly an excellent move. It has instantaneously made his character more likable.
It’s great fun to have someone non-magical be in the know. Watching Galvin hilariously trying to keep up with all the sisters have going on is beyond entertaining, and the decision to keep Galvin not only open to witchcraft but eager and willing to help, adds a bit of whimsy the story previously lacked.
Galvin may have been a wet blanket of a character, but his involvement now improves every scene he’s a part of. Somehow it’s also managed to awaken a chemistry between him and Macy that was sorely lacking in the first half of the season.
Giving Macy the “crazy antics” storyline (which would normally be given to Maggie) was an excellent change in pace, and both actors brought the perfect amount of lightheartedness to their performances.
In general, focusing more on plots that will span throughout the season, allows all the characters license to gain more complexity.
We finally saw a darker side of Maggie, whose dialogue at times was questionable at best, but Sarah Jeffrey’s sells what she’s given every time. We also gained insight into Harry's previous life, in a way which fit organically into the story.
We even got a more enjoyable Mel, who although is still headstrong as ever, is learning to put that type of energy into the right places. There was much less anger exuding from her, and the softer moments the writers have implemented for her do not go unnoticed.
Mel actually sympathizing with a heartbroken Maggie? Taking the time to remind Maggie she’s allowed to hurt. even though she’s hurting over a demon? That’s exactly the type of complex growth every character on this show could benefit from.
It also feels as if the writers are discovering natural ways to incorporate “easter eggs” from the original Charmed series. Maggie being chastised for her passive powers was an excellent callback to Phoebe’s similar struggles, and Mel’s general disdain of the Elders is particularly similar to Piper’s view of them.
The episode also (finally) highlighted the Big Bad of the season, which up until now, hadn’t really come off as all that “big” or “bad.” He may be a demon, but he was a demon that sent his feuding sons to do his dirty work. All he really did, was sit at a desk.
In “Keep Calm and Harry On”, we get to see Allistair in action—against his wife, his sons, and most grippingly, the Charmed Ones. His charisma is equally intriguing as it is chilling, and his quick-witted personality is reminiscent of another major demon from the Charmed universe.
I worried that Nick Hargrove wouldn’t be able to fill Julian McMahon’s shoes, but now I'm thinking maybe he won’t have to. Although no one will ever live up to McMahon’s portrayal of Cole Turner in the original series, Allistair does have a certain air about him that helps bring a much-needed zest to the newer installment.
However, even with all they got right, Charmed (2018) has a ways to go before it feels like they've earned a second season.
The dialogue is still far too clunky and expository. A particular amount of “corniness” is expected from a show like Charmed, but they need to stop telling us things and start showing them, instead.
We didn’t need Maggie's repetitive lines in Tartarus about things "hurting too much" and "wanting the pain to stop." We already knew those things. We figured out she didn't want to feel pain when she cast a spell on herself to stop it.
We also saw her trapped inside a dungeon of hell, being pricked by scorpions forcing her to remember her worst memories.
All that was needed were the blood-curdling screams, and the desperate call for Harry, to understand the pain she was in. Jeffrey’s delivery of utter fear and desperation was more than enough to get the message across.
The special effects are also an issue that desperately needs tweaking.
It can be tempting to use the most complex editing techniques to help make a magical world come alive, but sometimes it's true what they say-- less really is more. The contrast of intense CGI against the backdrop of a non-effects based world does nothing more than break the fourth wall and take the viewer out of the moment.
It’s not as if the show hasn’t gone subtle before. When the Harbinger was placed inside of Angela, Charmed opted for makeup over heavy CGI, and there hasn’t been a scarier monster yet.
I would rather see prosthetics, than cartoonish dragons and hologram-like demons. The jarring implementation just adds a campiness Charmed doesn't quite need.
Even with the expository dialogue and poor CGI, this was by far the best episode of the season. The stakes are set, the stories are colliding, the characters are growing, and the world is finally beginning to build.
I can genuinely say (for maybe the first time), that I’m excited to see where this story is going to go next.
- How excited were you to see Niko back? What was she doing? Does she remember anything?
- Galvin reacting badly to Macy outing her virginity rubbed me the wrong way, but I was satisfied to see him come around in the end and make it clear that it’s her body and her choice.
- This episode really turned me on to Galvin and Macy, at least for a little while.
- This episode did NOT turn me on to Charity and Harry. Thank you, next.
- I found the flashes of Harry's past to be extremely well done. I’m looking forward to more of that storyline, and I’m glad we got to see Rupert Grint’s acting chops.
- Mel is he half-sister?! Now that's a twist I NEVER saw coming!
Okay TV Fanatics, it's your turn! Is Galvin growing on you? Are you interested in learning more about Harry's past? Do you want Maggie to forgive Parker? And what are your thoughts on Mel being the true half-sister?!
Leave all your opinions in the comments section below, and if you need to catch up, you can watch Charmed (2108) online, right here at TV Fanatic!
Kat Pettibone is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.