Before we get to the recap proper, I have to admit that this show's switch to Sunday nights has thrown me a bit, given my devotion to the HBO drama series that appear on the same night. It's pretty bizarre to flip from the Glamorous Ladies' bubbly, brainless antics to Janice making Ralphie her bitch with a little Vaseline and a big dildo. Then again, we're never quite sure what Piper does to the Dolt up in that boudoir of hers, are we?
I just grossed myself out.
It's evening at Halliwell Manor. Up in the attic, Piper burns a bit of the midnight oil, balancing an enormous book of fairy tales in her lap as she reads aloud the story of Snow White. I assume she's reading aloud for the benefit of the percolating infant, though given the Dolt spawn's previously demonstrated abilities, I'm surprised Piper can't simply press the book against her abdomen so the child can absorb the text, Willow-like. Raige enters, evidently returning from her graveyard shift slinging hash at the International House of Pancakes. Seriously -- she's wearing a jaundice-toned, floral-patterned, Empire-waist frock with brown trim, cap sleeves, and a button-down bodice beneath the frazzled, frizzy, auburn tangle of her hair that dangles past her ears. I haven't seen an ensemble quite so hideous since my poor put-upon sister worked the portrait and caricature concession at Hershey Park in the late '70s. Raige is surprised to find Piper awake. Piper places blame for her insomnia on those icky first-trimester pregnant-lady hormones coursing through her veins. Raige offers to whip up some sort of earthy-crunchy Wiccan sleep aid, but Piper declines, afraid as she is of exposing the percolating infant to "anything remotely bad for her," no matter how wholesome and organic that anything might be. Raige snides that if Piper's worried about exposing the infant to harmful substances, she might want to knock it off with the fairy tales. Piper shoots Raige a suspicious side-eye, so Raige clarifies with a fairy-tales-as-anti-feminist-narrative rant that should immediately put an end Piper's insomnia, but for some reason doesn't. Piper counters that fairy tales instill wee ones with a sense of "values," adding that Grams relied upon the stories to raise the Famous Original Glamorous Ladies. Way to hack your own argument off at the knees, Piper. After all, things turned out so well for Prue and Phoebe, didn't they? Raige rolls her eyes, notes that her own grandmother didn't have to rely on stories involving moppet-hungry wolves to instill Raige with a sound value system, and exhorts Piper to rely on her "natural instincts." Piper snarks something about how her "natural instincts are to panic," which likely won't be of much use with a child who could "[orb] out to Tahiti when [she's] sent to [her] room." Raige assures Piper that everything will work out for the best, especially as Piper can rely upon Phoebe and Raige for assistance. Yeah, good luck convincing Phoebe to do something -- anything -- for somebody else, Raige. Raige grabs the Book of Shadows from its stand and exits the attic to work on some potions down in the kitchen.
Piper sighs a bit before resuming her recitation of the tale of Snow White and oh sweet Jesus, that's a lousy transition effect to the next scene. A crappy CGI "page" turns in a wipe from the lower left corner of the screen to the upper right, revealing a moonlight castle perched atop an Alp. Okay, I'm not so sure about the Alp thing, but all of the folk tales featured tonight are of European origin, so just go with it. Piper continues with the story in voice-over as the camera enters the castle to land upon an ancient, bewhiskered gentleman wiping down a mirror. Presently, a sharp-nosed, severe, middle-aged blonde wearing far too much eyeliner appears in the glass to sneer, "Aren't you dead yet?" How pleasant. But then, I suppose I'd be a bit on the snotty side myself if I had to go through life looking like an ungodly cross between Cloris Leachman and Sandy Duncan. I'm looking for the glass eye, people. Grampy ho-hos something about Cloris still nursing her bitterness after all these years before turning to blow a ream of exposition in his "apprentice's" general direction, jostling the mirror as he does so. Gramps urges the apprentice to treat the artifacts in the room with more care, as they're "not just symbols -- they're pieces of history." Given that the apprentice is currently fondling a "glass" pump that is obviously molded from Lucite and is therefore shatter-proof, this instruction only serves to annoy me. By the by, other "pieces of history" scattered about the chamber on pedestals include a nutcracker, a pumpkin, Little Red's riding hood, Aladdin's lamp, a harp, a hatchet, and a golden orb I must assume is the Apple Of Discord. Unfortunately, Eris will not be appearing in this evening's presentation to set the Ps at each other's throats over possession of said apple, which really is a shame. The ensuing bitch-fest would have been far more entertaining than what follows, despite the fact that Alyssa Milano would insist she be assigned the role of Venus. Like she needs another excuse to thrust her boobs in our faces.