First, a short note. I wrote the following unaware of the article in Friday’s Hollywood Reporter revealing that Shannen Doherty is taking her act -- and her bitchy attitude -- on the road. Those of you expecting commentary on this development in this week’s recap will be sorely disappointed. Now, on with the show.
I’ve heard tell in the forums that this episode will be the last “lighthearted” one for quite some time. If so, kill me. Now. Drama does not wear well on this program.
Case in point: Phoebe Halliwell. The episode opens with her “forlornly” ensconced in the manor parlor. The Book of Shadows lies open in her lap. She gazes “sadly” at a photo-booth strip of pictures of herself and Cole in happier times. “Dejectedly,” she pastes the strip onto a blank page facing the one devoted to Belthazor. After “despondently” contemplating this for a moment, she “miserably” scrawls “Cole’s human FoRm” across the top of the page in her childish hand. At this point, I should care for her welfare. I should care that she lost her boyfriend -- or as she put it herself, her “soul mate” -- to the Forces of Evil. I should care that this loss might cause her to behave in a manner unbefitting a Charmed One. I should care that she’s marring the otherwise well-done Book of Shadows with her amateurish scribbling. I care about none of these things. Why? Because Drama Does Not Wear Well On This Program. Because These People Cannot Act. Because The “Writers” Suck At Scripting Anything Other Than Broad, Magic-Related Comedy.
I’m sorry. I suppose I’m being bitter. Maybe it’s because I wasted three hours of my life Saturday watching The Patriot. (“It’s not TV. It’s historically-inaccurate Mel Gibson crapfests.”) Maybe it’s the article I read in this week’s New Yorker about the toxic environment broadcast network executives force their creative teams to endure. I realize I should not take such frustrations out on the cast and crew of Charmed. That said, if the last two episodes are any indication of the direction in which this show is headed, I repeat: Kill me. Now.
Well. With that out of the way, let’s settle in for another thrilling episode, shall we? Returning from a date, Prue enters the manor and sets down her wrap. She’s wearing a chocolate-colored tube top and a white skirt that either has rather strategically-placed triangular panels sewn into it, or it’s so sheer that I’m looking at her panties. Phoebe asks why Prue chose not to invite her latest conquest inside. Prue accuses Phoebe of “eavesdropping.” Phoebe replies that she must get her romance vicariously through her sister’s dating exploits, now that she again is a single woman. Take out an ad in the personals, sweetie. And put a sock in it while you’re at it. Prue flips her hair around a bit and turns to enter the parlor. To my immense relief, her skirt upon closer inspection is indeed a series of triangular panels sewn together. I don’t think I could handle looking at Shannen Doherty’s unmentionables all evening. Prue announces that her love life lately “could be rated PG for ‘Pretty Grim.’” Phoebe decides this is because Prue is holding out for “Mr. Right,” as opposed, presumably, to Mr. Right Now. Prue insists she’d gladly settle for any or all of the Messrs. “Interesting,” “Personality,” or “Take My Breath Away.” Phoebe darkly warns against the latter, promising that those types tend to spring nasty surprises on the unsuspecting. To emphasize her point, she draws a thick arrow leading to a photo of Cole with her black Sharpie. Prue gasps in horror that her youngest sister is destroying the integrity of the Book of Shadows with her kindergarten doodling, and forcefully TKs Phoebe into an unfortunate plant stand before she can do more irreparable harm to the family’s most-valuable heirloom. Kidding. She doesn’t do any of that. Rather, she sits on the arm of the sofa to read from Phoebe’s entry. “Cole likes walks in the park, jazz, and fine wine.” And licking up the blood of Protestant babies as it drips from their lifeless bodies after he’s nailed them to the door of a Catholic cathedral. Oops. Sorry. I have no idea where all of this latent hostility is coming from tonight. Could it be the last twenty episodes? Okay, the last two, then.
Anyway, Prue gently notes that that sort of information has no place in the BoS. Indeed. It’s a guide to the underworld, not a dating service. Phoebe argues weakly that such information will be necessary for future Halliwell witches, should Cole do that voodoo that he do so well on one of their descendants. Prue interprets this reasoning as the cry for help it really is, and asks Phoebe if there’s anything she’d like to discuss. Phoebe insists there is nothing further to discuss. “I loved. I lost. And now I’m moving on.” Yeah. I know. I saw it already. And now you need to shut up about it. Piper helpfully comes to my aid by blowing something up in another corner of the house. The explosion rattles the lamps in the parlor. Prue and Phoebe drop their current pointless dialogue to investigate. In “the bunker formerly known as the basement” -- Phoebe’s term -- Piper is revealed to have destroyed the stored Christmas decorations. The Christmas decorations consist primarily of those tacky glowing plastic candy canes and Santas, so I certainly don’t have a problem with this development. To no one’s surprise, Piper still cannot control her amplified powers. Phoebe and Prue ask through the basement door if they can help Piper in any way. Piper shouts back the suggestion that they stay as far away from her as possible. Prue tries to cajole Piper into coming back upstairs. The Dolt needs her. The nightclub needs her. Her starving sisters need her to cook for them. “Do you want her to come up or do you want her to stay down there?” Phoebe asks. Snick. While all of this has been going on, the sounds of a kennelful of dogs yowling at the moon have been gradually getting louder. Due to the noise, Kit darts into the kitchen, distressed. S/he knocks over the garbage can in the process. Phoebe scoots up onto the island to avoid the darting feline. Her ample derriere accidentally shoves a set of utensils to the floor. Downstairs, Piper looks up, wondering loudly what’s going on. Phoebe yodels, “It’s nothing. Don’t blow anything up.” Prue moves to Phoebe’s side as the baying of the hounds increases in volume. “What the hell is going on out there?” Yes, Prue. Exactly.