During all of this, Raige has been bouncing up and down the stairs with boxes of her art supplies, depositing them in the hall for disposal. Seems she no longer has time to pursue her hobby, what with her responsibilities in the Manor and THE BLACK HOLE OF SOCIAL SERVICES and all. The dim little bulb lurking in the dark recesses of Phoebe's mind glows. As Raige is "an artistic, creative type," Phoebe reasons that she and Raige can meet with Piper's client while Piper slaves away in the kitchen. Phoebe trundles Raige towards the front door while perking at Piper, "Us: Theme. You: Potion." Piper grits her teeth and slits her eyes as she counters, "Me: Peeved. You: Annoying." Indeed, Piper. Almost as annoying as those frilly white pantaloons Phoebe's employing as outerwear, but I'm sure I'll have more to say about those later.
Random alley, filled with the shopping carts of the homeless. A mouth-breathing, grime-encrusted victim of the dot-bomb recession shuffles through, gazing around vacantly. Cocky The Wonder Warlock and one of his friends blink in to toss a matching pair of menacing glares at the mouth-breather. In response, the mouth-breather morphs into a clean-shaven, bald demon clad in a monochromatic shirt and tie beneath a black duster. He's so fashion-forward. For 1998. The demon warns the two to back off, as the three are all "on the same side." Cocky's companion snidely compliments the demon on his "glamouring power." The demon brushes past them, claiming he has no room in his schedule for "warlock scum." Cocky presses a hand against the demon's chest and sneers, "We're gonna need to borrow that little trick of yours." Cocky's companion jams a dagger into the demon's chest, causing the demon to explode into flame and disappear. Cocky orders the companion to use the freshly-acquired glamouring ability to murder the Ps and deliver their powers to him. Wait. What? Oh, yeah. Warlocks assume the powers of those they kill. I am loathe to admit how long it took me to remember that pertinent detail. Is it too much to ask for the writers to dispense with the rehashing of major plot points from week to week and instead provide truly relevant background information, like, say, that? Huh?
Anyway, Cocky's companion hesitates. Angrily. He thought Cocky was going to help murder the Ps! Not so. Cocky has a faction to build, warlocks to recruit, powers to steal. You know the drill. Well, then, why should the companion risk his life to satisfy Cocky's desire to become the next Source? Cocky pulls an assist from The Mood Ring Of Inspiration And Cheap Platitudes to exhort his companion as follows: "Aren't you tired of living under demonic rule? Of being a second-class citizen? My friend, in the coming days we must rise above our differences if we are to reach the level of our convictions!" Somewhere, I'm sure, Pismo and Peggy weep as one, not least because Cocky's delivery of that line is far more charismatic than Pismo's ever could hope to be. In case this little speech isn't enough to bend the guy to his will, Cocky bedazzles his companion with a ray from The Mood Ring Of Uninspired Contrivance. The companion reacts to the ray as if he's taken a particularly huge bong hit. He smirks with his eyelids at half-mast before blinking out to complete his assignment. Cocky grins to himself as if to say, "What a freaking jackass," then turns to exit the alleyway. The actor playing Cocky seems to be enjoying himself immensely, what with the gleefully campy gnashing of scenery in which he's been indulging thus far this evening. Then again, I suppose I should expect nothing less from the star of Return of the Killer Tomatoes.
P3. Phoebe and Raige convince Bev to go with a 1940s-themed evening, despite Bev's rationale that a 1950s theme would be "a little bit more flashy." Phoebe's selling points are zoot suits, saddle shoes, and patriotism, in that order. You do know that at the time, zoot suits were perceived as the exact opposite of wartime patriotism, don't you? Good. Raige's selling point is that the '50s have been done to death. Bev's still waffling, so Phoebe slyly settles the deal with flattery, telling Bev she has "this kinda Veronica Lake thing going on." I seem to recall Veronica Lake dying of cirrhosis after spending her declining years as an alcoholic waitress in a diner, so, you know, not such a good thing to "kinda" have going on if you know what I mean, Feebs. You might as well tell the poor woman, "You are so Frances Farmer, I just want to run out and get a lobotomy right now!" Bev has the popular-culture memory of a gnat, however, and the Veronica Lake comparison sells her on the whole idea. Phoebe hands Bev some information on an amenable costume shop as the three women rise from their seats. Bev thanks them both and darts up the stairs just as Cole enters the club.