Copious thanks to the lovely and talented Keckler, who so graciously and gracefully stepped in to recap the last two episodes while I was enjoying a lovely midwinter vacation back east. I owe you big time.
And after that immense favor from Keckler, none other than Piper Halliwell does me another by skipping the dreadful previouslys this week, choosing instead to toss her glossy mane of hair around as she barrels through one of the main hallways at Not!warts towards the hateful school's library, a set expression of determination etched into her face. A dark demonic force of indeterminate motivation -- heh -- appears in the blurry background of the shot to chase after her while conjuring a Flaming Ball Of Death, which he eventually hurls at the back of her head with a howl as the grinding electric guitar on the soundtrack goes apeshit. Piper dodges the FBOD with a hoot and a slide to the fake marble, leaving the thing to plow harmlessly into an urn on one of the tables. The angry and strangely stumpy-legged demon quickly wings another FBOD in Piper's direction, but the just-appearing Raige redirects it with her orbing telekinesis, sending it back towards the demon himself, who spins around in a dodge of his own right into a faceful of Phoebe's boot. She pimpsmacks him around for a bit before force-feeding him a little more shoe leather with a kick whose force sends him flipping ass-over-end to into the floor below. The demon, stunned, wriggles around and blinks as Piper calmly rises to her feet to deploy her mighty Hands Of Discontent, and demon instantly go boom in a screen-filling explosion of flame and smoking black bits.
As the demon's screams echo away, Piper takes a few small steps towards the center of the room and sings, "Nice teamwork." Phoebe and Raige amble over to join her, with Phoebe smilingly correcting, "You mean 'nice sisterwork.'" "We are definitely getting better at this," Raige rather smugly agrees, and believe it or not, I had no idea where they were going with any of this, so that line did seem more than a little odd the first time I heard it -- you know, in that "You should be expert at this after five endless and godforsaken years of it, you dim, twitchy, loser" sort of way -- but I shrugged it off because, after all, it's coming from the same nitwit who couldn't remember just nine episodes ago that she had a hand in vanquishing The Source Of All Evil three times in one goddamned year, so I was all, "Whatever." In any event, while I've been blathering on, Piper's added something entirely unimportant to the conversation, leading Phoebe to reply, "I think we're ready." "So do I," Raige opines. "I don't," comes a male voice from elsewhere in the room, and the apparent Glamorous Ladies turn their heads in time to catch a bald-headed and leather-clad gent emerging from the shadows to add, "Something is still missing." Piper begins to dispute this claim, but the misdirection of the argument that follows, with the apparent Glamorous Ladies trading barbs with a demon they should be blowing up in Not!warts, wasn't terribly engaging the first time around and certainly doesn't hold up on multiple viewings, so let's cut to the chase, shall we? The apparent Glamorous Ladies are shape-shifting demons who have spent most of the last decade mastering the real Manor Morons' powers, and would now be ready to supplant the true Ps in the overworld were it not for the fact that they have yet to twin the Power of Three. Oh, and by the way, since only one of these trampy usurpers is ever addressed by her true character name during the course of the evening, I'm going to cheat and check out the Internet Movie Database entry for this episode, which is telling me we've got "Pilar" for Piper, "Phoenix" for the Feebs, and "Patra" for Raige. Their bald-headed buddy, incidentally, is "Savard." You got all that? Good. The apparent Glamorous Ladies, in one of the worst morphing effects I've ever seen on this show -- like, way to stop even trying only midway through the final season, you hacks -- pixellate through the miracle of Photoshop into their regular appearances to glare at Savard for a very long moment before vanishing into the opening credits.
Oh, wow. This is my first pass through the permanently Dolt-free opening credits, so I suppose I should let you all know that they've replaced him with a shot of Phoebe's Phrisky Cooter Tattoo reciting a spell at Not!warts (others might have been involved in that scene as well, and no, I'm not going to look up the episode because they've slung the COOTER TAT into the GODDAMNED OPENING CREDITS, and they therefore can suck my ass), Raige simultaneously dodging and deflecting one of Zankou's Deep-Fried Chicken Balls Of Death in last season's finale, the Retarded Bimbo going all Matrix-y in an alleyway, Raige and the Retard whipping up a potion in the nonexistent attic (which, pick an episode, any episode), the Retard battling the tiny flying monkeys, and what I believe is a new-to-the credits sequence of the Ps regaining control of the Book of Shadows at the end of last year. Just so you know.