Charmed
Sympathy For The Demon

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Demian: C | Grade It Now!
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Sympathy For The Literary Convention

Up in the attic, Raige enters to apologize once more as Phoebe drops Demon Be Gone ingredients into a pot, and -- oh dear God. Raige, in addition to the morally objectionable go-go boots, is sporting a skort. Why? WHYYYYY? While Phoebe's distracted by the potion and I'm busily gouging out my eyes, Barbas tosses a little hallucinatory mojo Phoebe's way. From Phoebe's perspective, Raige is now the demon himself, come to gut her in the attic. "What have you done with my sister?" Phoebe shouts. Barbas smirks that he's killed both Piper and Raige with their fears. Raige, meanwhile, screams, "He's tricking you!" For her trouble, she receives a kick in her stomach. During the smackdown that follows, we get repeated parallel shots of the action featuring Phoebe's demon-addled perspective contrasted with what's actually happening. And what's actually happening is that Raige is getting her ass kicked. Phoebe boots her sister around the room, smashing various items of furniture with Raige's increasingly battered body, as Raige continues to wail that Phoebe's hallucinating.

Down in the foyer, Piper wrings her hands and sobs as Daddy Dearest continues to scream at Grams. Hallucinatory Piper steps between them and fruitlessly pleads with them to stop arguing. Barbas flickers in beside Piper and coos, "Your greatest fear was born in this very moment." Daddy Dearest flings his hands in the air and vanishes through the front doors. "Ever since this moment," Barbas continues, "when you experience happiness, tragedy follows." Grams disappears into the parlor. Hallucinatory Piper clutches her doll, alone and forlorn at the far end of the hall. Barbas picks up the thread of his last thought, breathing that Piper's been left nothing more than "a lifetime of pain." Hallucinatory Piper dissolves as the stained glass of the front doors morphs into brick. "A pain," Barbas finishes, "that continues on and on, even into the next generation." At this, Piper, by now weeping freely, grabs at her stomach and gasps in agony. Barbas, blissed out on Piper's crippling angst, rocks back and forth a bit with his eyes closed before flickering away. Piper curls into a ball on the carpet, moaning, "Please. Not my baby!" Best scene in the episode, people.

Followed immediately by one of the worst. Well, one of the worst if we're evaluating these things in terms of realized potential. Back in the attic, Phoebe flips Raige over, and, heeding the slurred exhortations of the hallucinatory Barbas, snatches up a nearby dagger, plunging it into Raige's chest. Of course, once the dagger hits home, hallucinatory Barbas morphs back into the grievously-injured Raige. Not only does Alyssa Milano's horrified reaction shot leave me unmoved, but then they halt the momentum by cutting away to commercial. Idiots. They should have gone to black right after Barbas morphed back into Raige, and allowed Phoebe's reaction to begin and build through what follows the break.

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Charmed

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