Charmed
The Witch Is Back

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Demian: B- | Grade It Now!
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"What's a zoo?"

Demian: As I remember, SunMoon, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me by blah blah Shakespeare.
SunMoonStar: Whatever, dude. Yonder comes my videocassette.
Demian: Go apart, SunMoon, and thou shalt hear how it will shake me up.

We fade up on some establishing footage stolen from the Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter. The helpful caption identifies this place as Salem, Massachusetts, in the Year of Our Lord 1692. The camera cuts to take in the scrawny calves of a jailer and his visitor, picking their buckle-shoed way across colonial filth to a locked cell door. The scrawny calves of the jailer never get a face, which makes me think they squeezed a luckless, starving production assistant into hose and clunky shoes for the establishing shot, the better to avoid paying an extra. The malnourished production assistant masquerading as a jailer opens the cell door to allow a dark-haired Fabio wannabe entry. Get a haircut, you ass. The ass crosses the threshold to confront the woman therein. She spins about on her heel and breathlessly whispers, "Matthew!" He addresses her as "Melinda," and then the two bicker about some love affair gone wrong. Seems he's denounced her as a witch, and the good people of Salem intend to burn her at the stake -- which, by the way, never happened during the witch trials. The accused were sentenced to death by hanging, but you all knew that already, right? So, anyway, we're gifted with a bit more backstory. To wit, this Matthew cretin stole Melinda's powers somehow, and he intends to move on to seduce innumerable witches in the future after she's gone. Not so fast, girly-man. Melinda rips a locket from her throat and flings it into his chest. Matthew unlatches it and removes a piece of paper that bursts into flame. According to Melinda, the burning paper strips Matthew of the powers he stole from her. She then chants the following as a magical whirlwind whips around Fabio:

Outside of time,
Outside of gain.
Know only sorrow --
Know only pain.

Fabio howls and moans and disappears into the locket, which flares and snaps shut.

Buckland's, three hundred and six years later. The same locket rests on a velvet-enshrouded display board with a few other silver trinkets. Rex sets the tray down on Prue's desk and tries to pry open the locket with his fingernails before Prue interrupts him. He asks that she catalogue these latest items from "an estate back East," and leaves. Of course, the first item Prue examines is the locket. She effortlessly flicks open the catch. Heh. Rex is such a fricking wimp. A light puff of smoke billows from the locket as the door to Prue's office slams shut of its own accord. Prue, startled, whips her head around as a magical whirlwind spouts from the locket in her hands. Fabio presently appears therein and stretches his back as he yawls a bit. "I'm back," he announces -- rather tepidly for one so supposedly threatening -- "and the world has changed." Apologies to all you Billy Wirth fans out there (and I'm sure your numbers are legion), but this guy sucks. And not in the good way. Well, to be honest with you, I have no way of knowing if he sucks in the good way or not, but it seemed like the appropriate sentence fragment to tack on to that last statement. In any event, Prue and Fabio make with the meet and greet. Fabio determines that Prue must be a descendent of Melinda Warren, for only one of her offspring could have freed him from the locket-sized prison in which he's been whiling away the last three centuries. Prue, naturally, TKs Fabio into a wall, and he slumps to the floor. From his rumpled position on the carpet, he thanks her. You see, he "tricked" her into using her power on him, thereby giving him both said power and immunity against it. He rises to his feet and squishes poor Prue against the wall opposite with a little TK and a very large chair. As she slithers out to race towards the door, Fabio blinks out from where he had been standing to reappear behind her. He wraps his arm around her neck and demands she freeze time. Prue, quietly freaking, whispers that she can't do that. "So you're not alone," Fabio guesses. He blinks over to her desk to examine her nameplate. "And the family name is now Halliwell," he continues. Prue gasps and shudders as the wimp Rex calls to her from the hallway. Fabio shoots Prue the evil eye, then turns to face the bank of windows in her office. He squints, and one of the sheets of glass explodes outwards. Fabio leaps onto the ledge before disappearing downwards.

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Charmed

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