The episode begins with the three sisters training in some sort of magical VR arena, and completely sucking at it. Maggie keeps stopping to text Regina George instead of paying attention to what she’s doing, which keeps leading to her getting stabbed by sharp projectiles. Fortunately, even though this is a simulation, she appears to really feel pain, which is good, because Jesus Christ, woman. I managed to pledge a sorority without being glued to my phone. It’s not that hard, really.
And it’s not just Maggie who’s being a great big failure. Macy, who had already “mastered” her powers thirty seconds after receiving them in the first episode, due to her advanced intellect and all, has now completely unmastered them. Apparently she is psyching herself out by overthinking everything. When she tries to lob a lead pipe at the simulated demon and fails, Mel decides she’s had enough of her sisters’ incompetence and whips out some kind of spell that makes the demon explode in a bright ray of light.
Before anyone is able to react to what Mel has just done, Harry appears and blows a whistle, ending the simulation. Apparently the spell she used is a Big No-No. When she smugly points out that she managed to kill the demon single-handedly, Harry counters that using that spell could have also killed her sisters. HA! As if Mel gives a shit about that, Harry. Nice try.
Mel retorts, “I’m a witch, Harry” — HA! HARRY POTTER REFERENCE! TOTALLY RELATABLE, RIGHT — and that she’s going to be the best witch in the world, no matter how hard the patriarchy tries to stop her.
Harry then launches into a speech about how the Harbinger of Hell is going to destroy the world, and they roll their eyes and walk away from him because that’s, like, so boring. Mel decides that she’s had enough of words; it’s time for action! She’s going to have to track down the Harbinger herself.
And the Harbinger may be closer than we think! Because, as you’ll remember from the last episode, Mysterious Coma Girl is now out of her coma. And she’s out for blood! And not just any blood — she needs a special kind of blood. Which is why she is lurking outside an MRA’s dorm room right now. There are posters with words like “Men Unite!” printed on them hangning on the wall, and he is busy recording a podcast: “Radical feminists have criminalized masculinity. They call it toxic. Why? Because they want all the power for themselves! And believe me, they have power. Some of these witches have more power than—”
Real dialogue alert: That’s the real dialogue.
Alex Jones, Jr. is cut off here by ravenous fangs to the throat. Because the Harbinger can’t survive on any ol’ kind of blood. It needs virgin blood. And we all know that any person spewing that kind of wrongthink is obviously an incel!
Back at the sisters’ house, Mel is in the attic asking Magical Siri The Book of Shadows how she can find the Harbinger of Hell. She is interrupted, though, by Niko, who I guess Mel forgot was sleeping over that night. The scissoring must have been quite forgettable. Niko says that Mel wasn’t in bed when her alarm went off, so she went looking for her. Mel fobs her off with some gratuitous lesbian liplock. They then go downstairs, where Macy is making eggs for breakfast the magical way, which looks a little something like that scene in Sleeping Beauty where the fairies have to use magic to bake Briar Rose’s birthday cake because they’re too inept to cook like humans. Niko walks in, nearly catching the levitating eggs, but Macy quickly drops them all to the floor, so now she just looks like a clumsy moron.
Mel hastens Niko out the door, lamenting that she doesn’t like keeping secrets from her. But there’s no time for that — she discovered a spell that will lure all demons within a 26-mile radius to them, and all they have to do is sacrifice a goat. Macy is Not Down for that. She has a better idea. A Scientific idea: MORE BAKING SUPPLIES! The black blob, after all, contained sulfuric acid, and everyone knows what happens when you combine sulfuric acid and sugar! At this point I’m convinced that the target demographic for this show is third graders, which is why they’re including so much elementary school “science”.
This turns out to be perfect, because it’s Halloween. The girls decide to hand out candy to everyone they come across on campus and see if anyone has a reaction to it. Macy offers to bake cookies as well so that she can ensure the sugar ratio is precise. Maggie will not be participating in this, though, because she has to go to work. Apparently she has a job, which she is using to pay her exorbitant Kappa fees.
At the café where she works, we see an angry old white man yelling at her for being out of chicken sandwiches. She explains that the delivery truck broke down, but the man is having none of her excuses. Luckily for Maggie, a white knight swoops in to save her. He is a very ugly person that I am pretty positive is Chelsea’s ugly boyfriend from Days of Our Lives circa 2008, but my sister is insistent that this guy is even uglier and also too young. Days of Our Lives boy drives off the offending misogynist with quippy one-liners and Grey’s Anatomy references, leaving Maggie’s genitals tingling. I guess this guy is her love interest now? What was the point of the other guy, then…?
Also at the café are Regina George and the other Plastics, sipping mimosas and discussing the school’s fascist booze ban and how it should be rescinded now that Mysterious Coma Girl is awake. If only they could find an off-campus venue for their Halloween mixer, so that Gretchen can wear her slutty baby costume without inhibition!
Luckily for them, Maggie is all too willing to oblige. She offers her family home up to the Kappas as tribute in order to make them like her again. This will definitely go fine and not have any unintended consequences.
Meanwhile, on campus, Mel is handing out Macy’s cookies to anyone and everyone who passes her by, in regular, vegan, and gluten-free varieties. When a student walks into the classroom talking about Mysterious Coma Girl being out of her coma, Mel freezes time so she can grab his phone, which he had open to her Facebook page, so she can look at it for more information. Harry comes bursting in, telling her that she’s not supposed to be using her powers frivolously. This leaves me with a lot of questions: How big of a radius is her time-freezing? Does she freeze the whole world? When she freezes time, it has no effect on her sisters or on Harry. But what about everyone else? Does the whole planet freeze except for other witches, who then grind their teeth in aggravation when she’s freezing time every other minute?
Harry tells Mel he thought they agreed she wouldn’t use her magic so recklessly. Mel retorts that he mansplained to her that she shouldn’t use her magic, which she chose to ignore because she’s destined to be one of the greatest witches of all time and she needs to take some initiative. He tells her that if she’s not in the exact position she was in when she unfreezes time and someone notices she keeps moving irregularly and figures it out, it could cause a major issue in the magical world. She retorts that he’s being paranoid. Before he can keep arguing, she informs him that Mysterious Coma Girl has awakened from her coma, and she appears to have done so on the night they found the black ooze residue.
Harry: “She could be the Harbinger’s vessel!”
Mel: “Please do not take credit for my ideas, white man.”
Real dialogue alert: That’s the real dialogue.
Mel then informs him that since she has solved the mystery single-handedly, she will handle the demon single-handedly as well. Harry tells her this is a bad idea, she tells him to get fucked, so he places a bracelet on her wrist that will alert him every time she uses her magic so he can ensure that she’s not causing problems.
So… I guess… she doesn’t freeze the whole world? But just a radius of uncertain size. I feel like in the original Charmed there was an episode where Holly Marie Combs freezes the kitchen in her restaurant, but they show that people outside the kitchen aren’t affected. So I guess it’s something like that…?
Mel is enraged that he has slapped her with the equivalent of a patriarchal chastity belt, but as she is unable to do anything about it, there’s nothing to do but train her face back into its typical scowl and unfreeze time.
Over in the Generic Science Lab, Macy is watching Friendzone and some of their other coworkers goofing off in their Halloween costumes — a group DNA helix. The helix is missing cytosine, however, because the person who was supposed to be that called out sick. Friendzone asks Macy why she didn’t dress up, and when she says she was embarrassed, he makes her a cytosine sign, so that she can be part of their group.
SHE COMPLETES HIM! *gag*
He asks her out, she naturally rebuffs him and runs away. Outside, she calls Maggie and tells her what happened, which Maggie “Hilltowne Bicycle” Vera finds absurd. As they chat, Macy is stalked by Mysterious Coma Girl, aka the Virgin Vampire, but is saved by the distraction of a Christian Purity activist who will make a yummy snack, and then by the further distraction of Melanie “Demon Hunter” Vera waylaying her.
Mel and Mysterious Coma Girl/Virgin Vampire (known in her human form as Angela Wu) return to Angela’s dorm to catch up. Mel repeatedly offers her a cookie, baked from their mother’s secret recipe. Finally, Virgin Vampire realizes she’s not going to go away until she eats one. When she doesn’t explode or start coughing up blood, Mel determines that Angela can’t be the Harbinger’s host and leaves. Aha! But! As soon as she’s gone, Angela puts her arm… down her own throat… and pulls out the cookie… whole and unchewed. BUT I JUST SAW HER CHEWING IT! WHAT?
Once the cookie is disposed of, she goes to her mini fridge, where the MRA’s blood is neatly stored in water bottles, along with his head. You know. I guess in case she gets the munchies and wants his eyeballs for a snack.
Outside Angela’s dorm, Mel runs into Niko, who is checking up on the disappearance of MRA. She wants to know why Mel was visiting Angela, because at this point, due to Mel’s weird behavior of late, Niko has become convinced that Mel is running some kind of Nancy Drew investigation into her mom’s death, which had been ruled accidental by the Hilltowne PD. Mel assures her that she is not, and Niko says, “Then why do I get the feeling that you’re hiding something?” Mel freezes time so she can confess the truth to Niko’s frozen form. Harry gets a ping and comes zipping in to chew her out for using her powers frivolously again and reminds her that she’s not allowed to tell Niko she’s a witch, which makes the veins on Mel’s forehead start throbbing to the beat of “Closer” by Tegan and Sara.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Maggie is decorating for the mixer. It looks really cute, especially considering that the decorations were purchased on Halloween itself, when they should have been very difficult to come by. But Maggie is not satisfied. This will never impress Regina George. Because reasons…? It seriously looks cute. You’re not going to get better than this in terms of sorority party decor. Trust me. This is actually pretty impressive for a mixer where everyone’s sole focus is going to be getting as shitfaced as possible as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, Maggie decides the decor needs more oomph, so she starts digging through the Book of Shadows and comes across a glamour spell, which makes the decorations look… the same…? Maybe this is why I never made it anywhere in my sorority, since I can’t tell the difference between fancy decorations and regular decorations. Well, never made it anywhere beyond chapter vice-president and alumnae association president. Hmm.
Macy returns home with supplies to bake more cookies, but she’s starting to get fed up with having to stuff everyone she comes across with sugar and would like to fall back on Harry’s original plan for the Elders to be the ones to track the Harbinger. (They keep talking about the Elders, but at this point they have never appeared — are they in Hilltowne? Are they far away? Are they on another plane of existence? Are they even real at all? Does it turn out that, like Robin Masters, the Elders will be Harry all along? Regardless, whenever they talk about the Elders, my brain is like, “SILENCE!”) Mel, still pissed off at Harry about the chastity bracelet and the whole “You can never tell Niko you’re a witch” thing, screeches at her that the wamen don’t need a man for help, but Macy calls Harry anyway. Mel and Harry immediately start arguing, and when Macy asks what the deal is, Mel goes:
“Our Whitelighter, the head of the Women’s Studies Department, put a tracker on me to alert him when I use my magic because he’s threatened by the idea of a powerful woman.”
To which Harry responds:
“Now, hold on a minute. That last part is fake news.”
At which point my sister and I — she was watching this one with me for moral support — had to pause the episode so that we could howl like coyotes because are you kidding me? Why does Harry always get the stupidest lines? Answer: because he’s a penis.
In the midst of this witty repartee, Macy’s phone goes off. Friendzone texted her to say he’s looking forward to coming to her party that evening, and thanks for the invite. Macy realizes that Maggie must be up to something, and she flings open the front door to find…
…the house decorated, but not in an overtly supernatural way? I mean, there’s not candelabras hovering in midair or rooms that seem to expand in length as you stand in them. It’s just, you know. Heavily decorated.
Maggie descends down the stairs in a diaphanous purple prom dress, because I guess her Halloween costume is… prom dress? And informs her sisters that this is NOT a sorority thing, even though it looks that way; she was thinking that if they had a huge party that most of the campus attended and required everyone who enters to take a cookie, that it would be easier than chasing around all the undergrads on campus. Everyone, including Harry, grudgingly admits that this is a good idea, and it’s all systems go for the Halloween party.
During the party, Harry catches Maggie using the glamour spell and informs her that magic isn’t supposed to be used for personal gain. If she does it too often, it will throw the universe out of balance with dire consequences. Maggie naturally blows him off, because across the room she spots Macy in her costume.
SHE’S RUTH BADER GINSBURG!
Maggie has an absolute stroke and drags her sister upstairs to change her into something sexier. Macy is adamantly opposed to wearing anything that shows off too much skin. When Maggie demands to know what her problem is, the somber piano music starts playing. It’s time for a Serious Talk about Real Issues.
“When I was in ninth grade, my dad sent me to boarding school in Connecticut,” Macy tells Maggie. “In a class of a hundred kids, only two of us weren’t white. In that type of environment, you have to solidify what type of minority you were before they decided for you. So my friend Tasha became the sexy funny one, and I was always the smart serious one. I played that part for so long that I don’t know how to be anyone else.”
After we recover from this, Maggie informs Macy that she’s both serious and sexy, both smart and funny. Then she uses the glamour to turn Macy’s costume into a Greek goddess. After that spiel, I assumed that she was supposed to be Athena, goddess of wisdom. Then she comes downstairs and Friendzone surmises that she is Persephone, goddess of the underworld. I… okay? Friendzone, meanwhile, is dressed as James Bond, as portrayed by Idris Elba — the way it was always meant to be.
No, I’m not kidding around here. THIS IS THE REAL DIALOGUE. If there’s a message they want you to get, they will beat you over the head with a goddamn sledgehammer to ensure that you Get It, okay?
Friendzone asks her out, but before she can answer, Mel drags her away, screaming, “SISTER EMERGENCY!” Niko has been called away from the party to investigate the death of Purity Christian, and offhandedly mentioned to Mel on her way out the door that there had been three deaths on campus in the last twenty-four hours: MRA (I guess they found the rest of his body), Purity Christian, and a nun in the campus ministry. Mel has connected the dots and figured out that the Harbinger must be a Virgin Vampire. (Here is where she also spoon-feeds us the information that the MRA must have been an incel, even explaining what incel stands for, to ensure that YOU GET IT! YOU GOT THAT, RIGHT? GOT IT? OKAY? DID YOU UNDERSTAND? ARE WE CLEAR HERE? I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND THE JOKE—)
Fearing that there may be virgins present at the party, which is far too overcrowded for them to keep a good eye on, the sisters decide to place a protection ward around the house, which will keep the demon from entering the party. But as they split up to fetch the ingredients for the spell, Angela enters, dressed in a costume that Resembles-But-Is-Legally-Distinct-From Samara from The Ring. It is Too Late.
Harry and Mel scramble to get the exterior of the house prepped for the spell. As they do so, they bicker incessantly about wah wah chastity bracelet, wah wah you don’t understand me. Mel laments that it would be easier if she could tell Niko the truth about her magic, so that they could help each other with this whole Virgin Vampire thing. Harry says he’s sorry if he’s caused trouble between Mel and the woman she’s dating.
Mel is offended by his choice of words. “SHE’S MORE THAN THAT! I DON’T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND!!” She launches into a tirade that seems to start out as accusing Harry of being a homophobe, but then veers aburptly and morphs into, “I never had to be in the closet because my mom was the perfect tolerant hippie, but now by having to lie to my girlfriend, it’s like I’m in the closet.” She seems to be taking this as a sort of personal oppression that she is being forced through specifically because she’s a lesbian, despite the fact that her straight sisters are in the exact same boat.
Before Harry can respond, Maggie and Macy hurry out with the rest of the ingredients for the spell. They cast it… but it has no effect. You know what that means!
The sisters realize that the demon is already inside, and they’re going to have to lure it out. Macy has the perfect bait: how better to lure a Virgin Vampire than with… a virgin?!
Maggie: “OH MY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS”
Macy leads her sisters into the Mysterious Woods, marking the trees with bloody handprints every few feet. As they go, they discuss this Shocking News that their 28-year-old sister is still a virgin. Mel chimes in that she had sex with a guy once, and that Macy isn’t missing much, conclusively proving once and for all that John Titor really is the writer of this show after all, and furthermore taking the “but does scissoring count” factor out of the discussion, thus rendering moot the necessity to explain Niko’s strap-on and which of them is the bottom in that situation.
Macy is understandably embarrassed, pointing out that part of the reason she doesn’t like to tell people she’s a virgin is because people react like this. Maggie and Mel are quick to defend themselves, with Mel asserting, “The concept of virginity is really just a tool of the patriarchy to control women’s sexuality.”
Real dialogue alert: That was the real dialogue.
They await the demon in a clearing in the woods, where Harry informs them that they will only get one chance at this binding spell and they can’t afford any juvenile mistakes. Everyone looks at Maggie. But then… Samara Angela arrives! At this point the show abandons any and all attempts to make this Resemble-But-Be-Legally-Distinct-From, and goes full-blown Ringu. The jerky walk, the hair over the face, it’s all there.
After a brief moment of “WTF” from Mel at Angela having eaten the cookie but still being the Harbinger somehow, the sisters quickly begin their binding spell. Buuuut when it gets to be Maggie’s turn, she passes out, on account of all the glamouring spells she’d done throughout the evening. Harry yells for Macy to run, and Virgin Vampire goes tearing after her.
Maggie comes to, and after a brief chiding from Harry, she turns off all the glamours she’d activated throughout the night. She reverts from Prom Queen to Sweatpant Chic. In the woods, Macy has reverted to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which actually is probably easier to run in than the Greek goddess costume, especially since she can yank the robe off and reveal sweats underneath as well. An adrenaline-filled chase scene ensues, and then… Maggie hits Angela over the head with a log and she and Macy start talking about their goddamn feelings. Which means that Angela comes to right as Mel bursts into the clearing and sees Angela preparing to sink her fangs into Macy from behind while Macy and Maggie prattle like bimbos. Mel immediately launches into the Big No-No spell from the beginning of the episode, which Harry said could kill anyone in the vicinity of the demon, including her sisters.
Harry uses his healing powers, which brings Macy back to life. Mel apologizes and… Macy immediately forgives her. NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE? NO WORRIES! IT’S ALL GOOD, SIS.
Angela, meanwhile, was knocked unconscious but neither she nor the demon possessing her are dead. Harry says that the Elders (Silence!) will want to weigh in, and instructs the girls to go clear out the house while he binds the unconscious demon. In a moment of uncharacteristic humility, Mel apologizes to Harry and says he was right, she was being reckless with her powers. Harry, being a spineless, flaccid penis in this Woke Feminist Programme™, immediately tells her that there’s no need to apologize, because she was right — she managed to bring down an immensely powerful demon single-handedly, she was the first to suspect Angela Wu to begin with (since, you know, she was the first one of the four to learn that Angela was out of her Mysterious Coma, which wasn’t exactly rocket science, but don’t take credit for her ideas, white man), and basically she’s the brightest witch of her age.
So, you know. No damage to Mel’s ego there.
Harry also reveals that the reason he’s so hard on her is because he has a Tragic Past: The first witch he supervised when he became a Whitelighter was similarly stubborn to Mel. She revealed her powers to someone she believed she could trust, and that person squealed like a dirty rat. The woman was sent to an insane asylum, believed to have schizophrenia, and eventually committed suicide. Mel insists that Niko isn’t like that, and Harry says that after the issue with the Harbinger is resolved, he will petition the Elders (Silence!) for permission to tell Niko the truth. He also removes the chastity bracelet.
Meanwhile, Macy and Maggie are back at the house. Macy immediately throws herself on Friendzone and begs him to deflower her so she doesn’t have to go through a life-threatening experience like that again. Maggie, on the other hand, has to do damage control because the house reverted to its original state and somehow the party-goers were sober enough to notice, by far the most implausible aspect of this episode. Regina George is predictably bitchy about it, but Maggie makes up some excuse about how it was supposed to be Cinderella-themed and everything changed back into a pumpkin at midnight, which is also why she’s now scrubbed out in sweats and has a wart on her chin. Regina George is apparently at least drunk enough to buy that, and Maggie’s Kappa status is preserved for another day.
As they chat, Days of Our Lives boy from the beginning of the episode shows up. (There was another scene with him and Maggie earlier in the party but it’s boring so I didn’t recap it.) Regina George promptly begins rubbing her scent all over him and informs Maggie that this is Parker, her boyfriend.
After Mel finishes hanging her costume up in her closet (gratuitous shot of her bedroom so you can see the giant Puerto Rican flag she has hanging on her wall), the three sisters meet Harry in the attic, where Virgin Vampire/Harbinger/Mysterious Coma Girl/Angela Wu/Whoever the Fuck She Is is chained up, shrieking like a banshee. Harry tells them that the Elders (Silence!) are coming, but that they may be a while, so in the meantime, it will be the girls’ responsibility to guard her.
(Seriously, who the hell are these Elders? Where are they? Harry can just apparate in and out at the drop of a hat. These people were supposed to be close enough that they were able to be searching for the Harbinger’s vessel, right? So where the hell are they? Why is it going to take them a few days to get here? Why do they think it’s acceptable to just leave the most powerful demon of the underworld chained in some 20-something-year-old girls’ attic, especially considering that these girls clearly have no clue what the fuck they’re doing? Remember the 90s, when shows started with relatively low stakes and then built up to the “save the world” shit for the season finale?)
The episode ends with this charming image:
And there you have it! Woke Charmed, episode 3. After somewhat of a respite last week, it was refreshing to return to being spoon-fed social justice. Women’s rights are human rights? Anti-feminists are all incels? Notorious RBG? We’ve got it all! This show is still relevant, goddammit!
I haven’t seen all of next week’s episode yet because it was so stupid it made cerebrospinal fluid start leaking from my sinuses. So you can bet it will be a doozy! See you all then!