Monday, January 24, 2011

Charmed: Feats of Clay (1.11)

This should have been an interesting episode from a Phoebe stand-point, but unfortunately too little time is given to her history, or her own feelings of personal growth since her return to San Francisco. Instead, most of the script's attention is given to her dull-dull-dull love interest Clay, his ham-fisted proclamations of having 'gone straight', and a flat mystery involving a cursed urn. Throw in a couple of dull subplots and yet another superfluous Andy appearance, and it's no surprise five writers are credited to this mess.

One thing I genuinely love about the show is the chemistry between Prue and Piper. It's probably due to the real-life friendship between Shannen and Holly, but their scenes together totally ring true. Said scenes also allow Prue to ease up a little, since she's so unbearably tense and high-strung everywhere else, especially in regards to Phoebe. I get that Prue has always felt like the mother figure to her younger sisters, but her interaction with Phoebe here is plain annoying. Whining about Phoebe's secrecy, creepily sneaking a peek at her love-making, and then unabashedly bursting in on Phoebe's bedroom when she's clearly screwing Clay. Seriously, she's a real pain in the ass this episode, and it's only in her scenes with Piper when she actually becomes a little bit likable.

The urn storyline is pretty awful. Phoebe comes across as a complete moron, especially in her scene with Palmer, who could not be more of a sleazy criminal. Clay is a listless cypher with little in way of intrigue, while Stacy Haiduk's sleepy portrayal of the Guardian doesn't fit with the rest of the hammy plot.

The awfulness is rounded off by another uninteresting subplot involving two of Piper's co-workers. What saves Feats of Clay is the sisterly interaction, which isn't surprising. Even the worst episodes of Charmed (especially in the show's prime) could usually rely on the easy chemistry between the leads to create at least some entertainment. D+

Guest stars Victor Browne (Clay); Stacy Haiduk (The Guardian); Eddie Bowz (Palmer Kellogg); Allen Cutler (Doug); Niklaus Lange (Wesley); Carolyne Lowery (Shelly); Ming Lo (Coroner); Cristine Rose (Claire Pryce)
Teleplay Michael Perricone, Greg Elliot, Chris Levinson, Zack Estrin Story Javier Grillo-Marxuach Director Kevin Inch

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