Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Charmed: Secrets and Guys (1.14)

Leo, as a character, never worked for me. Ostensibly, he's the show's version of a "get-out-of-jail-free-card", somebody the writers can turn to when they're painted into a corner, a character who can heal/teleport on outta there and save the day. This always bothered me. Now we have a show where nobody is truly dead or truly in danger, unless of course the actor involved got fired or alienated themselves so much from the rest of the cast and crew that they'd never be asked to set foot on the Charmed set ever again. It's a little frustrating.

However, his storyline here is a lot of fun. Sure, most of his powers and his background (The Founders?) is retconned later on, I liked that they approached all the revelations with humor, instead of melodrama. I also liked Leo and Phoebe together; they had a lot of chemistry. Alyssa boned pretty much every male on this show so it's probably a little redundant to ask, but... didn't they date?

The A-plot for Secrets and Guys sees the show once again veering into Touched by an Angel territory. Charmed at this point in time is still a little unfocused as to which direction it should be headed in as a series. Here, we see Prue almost acting like a guardian angel to a kidnap victim. You half expect her to dress up like Della Reese and swan around in a mumu; she's just that sincere and weepy. The storyline isn't great, even worse is the clunky metaphors: Max's dad and his deceased wife are clearly parallels for Prue and Andy; while Phoebe's "he saved you" at the end was just plain unnecessary. It's a big ol' ham factory, right here.

Once again, we have an unconvincing episode saved by the more character-driven subplots. Piper and Phoebe are such likable characters that they can be relied upon to supply humor and lightweight fun, leaving Prue to deal with her own clumsy baggage elsewhere. It's okay as a formula, but you're not surprised when the show eventually veers away from it. C+

Guest stars Robert Gossett (Mr. Franklin); Brad Tatum (Mickey Jackson); Brian Krause (Leo Wyatt); David Netter (Max Franklin); Will Stewart (Harry); Richard Cody (Danny)
Teleplay Constance M. Burge, Sheryl J. Anderson Story Brad Kern, Constance M. Burge Director James A. Contner


  1. I agree Leo was a boring character. But I disliked Piper too, always moaning and being all baby Leo baby Leo she had no spunk.

  2. Leo was most definitely a "get-out-of-jail-free-card". If ever something came up the sisters needed to know all he had to do was "go ask the elders", if they got hurt he just had to lay hands on them, if their secret got out he had memory dust, and if they needed to be rescued he was just a shout away.

    But he was just one of many plot devices. Others include: the Big Book of "Oh Look Here's Our Demon and How To Kill Him", dangling a string over a map to locate anyone, and the complete fail of being able to destroy anything too powerful by simply repeating "the power of three will set us free".

    I think these things really served to dumb down the show. When you have these sorts of tools/crutches in existence how can you possibly have real, nail-biting drama? They just suck the threat and conflict out of everything.