Phoebe's descent into evil is unfolding masterfully. The past two seasons have very much been about evil trying to separate the sisters, Cole in particular driving a wedge between both sets of Charmed Ones. Here, it's not only her unborn child that is corrupting her and her powers, it's also her love for a man who isn't trusted by her sisters. It's all played pretty convincingly, at least until Paige comes along and steadfastly claims that Cole is evil and that both she and Piper believe that he's a bad guy once again. Seriously? Not the best way to handle it, honey. But I guess it then ensures that Phoebe becomes even more distant from the two of them, and those final couple of scenes in which she's lured to the dark side with a pep talk from the Seer were ridiculously chilling. This is suddenly a new Charmed where all bets are off. It's an interesting approach.
The bones of this episode aren't hugely great, if only because the script doesn't seem to know what tone to reach for. The wizard story in particular is a victim of that, the show treating it as far more comedic than it probably should have been. And the Grimoire is such a cool idea (that of an evil doppelganger to the Book of Shadows) that it's a shame it wasn't given more focus, likewise unfortunate that it's never been mentioned before. Was it even mentioned post-season four? I'm blanking, but they really could have utilized that more.
Regardless of some of the faults here and there, the general direction the show continues to take is both ambitious and necessary, allowing the actors to play around with some heavier material. It's so easy for this show to sit back and churn out standalone episodes forever and ever (it's a direction Charmed ends up taking), but here the show has a focus and a drive that is making this entire arc really powerful. B-
Guest stars Armin Shimerman (The Wizard); Michael Des Barres (Dark Priest); Deborah Kellner (Julie); Debbi Morgan (The Seer)
Writers Alison Schapker, Monica Breen Director Timothy Lonsdale