Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Charmed: Witchstock (6.11)

Previous journeys into the past or future have created some wonderful character-driven drama -- there was the sisters' reunion with Patty back in That '70s Episode, a time when death was treated as pretty finite on this show. Then there was Morality Bites, a gorgeous commentary on cause-and-effect that showcased the strong bond between Piper, Prue and Phoebe. Even weaker time-travel episodes like All Halliwell's Eve had certain deeper elements that affected the sisters on a personal level. One of the numerous reasons why Witchstock entirely blows is that it has no emotional pay-off. It's not engineered to allow Paige some character growth, nor does it help her strike a deeper bond with Grams. Instead it's a messy 'wouldn't it be cool if this happened' hour, with the sisters winding up in the most stereotypical 1960's imaginable and facing off against a rent-a-demon who wants to kill a bunch of people and get hold of the Nexus. Booooring.

The most glaring annoyances here are the huge continuity errors, things any decent Charmed fan will find distracting. There's Allen being written as Grams' first and only husband, there's Grams clearly being played by a twenty-something in 1967, just eight years before the events of That '70s Episode -- where Grams is clearly an elderly woman with two young grand-daughters. And where's Patty in all of this? It feels like an entirely different universe, written by people who have never seen the show and have absolutely no respect for preexisting mythology. Supposedly Witchstock was originally written with Patty as the central character of the '60s story, but the fact that Daniel Cerone just maneuvered a couple of things around and ran with it shows just how little the writers care about the audience and the series itself. I'm probably sounding all preachy, but it's just so weak.

Similarly weak is the present day story with Chris, Leo and Grams battling some demonic Flubber as it consumes the house. Tacky special effects and a wasted Jennifer Rhodes: what less could you ask for? Witchstock is an insulting trainwreck of an episode that makes little sense and features some of the most misfiring comedy in the history of this show. Ugh. F

Guest stars Jennifer Rhodes (Penny 'Grams' Halliwell); Kara Zediker (Young Penny); Jake Busey (Nigel); Patrick Cassidy (Allen); Kam Heskin (Robin)
Writer Daniel Cerone Director James A. Contner


  1. Great review. I'm with you on most of this, particularly the tripping back in time for the hell of it idea. It made this episode so passable. I did like it a little better than you did though.

  2. The mistakes in this episode is tremendous. According to Phoebe, Paige was born in the year of the Ox. WRONG! She was born in August 1977, which means she was born in the year of the Snake. Worse, you can hear Rare Earth's version of "Get Ready" being played in the background. This should be difficult, considering that Rare Earth's version of the song was released in 1969 . . . over two years after this episode was set. They should have been playing the Temptations' 1966 version of the song . . . or not at all. I refuse to comment on Darryl Morris' dad being a member of the Black Panthers.