Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Charmed: Cheaper by the Coven (7.3)

Along with the show's rapid denigration of the concept of death, continuity is also getting brutally beaten every week, and I don't think it's a coincidence that the most glaring mistakes occur whenever Grams appears. Just as in Witchstock, here we have a Grams episode undermined by a ton of errors. She's aware of Gideon, yet didn't know that Piper just had a baby? She had a 'witch talk' with the sisters when they were teens? What? TV series always have a 'show bible' that helps prevent insanity like this, and I have no idea why Charmed isn't using it.

The rest of Cheaper by the Coven is wildly uneven, but its heart is in the right place. The main thrust of the hour involves the sisters turning back into teenagers, and while there are definite shades of that season three abortion Once Upon a Time, it's nowhere near as embarrassing and I liked the relatable teenage drama that the show explored, with the sisters mournfully overhearing Grams and Victor fighting in another room, and that wonderful scene between Grams and a weepy Piper, even if the latter does feature one of the errors I mentioned before.

The whole 'evil Leo doppelganger' thing isn't a total wash-out thanks to the divine presence of Charisma Carpenter (who doesn't get a lot to do, but is reliably entertaining), but the show really needs to stop using Wyatt as a plot device. I'm so tired of seeing demons stood over his crib, the sisters rushing in and the demon flaming out or whatever. Gah. It's the same story over and over again.

Regardless, Cheaper by the Coven is frequently fun, with some decent humor (I actually kind of liked Alyssa's bleary-eyed acceptance speech) and surprising depth every once in a while. I just wish Rose McGowan gave a little more effort. Her subplot is weak, sure, but she seems so distant right now. B-

Guest stars Nick Lachey (Leslie St. Claire); James Read (Victor Bennett); Jennifer Rhodes (Penny 'Grams' Halliwell); Finola Hughes (Patty Halliwell); Tac Fitzgerald (Ben); Charisma Carpenter (Kira)
Writer Mark Wilding Director Derek Johansen


  1. I think season 7 is where we're going to differ!

    Once Upon a Time shits all over this as far as I'm concerned! I did love Alyssa's weird acceptance speech, I laugh every time, but the only thing I could think of was exactly what you thought of back during Once, except it's Holly this time. She just seemed so embarrassed, and it showed a good few times.

    Great review though, and the episode did have a good message at its heart.

    As for Charisma, I did love her here, but she just seemed like Cordelia 2.0 (I talk about it more in my own review).

  2. Charisma is totally playing Cordelia lite, but it is a character she has perfected and I loved her arc on Charmed. Heck, Kendall on Veronica Mars could be an alternate version of Cordelia, in some ways. Kendall, however, was amazing...

    I can only vaguely remember this episode, and the teenage shenanigans are really the only things I can even remember.

  3. Panda I think it's because they're teenagers here, and somehow that's a little less embarrassing than the actresses playing little kids. There were definitely lame parts, but generally it sort of worked for me.

    tvfan Right! Charisma's one of those actors that hasn't got a huge range, but is genius at that one type of character. She's a hugely underrated comedienne.