It's a welcome surprise to see a finale that proves occasionally affecting. I always disliked Chris, I was pretty bored by his story arc throughout the sixth season, and my feelings about Drew Fuller's acting have been made clear countless times already. But I would be a liar if I said I wasn't saddened by his death scene. It's a powerful moment of unrelenting grief, regardless of it being only one 'incarnation' of the character that has met his demise, and the following discussion between Phoebe and Paige only cements the sadness: "he just faded away?" I'm so used to Charmed being shallow and devoid of any real meaning, but that scene was pretty spectacular.
Part two of the finale is just as fractured as you would presume, but most of the Gideon arc is handled well. He's become a character you really want to die already, and while I'm not sure if that's intentional or not, it gives the episode a spark that the show has been crying out for. I don't think Billy Drago has ever been more of a ham, though. But his scenes are fascinating to watch, if only to make you wonder how the hell he gets employed by anybody.
I love how the Pleasantville-ish world is executed here, with Phoebe and Paige's general discomfort with nutty nurses and the casual discussion of limb removal and fatal hemorrhaging. The spell that Piper cast on her sisters was pretty terrible, though, and only there to pad this episode out to two hours. But the idea is so much fun that you can kind of excuse that.
Season six has been the worst season of this show so far, filled with lazy storytelling, vacuous characterization, phoned-in performances and a shocking lack of any new ideas. The entire show is beyond tired at this point, but I can't deny that this was a strong finale that managed to bring together the various themes of this annoying story arc and create something weirdly absorbing for once. B+
Guest stars Billy Drago (Barbas); Jim Abele (Dr. Roberts); Wes Ramsey (Wyatt Halliwell); Jenya Lano (Inspector Sheridan); J. Lamont Pope (Mike); John Todd (Elder); Kerry O'Malley (Nurse Ann); Gildart Jackson (Gideon)
Writer Curtis Kheel Director James L. Conway