Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Charmed: Charmageddon (7.13)

Watching the Avatar arc, it's interesting to see the parallels to last season's finale, in which the characters were all stuck in an alternate universe where everything seemed outwardly perfect, only for the slightest imperfection to be zeroed in on and punished with death or injury. The 'utopia' seen in Charmageddon is nowhere near as extreme as the one from last year, and all the better for it. Instead of having their legs blown off for the smallest hint of anger or moral outrage, people simply vanish, while death itself is treated as something pretty inconsequential, handled with the laziest cry of 'they're in a better place'.

To go along with the utopian world, the Avatars themselves are thankfully depicted as simply flawed individuals. I was nervous that they'd be exposed as arch villains with murderous agendas, but the big confrontation here is remarkably low-key. The sisters begin to realize that their new surroundings entirely breach whatever free-will humans are supposed to have, and confront the Avatars with their unhappiness over it. The Avatars, while still insistent that their plans would work in the long-run, prefer to avoid any witch/demon team-up and depart, holding onto their scheme for another day.

I don't think this is necessarily an anti-climax, even if it didn't feature the usual CGI light-shows or action. If anything, it's an interesting ending that showcases just how different this storyline was for the show, raising important questions about morality and dictatorship. Of course the utopian world would be perfect, because there would be only one rule and anybody that breaks it would be removed from the equation. But on a purely human level, something like that just isn't right. Regardless of how terrible Charmed became, and how inane so many of the stories were in its later seasons, I have complete respect for whoever came up with this arc and ran with it for so long.

Charmageddon's narrative unfolds piece by piece, with Leo engineering a chain of events that allow Phoebe to have an epiphany, which itself leads to both Piper and Paige jumping on board. I'm not sure the Brody-Elder thing is entirely logical (isn't he still nuts?), but everything else here is pretty strong. Zankou continues to be an intriguing villain, and his team-up with the sisters produced some neat sparkage. Probably one of Charmed's unheralded classics. A

Guest stars Oded Fehr (Zankou); Max Perlich (Laygan); Joel Swetow (Alpha); Ian Anthony Dale (Gamma); Rebecca Balding (Elise Rothman); Jeremy Kent Jackson (Minion); Tom Virtue (Angry Man); Kerr Smith (Kyle Brody)
Writer Henry Alonso Myers Director John Kretchmer


  1. I do tend to follow the fans in that this was slightly anti-climactic, but I really liked what you said about it being a fitting end, and a nice change of pace. I just checked my review, and I talk about similar things, but not as eloquently as you did. My score is pretty decent though.

    Great review.

  2. Thanks, Panda. I'm not too familiar with fandom and their opinions on season seven, but I assumed it could be considered a little anti-climactic. But, I don't know, it really worked for me despite it being pretty low-key.

  3. Although you kind of convinced me that it might have been a welcome low-key change of pace, I still found this episode to be way too anticlimactic for my liking.
    With an epic title such as "Charmageddon" I remember hoping it would be at the level of "All Hell Breaks Loose" or "Charmed & Dangerous"(I know you don't agree about the latter Max hehe).

  4. " I'm not sure the Brody-Elder thing is entirely logical (isn't he still nuts?), but everything else here is pretty strong."

    No. Brody was never nuts. He was obsessed with revenge. Which he got over, by the way. But despite his lack of revenge, Brody was smart enough to realize that the Avatars were a threat, something that the Halliwells and Leo were too stupid and childish to realize, until it was almost too late.

    Does it really bother you that Brody was right about the Avatars? Or were you upset that he tried to kill Leo, when the latter was exposed as one of them?