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