Having now entirely ran out of ideas, Charmed's quality pretty much relies on stumbling across decent actors who can elicit some fresh sparks out of stale material. Guest stars, obviously, since we'd be stupid to expect any real effort from most of our tired regulars anymore. Freaky Phoebe's A-plot only works because of Suzanne Krull, a character actress who entirely nails Alyssa Milano's voice and mannerisms and helps lift yet another 'sister possessed by evil' story into something far more entertaining than it has any right to be.
There are a couple of amusing moments here, notably in Imara repeatedly checking out her new body in the mirror, as well as changing her outfits every couple of minutes. It's all easy comedy, but provides some brief laughs. The story eventually becomes the same kind of thing that we're used to on this show, but I did like Phoebe-in-Imara tricking the demons into thinking the spell had been reversed.
Paige continues to be the most insufferable hag on this show, and that takes some credit when ol' knockers-face Phoebe is still around stinking up the joint. She opens the episode whining about her new job as a Whitelighter, claiming she's busy elsewhere. With what, Paige? You have no job, you only vanquish demons with your sisters, you haven't had a fuck buddy for at least a couple of weeks...
The girl is really trying my patience, and her subplot with her new charge was filled with annoying sentimentality and random bouts of ridiculous (did Paige think about the people who have to clean up the wreckage of her car and that pole, but at all?) I'm also sick of Rose McGowan, who gives her worst performance to date in this episode. Her lines are all over the place, she's mid-seizure in literally every scene, gesticulates like a crazy-woman and seems to have completely lost her ability to act in a believable way. I used to feel bad for her because of the weak material she's frequently saddled with, but considering she's getting paid a boat-load of cash for this, the least she could have done is try a little.
Elsewhere, Phoebe is headed back to college again, but it seems like another plot regression, regardless of Phoebe's belief that it's something wonderful. And the whole Sheridan thing is becoming more ridiculous by the week. Why did Piper and Phoebe just flee the councilman's office mid-freeze, presumably vanishing in a split second when the whole scene un-freezes soon after? And how did the tape in the camera freeze, when whole episodes like Blind Sided hinged on the fact that Piper's powers can be caught on film? Ugh. So. Many. Errors!
Freaky Phoebe has an A-plot that works in spite of how tired it all is, yet is surrounded by subplots that entirely blow and are riddled with plotholes. After a run of strong hours, Charmed is once again returning to its illogical worst. D+
Guest stars Jenya Lano (Inspector Sheridan); Seamus Dever (Mitchell Haines); Suzanne Krull (Imara); Eric Winzenried (Lantos); Alan Wilder (Dr. Randall); Rebecca Balding (Elise Rothman)
Writer Mark Wilding Director Michael Grossman