Charmed has fully settled into its post-Avatar, standalone-driven run, and this is another episode that kind of works in spite of all its flaws. The Hope character can easily be called out for being a little too reminiscent of a certain blonde vampire slayer, but I liked the introduction of a new mythology entirely removed from the sisters. It opens up the Charmed world a little, at least implying that the Charmed Ones aren't the only cursed-with-a-sacred-duty ladies in the universe.
Little Box of Horrors has an interesting structure, full of morphing and duplicities as various characters impersonate others, with bad girl Katya shape-shifting into a variety of different people to get what she wants. I generally like female villains on this show, and Michelle Hurd was probably one of the strongest violent femmes in a while. She managed to be intense without being campy, and threatening while still dressed in a stupid outfit. Can I also add a mention for her insane stomach muscles? Girl is ripped!
Elsewhere, Paige gets stuck in an elevator and has to save the trapped people inside, including the superfluous weepy child with asthma. It's a ridiculously mundane story, but saved by a strong ending in which lady-Elder tells Paige all about her new destiny as a Whitelighter and how the elevator scenario was orchestrated for her own benefit. I like seeing Paige growing like this, but it's completely undermined by how flaky she's become. It's nice and all that Paige is told that this is what she's spent her entire life building towards, but who says she won't abandon this trip as soon as she gets a little bored of it? See, show, this is what happens as a result of character assassination...
This is pretty much filler material, but it has a couple of strong moments with a story that, while cribbed from existing source material, manages to be pretty different and interesting for this show. B-
Guest stars Brooke Nevin (Hope); Elizabeth Dennehy (Sandra); Michelle Hurd (Katya); Hayley Dumond (Nina); Shani Pride (Darcy); Don Swayze (Lucius)
Writer Cameron Litvack Director Jon Paré