Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Charmed: Death Becomes Them (7.21)

While this is pretty good, it would be foolish to not acknowledge that Death Becomes Them could have been a hell of a lot better. The central conceit for the hour revolves around innocents that were lost, and the guilt that manifests in the Charmed Ones when Zankou brings them back from the dead. The sucky thing being that two of the three zombies are introduced literally twenty minutes before they're zombified, while season three 'lost innocent' Inspector Davidson was more a victim of Prue's decision making, and not so much Phoebe's. It's just a little annoying that behind-the-scenes sniping prevented somebody like Shannen Doherty returning, since that would have made a ton more sense from a storytelling perspective. Then again, Andy or some illusion of Chris could have made interesting zombies, even Charisma Carpenter's Seer. Eh. The whole thing feels like a missed opportunity in that regard.

However, the ideas are there. And that's something positive. The sister's selfish behavior has been one of those things that has really frustrated me over the years, and it's nice to see them feeling guilty for once. The problem is that the show doesn't really allow the sisters to be portrayed too negatively in the A-plot, since Tim's death is accidental and Joanna was forcibly prevented from screaming for Paige. The episode could have been better if somehow the sisters were called out on their everyday selfishness, like their obnoxious treatment of Darryl (sample dialogue: "What do you mean he won't drop everything to help us??") or Phoebe's way of making Tim's murder all about her own bad luck with men. Ugh. Hell, kill Darryl all-together. That would have probably created something juicy and actually personal for the sisters.

If I'm having too much of a downer on this episode, I should say that, for what it was, it sort of worked. Zankou's machinations here are far more absorbing than the weak filler material they gave him back in Scry Hard, and I love that his devious plans are far more elaborate and complicated than everyday antagonists on this show. Oded Fehr is also irresistibly smooth and charming in the part, and you totally buy that he'd always get the upper hand. Obviously his enemies are three jiggly morons, but you get what I mean. C+

Guest stars Oded Fehr (Zankou); Jenya Lano (Inspector Sheridan); John Kassir (Alchemist); Sandra Prosper (Sheila Morris); Keith Diamond (Reece Davidson); Colin Egglesfield (Tim Cross); Laura Regan (Joanna)
Writer Curtis Kheel Director John Kretchmer


  1. Hahaha hilarious last line. I agree. This was a fine hour with a lot of promise, but considering the premise, it should have been a hell of a lot more epic. God I wish this show had better writers. Charmed could have been fantastic for more than two seasons (3 and 4) if it had a more capable showrunner and writers that actually cared.

  2. Totally agree with you Nadim.

    The main problem with Charmed is that most of the ideas that the writers had never really lived up to the full potential they could have. This show was compared a lot to Buffy throughout its run & I always thought they shared a few similarities, but the main difference is that the writers on Buffy seem to care a little more about the universe they created & wanted to expand it to more ambitious places.

  3. I agree, to an extent. Because I don't think the show ever really needed to get all dark. Watching the show again, I really loved the tone of those first three seasons. And season four, as dark as it was, didn't work for me as well as it did years ago.

    My issue was that it got too disposable, when it should have just remained light in terms of story but heavy when it came to family bonding and the importance of sisterhood. They lost the latter and increased the silliness, and the whole show became a real drag.

  4. I don't think it needed to get super dark either it just needed to be believable. Charmed always seemed like it was intended to be light, but not as light as the silliness that started in season 5.

    Despite the corny demons, bad special effects & cheap looking underworld set pieces that were present in Charmed I felt it was easier to excuse in the first 4 seasons because the material they were working with. After the fourth season the tone changed &amplified the existing flaws as well as brought in new ones.

    It's a shame because like you said it became disposable & not only that but with each season it seemed like what ever good moments the show had were overshadowed by the bad.

  5. So true guys. Looking forward to the season 8 reviews. I think you'll find season 4 a masterpiece with its darkness compared to the forced dark-arcs of season 8. My God what a tragedy.