Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Charmed: Kill Billie Vol. 1 (8.6)

It either says a lot about her own charisma as an actress, or works as a statement on where season eight is going, but I'm actually missing Alyssa Milano. While she's still hanging around, it really feels like Phoebe is on the periphery of things this year. Not only have Alyssa's performances become mostly drab, Phoebe is only ever wrapped up in her own personal dramas this season, and it's mostly Piper, Paige and Billie that are carrying the show. It was probably at Alyssa's own request, but I'm missing her presence, especially since the other characters are being saddled with such horrible material.

Phoebe's story arc comes to an end here, and while I didn't hate the Dex thing, it sure was something of a non-event. It was another storyline that seemed to consist of two people out-talking one other, the same problem that sunk Phoebe's fling with Nick Lachey last season. Relationships shouldn't be all about conversation, and there was never any passion or actual chemistry between Pheebs and Dex. It was, like always, the writers throwing Phoebe together with a name guest star and flailing around for some kind of motivation. It unsurprisingly went nowhere fast and Jason Lewis fled the sound-stage. Alyssa conveyed a real sadness and sense of isolation in this story (art imitating reality? Or am I reading too much into my own feelings about this season?), so props to her for that. But I sort of miss the fun Phoebe of yesteryear, especially in her interaction with her sisters.

For some bizarre reason, the world's media is fascinated by the sister's witness protection hijinks (which somehow equals, in Charmed logic, that the sisters are spies), and the girls spend the whole episode avoiding legions of reporters and paparazzi and the whole thing entirely blows. It leads to a redundant ghost haunting and painfully long-winded sequences where Paige tries to prove how boring the Halliwells really are. Honey, we already know. This is additional filler material, a story that saddles Rose McGowan with more stupid dialogue that she adds her own hideous twitching and mugging to. Girl needs some valium.

The ball of suck that is Billie Jenkins continues to bug, with her one-woman mission to kill some demon and later her 'lessons learned' pep talk that we already suffered through years ago when folks like Prue and Piper realized they couldn't use magic to face their fears. She's still struggling as a character, too, from her cliched back-story to the hilariously misfiring attempts at making her seem cool and edgy, like that random back-flip she did on the staircase. Just walk out the house like a normal person, God!

I should also mention the out-of-nowhere Piper/Leo tensions. Just like their similar tensions back in season five, there's absolutely no build-up, the writers casually dropping in arguments and dialogue about 'having problems lately' and expecting the audience to willfully accept it all, despite the whole thing lacking in any internal logic. It's ridiculously patronizing.

Kill Billie Vol. 1 is another ill-conceived mess that seems to drag on for a damn century, especially in Billie's scenes with the Dogon. When Phoebe's romantic blah-ness is the one thing preventing the show from collapsing beneath the weight of its own laziness, you know Charmed is in serious trouble. D

Guest stars
Eric Steinberg (The Dogan); Stefan Marks (Seth Parra); Nigel Gibbs (Jonah); Zach Johnson (Tomar); Jason Lewis (Dex Lawson)
Writer Elizabeth Hunter Director Michael Grossman

1 comment:

  1. So painful to watch. I remember that useless backflip by the way. It made me want to kill myself that Charmed had sunk to SUCH low levels. Beyond atrocious. It's embarrassing really that this season was actually a dayjob for a whole crew of people. Dear lord can you imagine how pathetic they all must have felt (except our rich stars of course).