This feels a lot like a series finale, and knowing the twenty-two brain farts that form season eight, this damn well should have been the series finale. Something Wicca This Way Goes plays like a greatest hits hour, full of references to past episodes, old spells and former characters. Some of the dialogue could be interpreted as too self-conscious, but I feel it kind of worked here. I liked seeing the sisters revisiting the past to try and find new methods to destroy Zankou, as well as the Halliwell's mutual concern over their newest antagonist and his grand scheme to steal the Nexus and gain ultimate power.
I remember watching this years ago and being pretty blown away by all the action and explosions, but watching it over again I realize I had initially overrated it. While the episode is full of forward momentum and excitement, it sometimes feels a little too repetitive, with the sisters launching attack after attack to little avail while having their powers stolen one by one. I don't know... it sort of drags after a while.
Where the episode perks up is in the emotional scenes, notably Piper leaving her sons with Victor, about to face what could be her demise. It's a tender moment, played perfectly by Holly Marie Combs. It's scenes like this one that fully reflect how serious the situation is, far removed from weaker threats over the years. While Zankou's demise remains inevitable, it again builds momentum and focuses the intensity. I wish Brad Kern had maybe put greater emphasis on those feelings, while similarly building on the self-doubt created last episode that was mostly absent from this one.
Without discussing too much of the actual series finale, Something Wicca This Way Goes features an intriguing resolution for the sisters. There are a lot of unanswered questions in regards to their identity switcheroo at the end, but it gives the three ladies that fundamental closer that they'd been desperate for since the very first season: a normal life. It's a Charmed variation on 'normal', sure, but it's something kind of interesting, with enough threads still lingering to keep your imagination running long after the credits roll. Compared to the cookie-cutter "and here's the entire rundown of what happens next" thing we got one year later, I kind of prefer the ambiguity. But I imagine a ton of folks would have been mightily pissed if the sisters rode off into the sunset with new identities and an uncertain future...
Season seven has been an interesting year for Charmed, with sudden upswings in ambition and characterization mid-season. But, true to form, the show seems to always fall back on the most basic level of storytelling after a while, stranding its protagonists in illogical storylines that treat continuity like a red-headed stepchild. But I enjoyed a lot of this season, which was surprising. With that in mind, it really should have been Charmed's swan song. A bunch of episodes blew, but there was a renewed energy every so often that confirmed how strong the show could be when the writers put some effort in.
But, as everybody knows, we got season eight instead. Pray for me. B-
Guest stars Oded Fehr (Zankou); Jenya Lano (Inspector Sheridan); James Read (Victor Bennett); Sandra Prosper (Sheila Morris); Elizabeth Dennehy (Sandra); Glenn Morshower (Agent Keyes); Jacqui Maxwell (Vampire Queen); Danneel Harris (Alternate Paige); Danielle Savre (Alternate Piper); Becki Newton (Alternate Piper); Evan Parke (Kahn)
Teleplay Brad Kern Story Brad Kern, Rob Wright Director James L. Conway