Lord, this was boring. Hostage crisis episodes are always my least favorite episodes of anything, since they always seem to rely on the exact same tropes time and time again, particularly in the hands of unambitious writers. There's always the threat of a main character getting shot, there's always some tool who tries to be a hero and ends up delaying any progress, and there's always a bunch of annoying cops in a van outside trying to negotiate their way in. Blah. Payback's a Witch wades through every one of these clichés, only real slowly, which makes it super-super fun!
This was also a script that relied way too much on contrivance and events accidentally aligning at just the right time for things to work out. Like Paige's hand signals to the security camera, or the hostage taker being accommodating enough to allow Paige a potty break, or Piper getting Homeland Security to help them out, despite Agent Murphy having dropped their butts weeks ago. Logic be damned.
In important news, Paige finally got a power advancement and can now heal folks, and I liked the call-back to Love Hurts in season one with her healing ability only coming through once it's provoked by true love for somebody. I guess she really digs Henry, and I actually like one of Paige's relationships for once. They have chemistry together, and Ivan Sergei seems to bring out the best in Rose McGowan, even if she does still descend into mugging most of the time.
Elsewhere there's an annoying Wyatt subplot in which he magically turns his toys into real-life men, and it takes Professor Shit-for-Brains Phoebe Halliwell a good thirty minutes to figure out what's actually happening. Not since old episodes of Medium have I been so desperate to jump into my TV set and shake a character into realizing what the audience realized long before they did. Gah.
This is Charmed on autopilot. There are obviously attempts at trying to distract from terrible plotting with a ton of showy stunts, from the helicopter to all the sexy SWAT action, but generally this felt unnecessarily weak. More mid-season filler material, folks. D-
Guest stars Ivan Sergei (Henry Mitchell); Karl Makinen (Nick Edwards); Alex Fernandez (Lieutenant Sanchez); John Richard Todd (Elder); David Meunier (Rohtul)
Writer Brad Kern Director Mel Damski