Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Charmed: Repo Manor (8.13)

The most derivative episode in Charmed history. We have three female demons impersonating the sisters (The Power of Three Blondes), the sisters miniaturized (Size Matters), folks trapped in inanimate objects (The Painted World, Scry Hard), Phoebe getting attacked and lobotomized in an elevator (Freaky Phoebe), and Paige working with leprechauns and fairies (Lucky Charmed, Spin City), as well as thematic riffs on Bride and Gloom and The Importance of Being Phoebe. Everything here has been done before, and if this were an episode from a different season I'd be a hell of a lot more critical. But since this has the good fortune of being placed at the midpoint of season eight, a year that gives abject crumminess new definition, it's actually weirdly entertaining.

My enjoyment of Repo Manor comes from the fact that it feels like the first episode in a long while that positions the sisters center stage and features them working together to meet a collective goal. They've all been thrown off-course this year on their own separate missions and semen crises, so it made for a welcome change to see the girls knocking their pea brains together to wriggle their way out of a doomed demon scheme.

The demons themselves are underwritten and played by three women who make Jenny McCarthy and her rent-a-hookers in season six seem like classy Meryl Streep clones, but I kind of enjoyed the ridiculousness of everything. Repo Manor also features the greatest use of Billie so far, since all her screentime this week consists of the sisters telling her how boring she is and that she's a huge pain in the ass. Any episode that features this abortion of a character getting tossed out of the Manor on her butt deserves special credit.

Elsewhere, we once again see Paige wrapped up in magical creature hijinks, and I swear if I see that damn fairy one more time I'm prepared to drown a basket of kittens. Not really, before PETA jumps on me. But that's the kind of threats this show has got me making! Finally, Phoebe's moved out of the Manor for good. Eh. I guess it was time, but I really wish Billie hadn't taken her spot in the Halliwell home. A whole bedroom that she's (supposedly) not even paying for? The most she deserves is a doghouse out back...

Also, it's neat to see Henry react normally to Paige's secret, since it got old fast seeing various bland love interests freak out or faint at the slightest hint of magic. I also liked that Paige actually described her powers and the existence of magic, instead of just erupting with "I'm a witch", something any self-respecting person would read as "I'm one of those annoying wiccans who idolize Fairuza Balk".

Repo Manor is another episode with the sisters acting dumber than usual while one of their own is obviously possessed by evil, but the Billie abuse and sisterly screentime more than make up for the episode's many, many faults. C

Credits
Guest stars
Ivan Sergei (Henry Mitchell); Faran Tahir (Savard); Michael J. Anderson (Leprechaun); Janelle Giumarra (Phoenix); Lisa Jay (Pilar)
Writer Doug E. Jones Director Derek Johansen

3 comments:

  1. I actually wrote my review similarly enough to yours in that I included a list of the episodes they ripped off here, haha.

    Anyway, you seem a lot more positive about it than I do, though. It's a pile of poo as far as I'm concerned. Great review, though.

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  2. How funny. I think it's one of my favorites of the season. Panda and I rarely disagree. I remember the sisters abusing Billie as particularly amusing and I loved seeing Phoebe kick some ass for once in the opening (even with the reveal that it wasn't really her).

    It's also probably the only episode that doesn't irritate me with its recycling of old plots simply because it's done in such an enjoyable and lighthearted manner that actually WORKS unlike the rest of the season. Will rewatch certain episodes and write reviews. I really miss Charmed (although I'm sure you two don't feel the same way slogging through season 8 - the single worst season of television ever produced)

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  3. Panda I love how succinct that last part was -- "a pile of poo", I need to use that at some point.

    Nad Looking forward to your take on it, excited to read it. And I actually think I disliked season six more than eight. Eight is awful, but six was soooo boring. At least eight gives you things to whine about. Six was like pulling teeth.

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