Although Season 6 was marked by a return to the goofball elements of comedy, it was redeemed by an emotional and dark finale. Thankfully Season 7 of Charmed continues the darker vein and gets the stories back on track with seriousness and depth. Spoilers will follow in this review of the penultimate season.
Everyone is reeling from Gideon’s betrayal and attempt to kill baby Wyatt in the finale of last season. Piper is concerned about keeping baby Chris safe, while Leo(Brian Krause) is consumed by anger and goes on a demon hunting spree to purge his hate. In his confusion he accidentally kills another Elder, which leaves his ridden with guilt. He is further haunted by strange whispers and faces. These are later revealed to be the Avatars( who were glimpsed in Season 5), beings who want to create a Utopia where good and evil are no more. Elsewhere, Phoebe(Alyssa Milano) feels a lack of direction without her active powers and takes a break from her professional work. Her desire and purpose eventually flood back when she rediscovers her selflessness again and her powers are restored. She has a little dalliance with her handsome ghost writer at the paper Leslie, but her constant absences and family emergencies make sure it isn’t a full-blown union. Yet while she believes that she won’t find love she gets some guidance from an unlikely source. Paige(Rose McGowan) fights for Magic School to stay open and becomes the headmistress, meaning she can at least have a job where she doesn’t have to hide the fact that she’s a witch. She also becomes involved with Agent Brody(Kerr Smith), a federal agent who knows about the Avatars and wants to stop them. Leo eventually becomes one of them and convinces Piper, Phoebe and Paige to agree to this new world. Brody tries to avert this but is killed in the process, which leaves Paige emotionally distraught. Yet after everything has been changed, Leo sees that the Avatars erase people from this world that create conflict. The sisters come to an agreement with the Avatars to change the world back to what it once was, because the world needs both good and evil to keep the cosmic balance. The girls also have Inspector Sheridan(Jenya Lano) on their backs, who suspects that the girls are up to something bad, despite the warnings from Darryl(Dorian Gregory) that they are good people. Darryl, who hasn’t really seen eye to eye with the sisters, begins to help them again to avoid suspicion. But this becomes the least of the girls worries as a new threat rears its head and comes after the girls. This time evil is the very powerful Zankou(Oded Fehr), who will stop at nothing to kill them and mounts a full-scale war that may well have fatal consequences for the sisters.
A lot of the success of Season 7 is the return of consistency and a grander set of events. There is scope to this season and I’ve always felt it was split into halves.In the first half, we have the Avatars posing ambiguous questions and challenging the natural order. They do have the sisters question the world In the second half, we have the ruthless Zankou and his attempts to kill the sisters, which pushes them harder than ever before. Both halves are excellently observed as we are given two threats one after the other. The two halves do overlap occasionally but they flow well together. And excusing the occasional dull episode, Season 7 regains control of the structure and makes us invested as well as entertained. The humour is still there but kept to controlled level rather than overload, so that it ties nicely in with the darkness. A certain feeling of epic battle looms large and leads to an explosive and interesting finale with Zankou hungry for power and death. It’s clear that the producers are gearing up for the last season with this finale.
Another driving force of Season 7 is Piper and Leo’s relationship being tested once more. Leo, after being tried by the Elders for turning to the Avatars and also killing a fellow Elder, and sent on a quest where he has no memory manages to make his way to her again as proof that they are meant to be together. Leo may be stripped of his powers as an Elder and a Whitelighter, but he is relieved as it won’t tear him away from his family. Once again, the love shared by Piper and Leo shines through the adversity as they officially get back together as a married couple in moving fashion. The amount of personal emotion in Season 7 is very much evident here as well as Phoebe regaining her faith in love after listening to Drake( Billy Zane), a former demon now turned good who makes her see that someday she will find the one she has been looking for. Charmed’s main heart has always been emotional ties and family and this season definitely taps into them more than ever. Season 3 and Season 4 may be my favourites, but the excellence of Season 7 places it just behind them because of its greatness and depth. There are only two flaws in the season and both revolve around two newer characters. The first is Leslie, Phoebe’s brief beau who is also her ghost writer while she takes a break. I just never felt any connection between the two. I can get that they wanted to have him as a hunky love interest, but it never worked out that well. The other is Inspector Sheridan, who was introduced in the closing half of Season 6. I just don’t like her character, she doesn’t really contribute anything to the story except hassle the girls. None of this is the fault of Jenya Lano, but the character just seems so bland. Plus we’ve already had the girls under surveillance story been done before and far more effectively.
I must give special mention to some wonderful highlights of this season, which overflows with greatness. The girls morphing into vicious beasts because of the blue moon. Paige and Kyle being sucked into a detective novel and embracing the allure of Noir. That episode is one of the finest hours of the show, with the black and white cloaking events in that old-fashioned celluloid glow and Paige looking sensational as a femme fatale. The sisters protecting a Seer( a wonderful Charisma Carpenter) from evil forces. Kyle’s death and Paige’s reaction are sad scenes that really deliver the emotional grip. The girls seeing that the new Utopia is not as perfect as it appears brilliantly shows that there are grey areas of existence that are hard to let go of. The touching scene of Kyle, who has been made a Whitelighter following his death, bidding goodbye to Paige is heart-wrenching. Piper slipping into a coma and being greeted by someone she never thought she’d see again. The assortment of supporting characters is excellent, with Billy Zane, Charisma Carpenter and Kerr Smith standing out in their respective roles. And not forgetting the climactic battle with the devious Zankou that gets explosive and deadly.
The wonderful cast brings their A-game to this season and turn in excellent work. Holly Marie Combs excels at playing Piper as the resourceful and responsible oldest sister, trying to keep everything under control and attempting to stay strong in dire circumstances. An added plus is the convincing chemistry and personal emotion with Brian Krause, who plays Leo as tormented and frightened, yet brought back to his senses by his wife. Leo may be a mortal when he falls from his grace, but it brings him closer than ever before with the women he loves above anything else. Alyssa Milano is effervescent yet driven as Phoebe, discovering that while love hasn’t always treated her right, there is still hope out there in time. Phoebe seems more at ease this season, having seen that her selflessness is what drives her on and her bond with her family is most important. Rose McGowan rounds out the trio as the wilful Paige, experiencing deep love and sorrow but managing to make her way through it. Her romance with Kyle may have been brief, but it was observed so greatly that it was moving. It gave Paige extra defiance and opinions than ever before, and that is what I’ve always liked about her so to see it expanded on was a big plus. McGowan has clearly grown in the role of Paige, charting her venture from reluctant sister to dedicated and passionate woman. As the vicious demon Zankou, Oded Fehr exudes a sly and ruthless aura that is very disquieting and makes him one of the best foes that the sisters have faced. And this season we bid farewell to Dorian Gregory as Darryl. His mix of bewildered emotions and honesty over the years will be missed but he ensures that he won’t be forgotten in the Charmed universe.
- A Call to Arms – B
- The Bare Witch Project – C+
- Cheaper by the Coven – B+
- Charrrmed! – C
- Styx Feet Under – B
- Once in a Blue Moon – B
- Someone to Witch Over Me – C
- Charmed Noir – A+
- There’s Something About Leo – B
- Witchness Protection – A
- Ordinary Witches – C-
- Extreme Makeover: World Edition – A
- Charmageddon – A+
- Carpe Demon – D
- Show Ghouls – C
- The Seven Year Witch – A
- Scry Hard – B
- Little Box of Horrors – B
- Freaky Phoebe – D-
- Imaginary Fiends – B
- Death Becomes Them – A
- Something Wicca This Way Goes – A
Charmed Season 7 makes for eventful and emotional viewing that takes its place as another excellent season of supernatural battles and drama.