‘Charmed’ 3×17 Review: “The Storm Before The Calm”
This is a review I’ve been struggling to write. I wish I wrote this over the weekend before the news broke on Monday that Madeleine Mantock is leaving Charmed because this would be a wildly different recap. Macy Vaughn is a character I love very deeply. I’m going to delve a lot more into that in my finale review, partly because we don’t know how her storyline is ending yet. I also have a lot of feelings I’m still processing. I apologize if this is scattered and messy, but that is where my mind is right now. Keep reading for my ‘Charmed’ 3×17 review.
After this episode aired, I had a lot of hope for next season. The seemingly never-ending saga of Abigael Jameson-Caine wrapped up in this episode, and I was hopeful next season would solely focus on the Charmed Ones. I don’t have hope for next season anymore, and I actually do not plan on watching it. The next episode will be my final ‘Charmed’ review. I want to spend this article focusing on the hope I had for the series, and where I was hoping storylines would go, as well as some overall frustrations with the season. After all, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t rant.
With the reveal in the last episode that the Whispering Evil hitched a ride out of the Tomb of Chaos with Jordan, all hands are on deck to save him. The sisters break back into the Tomb of Chaos to speak with Aladria. Her suggestion was first to let her and Mo out. Her next suggestion was to kill Jordan, thus killing the host. Obviously, they do not take either suggestion. Instead, the sisters focus on separating Jordan and the virus.
“I Was Doing It To Protect My Family”
Mel is hellbent on being able to help, but she is starting to go into labor. Fortunately, Josefina comes back and helps with some brujeria to stop her labor. She also brings back a letter she found from Marisol, which backs up the story Josefina was told about Marisol stealing the Book of Shadows. Thanks to some invisible ink, they find a secret message that Marisol knew she was going to mother the Charmed Ones. She stole the Book of Shadows to protect her family in Puerto Rico and her daughters.
Personally, I love the interactions between Mel and Josefina. I hope Mareya Salazar might become a series regular next season. It would have been so cool to see all of the Charmed Ones in a mentoring role with their cousin. I also really wanted to see Macy bonding with her cousin as she learned more about her family. There is so much history to be mined with both Marisol and Dexter’s family. I could think of dozens of storylines that would be fascinating to explore. Unfortunately, Macy will again be left out of any exploration of her own family, which has been a common theme throughout the series.
“Rid Me Of My Greatest Transgression”
So much of this episode focuses on Abigael facing her mother in order to return Macy’s demon powers. It was frustrating to watch so much of this episode be spent on Abby, but I understood it since Poppy Drayton exited the series after this episode. However, once we found out it was Madeleine Mantock’s penultimate episode, I became irate. I plan on spending most of my next recap talking about all the ways Macy has been traumatized and wronged over the past two seasons, but I still need some time to mentally process that.
Over the course of three seasons, we have met basically the entire Jameson-Caine families. However, we know very little about the Vera or Vaughn families. In a show about the Charmed Ones, I don’t know why I know so little about them, yet so much about the villains. The way the show diminishes their heroes on a regular basis to prop up their villain is infuriating. That’s not even getting into the extremely problematic optics of lessening women of color at the expense of a white character. For a show that prides themselves on representation, the entire execution of Abigael is horrifying.
Abigael and Macy go back to her mother’s house to get the Blade of Clarity to return Macy’s demon powers, since Waverly refuses to do so. Naturally, they run into Francesca, who tells Macy to kill Abigael in order to get access to the blade. Abigael has to confront Francesca, and she is ultimately able to return Macy’s fire power. Macy never should have stripped her demon powers to begin with and it shouldn’t have taken this long to get them back. Season one spent so much time showing how Macy’s demon blood didn’t make her a bad person, which was a really powerful message. The writers undercut that message when they stripped those powers.
Now, let’s talk about Abigael’s “redemption.” The fact Abigael returned something she took without permission does not redeem her. She got caught. She didn’t do this out of the goodness of her heart. Additionally, positioning your villain next to people who are worse doesn’t make them good. Introducing her sadistic mother and selfish sister just showed three villains. For me, the most egregious part of Abigael’s storyline this season was when they showed us her mother locking her in a literal crate. That level of emotional manipulation by the writers was beyond horrifying. Using child abuse to excuse an adult’s actions was so personally offensive to me. That was the moment I lost complete and total faith in the showrunners to tell a good story with this arc.
“The Whispering Jordan”
Maggie and Harry spend the episode trying to find Jordan to get the Whispering Evil out of him. Thanks to a premonition Maggie gets, they find him trying to infect the local water plant. This part of the episode was the strongest, thanks to some epic fight choreography between Sarah Jeffery and Jordan Donica. In the process, Jordan scratches and infects Maggie. She starts saying some incredibly mean things to Harry about him being useless without his powers as she mentally tries to fight the virus. Harry looks so hurt by some of the statements that I teared up at his expression.
Harry’s powers are almost entirely gone. His magic lines are fading. He cannot heal or orb regularly. The immortality storyline for Harry could have been so much more interesting than what we got. As we see with Maggie’s virus, she has some strong opinions about Harry losing his powers.
Instead of one small conversation with the sisters, there could have been a lot more conflict with one of them saying they had reservations about him losing his powers because they still need their Whitelighter. Not to mention, Harry needs to have a role in the team beyond Macy’s boyfriend. He is so much more useful to them than that. I love Hacy, and I will ship them to the bitter end, but I truly wanted better storylines for both of them this season.
Maggie continues to battle the Whispering Evil as Jordan taunts that he never actually found her formidable. The Whispering Evil knows the cruelest things to say because that shattered me a little bit. Meanwhile, Harry manages to use his last orb to get Macy from England. Then they grab Mel and Josefina to use the Power of Three. Unfortunately, the potion to block Mel’s labor has also blocked her powers. She’ll have to go back into labor to use the Power of Three. With some new found inspiration from Marisol, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her family.
When they arrive, Maggie and Jordan are in another battle. Macy throws Jordan across the room. I cannot imagine how bruised that poor man is after these fights. The virus has taken hold of Maggie enough that she is ready to just kill Jordan. She gets my favorite line of the episode with “He’s trying to steal my soul, and he said some really mean things about me.” The sisters use the Power of Three, combined with Macy’s fire power and separate the virus from Jordan. Mel freezes it and Maggie turns her baton into a spear to shatter it. Both Maggie and Jordan are free from the virus now. Unfortunately, they don’t gather the pieces of the Whispering Evil, which is of course going to be important later.
“A Slightly Better Version Of Myself”
They head back to the manor and Abigael comes to visit. This was the scene where I started screaming. Abigael gives a kind of half-assed apology for “everything.” She doesn’t specifically apologize for trying to kill Macy. She doesn’t apologize for all the racial microaggressions and sexual harassment. They actually had Macy thank Abigael for “doing the right thing” by returning her demon powers. Nothing about this scene felt in character for Macy.
The interaction with Mel felt even less in character. Abigael thanks Mel for everything, and she asks for baby pictures, as well as pictures of Future Mel. She says knowing Mel has made her want to be a slightly better version of herself and asks if they can be friends. Mel ends up hugging her. The Mel of season one wanted to punch Lucy for pouring some margaritas on Maggie’s head, so the fact that Mel is hugging the woman who tried to kill Macy will never make sense to me.
As Abigael leaves, I don’t understand why we’ve spent two seasons with her because she did nothing to further the character development for the Charmed Ones. She just sucked up screen time. We know nothing more about the demon world. There was just no point to her, and I am so angry about all the other storylines that could have been centered instead.
The end of the episode is not all bad, though. We get a sweet moment with Maggie and Jordan in the backyard where they’re looking at the stars together. I love the way they’ve started the Joggie ship development. I let out some pretty strong profanity when Josefina interrupted the almost kiss between them because she couldn’t slow down Mel’s labor anymore. If there is any storyline that could get me to come back for season four, it would be the Maggie/Jordan romance.
Macy goes to find Harry at Safe Space where he is checking on Swan and the other infected people, who are now just confused. His magic lines are gone, meaning he is now mortal. They kiss to celebrate the start of their life together. She realizes the Whispering Evil didn’t have a symbol when they defeated it. Every other creature from the Tomb had a symbol. They go back into the Tomb. Aladria confirms the Whispering Evil is still out there. Mel comes to the same realization when Future Mel hasn’t come back yet for the baby.
As this episode ended, I had such hope for next season. I wanted to see Harry and Macy start to build their life together. I wanted to see Maggie and Jordan’s relationship develop. The possibility of an epic romance for Mel had me excited. I wanted Josefina to stick around. Seeing the sisters learn more about their family fascinated me. Now, I can only picture sadness. I am absolutely dreading the season finale. Regardless, I will be back for one last recap. Find us on Twitter @capeandcastle to share your ‘Charmed’ 3×17 thoughts. Be sure to check out our site for more content!