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Charmed - The Storm Before The Calm & I Dreamed a Dream - Double Review + Season 3 Thoughts: "The Wrong Person Jumped The Ship"

 

And here we are. After 18 episodes and so many breaks in between, seasons 2 (sort of) and 3 came to an end with a devastating fallout. Not in a million years I would've expected for season 3 to end with Dr. Macy Vaughn leaving dying and Madeleine Mantock leaving Charmed. Let's dig in the events of the final two episodes and unravel all the mistakes the writers/showrunners did . . .

The Storm Before The Calm
I was about to write the review for this episode when the news of Madeleine leaving dropped, so the emotional tool caused this delay. The rushed and forced episode was written by Jeffrey Lieber and Sidney Quashie and directed by Geoff Shotz. 

The standout part of this episode was the interaction between Mel and Josefina. Mareya Salazar is a revelation as Josefina, her love for magic and sort of addiction to it, just as her chemistry with Melonie Diaz's Mel really brings the best out of the show. In just 4 episodes Mareya appeared as Josefina she had more significant scenes with Mel than Macy over 3 seasons/59 episodes and that feels quite sad, looking at how the season unfolded and how that won't be rectified in future seasons. Josefina stopped by to prevent Mel from delivering her magical baby, but besides that Josefina also brought a letter from Marisol, but why would Marisol write a note to her cousin in English? Moving on from that, Mel and Josefina found out from a secret message in the letter that Marisol left so her Puerto Rican family would be safe from the attacks of the evil coming for the Charmed sisters. It was a fairly lovely moment between the cousins and gave Mel the strength to keep fighting. It's not like Mel was giving up but the writers shallowly touched upon her insecurities and Melonie did a good job in showing her vulnerability during this last couple of episodes. 

At the beginning of the episode, the sisters visited Aladria to get some scoop on the Whispering Evil. And so they found out that to expel the Monster out of Jordan they have to hit it with an attack like none before, this is where Macy's plot of the week comes into play, once again a plot far away from her sisters. Focusing on Abigael's development once again and leaving our leading lady on the side. Don't get me wrong, every show needs good supporting characters, so they could use them in a way to advance the story, give the lead characters space to grow outside of their comfort zone. But once again the writers went for the rushed route, giving Abigael sort of redemption without giving it the proper due and Macy being a by standard without any development on her own. Macy was "forced" to accept Abby for who she is, and Abby turned into a watered-down version of the demon witch we've got to know beforehand, giving us the illusion of her change. Eventually, the writers had the balls and let Abby say she is sorry for what she has done but that shouldn't have been the end of her "redemption", it should've been the beginning. 

Also, the whole plot surrounding the face-off with Francesca was fairly underwhelming, she was supposed to be a Translocation witch so why would she be afraid of any of them. She could wizz the three ladies into an Ocean and have peace for a couple of hours. But that was once again a sparkly moment for the story to get prolonged once more. Francesca definitely could've been a formidable foe but was just there as a plot device. 

Meanwhile, Maggie went head to head with Jordan after a vision indicated that the Jordening Evil wanted to poison the water supply and accelerate its plans of World domination. This story did deliver some kickass moments for Maggie and Jordan and let Sarah and Jordan expand their acting skills. Jordan as the Whispering Evil was just a treat and you could see how much fun Donica had while playing it. Donica's energy was just spot on, he was a really terrifying villain, one you would actually fear. Something we don't see so often on the show. The writers decided to cut our party short as one fired up Potentia trium was enough to take the Evil out of Jordan. The emotional burns between Maggie and Jordan hit hard but Maggie's exaggerated responses were double downing the intended blow. I found it unnecessary for their interaction to unfold this way as it felt forced. The actual talk between Maggie and an evil free Jordan did work out well. So sad Mel's labor got interrupted the long-awaited Joggie kiss. I do hope season 4 will be kinder to their relationship and Jordan in particular, the writers love to torture our resident good guy, wondering why? 

Other Tidbits:  
- Loved the magical Ultrasound, Josefina's love for magic is just brilliant.   
- Swan is just the sweetest, her brief moment with Harry post exorcism was beyond adorable.
- Harry officially lost his powers and already got a taste of a life without them, wondering how long that will last?
- And what's up with Abby's Demon form? Or did the writers forgot about their big 3x03 cliffhanger? 

I Dreamed a Dream . . .
This was a really rough one. I wanted for a Charmed episode to really destroy me since Memento Mori or Don't Look Back in Anger, but this episode hit in so many different ways, with happiness, sadness and anger overlapping and taking a piece of Charmed we will never get back. The season 3 finale was written by the people who should jump of the Charmed ship, Craig Shapiro and Liz Krueger, and directed by Stuart Gillard. Before getting into my rant about Madeleine's decision to leave the show, let's recap what went down in  I Dreamed a Dream...

While on a mission to obtain a toxic magical fungus, Dr. Macy Vaughn was blindsided by the Whispering Evil. In a move to protect the world from the future Macy she saw back in 3x16, Macy ingested killing the Whispering Evil and putting herself on the death bed. In an attempt to procure more time Maggie and Mel cast a spell connecting themselves to Macy. This spell provided things fans were longing for 2-3 seasons. Beautiful sisterly moments, laughs, happiness, development, and for some fans the Hacy the Hacy wedding.  It was weird that while giving us fans all the things we wanted the writers were simultaneously so disrespectful and took all that from us, just as we've got it.  And while the road trip sing-along scene was probably one of my favorite scenes of the show overall, the scene that really got me was the carnival ride. The vulnerability Madeleine once more expressed in Macy's reminiscing of her past and present just hit to hard. The way she missed her dad and how it was never properly explored just made me furious. 

In the meantime, Harry was on a mission to regain his Whitelighter powers and while successful with the help of Celeste and Jordan, he got them back and gave some of his magic to Jordan in the process, but a bit later on that. Harry's attempt was in vain, as the blast within Macy's body was incurable. After Mel, Maggie, and Harry fairly quickly gave up on the, for plot purposes only, of course, Macy left her sisters in a beautiful montage joining the guardian beyond the Curtain in the Tree Room. 

One thing I really have to give major kudos to for this episode is Stuart Gillard's work. This episode looked sublimely beautiful, with so many great scenes, shots, setups. The carnival scene, the road trip, the wedding, Macy joining the other side it just looked gorgeous. The creativity oozed out of those scenes and elevated the performances we've been treated to this episode. 

But the biggest shout-out goes to Madeleine Mantock for her performance in this episode. She was the Moment. Every scene was perfectly executed, with the needed dose of emotions, gesticulation, and empowerment. The passion Madeleine radiated while portraying Dr. Macy Vaughn was always the biggest draw to the character, the excitement she had for exploring this brilliant and capable WoC is what made Macy great. The understanding she had for portraying this character and its importance in the greater scheme just made Madeleine bring her A-game every opportunity she got. And this is why Madeleine's decision to leave is that much more tragic. 

If you saw Madeleine's youtube videos ahead of the season premiere and her excitement for delving into the character and stories, makes you realize that her frustration with the current storytelling and curse of the show suffocated that and made her leave. Cause who leaves a job they loved so much in the middle of the pandemic. But these are just some of my thoughts, maybe Madeleine's reasoning is different. I first and foremost respect Madeleine's decision to leave and I am happy for her that she is doing what is right for her mental and physical health, cause at the end of the day it is just a job. 

What is indeed infuriating me is the way they choose to focus on so many side stories and not giving Macy a proper exit storyline. From social media, it was revealed that Madeleine announced her exit rather early, and obviously, no changes were made except for the actual finale. So that explains the clunkiness of the first and the final act of the finale. Macy dying was a given, the show can't continue its premise without The Power of Three but the way they choose to kill her off and give a virtual middle finger to all the fans by showing "Oh this is all you could've had but yeah you never will." made this exit so much more heartbreaking.  Also, the way the writers "forcing" Macy to give all the characters absolution and made them give up on her so fast, was another painful knife in the back.

The final scene between the sisters in the Tree room was really a tearjerker. They felt so close, the feels at that moment were so real, all the actresses brought their best at that moment. I soaked that moment in so heavily. 

The episode concluded with some "unexpected" shockers, Mel gave her future-self the baby back, Jordan expressed healing powers, and the Guardian announcing that there is another Charmed one out there. 

Other tidbits:
- I found it wildly inappropriate to tease the "new" Charmed one at the end of the episode. It should've been about mourning Macy, but why am I surprised? The new writers never understand that.
- What happened to Mel's contractions from the end of the last episode? 
- Can we get Celeste back as a regular next season? The way she just is magic, I love it. She needs to transfer that to the sisters. 
- Who is crying every time they hear "You're all I need to get by"?

Season 3 Thoughts
The writers definitely had a tough job with the remainder of season 2 unfolding in this season and start a new storyline. The issue though with the showrunners and writers team who took over after the first season is that they can't follow through with a plot. The character arcs at the beginning of the real 3rd season got buried with a different plot and that plot with another one. The Tomb was covered with the Perfecti, the Perfecti with the Whispering Evil, and neither of those stories was properly explored or executed. The writers are continously trying to up themselves with their plots and stories so they forget about consistency and plot details, not to mention they're mostly disregarding mostly the strong plot points established in the first season. What happened to Maggie exploring her heritage? What happened to Kevin? Mel's social activism? Macy's career? The Demon world?   

At the end of the day, it is obvious these writers don't understand the characters in the way that they should. Their fascination with topping their previous plots makes them forget to focus on the development and makes them sideline the characters for the plot. To get back on track this show definitely needs new showrunners, cause if you're alienating your leads with your plot, you should be the one jumping the ship. 

Top 3 Season 3 Episodes: 
1st Place - Witch Way Out
2nd Place - Bruja-Ha
3rd Place - The Perfecti are the Enemy of Good.

That is a wrap on my side. I will be back for season 4, even though the writers don't deserve it, but I am here for Sarah and Melonie. I have some predictions for season 4 but I won't make them at this point in time, maybe in another article. What are your thoughts on the final developments of season 3? Will you tune in for season 4? Share your thoughts in the comments section down below. Till we meet again. . . in 2022. 

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