Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-02-26 Entry: "Charmed Souls"

"The Wedding From Hell" sees a wedding, obviously, and some demonic shenanigans going on between the groom's mother and an old friend of hers who hasn't aged a day. Piper is taking a pregnancy test, and the box gives Phoebe a vision of a demonic baby being born.

Obviously the demonic baby is part of the wedding Piper is catering - there's a crazy priest with a magical knife, ancient fertility statues, strippers being eaten at the bachelorette party, and the demon Hecate trying to get married and pregnant.

Okay, this was very silly - I'm sure the demon make up has shown up in Buffy somewhere but I can't quite put my finger on it. Using Hecate as a demon is pushing her original portfolio a little far, but I guess it sounds mystical enough for this show.

The sisters need a third bathroom - and a larger boiler so they don't keep running out of hot water...

"The Fourth Sister" sees Aviva, a young witch given powers by Kali, try to wheedle her way into the Charmed Ones good graces. She's being pushed into it by Kali, who keeps appearing in the mirror to her and has given her the power of fire.

Prue takes an instant dislike to the interloper, who befriends Phoebe. Kali wants Aviva to steal the sisters' powers but she's having trouble going through with it.

Prue keeps failing to have a date with Andy, while Piper and Phoebe are fighting over Leo.

Aviva, intending to leave to avoid hurting anyone else, gets possessed by Kali, but fortunately, a good witch doesn't freeze when Piper uses her power on them, but an evil sorceress does.

"The Truth Is Out There... And It Hurts" sees Prue casting a truth spell to find out how Andy will react to her being a witch - she (and everyone around her) has to tell the truth for 24 hours, and then they forget what happened. It goes slightly awry when it affects Phoebe and Piper as well.

Meanwhile, there's a demon who's come back through time to kill off all the people responsible for finding a vaccine against him... yes, that's right, a vaccine against a demon who fires blue laser beams out of a third eye!

Anyway, Phoebe befriends the final victim, Prue tries to talk to Andy, and Piper goes after Leo. Of course, Prue's talk to Andy doesn't go very well, but she only gives him like an hour to come to terms with it!

Best moment by far - demon has Prue by the neck and is holding her off the ground at arms length, choking her. She can't pry herself free. Piper turns up, freezes the demon, and then uses a crowbar(!) to free her.

So we finish the disc, and now I'm going to finish Sea Of Souls, with the two episodes of "Voodoo Nights."

Okay, how to sum that up? It's not as creepy as the second story - there's just something about small children that can be extremely freaky... especially evil, possessed small children. But this has voodoo, it has crazy millionaire business tycoons, it has visions of snakes spilling out of the toilet.

This one does a much better job of gradually upping the tension than the previous two - the pacing is just a fraction better, and the music helps to propel the story along, especially when they're being chased around the London streets by evil thugs.

The female assistant (whose name is temporarily escaping me) has very little to do here - mainly sitting at a computer and making phone calls, with a brief aside into interrupting ex-boyfriend in the middle of the night to sit at his computer and make phonecalls - and the story is set up to shake the male assistant's scepticism. He gets magically attacked by the cultists - is it food poisoning, or are they really making him sick, making him see blood gushing out of taps that doesn't exist?

Not that we'll find out how much his convictions have been shaken, because the next series sees all new assistants for Douglas Monaghan.

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