“This isn’t a witch hunt, this is a reckoning,” Marisol Vera (Valerie Cruz) says in the opening minutes of the CW’s much-talked-about Charmed reboot, which premieres with a very topical #MeToo episode.
Marisol is on the phone having a heated exchange regarding a professor who’s protesting his sexual harassment suspension. When her daughter’s, Mel (Melonie Diaz) and Maggie (Sarah Jeffery), hear her arguing, they pause their argument over Mel’s boots and Maggie’s desire to join a sorority to see if their mom’s okay. Marisol sits them down and delivers a heartfelt speech, reminding them that they are “better together” and that “nothing is stronger than their sisterhood.” Maggie’s continuous eye-rolling suggests this is a monologue they’ve heard before.
The sisters make half-hearted promises to have each other’s back before taking off, Mel to see her girlfriend and Maggie to a sorority party. At home, Marisol senses something’s wrong and seconds later, a crow bursts through her open window (never a good sign). After sending Mel and Maggie an urgent text to return home, Marisol races to the attic and starts performing a spell. She also warns the circling crows and an approaching smoke monster that she “has three.” Unfortunately, by the time Mel and Maggie arrive home, delayed by Maggie’s reluctance to leave the sorority party, their mother is dead, having seemingly fallen out the attic window.
Three months later, the sisters aren’t exactly heeding their mother’s words. Mel, a grad student in Hilltowne University women’s studies department, is consumed by anger and continuing her mother’s fight against Professor Thaine, who was reinstated at the school after his suspension. She’s hanging up Time’s Up posters — yes, really — when she’s approached by her mother’s replacement in the women’s studies department, a cis white man who claims to have been retweeted by Roxane Gay, among other accolades. He tries to break the ice by complimenting her on a recent article, saying, “It really made me feel like my penis had been torn from my body.” To which Mel responds, “Oh good, you read it right.” After laying out the reasons she doesn’t like him, she continues advertising the upcoming rally.
Immediately following her interaction with the women’s studies professor, Mel clashes with Cameron, an ardent supporter of Professor Thaine, punching him in the face after he insults her mom and Thaine’s accuser. News of Mel punching an undergraduate student immediately cause tension between her and Maggie. The sisters have very different approaches to grieving their mother. While Mel is convinced there was foul play involved in Marisol’s death, and thinks Professor Thaine had something to do with it, Maggie is trying to retain a semblance of normalcy in her life, which includes rushing the sorority Kappa Tau Kappa, where she was the night her mother died.
Meanwhile, Marisol’s long-lost daughter Macy Vaughn (Madeleine Mantock) arrives in Hilltowne to work as a molecular geneticist in the University’s lab — under the tutelage of Professor Thaine, no less. She stumbles across the Vera house while walking with her new coworker Galvin (Ser’Darius Blain), who fills her in on the tragedy that took place there. Discovering that the mother she thought to be long dead actually died just three months earlier, Macy goes to the house to seek out her newfound sisters, interrupting their fight.
Naturally, the reunion goes horribly, as Mel and Maggie aren’t aware they have another sister. However, after the initial awkwardness wears off, the three each begin to experience their powers for the first time. Macy exhibits her newfound telekinetic capabilities while venting about her disastrous meeting at a bar with Galvin. Maggie discovers she can read minds — a change from the original Charmed’s premonition — at a sorority event, and Mel discovers she can freeze time during a coffee date with her now ex-girlfriend Niko (Ellen Tamaki), a Hilltowne detective who broke up with her following her mother’s death.
The sisters are then kidnapped (to their attic) by the new women’s studies professor (Rupert Evans), who, to their surprise, informs them that they are the Charmed Ones, “the most powerful trio of witches.” He also reveals himself to be none other than Harry, their Whitelighter — who definitely seems more like Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer than Leo Wyatt. He explains that their mother was a powerful witch who bound each of her daughter’s powers when they were born, but was in the process of releasing the bind when she was murdered. Yep, Mel was right, there was foul play. However, Harry doesn’t know who killed her, noting their only lead is the ice found at the scene, meaning this a cold demon.
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