Charmed recap: The sisters struggle to balance their double lives as the Harbinger of Hell strikes
After two episodes of slowly teasing the season’s major threat, with “Sweet Tooth,” Charmed is finally leaning into the looming apocalypse Harry keeps talking about, or at least, the demon that appears to be the root of it.
The Whitelighter, who we can now confirm is definitely a Giles/Leo hybrid, has begun training the Charmed Ones and already each of the sisters has a problem: Mel is overzealous and reckless with her powers, Macy keeps getting in her own head, and Maggie’s attempts at juggling Kappa and witch duties has her succeeding at neither. Always the monologue aficionado, Harry chastises the sisters, reminding them that the Harbinger of Hell is somewhere in Hilltowne and they need to be ready for it.
He advises the girls to sit tight and keep training while the Elders seek out the Harbinger’s vessel. However, Mel has other plans and takes to the Book of Shadows to find her answer, only to be interrupted and nearly caught by Niko. Speaking of near misses, the next morning Niko almost catches Macy levitating eggs in the kitchen. Swiftly ushering Niko out the door, Mel tells a reluctant Macy that they need to take the matter of finding the vessel into their own hands. Macy remembers the Harbinger’s black goo residue contained sulfuric acid, which causes a major reaction when mixed with sugar. Who knew Charmed would teach us so much science? Like baking soda in the pilot, it seems sugar may be an answer to solving the mystery. The pair devise a plan to suss out the vessel using baked goods, in honor of Halloween, of course.
Maggie, however, needs to sit this particular mission out as her very expensive Kappa duties have her picking up extra shifts at the restaurant where she now works. Kappa president Lucy, who is celebrating Kappa’s success in helping Angela Wu awaken from her coma via bedside vigil, just so happens to be brunching and takes the time to remind Maggie of her precarious spot in the sorority, causing Maggie to offer up her house for Kappa’s Halloween party.
Angela’s emergence from her coma is major news on campus, and when Mel hears the news, she freezes time in the classroom where she’s working as a TA. Her continual casual use of magic frustrates Harry, who walks in on the frozen classroom. The two argue about her use (or misuse) of magic, and tired of her ignoring his lectures, Harry conjures a magical bracelet onto Mel’s wrist, which notifies him every time she uses magic.
Meanwhile, in the Hilltowne lab, Galvin and Macy are very flirty. Expressing dismay that she didn’t show up in costume, he makes her part of his group DNA helix costume, and I’m already all in on this relationship in a big way. However, when Galvin asks her out, she says no, telling Maggie that she’s being “realistic” because she and Galvin are coworkers. No, Macy!
On campus, Mel runs into Angela — a.k.a. the Harbinger of Hell’s vessel — and fills her in on their mom’s death. Mel also uses the opportunity to give her a cookie but unfortunately, the Harbinger spots Mel’s sugar ploy from a mile away and manages to remain undetected. In the dorms, Mel also runs into Niko, who is investigating a missing student. Niko suspects something is up with Mel, and frustrated by being unable to tell her the truth, Mel freezes the hallway and explains everything to Niko — who naturally can’t hear her. The use of magic alerts Harry, who reminds Mel against spilling the beans on her powers, creating more tension between the two.
The sisters and Harry find out about Maggie’s Halloween party and reluctantly decide to go along with it, hoping to rule out Hilltowne’s Greek system as potential vessels. As Maggie glamorizes the house and party using magic, Harry reminds her that the sisters aren’t supposed to be using magic to “live their best lives” and their actions have consequences, but she brushes him off. Naturally, Mel shows up at the party dressed as a witch, using her “costume” to share her battles against demons with an unsuspecting Niko.
Macy attends the party dressed as Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a truly inspired choice — to Maggie’s horror, having invited Galvin to the party on Macy’s behalf. She takes Macy off to find the perfect costume, however, Macy’s ambivalent towards all her options and Maggie expresses her frustration that Macy won’t open up about what she wants. Macy reveals that she was sent to boarding school in high school and as one of the two students at the school who wasn’t white, she felt forced to play a role, choosing to be the smart and serious one while her friend was the funny and sexy one. Finally understanding her sister, Mags vows to find her the perfect costume that’s both smart and sexy: Persephone, goddess of the underworld.
Her costume clearly wows Galvin, who is looking very dapper as Idris Elba as James Bond — representing the internet’s greatest wishes and once again, proving he’s the best. But just as it seems Macy’s about to tell him she does want to go on a date with him, Mel pulls her away due to a major Harbinger-related emergency.
Niko is called from the party to investigate three bodies that have been found on campus, murdered by the Harbinger of course. As the victims are the president of an abstinence club, a nun, and Cam — the Professor Thaine defender from the pilot — the sisters and Harry deduce that the Harbinger is targeting virgins. With a killer out there and a party going on in their house, the sisters decide to seal the house with a protection spell to keep their guests safe. However, Angela — whose appearance now resembles a Halloween-appropriate mix between a zombie and the girl from The Ring — decides to make an appearance.
While preparing a salt ring, Harry and Mel have another tense conversation. Mel hates that she has to hide from Niko, explaining that she never had to hide who she was because she grew up in such an accepting environment and that being forced to keep this secret makes her feel like she’s trapped in the closet.
The Charmed Ones try to seal the house but it doesn’t work because the Harbinger is already inside. Macy, revealing that she’s a virgin, volunteers to be the bait to draw the demon out. However, when the Charmed Ones attempt the spell to vanquish the Harbinger, the consequences of glamorizing the house affect Maggie, interfering with their opportunity. With Angela after her, Macy takes off and Maggie temporarily saves her, clubbing the Harbinger with a massive branch. However, she quickly recovers and Angela rears to take the sisters out. Despite Harry’s warning, a desperate Mel uses the dangerous spell from their simulation. The spell takes Angela down but knocks Macy out, causing Mel to worry she killed her sister, though luckily, Harry is able to revive her.
As Macy and Maggie head back to the house to put an end to the party, Harry and Mel have a bit of a breakthrough. Mel concedes that he was right in that she was using her powers recklessly and Harry surprises her by complimenting her for correctly deducing Angela could be the vessel and ultimately taking the demon out. He also opens up a little bit about why he’s so protective and at times, overbearing with his lectures.
Harry tells her that the Charmed Ones aren’t his first charges as Whitelighter, revealing that Mel reminds him of Fiona, another witch he looked after who shared her secret to the wrong person and was institutionalized for it, leading to her death. He adds that Fiona’s death changed him as a Whitelighter, pushing him to become more cautious. Mel tells him she’s done being reckless but reminds him that she’s not Fiona. Harry releases the bracelet and promises to Mel that once the danger they’re currently facing is gone, he’ll try to help her get permission from the Elders to tell Niko the truth.
At the house, Macy, having nearly been killed and no longer looking to over analyze her relationship with Galvin, kisses him. Meanwhile, Maggie seems to be working her way back into Kappa’s good graces, as Lucy dubs the party a success. However, Maggie also learns that Parker, the cute boy she’s continued to run into throughout the episode, is Lucy’s boyfriend.
Despite having been successfully captured by the Charmed Ones — and now stowed away in their attic in chains — the Harbinger isn’t totally neutralized just yet. Harry warns the three that it can still do a lot of damage, so they have to essentially babysit it until the Elders arrive. While babysitting a demon doesn’t seem like a ton of fun, at least it seems we’re finally going to meet one of the Elders Harry’s been going on about.