Charmed recap: A musical demon makes his way to Hilltowne, spelling treble for Maggie
As we’ve come to see, Charmed is not a show that shies away from a juicy, and often shocking, revelation. And with so much going on with the Vera sisters and company at all times, there’s always a major bombshell (or three) around the corner.
Directed by CW sibling Gina Rodriguez — and featuring her Jane the Virgin dad, the always-delightful Jaime Camil — “Witch Perfect” finds the sisters at the end of their rope when it comes to their mother’s secrets, as the news that Maggie and Macy also share a father gets out. But as this show has proven time and again over the course of its first season, one major question almost always leads to another as Macy learns a shocking secret about herself that may be the key to the mysterious darkness she possesses. Toss in some a capella and you better aca-believe we officially have ourselves one very dramatic mashup of an episode.
The episode kicks off a far cry from Michigan, as a genial music teacher (Camil) timidly enters an antiquities shop in Greece, his eye quickly drawn to an ancient pitch pipe sitting on display. In awe and unable to contain himself, the moment he’s left alone by the shopkeeper, he picks up the pipe, blows into it, and, as you probably guessed, quickly becomes possessed by a demon trapped inside the pipe.
Back in Michigan, Maggie is serenading Mel with a cover of “Walking on Sunshine” as the pair deliver a full English breakfast to Harry, who is recovering from his Tartarus torture in the attic. At the Whitelighter’s suggestion, Maggie is auditioning for Hilltowne University’s a capella group, the Hilltones, to lift her spirits following the whole Parker debacle and her subsequent brief spell in Tartarus. Despite not knowing the specifics about his time in Tartarus, the sisters can tell something’s wrong with Harry, who stuffs the notebook he’s been feverishly jotting down notes in behind a pillow as Mel and Maggie enter the room, quickly joined by Macy.
Harry is not on board with Galvin knowing their secret and attempts to persuade the sisters to let him wipe Galvin’s memories but Macy’s not having it. Plus, she has bigger fish to fry as she’s trying to find a way to gently tell Maggie and Mel that Ray isn’t actually Maggie’s biological father, rather her own father, Dexter Vaughn, is.
Macy sits her sisters down and attempts to preface the bombshell using science and logic but, at their urging, she blurts out the news…which, of course, the sisters don’t take well. Naturally, Maggie feels her whole world crashing down around her, while Mel feels betrayed by their mom with yet another lie. Macy only makes things worse by trying to look on the bright side, and, as she and Mel begin fighting, a devastated Maggie takes off for her Hilltones audition.
Due to Macy’s seriously unfortunate timing, Maggie takes the stage for her audition and seemingly botches it, crying during her performance of “Walking on Sunshine.” But it seems Maggie didn’t blow the audition after all, as the Hilltones director Mr. Miranda — the demon-possessed music teacher — declares the mournful performance as exactly what the group is looking for and offers her a position in the a capella group on the spot.
At the house, Macy is rehashing the explosive conversation with her sisters to Galvin. While she feels bad about the situation, she maintains that she’s not sorry for wanting answers, which is fair — although, at this point, every answer leads to another dozen questions. Galvin gets his first real taste of magic as Macy, tired of all the secrets, performs a spell that reveals hidden things. The spell works and among the many bits of paper shooting across the kitchen is a box containing letters from her father to her mother. Recognizing one of the letters was written the year her father died, Macy realizes her parents were in touch the entire time.
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Still devastated, Maggie is trying to compose a text to Ray in the Hilltowne auditorium when she’s approached by Lucy, the Kappa president who also dated Parker, who just so happens to be a member of the Hilltones. Maggie offers to quit the group, but Lucy’s heard about the breakup and can see Mags needs a little cheering up. Lucy semi-jokes that the two former friends are cool as long as Maggie doesn’t go for the solo Lucy’s gunning for, and the pair seem to patch things up before they’re interrupted by the Hilltones’ star soloist Effie (Pitch Perfect’s Chrissie Fit) who sings to Lucy and Maggie that the solo is all hers.
When Maggie gets home, Macy is at the door waiting to apologize for her less-than-gentle approach to telling Maggie about her biological dad. However, the apology is upended by Macy dropping yet another staggering piece of information, revealing that according to the letters, not only did Dexter Vaughn know all about Maggie, but their parents were in love the whole time. This all proves to be too much for Maggie, who storms off wanting nothing to do with the letters.
More or less officially together following their kiss, Mel and Jada meet outside The Haunt. Tired of the lies, Mel confesses to Jada that she initially infiltrated Sarcana at the behest of the Elders as they all believed the rogue sisterhood was behind the death of Marisol, quickly adding that she now knows this isn’t true. Clearly expecting Jada to be upset, Mel is surprised when Jada says that she wasn’t wondering when Mel was going to come clean. It appears that not only is Mel not nearly as stealthy as she thinks she is, the Sarcana also have an empath in their ranks, so Mel wasn’t fooling anyone. As the two seem to be trading secrets, Mel inquires about what the sisterhood actually does and Jada invites her along on a mission. Meanwhile, Niko is still trailing them, discreetly snapping photos of the couple from a nearby car.
At the a capella rehearsal, the Hilltones are performing a literally haunting arrangement of “Killing Me Softly.” When Effie tries to breathe a little bit of life into her solo, the demonic Mr. Miranda criticizes her “Aguilera circa 2003” vocal runs and justifies his creepy arrangement by maintaining that dissonant harmonies are beautiful and transfixing, a definite hint of his nefarious plan. When Effie continues to protest, Mr. Miranda pulls her aside and cuts her from the group. However, a true diva, Effie isn’t going to let it go, so he unleashes his inner demon and traps her soul inside the cursed pitch pipe, now hanging around his neck.
Macy and Galvin are sifting through the newly discovered letters. In addition to seemingly pinpointing Maggie’s exact conception date — which is very TMI Galvin! — Macy learns that her dad not only knew all about Maggie but even knew her mom was a witch. Further shocking, we learn that Maggie was born in the year 2000, which despite making sense in the context of the show, is baffling to hear out loud. Reading a letter in which her father recounts her 10th birthday, Macy reflects to Galvin about how lonely she was growing up and how she wishes she could have had those life experiences with her sisters.
During a rehearsal break, Maggie is feeling overwhelmed by everything going on at home. Lucy, despite her penchant for unnecessary abbreviations, proves to be an unexpected source of support for Maggie. Without really getting into it, Maggie opens up about her currently complicated home life, adding that the tension has resulted in her not inviting her sisters to the show. Mags confesses that she wishes her life wasn’t so messy, prompting Lucy to share a little bit of her own family drama, reminding Maggie that all families are messy and she’s not alone.
As Mr. Miranda calls the group back together, Maggie notices that Effie is no longer with them. After he explains that Effie has “quit” the group, Lucy immediately calls dibs on the solo. Mr. Miranda acquiesces and Lucy launches herself at him in an attempt at a hug but is rebuffed by the demonic music teacher, who shouts that she nearly crushed his antique pitch pipe. The pipe catching her eye, Maggie reaches out or touch it and hears the sound of Effie screaming for help inside it. She quickly alerts Team Charmed Ones of the demonic pitch pipe in their midst.
Jada and Mel are on their Sarcana mission at The Haunt, which is to take down a sexual predator who was essentially let off the hook by a judge who didn’t want to see the man’s life ruined by the crimes he committed….a sad, yet very familiar story. While they wait, Mel expresses frustration to Jada about not being invited to Maggie’s a capella performance. Later, as Jada is in the bathroom, Mel hears a familiar voice at the bar and turns to see Niko.
Niko introduces herself to Mel, and while obviously not remembering their past relationship, Niko knows who Mel is. She reveals that she “helps people” and wants to talk to Mel about Jada, who has loved ones worried that she’s run off and joined a dangerous cult. Niko warns Mel against letting Jada tempt her into joining and gives Mel her number.
With Maggie on speakerphone at school, Macy, Harry, and Galvin — who, despite Harry’s clear discomfort at having a human in their ranks, is officially assisting on the case — are uncovering what they can about pitch pipe. According to the Book of Shadows, the demonic pipe belonged to the Sirens from Ancient Greece, who have an affinity for something called the Devil’s Tritone. While neither Harry, Maggie, nor Macy have ever heard of this musical term, Galvin grew up in New Orleans with an extended family of jazz musicians so he knows all about this chord. The four deduce Miranda is a siren who is going to use the Hilltones’ arrangement of “Killing Me Softly” to literally kill the audience.
Galvin remarks that sirens are usually women, prompting Harry to remind him that gender can be fluid. However, when Harry attempts to use magic to transport him, Macy, and Galvin to the school, he’s too weak from Tartarus and his magic fails, forcing Macy to send the siren-destroying spell to Maggie via text.
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Back at The Haunt, Jada and Mel successfully complete their mission, catching the predator as he’s attempting to roofie a woman’s drink. Mel freezes time while Jada performs magic that makes his hand stick to the glass, exposing his motives when Mel unfreezes time.
As the rest of the Hilltones take the stage, Maggie hangs back and confronts Mr. Miranda, performing the spell to no success. The demon reveals he’s not a siren, rather he’s the maestro behind the sirens and has turned the Hilltones into the magical creatures with his arrangement. With the group already performing the song, his plan is in motion, slowly killing the audience. Macy and Galvin burst in and Macy uses the backstage ropes to restrain Miranda. As a human, Galvin begins to succumb to the sirens’ song, but Maggie realizes the special tea Mr. Miranda has been insisting they drink all week made the human Hilltones immune to the song and rushes to rescue Galvin with the tea while Miranda removes his binds and climbs up to the catwalk.
Suddenly Macy realizes that it’s not the song itself that is killing the audience but the arrangement, and using science jargon she explains they need to counterbalance the dreary arrangement. Now, this is the Pitch Perfect episode so it can only mean one thing: a mashup. Just as Lucy is beginning her solo, Maggie bursts on stage and begins singing it in a more pleasant octave. Hating Miranda’s arrangement, the rest of the crew, Lucy included, quickly join in, saving both the performance and the audience.
Harry, still researching the pitch pipe at home, calls Mel, who has just arrived to take down Mr. Miranda, and informs her that the magic device can trap bodies, meaning the real Mr. Miranda and Effie aren’t actually dead. However, the sisters have to use the Power of Three to force the demon back to its primordial form and, in order to activate the pitch pipe and trap the demon once more, they need to play the Devil’s Tritone.
The Hilltones finish their song and the very alive audience loves it. As the Vera sisters have a demon to kill, Maggie buys some time by getting the a capella group to sing “Walking on Sunshine.”
Up in the catwalk, the demon attacks Macy, who’s rescued when Mel freezes time. However, their attempts to use the Power of Three are futile and Maggie realizes it’s because they’re not working together due to their anger. This prompts Mel to apologize to Macy for her reaction to the news about Maggie’s dad and taking all her anger about the lies on her. However, their next attempt to use the Power of Three also fails, and it’s Macy’s turn to apologize for being mad that they were mad at her for the manner in which she broke the news. They turn to Maggie so she can let it all out but after her conversation with Lucy, she’s feeling good!
Their next attempt at using the Power of Three works and Macy tosses the pitch to Galvin, instructing him to play the Devil’s Tritone, trapping the demon and releasing those held captive inside it. Galvin’s officially vanquished his first demon, so I think that makes him officially a member of Team Charmed Ones.
Now that they’re all back on speaking terms, Mel tells her sisters about her encounter with Niko, which reminded her that sometimes people lie to protect the ones they love. Despite wanting nothing to do with the letters earlier, Maggie asks Macy if she can see them and the two go off to look at them together. Meanwhile, Mel goes to see Jada, coming clean about her encounter with Niko, including their history.
In the attic, Charity arrives at Harry’s request. While she’s worried he regrets learning the truth about his son, he reveals that he’s trying to write down every detail from the memories he can recall. However, he didn’t ask for her to come to talk about his son. He tells her wants to talk about his position as Whitelighter to the Charmed Ones. He tells her that he feels distracted and changed after his time in Tartarus and isn’t sure he was what it takes to do the job. Despite the sisters being the closest thing he’s ever had to a family until learning about his son — which is both tragic and sweet — he feels they need a Whitelighter who is actually going to keep them safe, referring to his slow recovery interfering with his abilities.
In Macy’s room, Maggie and Macy bond over the letters and what it would have been like if Maggie and her biological father had the chance to get to know one another. However, the mood quickly turns to shock as Macy and Maggie stumble across a major secret in one of the letters: Dexter Vaughn and Marisol Vera brought Macy back from the dead.