There’s a new Whitelighter in Hilltowne and the Vera sisters are not thrilled about it.
After being absent during the last several episodes, “The Replacement” opens with Galvin trekking through the jungle — which could be a seen as a nod to Ser’darius Blain’s role in the Jumanji franchise — reaching the final stages of his journey with the Chiriji. But just as he appears to complete his mission in the dark depths of the jungle, a shadowy monster appears, prompting him to high-tail it out of there.
Back in Hilltowne, the Vera sisters are woken in the middle of the night by an invisible demon. After a quick panic — as one does when quite literally dragged out of bed by an invisible demon — the sisters spring into action, before Tessa, their new Whitelighter, arrives to tell them it was all a test…and they’ve failed. The Charmed Ones and Harry may have started out on shaky ground but it’s nothing compared to their tense introduction to Tessa. Their new Whitelighter has a lot of problems with her predecessor’s approach to training the Charmed Ones, much to their ire. Determined to course-correct their training with a more classical approach — abandoning Harry’s championing of their sisterly bond — the Vera sisters are now in for intense spell memorization and a host of pop quizzes.
The sisters are not at all on board with their new Whitelighter — and are still very wary of the Elders’ continued ominous presence in their lives, to the point where they now use an anti-surveillance candle to keep the council (and others) from listening in. Plus, they’re still holding out hope for Harry’s return and presumed reinstatement. Learning Galvin’s on his way back to Michigan, Macy ponders the best way to tell her boyfriend she doesn’t actually want to cure her demon side. Meanwhile, the repercussions of Marisol’s death are still hitting the sisters as Maggie receives a bill from the college bursar — her days as a faculty kid are up and she owes Hilltowne University $30,000.
At the Haunt, Niko approaches Mel, inquiring about Jada and the lack of recent Sarcana activity. Mel quickly shuts her down, revealing she and Jada broke up, she’s no longer part of the group, and really has no idea what they could be up to. Sarcana activity aside, Niko’s constant presence in Mel’s life is going nowhere as the private detective reveals she and her fiancée have rented out the bar for their engagement party — and Mel just happens to be working.
Fresh off his death-defying mission, Galvin returns to Michigan. But as the sisters inquire about his travels, they’re interrupted by the arrival of a body in their living room…which Galvin recognizes as the customs agent who checked him back into the country. With Tessa’s arrival imminent, Macy uses magic to shove Galvin into a closet. Further showcasing her penchant for drama, the new Whitelighter arrives and reveals a demon attack occurred right under the Charmed Ones’ noses.
After being briefly distracted by the privacy spell, which Mel pretends is to keep the demons from listening in, Tessa quizzes the sisters on the type of demon plaguing Hilltowne. Macy uses the puncture wounds on the body to deduce a vampire is afoot. However, as Galvin’s return is the new variable, the sisters worry a demon may have accompanied the scientist back to the U.S., hidden in any number of the artifacts he accrued along his journey.
Mel and Macy bring Galvin’s hoard of artifacts to Mama Roz in the hopes she can deduce whether any of them are cursed or contain demonic traits. Meanwhile, Maggie is left to babysit the dead customs agent at the house, in the event he reawakens as a vampire.
Maggie’s feeling pretty distracted by the expensive education she now has to pay for but exploring financial aid and scholarship opportunities forces her to reexamine her identity — especially after discovering she and Macy share a dad, making her half-black. Filling out the race and ethnicity section of the financial aid form, Maggie discovers a number of scholarships for black students. But as someone who didn’t identify as black growing up (she didn’t know who her biological father really was), Maggie struggles with whether she should apply for the scholarships.
Her self-examination is interrupted when she hears a voice call out for help and in a panic (and after calling out for Harry yields no results), Maggie asks Tessa for help. The Whitelighter explains it’s likely her powers expanding and the voice she’s hearing is likely that of the customs agent’s lingering soul.
For all Macy’s nervousness about telling Galvin his jungle quest was essentially all for naught, he is surprisingly understanding when she tells him — almost too understanding.
Back at the house, Maggie asks Macy for advice about understanding her identity. Maggie explains that she was so caught off-guard to learn that Macy’s dad was actually her biological father that she hadn’t fully processed that it also changed what she knew about her racial identity. Now that she’s discovered she’s eligible for scholarships for black students, Maggie wonders if she can consider herself to be a part of a culture she didn’t grow up in.
It turns out there was a reason Galvin was so cool with Macy backtracking on their plans to rid her of the ibi: he’s actually a demon. Galvin pays a visit to Mama Roz and while Roz warns him to stay away from Macy, he attacks her, killing her after confirming Macy doesn’t know anything about Yoruba.
A nervous Maggie attends the scholarship group interview at the Black Student Union, but just as she’s opening up about herself, she begins to hear the voice again — more urgent, this time — and rushes out of the interview. Maggie finds Mel at the Haunt and asks for help, allowing a suspicious Niko to overhear them talking about demons and ghosts.
Maggie and Mel seek out Mama Roz and find her dead, with the same puncture wounds as the customs guy. The two don’t have a lot of time to look around before Tessa arrives. While Mel tries to shoo her off, Maggie asks for help expanding her powers, hoping if she can reach Mama Roz’s soul, it can help point them to who killed her. Maggie is able to successfully connect with Roz’s soul, learning that a demon known as an Abiku killed her. Following Roz’s instructions to find the “lost soul at the threshold,” she learns that the soul that’s been communicating with her is Galvin…meaning the Abiku is currently on a date with Macy.
Macy and the Abiku-as-Galvin are on a moonlit date in the backyard. The date sours quickly after Galvin aggressively asks Macy to accompany him to the attic. Macy senses something’s off and grows defensive, causing the Abiku to reveal its true self to her. At Mama Roz’s, Mel, Maggie, and Tessa learn that Galvin is only the Abiku’s temporary host as the demon seeks to prey on the soul of dead children and as Macy was stillborn, it’s after her. Macy flees into the woods and manages to temporarily escape the Abiku, but just as it catches up with her and is about to strike, her sisters and the Whitelighter arrive as backup.
Macy is unwilling to stab Galvin’s body with the dagger so she proposes another plan: she harnesses her darkness long enough to stop his heart, which forces the Abiku out. Tessa is vehemently opposed, forcing Maggie to put a spell on her to prevent her from interfering.
Despite a shaky execution, Macy’s plan works and she’s able to rid Galvin of the Abiku. Unfortunately, without a body, the invisible Abiku is able to get to Macy and swiftly takes her to the attic, where the necromancer brought Macy back to life all those years ago. After cutting through a spell keeping them out of the house using Mama Roz’s dagger, Maggie, Mel, and Tessa race up to the attic to save Macy. After a difficult fight against the Abiku, the sisters are able to defeat it with the help of a fire extinguisher.
With Galvin recovering on the couch, the sisters argue with Tessa over Galvin knowing they’re witches and Macy wanting to learn to control her demon side. Macy gently breaks it to him that she doesn’t want to rid herself of her demon side and he’s crushed, having seen what it makes him do. Terrified of what happened, he wants nothing to do with demons and magic but as that’s a major part of her life, the two tearfully reach a stalemate.
After a sister heart-to-heart over Macy’s decision to go forward with controlling her demonic powers — even if it means she and Galvin now want different things — Maggie reveals she decided not to apply for the scholarships for black students. However, she does want to keep exploring her new identity and tells Macy she plans to visit the Black Student Union again.
Niko calls Mel to the ransacked tattoo parlor the Sarcana used to frequent demanding answers. Mel reiterates that she’s no longer part of the Sarcana but Niko doesn’t believe her, citing what she overheard at the engagement party. After a tense exchange, Mel tells Niko the truth about her being a witch but citing her safety, demands Niko leave. Mel summons the secret entrance and enters the Sarcana headquarters to find dozens of dead Sarcana sisters. As Mel searches for Jada, her ex staggers out, surmising she’s likely alive because she’s half-Whitelighter. She reveals that Fiona was the one who killed all the sisters and that she was holding Harry against his will. Terrified, Jada tells Mel she thinks this is all part of the prophecy: “With the blossoming of death brings the rise of the Source of All Evil.”
Jada tells Mel she’s leaving town before it’s too late and encourages Mel and her sisters to do the same. Unfortunately, considering they’re the Charmed Ones, that is exactly the opposite of what they’re destined to do. Taking one last look around the Sarcana hideout, Mel finds a key belonging to Harry on the floor. While the sisters don’t know whether Harry purposefully left it for them to find, they decide it’s imperative they find and rescue the Whitelighter. Remembering what Tessa previously said about all Whitelighters being connected, they devise a plan to use her to get to Harry — playing the same game the Elders have been playing with them.