By Meaghan Kirby
December 10, 2018 at 04:02 PM EST
Jack Rowand/The CW

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…unless you learn your boyfriend is a half-demon trying to steal your powers. The Charmed mid-season finale has finally arrived and it is one loaded episode. Mel may be on her way to infiltrating a potentially dangerous rogue group, in “Jingle Hell,” but the real drama comes as Alastair brings his plan one step closer to fruition. Shocking betrayals are uncovered as the Vera-Vaughn sisters have a very memorable first Christmas as the Charmed Ones.

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in the Vera-Vaughn household as Team Charmed Ones prepare to celebrate their first Christmas together by decorating the Christmas tree and drinking coquito. The Vera sisters’ holiday is tempered by the notion that their father will be joining in on the festivities. While Maggie is thrilled their dad will be with them during their first Christmas without their mom, Mel chides her little sister for being too trusting and warns her of the likelihood that he won’t follow through. Meanwhile, Mel’s initiation into the Sisters of the Arcana is looming and despite warnings from Harry and Maggie, she’s dead set on carrying out the mission, especially if the rogue witch collective are truly behind the murders of their mother and the other elders.

Galvin, who escaped being hit by a car with only a broken leg, surprises Macy with a visit on his way out of town. He comes bearing mistletoe, and as if that isn’t cringeworthy enough by itself, as he goes in to kiss Macy, he loses his footing and topples over in the middle of the foyer, as Mel, Maggie, and Harry awkwardly look on.

We take a brief detour over the Bucharest where we find Hunter and Parker. The brothers have broken into a church in search of the Amulet of the Archangels, which they need to drain the Charmed Ones of their powers. However, after they capture it from a highly decorated skeleton lying entombed in the center of the church, they’re interrupted by a priest wielding a magical staff off sorts, chanting a spell to open what appears to be a portal to hell. However, Hunter is able to overpower the priest and while Parker seemingly convinces his demonic brother to spare the priest, Hunter waits until he’s gone to kill the priest and steal the staff.

In the lab, Dr. Wagner, Macy’s new boss, is revealed to be none other than Parker’s mom and it seems she’s the one who’ll be creating his magical serum. While he knows the serum will save him, it’ll also turn him into a full demon and Parker has some serious reservations about that, not to mention the fact that he really likes Maggie. Regardless, Dr. Wagner pushes him to follow his father’s orders and give Maggie the amulet if it means saving his life. However, it seems Parker hasn’t been clued in to all aspects of this plan. In their evil lair, Alastair and Hunter celebrate being one step closer to completing their nefarious plans, which will not only see Parker turn into a full demon when he takes the serum, but it seems he’ll also become the Source of All Evil.

After his little tumble in the foyer, Galvin is no longer going out of town for the holidays, instead spending it on the Charmed Ones’ sofa. Macy is, once again, thoroughly under the impression that the Yoruba protection spell is working overtime to prevent them from being together. Now that she’s back on her “avoid Galvin at all costs” game, which is a lot harder to do when they’re in the same house, she recruits Harry to be their buffer, supplying Galvin with endless coquito and small talk. Suffice to say, Harry is a truly inspired choice. I mean, have you seen the weather outside?

Parker also turns up at the Vera-Vaughn house, armed with presents. Following Vera tradition, Maggie moves to put the presents under the tree until midnight but Parker convinces her to open his gift, the amulet, which he tells her came from a vintage shop. Naturally, Maggie loves it and puts it on immediately.

Meanwhile, Mel endures a surprisingly simple Sarcana initiation, which consists of her getting the Sarcana’s sigil tattooed on her wrist. However, following her initiation, a murder of crows fly overhead, prompting Mel to remember the crows flying out of her house the night her mother was killed. She reports back to Harry, now certain Jada and the Sarcana were involved in Marisol’s death.

When Macy sees Harry is debriefing with Mel and not chatting away with Galvin, she sends him away to get Galvin more coquito. However, Galvin seems to be having an arguably better time conversing with Parker and Maggie. But as the guys shake hands, Parker doubles over in pain as Galvin’s Yoruba mark glows especially bright. Shaken, Macy takes Mel into the snowy backyard to tell her what she just saw and wonders whether it means Parker could be bad news. Macy calls Mama Roz for confirmation but before she can do anything, Macy is knocked out by Hunter.

He bounds and gags her in the shed before assuming her identity. Uh oh, we’re going to be dealing with a lot of doubles aren’t we. Hunter-Macy attempts to enter the house but a protection spell thwarts him. Mel rushes over to see what happened and what Mama Roz said and Hunter-Macy tells her that Galvin’s Yoruba protection spell is malfunctioning, meaning there’s nothing wrong with Parker, adding that it’s also preventing her from coming inside. However, Hunter-Macy adds that Roz gave her a spell to temper the spell and has Mel deliver it via coquito, allowing Hunter-Macy to enter the house.

As Maggie and Parker put together the Christmas village, Maggie can’t help but point out how terrible Parker sounds. When she asks about his ongoing treatment, he fills her in on a new medicine that could cure him but has serious side effects — which is a very sugar-coated way of saying he’ll be a demon. Mel sees Maggie’s new amulet change colors — a sign their powers are draining — and pulls her aside to ask about it. When Mel mentions the protection spell incident earlier, Maggie gets defensive and upon receiving confirmation that their father is, in fact, bailing on them, she gets upset and runs upstairs, followed by Parker.

Maggie confides in Parker that she’s worried Mel’s right in that she’s too trusting. She asks Parker about the necklace and why it changes color, which he deflects by agreeing with her suggestion that it’s a mood necklace. Putting all her emotions out there, Maggie asks Parker if she can trust him, adding that she doesn’t know what she’ll do if he lets her down too, heavily foreshadowing some serious heartbreak when Parker’s true deception comes to light. This conversation has Parker’s human side feeling pretty conflicted as he gently slides the amulet off Maggie, and slips it into his pocket without having succeeded in draining her powers, something Mel sees from the doorway.

Deducing that the amulet is no ordinary mood necklace, Mel confides in Hunter-Macy, who confronts Parker in the bathroom. Now taking his own form, Hunter chides Parker for letting his human side get the better of him. He also takes the opportunity to fill Parker in on his destiny as the Source of All Evil and implores him to put the amulet back on Maggie. However, being told that he’ll one day be the Source of All Evil doesn’t seem to have the desired impact Hunter was looking for as Parker goes off in search of Maggie, presumably to fill her in on the truth behind the amulet and his weirdness. Unfortunately, the pair are interrupted by Galvin, whose lack of mobility requires some added assistance getting to the bathroom.

In the attic, Mel and Harry search the amulet in the Book of Shadows and learn Parker is using it to try to steal their powers. The pair are joined by Hunter-Macy, but in the shed, Macy has managed to loosen her gag and calls out to Harry. His cover blown, Hunter-Macy kicks Harry through the attic window and is ready to kill him when the whitelighter is able to get away when the real Macy calls out for him again. The commotion forces Maggie into the backyard, where she finds Hunter now taking the form of Harry, but with an all-around terrible impersonation. Mel is quickly knocked out by Hunter-Harry using her own magic against her but not before she warns Maggie that she’s standing next to a shapeshifter. Parker asks his brother to put an end to his mess, as Maggie looks on, confused as to why he seems to know what’s going on.

But as Harry and Macy join the massive confrontation, Hunter shapeshifts into Maggie and the two Maggies stand next to one another, each claiming they’re the real Maggie. Macy and Harry attempt to intervene but are knocked out by Hunter-Maggie. Finally, Parker turns into the Shadow Demon and forces Hunter to show himself. The brothers fight and the weakened Parker goes down quickly. Luckily, Mel regains consciousness in time and uses her powers to hold Hunter back. As a new Sister of the Arcana, she’s able to summon the crows and they attack the demon until he disappears.

Maggie is crushed at Parker’s betrayal and the revelation that he is the Shadow Demon but he wants to at least try to explain himself, turning into the Shadow Demon and whisking her off, to the horror of her sisters and whitelighter. He brings her to a beautifully decorated gazebo — it’s a holiday episode, so of course a festive gazebo is going to make an appearance — and tells her how terrible he feels about everything. To make it up to her, he crushes the amulet and tells her the truth, about his being half-demon/half-human and the real reason he gave her the amulet. Maggie is heartbroken, believing their entire relationship to be predicated on a lie. Despite Parker telling her their relationship is real, going so far as to drop the “L”-word at this very poorly chosen moment, Maggie tells him that she never wants to see him again.

Maggie returns home devastated and despite her sisters’ and Harry’s attempts to cheer her up, Maggie vows to never be so trusting again. In the kitchen, Jada arrives to check on Mel, aware she’s already called upon the crows. She then reveals something Mel already knows: the crows were at their house the night Marisol died. Jada says the crows tried to help her but failed, and while the Sarcana don’t know who did it, they want to help Mel find out.

With Galvin asleep in the den, having missed all the commotion, Team Charmed Ones are gathered in the living room, preparing to open presents when Hunter reappears, not through with them just yet. However, not abiding by Maggie’s wishes to never see him again, Parker also decides to make an appearance, proving the Charmed Ones really need work on some new protection spells. Looking to take his demonic brother down once and for all, Parker arrives wielding the staff the Hunter stole from the priest in Bucharest. Like the priest did in the beginning of the episode, he begins chanting a spell, which Harry reveals is opening the portal to Tartarus. As Parker’s aforementioned health issues have left him pretty weak, the Charmed Ones take over and succeed in opening the portal. However, unwilling to go down without a fight, Hunter falls through the portal…dragging Harry down with him.

As if things couldn’t possibly get any worse, it seems Galvin chose a particularly inopportune moment to rejoin the festivities. Will the Charmed Ones be able to free Harry from Tartarus? How is Galvin going to react to learning the sisters are witches? Where does this leave Parker and Maggie? It seems we’ll have to sit tight and wait until January to find out.

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