By Meaghan Kirby
January 21, 2019 at 07:24 PM EST
Jordon Nuttall/The CW

The explosive midseason finale, in which Maggie learned her boyfriend Parker was the Shadow Demon and Harry got dragged to Tartarus, may have contained a major revelation, but it was nothing compared to the bombshells unleashed in the midseason premiere. As the Charmed Ones embark on a mission to free their trapped Whitelighter, the fallout from Maggie and Parker’s breakup continues to lead to new questions.

The episode begins, not in present-day Hilltowne, but in 1950s England, as a masked thief flees the bank he’d just robbed. However, he doesn’t get too far before being nabbed by the police and revealed to be Harry Greenwood. Trapped in a fiery oubliette in the depths of Tartarus, the Whitelighter is being tortured using his darkest memories, or so the leering dragon peering into Harry’s cell claims. As all of Harry’s memories from his life as a human were extracted upon his becoming a Whitelighter, Harry isn’t all that fazed by the bank robbery, believing it to be a false memory. But with a warning, the dragon makes it very clear that things are about to get a lot worse for him.

In Hilltowne, Macy and Mel are looking for ways to free Harry, with help from the Whitelighter’s Elder ex, Charity. As it turns out, Mel destroying the Scythe of Tartarus piece was not an ideal move as the Elders don’t know another way to free the Whitelighter…and aren’t all that interested in pursuing the issue further.

Luckily for the sisters (and Harry, for that matter), Charity is a little more invested in his rescue than the rest of the council and is willing to explore other options, but reminds the sisters they also have official missions to attend to.

For Mel, that means continuing her infiltration of the Sisters of Arcana. For Macy, it’s doing some fishing around the lab for secrets that may give away what Morningstar Biotech is really up to. Parker’s revelation may have been a gut-punch for Maggie, but it helped the Charmed Ones connect a few dots surrounding the demons in their midst.

Meanwhile, Maggie is still crushed by the revelation that Parker is a demon — well, half-demon. Not only does she feel betrayed by her former boyfriend, she also feels like her powers betrayed her by not revealing Parker’s secret to her. Tired of all the feelings, Maggie decides to consult the Book of Shadows for a spell that’ll take her pain away.

At the lab, Parker is looking like he’s seen better days as his mother does everything she can to help him without the Charmed Ones powers as Parker insists he made the right decision in not using the amulet. Alastair interrupts the pair, inquiring as to where Hunter is. It seems Parker did not reveal to his father that he banished Hunter to Tartarus, instead feeding the story that Hunter stole the amulet and skipped town. It’s a narrative that’s shaky at best and Alastair seems all too skeptical of it.

At the Sarcana, the sisters are attempting to heal the sister rescued from Tartarus, but lack the firepower they need to cure her. Mel confides in Jada her concern about Harry and dismay at the lack of help from the Elders. Jada, however, is willing to help, giving Mel the name of a guard to Tartarus the Charmed Ones may be able to bribe into securing Harry’s release.

In Tartarus, Harry is tortured by another memory, this time he sees himself getting stabbed in the stomach after a fight in prison. The memory rattles Harry as he lifts up his shirt to reveal a scar where the knife would have been.

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Stumbling across a confrontation between three witches, their Whitelighter, a half-demon, his demon brother, and a portal to Tartarus may not have been the most ideal way to learn the truth about magical beings, but Galvin seems to be taking it all in stride. In fact, now that he’s aware of Macy’s secret, Galvin makes for a useful ally in the lab as she searches for information that’ll help the sisters figure out what the company is really up to. After hours, the two sleuth around Julia’s office, stumbling across a DNA sequence that indicates Julia is looking at ways to turn human DNA into demon DNA. However, Julia unexpectedly returns to the lab and the two cover their tracks by pretending to be caught kissing in her office.

Still feeling the adrenaline from their run-in with Julia in the lab, Galvin invites Macy over to his place, prompting Macy to reveal her other secret, that she’s still a virgin. Somehow, this very minor revelation is more surprising to Galvin than learning his crush and her sisters are witches and the CEO of his company is a demon.

After a run-in with Parker at Hilltowne University, Maggie turns to the anti-heartbreak spell in the Book of Shadows once more. However, the concoction she’s been applying seems to be leaving her completely emotionless, which definitely spells trouble.

Looking for a way to bribe Dante, the Tartarus guard, Mel decides it’s time for the sisters to play the only card they have and swap the Harbinger of Hell for Harry. Mel presents her idea to Charity, who initially dismisses it as ridiculous. However, Mel taps into her feelings for Harry and is able to get Charity to hand over the paint can she’s been keeping safe. Little do they all know, their paint can containing the Harbinger of Hell is actually sitting securely in Alastair Craine’s office.

The sisters seek out Dante at his human job as a locksmith. He gives the sisters a glimpse at Harry, who is now looking pretty rough in his cell, but before they’re able to make the exchange, Dante discovers the Harbinger isn’t in the paint can and believes the sisters tried to trick him. As he makes a move against them, the sisters devise a plan to incapacitate the Tartarus guard and use his thoughts to figure out how to rescue Harry. Unfortunately, Maggie’s powers aren’t working due to her anti-heartbreak spell and Dante is able to break free…and send Maggie to Tartarus.

Mel and Macy return to Charity, fuming in their belief that she didn’t trust them with the real paint can containing the Harbinger. But the Elder is just as surprised to learn the Harbinger wasn’t in the can. As Mel presses Charity, the memory of her encounter in the elevator with Alastair, in which he mesmerized her and stole the can, comes back to her.

Looking for a way to get the Harbinger from Alastair, the sisters have no choice but to seek out Parker, who reveals his dad is a very powerful demon — and has the endless evil titles and nicknames to prove it. Feeling very guilty about the events at Christmas and looking for a way to help Maggie, he offers to assist Macy and Mel in their efforts to steal the Harbinger from Alastair’s office.

Meanwhile, in Tartarus, Maggie is being tortured with memories of Parker and her mother and is not faring too well, especially as her spell is wearing off and all her emotions are rapidly returning. Panicked, Maggie calls out for Harry, whose fiery oubliette seems to be rather close to hers. He gives her a speech about using love as her strength against the torture, but as it seems Maggie is going to break very easily, Harry asks the dragon to inflict the pain on him instead of his charge. The dragon obliges and Harry’s next memory is his most devastating yet, finding him sitting beside a hospital bed sobbing as he’s told by a doctor there’s nothing more they can do to save his son.

Parker uses his shadowy powers to sneak Macy and Mel into Alastair’s office, where they’re able to snag the real can containing the Harbinger. Before departing, Mel spots and secretly pockets a bottle of firepower. Certain Parker is lying about Hunter’s fate, Alastair confronts Julia in the lab, mesmerizing her into revealing the demon is in Tartarus.

Now armed with the real Harbinger vessel, Macy and Mel return to Dante, this time in exchange for Maggie and Harry. But just as Maggie and a very ragged Harry are taking their first steps to freedom, Team Charmed Ones has its first official encounter with this season’s big bad, as Alastair arrives looking for the Harbinger and his demon son.

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He takes the occasion to formally introduce himself, rattling off a number of his nefarious titles before Macy uses her powers to silence him with a knife, and a biting Game of Thrones reference. Unfortunately, stabbing him in the forehead doesn’t do any real damage and allows him to reveal his true fiery form.

Maggie is frustrated that she doesn’t have powers that’ll help her fight back, but reading Harry’s thoughts reminds her of his speech in Tartarus and she gets an idea. Under Maggie’s guidance, the sisters use the Power of Three to create a powerful force field to fend off Alastair and send him running. With Alastair gone (for now), Mel completes the trade and sends the Harbinger vessel into Tartarus. As the sisters try to understand what Maggie did, Harry reveals that she created a spell, indicating we may not have seen all of Maggie’s powers just yet.

Back at the house, Maggie tells her sisters she can’t believe she tried to take away her feelings with a spell. But unfortunately, now she can’t stop thinking about Parker. Charity arrives at the house to see Harry but is first confronted by Mel, who is feeling increasing mistrust towards the Elders after their decision to leave Harry in Tartarus. But while they have no interest in any lectures the Elders may have for them, the sisters allow Charity to check in on Harry.

In the living room, Charity and Harry have an emotional conversation about the torture he endured while in Tartarus. While initially being defiant in his belief that the memories were false, the Whitelighter seems to have completely lost his sense of self in the ensuing torture. He dejectedly tells Charity that in the memories revealed to him, he was a criminal who caused the death of his son. Despite the intense composure she generally maintains, Charity tells Harry that she was such a “wreck” during his imprisonment that she violated Elder rules and reviewed the memories the taken from him when he became a Whitelighter so she could see what would be used to torture him in Tartarus. She reveals that everything he did was for his son, who is still alive. She then reveals her love for him and they kiss.

Parker also arrives at the house to check in on Maggie, who rebuffs him under the impression he double-crossed her sisters. Before he leaves, he tells her that whatever happened between the sisters and Alastair spooked him and caused him to leave town.

Despite having infiltrated the Sarcana at the behest of the Elders, Mel’s loyalty towards the Elders has greatly waned in the recent events, finding herself genuinely drawn to the Sarcana. She meets up with Jada at The Haunt, handing over the bottle of firepower she swiped from Alastair’s office. The two begin to kiss but the snap of a camera reveals they are being watched…by none other Niko!

Having been absent from much of the action, Galvin arrives at the house where he and Macy clear the air. However, Galvin didn’t show up to take Macy’s virginity. While she and Mel were working to free Harry and Maggie, Galvin was sifting through the files the pair retrieved from Julia’s office and stumbled across the sisters’ DNA and with it, a startling revelation: Mel and Maggie don’t share the same father but Macy and Maggie do.

Episode Recaps

Charmed (2018 TV series)

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