A definite improvement over the gold robes.
Photo: Robert Falconer (The CW)

If you thought the Elders were ass faces on the original Charmed, oh boy, are you in for a treat. The latest episode of CW’s Charmed reboot introduced the Elders, a council of advisors that oversees the work of the Charmed Ones. And while the original Elders were kind of selfish and dumb, these new ones are flat-out malevolent. It’s a great change, but it’s also seriously messed up.

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The latest episode, “Exorcise Your Demons,” immediately follows the events of the Halloween episode. The Venom demon has taken over Angela Wu’s body, promising the apocalyptic arrival of “The Source,” and the Charmed Ones have been tasked with taking care of the demon. In pops Charity (Virginia Williams), the show’s very first Elder, and she’s got a solution: Kill the demon and Angela along with it.

The Charmed reboot has kept some things from the original series, like Harry’s healing powers, while ignoring others—like making the characters younger and setting the series in a college town instead of San Francisco. The Elders are quite possibly the biggest callback to the original show that we’ve gotten so far, but the new Charmed has made some major alterations.

The OG Elders, in all their silly glory.
Image: The CW

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In the original series, the Elders were a bunch of Super Whitelighters/Quasi-Angels who monitored magic, but mostly existed to tell the Charmed Ones not to do things that they were going to do anyway. They were good at heart, but also really self-centered. Also, they wore terrible robes and one of them was played by Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In this new universe, the Elders aren’t angels. They’re witches—specifically, the oldest and most-powerful ones. Instead of standing around in Cloud Heaven or running fake Harry Potter-esque schools, they have their own lives outside of magic. Charity, for instance, is an entrepreneur who helps women in developing nations start their own businesses. However, the Elders’ main job is to keep a close eye on magic, their fellow witches, and the ongoing battle between good and evil. Also, the sisters’ mom was one of them. Whaaaat.

Man, she really wants them to use those daggers, doesn’t she?
Photo: Robert Falconer (The CW)

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It’s not surprising that the Elders had an awful plan to stop the demon. Their plans are usually bad. It wasn’t shocking that Mel, Macy, and Maggie ignored the Elders’ demands and performed an exorcism on Angela; the Charmed Ones never listen to the Elders. Nor was it a stretch that Charity inevitably helped the sisters in the end, because we’re watching Charmed, not Elders Know Best. What was shocking was what happened after.

During the exorcism, Niko’s detective partner Trip (who was investigating Angela’s disappearance and thought the sisters were involved somehow) was crushed to death by the world’s smallest/lightest lead pipe. The sisters were devastated, but Charity promised she would “take care of it.” So what, did she give him a proper burial and then turn him into a Whitelighter so he could go on to help other witches? Hell no. She hung Trip’s body in the warehouse to frame his death as a suicide. Then, she linked him to all the murders that the venom demon had committed while in Angela’s body, turning an innocent man into a sadistic criminal post-mortem.

That is fucked up, people. Everyone in that man’s family now believes they were related to a murderer. Not to mention how it’s affected Niko. We end the episode with Niko sobbing on Mel’s shoulder, horrified that the man she’d worked with for years had been a serial killer who had ended his life over the guilt. The Elders may have had asses for faces, but they never did anything like that.

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As messed up as this whole thing is, I actually respect the choice. One of the biggest mistakes the original Charmed did was make it so death didn’t matter. No one faced consequences for their actions, because someone was always there to fix the problem, tying everything up in a pretty package. Here, we’re still seeing the Elders cleaning up Mel, Macy, and Maggie’s messes, but not in a way that makes things better. Actions have consequences, even for the Charmed Ones. Everything comes back, times three.

The paint can has caused nothing but problems.
Photo: Robert Falconer (The CW)

Assorted Musings:

  • Macy’s Utilitarian argument was intense, but I do see her point. I like how the show didn’t frame her point as wrong, but rather one perspective that clashed with a different one.
  • I adored Virginia Williams as Charity, especially in her introduction scene (HGTV knowledge FTW!). I recognized her as CJ from Fuller House and was happy to see her in a role that deserved her comedic talent, as CJ was barely a character. Also yes, I have watched all the seasons of Fuller House, what are you gonna do about it?
  • Two moments I was frustrated with. Mel saying that Angela had gone into the coma after overdosing, when I thought it had been established that the professor had induced the coma to cover his tracks. Seemed unlike Mel to not think magic was involved. Also, Lucy’s boyfriend inspiring Maggie to save the day, as it implied she needed a man’s help to gain confidence.
  • On that note, did anyone else catch that moment when Maggie told Lucy’s boyfriend to “leave” after their kiss and he just...did? I’m curious whether this hints that Maggie also has the power of persuasion. Given how her mind-reading ability isn’t a very active power, especially during demon fights, the power of persuasion would be a smart and sensible addition to her Charmed One repertoire.
  • Charity and Harry sitting in a tree.
  • I guess the Elders’ headquarters are right upstairs from Demon Floor, and they all take the elevator to Good or Evil Work together. Maybe they commute? Also, it was way too easy for that guy to pop in and magically force her to swap out the demon-vessel paint can. Elders remain the worst.

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