Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Charmed: Bite Me – review – TV Episode


Directed by: John T Kretchmer

First aired: 2002

Contains spoilers

This episode, from season 4 of the series Charmed, was the vampire episode that seems obligatory in such series. The series itself, as I am sure you know, followed three sisters Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and, by this series, Paige (Rose McGowan) who happen to be the charmed ones – three witches on the side of good whose strength lies in their unity, the power of three. I have to admit it wasn’t a series I regularly viewed but it was okay if nothing else was on. When this episode aired the other day, on Living TV, I did go out of my way to watch it for the blog.

Rose, is it cold?The trouble with this sort of vampire episode is that it often gets bogged down in non-vampire related storyline and this one is no exception. We have Phoebe, who has left the familial home to live alone with husband Cole (Julian McMahon), who was a demon and is now, unbeknown to the sisters, the Source – ie the big bad evil. We have the 'is she/isn’t she' surrounding whether Phoebe is pregnant and Piper trying to have a baby with white lighter (read angel) husband Leo (Brian Krause). Cole is trying to consolidate his evil power by drawing the various demon factions together. All this is well and good for the series fan, but I am looking at how this works as a stand alone vampire episode.

Elizabeth Gracen as the vampire QueenIt so happens that the Queen of the Vampires (Elizabeth Gracen) has been approached by disgruntled demon Keats (Jay Acovone) offering an alliance against the Source. It seems that the previous Source banished the vampires due to a betrayal. The Queen sends emissary Rowan (Samuel Ball) to test the waters for an alliance with the Source before she decides. We note here that the blinds have to be shut during said meeting, so obviously the sunlight aspects hold in this universe.

When with Cole, Paige happens to turn up and, by eavesdropping with his superior hearing, Rowan discovers that Paige is a charmed one and Cole’s sister-in-law. The vampire Queen hatches a plan. If she can turn Paige then she can use her magic against the Source. Luckily Rowan has arranged a date with Paige – to which he purposefully doesn’t show.

bearing fangsWalking from the club (P3, owned by Piper), Paige finds herself attacked by bats. Now, whilst cgi, it has to be said that with the way they have been shot, these are not crap bats and work remarkably well. Kudos to the series makers for doing this. Paige is rushed to hospital, if she hadn’t been found she would have bled to death.

The sisters are convinced it was a natural, if freaky, occurrence and despite Paige suddenly having an aversion to bright light (in this case high-beam headlights), she is taken home, healed and sent to bed to recover. Cole turns up, however, and sees the hand of the vampires in the attack.

unusual sleeping positionThe family go to see Paige and it appears that she is not in her room, until they realise that she is sleeping hanging upside down much like a bat. She awakens, transforms into a bat and flies out of the window… something that causes the remaining sisters understandable consternation.

standard hunter equipmentThrough Cole, and the book of shadows (the grimoire of knowledge the girls use), they discover that witches power is useless against vampires but it seems garlic and crosses will hold them at bay. We also discover that if they destroy the Queen they will destroy all the other vampires but save any half vampire – which Paige will remain until she bites someone. Later we discover that holy water will kill a vampire, or hurt a half vampire.

Paige and RowanMeanwhile Paige has found her way to the Queen, is immediately loyal and also hungry. The Queen decides her first victims should be the other two witches, which will turn them and give her the power of three to use. The turned Paige looks mighty sassy, it has to be said. We end up with the sisters looking for Paige, Paige hunting the sisters and Cole sending his demon allies after the vampires, unconcerned whether Paige lives or dies.

a stakingWe do get a staking, and it has to be said that the effect used for the death is somewhat impressive. Indeed the effects are good all the way through and the acting as competent as one would expect from a long running series. The episode does have problems though.

Rose McGowan as PaigeAs I said, I am looking at this as a stand alone and much of what happens is great for the series follower but not for an individual watching just this episode. Yes, these things are meant to be watched in totality, but that is not how I am looking at it. The vampire storyline is competent but fairly standard fare lore wise (I did like the idea of the matriarchal familial vampire society, however) and the plot is nothing new.

Please remember, Charmed fans, that this score is for the episode as a stand alone and as such it is competent but nothing overly special. 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Anonymous said...

Paige was not a good witch when she turned into a vampire.
The Vampire Queen sent up the man 2 bite Paige 2 make her 2 b a Vampire.

From Rachel - Age 18

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Thanks Rachel. There is no evidence in the episode whether Paige was good or evil and this has only been looked at as a standalone, with a general knowledge that this was a series about three good witches...

one can then only assume that she was good at the time, after all they went out of their way to save her, but it is clear you know the series and so thanks for the insight.

Giovanni Maximiliano Tavares Lanza said...

I don't know if you are aware but S7 E22 has vampires in it as well. Not with a role as big as this one though.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I wasn't aware, no, I'll keep my eye out for it :)