Charmed Season 2 Episode 12: Needs to Know Recap

Charmed S2Ep12 Maggie Macy & Mel

This week, Helen, the original Whitelighter, returns, along with her Darklighter twin. After an altercation at the Tulipe Institute, Maggie and Harry follow Darklighter Helen back to Plymouth. Macy fears that her demon powers are blocking the return of her witch powers and seeks help from Abby. Mel takes a chance on love.

Recap

It’s time for Darklighter Helen’s dinner at the Tulipe Institute where she and Whitelighter Helen are held. A guard unlocks her room to let in a nurse with her food. When they leave, they aren’t careful about closing the door, which allows Darklighter Helen to escape.

In Seattle, Mel, Macy and Maggie attempt to engage the Power of Three. Mel and Maggie call up and connect their witch power, but Macy’s power is still absent.

Abby has cooked dinner for Harry in her apartment. She made his favorite meal and makes everything she says to him sound like she’s talking about sex, but he still resists her advances because she’s a demon.

Abby: “Half, and it’s not sexually transmitted.”

Harry insists that his interest in her is purely professional. He only came over to check on her. When his phone buzzes, she says, “That’d better be a toy you brought for me.”

Sadly, it’s not, though Abby has promised she’ll make Harry feel all sorts of amazing things even if he doesn’t bring his own toys.

It’s Helen, who cries wordlessly into the phone. Harry says he has to go and orbs away. Abby throws flames at the remains of their dinner.

Charmed S2Ep12 Mel & Ruby

Mel has a direct conversation with Ruby the cute bartender at SafeSpace, who remembers her drink order (a sexy Dark and Stormy) and invites her out for a drink later. Mel is interested, but turns Ruby down, for now. She does keep Ruby’s phone number.

As the three witches discuss how to get Macy’s power back, Jordan texts to ask Maggie to a karaoke party. She decides not to go, since she’s not ready to move on from Parker quite yet, even though she likes Jordan. Mel looks over at Ruby and reminds them of the “No Relationship” rule.

Macy admits that she’s broken the rule, with Julian. She wonders if she hasn’t gotten her witch power back because she’s too happy. Maggie tells her to stop thinking that way. There’s no need for them all to be doomed to a life of loneliness. Mel says that even though they’re currently displaced, at least they have each other.

The word displaced makes Macy wonder if her demon powers have displaced her witch powers. She leaves to follow up on an idea.

Harry finds the Tulipe Institute in disarray. Darklighter Helen is gone, several people are dead and there’s a dead guard with the same tattoo as Nadia and Bruce from last week. Whitelighter Helen indicates to Harry that the fake guard killed everyone, then Darklighter Helen killed him.

Charmed S2Ep12 Harry & Whitelighter Helen

Harry brings Whitelighter Helen back to the Command Center and introduces her to Mel and Maggie as the first Whitelighter. Once they learn what happened, they wonder why the Darklighter didn’t kill Helen, too. Helen says that Darklighters can’t kill Whitelighters and Whitelighters can’t kill Darklighters.

They realize that means Harry’s Darklighter is still alive. Then they make plans to search for Helen’s Darklighter, who is as dangerous as Darklighter Harry.

Macy asks Abby to strip her demon powers. Abby is shocked, since Macy’s fire-based powers are rare and valued in the demon world. Macy currently sees her demon side as the source of all of her issues and doesn’t stop to think this one through. She says that she’s not part of the demon world. Abby guesses that Macy hopes removing her demon powers will bring back her witch power.

She agrees to help Macy, but then Macy questions why Abby would help her. She answers her own question, suggesting that Abby wants to impress Harry by helping Macy.

Maggie touches Helen to try using the power of foresight on her. She gets a vision of Darklighter Helen at the intersection of Chapel Way and Alderman Ave in Plymouth, MA. Mel stays with Helen while Maggie and Harry portal to Plymouth to find the darklighter.

Abby takes Macy to a subterranean dungeon deep below her apartment building, where she’s holding Parker in a cell. Macy is shocked to see him, since she and her sisters thought he was dead after he went beserk during his wedding to Maggie in episode 8, then Abby stabbed him and he turned to smoke.

Abby explains that the sword she stabbed Parker with contained a homing device, so he was sent back to the dungeon. She healed him, locked him up and took over as Demon Overlord. If the demons find out that Parker is alive they’ll kill Abby. In order to convince Macy to keep her secret, Abby reminds Macy that it’s in the witches’ best interest to have her in charge and friendly to them.

Parker is also shocked to see Macy. Abby tells Parker that she needs the knife he used to try to strip her of her powers. He tells her to find it herself or ask Godric, so she indulges in a bit of light torture with death threats to loosen his tongue.

A corner store has been broken into next to the Plymouth intersection Maggie envisioned when she touched Helen, so Harry and Maggie investigate. They discover that Darklighter Helen has already killed a man inside. There’s nothing to explain why the darklighter chose that spot.

Charmed S2Ep12 Maggie

Helen notices that her trunk is stored in the Command Center. Mel helps her look through the records stored inside. She finds love letters from Helen’s true love, Daniel Rayburn, then learns that Helen was forced to marry someone else. Her husband was 40 when she was 16. Mel is stunned at how oppressed Helen has been for so long.

Maggie calls to see if Mel has any advice for what they should do next. She sends them to the Calgary Hill Cemetery to see if Darklighter Helen is at Daniel’s grave. Maggie empathizes with Darklighter Helen and her need to reunite with her lost love, but Harry feels that the darklighter isn’t really Helen. He says she’s just Helen’s dark side and they may have to kill her.

Abby and Macy argue over which methods to use to get the knife from Parker. Gullible Macy believes Abby’s threats to kill Parker after she tortures him. She makes an impassioned speech about doing things differently from the way men have always done them, now that women are in leadership roles and have the opportunity to make decisions.

Remember that for the end of the episode.

Macy asks Parker to give them the knife, for Maggie’s sake, since she’s in danger and Macy knows he still loves her. She says that Abby manipulated him, but he also made his own choices that led to him being where he is, by way of saying she doesn’t owe him any help.

That’s a bit much coming from Macy, since she’s also made some very questionable choices while under the influence of demon powers, but her loved ones haven’t imprisoned her long term.

Parker says he’ll give her the knife, but in return he wants her to give Maggie the letter he’s written to her. Macy hesitates, because Maggie is starting to move on, but Parker doesn’t want her to move on from him. He wants her to know he’s still alive.

When Maggie notices Abby’s lipstick on Harry’s neck, he assures her that almost nothing happened and anyway, it won’t happen again. She doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with caring about a demon or seeing people in shades of gray instead of black and white. As a Whitelighter, Harry doesn’t think he’s allowed to see shades of gray anymore. Maggie notes that the Elders had to tear him apart to make him the way he is.

They find Daniel’s gravestone and realize that he died in 1685, when he was only 30. Harry laments that life was hard in those days and finding personal happiness wasn’t a priority.

Maggie has a vision of Darklighter Helen attacking them with a knife. She only has a moment to warn Harry before the darklighter jumps on her. Harry pulls Helen off and tells Maggie to kill her with the knife. Instead, Maggie talks to her about Daniel and is able to calm her down. She explains that she and her sisters want to help Helen. The darklighter gives Harry the knife.

Once they have the knife, Abby and Macy prepare for the ritual. Abby tells Macy she has to subjugate herself on bended knee in front of Abby. She’s guessed that Macy hopes to restore her witch powers and the Power of Three by stripping her demon powers. Abby cuts her hand with the knife, then draws a green, glowing light out of Macy and into herself until Macy collapses. When Macy gets up, she’s unable to summon her demon power. As Macy leaves, Abby smiles a very satisfied smile.

Harry and Maggie have placed Darklighter Helen in a containment spell as a precaution. The two Helens want to merge back into one person, but Harry cautions her that it would be dangerous, since it’s never been done. Helen says that she can’t bear to live as she is any longer. Mel argues that Helen has never had a choice about how she lived, so they should give her one now. Harry agrees to try.

They remove the containment spell. The two Helens hug. Macy says she’ll look for a merging spell in the Book of Elders. Mel reminds her that she can’t touch the book, but it doesn’t react to her this time. Macy realizes with relief that this is more proof that she’s been stripped of her demon power.

Darklighter Helen hears them speak of the Elders and mistakenly thinks they are the Elders and have tricked her. She tries to kill Macy. Whitelighter Helen takes the knife and stabs herself in the chest, which kills both halves of herself. Even though she couldn’t kill the other half of herself directly, she could still kill herself, and neither could survive without the other. Harry tries to heal her, but his magic doesn’t work on a self-inflicted wound.

Harry asks Helen why she stabbed herself. She says it was her choice. Darklighter Helen becomes smoke and returns to Helen’s body. She’s whole and happy for a moment before she dies.

Too bad she couldn’t make the choice to let someone pull the darklighter off of Macy. Or to be verbal enough to say that after 370 years of life, she wanted to be reunited with Daniel in the afterlife, so she was ready to die. As that was written, her “choice” seemed like a nonsensical impulsive decision. There was no reason to both kill and silence her, after she’d just said she wanted to live and be whole. She could have gone off to live in hiding somewhere.

The Charmed Ones and Harry have a drink together upstairs at the SafeSpace bar. Macy says that Abby helped her out by stripping her demon powers as a favor to Harry. Harry is surprised, and asks why Macy did it. She explains about her witch powers.

Macy: “I guess I have to get rid of the dark energy to make room for the light.”

Maggie: “That’s a lesson we’ve all been learning these days.”

Wait. Didn’t we just learn that we have to accept the darkness and the light fully into ourselves in order to be whole and free? Am I the only one who sees a lack of balance as the issue here? Right, the witch ghost who cursed Jordan also said it’s all about balance. As I recall, she accepted the light after more than a century of obsessing about darkness, just before she scooted off to Valhalla.

Nobody sitting at the live witch/Whitelighter table recognizes the issue though, since it would complicate their current obsessions.

Maggie has decided that she’s been holding onto Parker long enough, since that equals holding onto dark energy, which she needs to let go so the joy can come into her life. This time when Jordan texts her, she answers him back.

Mel makes a speech about how lucky they are, as women, to live in a time when they have so many choices about who they love, unlike Helen. “Let’s not squander it, for Helen’s sake.” She goes over to the bar to talk to Ruby.

Charmed S2Ep12 Macy

Harry gives Macy a meaningful look, apparently having missed the part about it being her choice.

Macy missed the choice part, too, since she’s about to take away Maggie’s choice of who she loves. Macy has been slowly slipping Parker’s letter out of her pocket, preparing to give it to Maggie. She puts it away again, deciding to let Maggie move on without the knowledge that Parker is alive, and without telling her sisters or Harry that Abby fooled them and Parker is imprisoned. Harry sees her put the letter away, but neither says anything.

Macy returns to the Command Center alone and takes more black amber. Her witch powers don’t return. Harry finds her there, upset. She tells him that now she has nothing. He says, “It’s not too late.” She imagines them kissing, then snaps out of it and is confused for a moment. He reassures her that they’ll all figure it out together. He looks like he wants to kiss her, but he doesn’t. He walks away, leaving Macy even more confused.

Parker asks Abby why she helped Macy. He knows she wouldn’t give the Charmed Ones back the Power of 3 just to be nice. Abby shows him that she now has Macy’s fire powers.  She tells him if he questions her fierceness again she’ll cook him and serve him to Maggie for dinner. He asks her what her endgame is, but she refuses to answer and walks away.


Commentary 

For all of the talk about choices as a theme in this episode, loss, balance, darkness and control were also major themes. Helen may have chosen her own fate, but it was the darkest choice possible, made from a place of despair and defeat, after centuries of imprisonment and what amounts to psychological torture as half a person in solitary confinement. No one in their right mind would wish that kind of “choice” on anyone.

Helen’s choices would have been much more meaningful after she’d merged back into one person and had some recovery time. She still might have wanted to die, since she was very, very old, unspeakably traumatized and heartbroken. But she would have known what she was giving up. I think a 370 year old has earned the right to die, but I strongly disliked the writers’ decision to have her kill herself right after she’d expressed a wish to merge. It smacks of the throwaway woman syndrome, where women die when their story is done, like Thelma and Louise or every older woman on this show in season 1, while men, like Mel and Maggie’s dad Ray, live on.

I think it’s important to note here that Parker has been abused and victimized by his family until he barely knows who he is anymore. Romance with Maggie aside, it’s unconscionable for Macy to leave him imprisoned by his abusive sister, who set him up to commit crimes by drugging him, after everything that happened in season 1. He’s shown that he’s a good person with a lot of trauma and a family/tribe who won’t leave him to live his life in peace.

I’m pretty sure a tiny bit of demon is still in Macy, causing her to make selfish decisions. She just can’t use her demon powers.

Abby won’t kill Parker. She has serious abandonment issues, so she’s settled on keeping him in the opposite of Rapunzel’s tower, but he’s her brother and she loves him, in her way. I could be wrong, but I think that underneath it all she really does just want to find people who care about her and are loyal to her. She just can’t ever bring herself to trust them. This causes control issues. Which can become bigger issues when you’re a powerful half witch-half demon.

While Harry is right to be cautious with Abby, she isn’t much more demon than Macy, so I don’t buy the excuse that he could never be with someone who’s part demon. I wish he’d admit that she’s too hardcore into her demon side for his taste and needs to earn his trust.

I realize that Harry and Macy are probably endgame, but I like the pairing of Abby and Harry as well, just as I like Maggie and Parker’s complicated relationship. I hope Abby really wants Harry for himself and not just to use him as part of  scheme. It would be nice to see a woman like her be accepted by a good guy like him.

Good women are paired with bad or morally ambiguous guys all the time in long term relationships. The reverse used to happen, especially in noirs and nighttime soaps. I’d like to see that come back into style. Since there are few truly powerful and good female characters, let’s have some morally ambiguous, powerful women who still get to keep Prince Charming. Even on Charmed, the Charmed Ones are spending season 2 without their full powers.

It’s good to see Mel getting some romantic action.

Macy is currently humanish, but holding onto some valuable secrets. I suspect that she’s the lynchpin again this season, as she was last season. She’s the only one who hasn’t been seen by the buyers/believers, the only one who isn’t Ray’s daughter and the one who knows Abby’s secret about Parker and thus holds power over her. Plus, she’s the one Julian and Viv have taken an interest in. Since she made it to the resurrection party in New Orleans, so she knows the signs to look for when the buyers/believers are involved.

I didn’t mention it in my episode 11 recap, but I wondered later if Harry’s parasite might be a set up to create the opportunity to sequence a DNA sample from a Whitelighter. It was just odd that those events fell into place so easily, between the Malignant attack and the Airmid. They could have been coordinated by Abby and Vivienne.

Then there is the other half of the conspiracy, the nameless believers with the tattoos, who went after a Darklighter this week. Hair from a hairbrush can be used for a DNA sample. The nurse probably meant to give the tattooed man the hair sample, but she messed up by not fully closing Helen’s door because she wasn’t a regular nurse at the facility.

Someone, namely Julian and Viv, could be doing spells or science with Whitelighter and Darklighter DNA. Maybe they want to make a new race of White/Darklighters.

Could Julian’s mother have been a witch and have also been Abby’s mother, making him her half brother as well? And also possibly making Vivienne a witch? That would mean they are keeping Harry and Macy apart as a family effort.

They made it clear in this episode that while Harry thoroughly rejects his dark side (he doesn’t even want to see the darklighter as part of himself), in fact they are two halves of a whole who can’t live without one another. As I expected, they’ve introduced the idea of merging the two halves back into a single whole person. I thought for a minute Helen might be a test case, but in the end it’ll be more exciting to have Harry be the test case.

I suspect Helen’s death will affect Harry deeply. He’ll remember the look on her face just before she died, when she was whole, and he’ll want that for himself and his darklighter. Plus, he’ll worry that they’ll eventually be affected mentally the way Helen was by the separation.

I wonder if Macy will be able to survive long-term without her demon powers, since the demon spark brought her back to life as a baby. It seems like she wouldn’t be able to live without it now. And the show spent a long time in season 1 impressing on us that it was a big deal to remove Parker’s demon side and keep him healthy.

Macy is normally Harry’s mirror image, in that she had a dark side added and he had his removed. Will the show address the fact that she’s a different person now, without her inner demon? Will they each spend the rest of the season trying to get their dark sides back and accepting that they need both sides to be whole? Did Abby have to send something of herself into MAcy in order to trade for Macy’s powers? Is that where Macy’s new deviousness and lust for Harry is coming from?

Mel seems to have already gone the furthest on the journey toward accepting that she’s both dark and light, since she’s Ray’s daughter and had to accept her parents flaws and the ways she’s like them. She can be sanctimonious, but she also does what needs to be done with whoever it needs to be done with. She’s a practical witch, in both senses of the word.

Maggie, on the other hand, is sitting on the scale, blind justice herself. She understands everyone’s situation, but she can’t see through the details to the truth at the moment. She’s seen Parker disappear before in the same way he did at the wedding. She has no real reason to believe he’s dead this time anymore than he was any other time he was gone from her life, especially since they figured out that the fruit induced mania in him. Except for the fact that she loves him, but he’s emotionally exhausting, while she has her own stressful life. Will Jordan be less emotionally exhausting? He hasn’t been so far.

It’s possible that Macy has a psychological block to regaining her witch powers, since she’s had to sacrifice her career for them, which was everything to her before she learned the truth about her family and her powers. If she were to permanently lose the ability to be a witch, she’d be able to return to her normal life as a scientist. That has to be appealing on some level, especially now that she knows Julian, who could give her a great job.

Images courtesy of the CW.

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