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Recap / Charmed S1E1 Something Wicca This Way Comes

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"The Power of Three will set us free."
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Season 01, Episode 01:

Something Wicca This Way Comes

Phoebe moves back in with her older sisters Piper and Prue and discovers an old book in the attic. The next day, the sisters find out they now have supernatural powers, and there's a threat out to get them.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night in San Francisco...

A young witch, Serena, is preparing a ritual. She lights candles with her power of pyrokinesis and starts chanting. A suspicious man watches her from the fire escape, and later comes inside. Despite her cat being freaked out by the man, Serena herself recognizes the man, and seems pleasantly surprised to see him... until he suddenly stabs her.

Elsewhere, a young woman, Piper Halliwell, rushes home with bags of groceries. Her older sister, Prue, is trying to fix the chandelier in the living room without much success. Piper tells Prue about her job interview and asks whether her boyfriend Jeremy called. Prue points her to a bottle of port he sent, and Piper says she is going to use it for her audition recipe the next day. Prue has found an old Ouija board with a message from their late mother engraved on it. The message says something about a "Power of Three" setting them free, and Piper says they never figured out what it meant. Prue jokingly advises Piper to mail the board to their youngest sister Phoebe. When Piper puts the board down, and both she and Prue leave the room, the pointer on the board starts moving on its own...

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Two detectives, Andy Trudeau and Darryl Morris, investigate Serena's murder. Andy is late to the scene, and when Darryl asks him where he has been, Andy says he has been to occult shops. He believes the killer is hunting witches, which amuses Darryl. Jeremy Burns, Piper's boyfriend, and a reporter, attempts to interview Andy, but Andy refuses the interview and walks away. Jeremy mentions that Serena was the third woman killed in three weeks, but Andy still dismisses him.

At the Manor, Prue is still struggling to get the chandelier to work, when Piper reminds her of an idea they had: to get a room-mate, who would help around the house in exchange for a cheaper rent. Piper reminds her that Phoebe is good with tools, to which Prue coldly replies that Phoebe lives in New York. Piper admits to having talked with Phoebe, and that she is on her way back to San Francisco. Prue is furious despite Piper trying her best to explain Phoebe's situation (indebted and jobless) to her, and is even more aggravated when Phoebe herself arrives mere minutes later. While Piper goes out to pay for Phoebe's cab, Phoebe attempts to have a conversation with Prue, but the latter accuses her of wanting them to sell the Manor and of having slept with her former fiancé Roger. When Piper comes back and offers to make a dinner to celebrate their reunion, her sisters both walk away in different directions. Piper nevertheless makes a meal that she brings Phoebe later in the evening. Phoebe asks Piper why she didn't tell Prue earlier, and Piper says she didn't want Prue to change the locks. Prue drops in to bring Phoebe some blankets, still cold and distant towards Phoebe.

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Meanwhile, Andy and Darryl discover a triquetra tattooed on Serena's shoulder. Her cat walks by, Andy pets it and notices that it wears a collar with a medallion that also has a triquetra on it.

Piper and Phoebe are having fun with the Ouija board. Just as Piper walks away to get more popcorn, Phoebe suddenly sees the pointer move on its own and start spelling out a word. While Piper notices it too and calls Prue, Phoebe writes down the letters. The word is "Attic". Just as she tells her sisters this, the power in the house goes out.Piper is freaked out and is on her way out, but Prue stops her, and they both go to check the circuit box. Phoebe, meanwhile, goes to the attic. The door that noone has been able to open for years suddenly opens on its own. Phoebe walks in and finds a trunk, illuminated by moonlight. She opens it and finds the Book of Shadows, then reads the incantation on the first page. The chandelier starts illuminating, and an old picture of the three sisters on display in the living room is altered: they are brought closer together. Piper and Prue come to the attic and find Phoebe reading the Book of Shadows. Phoebe starts telling them about finding the book and reading the incantation. Piper is scared and Prue is sceptical and dismisses any notion of them being witches. As they walk down, still grilling Phoebe, Serena's murderer waits outside.

The next morning, Piper finds Phoebe outside, sitting on the front porch. Phoebe, who has spent the night reading the Book of Shadows, tells her all about their magical lineage, and about the prophecy of three sisters being the most powerful witches in all existence, protectors of the innocent known as the Charmed Ones, and that they might be them. Piper doesn't believe her and drives away.

At the Museum of Natural History, Roger, Prue's ex-fiancé and her boss, tells her that the exhibit she has worked hard to collect was taken away from her, and that he is now the curator. Prue, furious, storms off, and inadvertently uses her new powers that cause the pen in Roger's pocket to leak.

At a restaurant called Quake, Piper is not yet done with her audition recipe when the chef tells her that her time is out. Just as Piper panics over not having had the time to add the port to her sauce, she accidentally freezes the chef with her new power. After panicking for a few seconds, she uses this opportunity to quickly fix her mistake. The chef unfreezes, tastes her food and is impressed.

Prue comes to Roger's office, just as she hears him telling his bosses on the phone that all the work she did was actually his doing. She announces Roger she is quitting her job. As she leaves, Roger tells her to make sure she didn't keep any office supplies in her purse, which angers her, and she accidentally uses her new powers to fasten his tie, which almost strangles him.

Piper is calling Phoebe to no avail, and runs into Jeremy. They agree to see each other tonight.

While riding her bike, Phoebe suddenly gets a vision of two teenagers getting hit by a car. As she wonders what that was, she sees the teenagers, and then sees the car. She swerves in front of the car, saving the teenagers, but hurting herself. Serena's cat watches her.

Prue comes to the hospital to get Phoebe and runs into Andy, who is revealed to be a childhood friend and a former boyfriend of hers. After they catch up, Prue gets Phoebe out and they both go to a restaurant where Phoebe tells Prue about their new powers. Prue is sceptical at first, but then she accidentally uses her power to get cream for her coffee and realizes this for once. Phoebe explains that they are good witches, and that there is a menace out to get them, such as warlocks and demonic creatures. They used to be safe when they were unaware of their powers, but they are not anymore.

Piper and Jeremy drive home in a cab. Jeremy suggests to make a detour, there is something he wants to show Piper.

Prue has a headache, and she and Phoebe stop at a drugstore on their way home to get some aspirin. Phoebe keeps suggesting tea instead, which angers Prue, and causes her to accidentally bump goods off shelves with her power. Phoebe realizes Prue's power is triggered by anger, and keeps angering her, mentioning Roger, and then their father. With the mention of their father, Prue completely empties two entire shelves. She notices her headache is gone, and Phoebe says their powers are going to grow, making both of them laugh.

Piper and Jeremy stop at an old building and take an elevator. Jeremy says that the view from the roof is amazing, and worth telling Prue and Phoebe about. Just as Piper realizes that Jeremy shouldn't know about Phoebe's return, Jeremy produces an athame and reveals himself to be the warlock that has been killing witches and stealing their powers. Piper freezes him, knocks him out and runs away.

Back at home, Prue and Phoebe find Serena's cat. Piper rushes in and tells them about Jeremy being a warlock. The sisters go to the attic and cast a spell on Jeremy, with the intention of vanquishing him. However, Phoebe has a vision: the spell disfigured Jeremy, but he is still alive and on his way to the Manor. Just as the sisters rush out of the Manor, they find themselves face-to-face with Jeremy, who managed to get there in time. Prue sends him flying against the wall, briefly knocking him out, and she and her sisters barricade themselves in the attic. Jeremy however uses the power or telekinesis to unblock the door and makes his way into the attic. He uses the power of pyrokinesis he stole from Serena to surround the sisters with a circle of fire. The sisters remember the writing on the Ouija board: "The Power of Three will set you free", and start chanting it. Jeremy warns the sisters about even more foes they will have now that they have become the Charmed Ones and explodes.

The next morning, Prue goes outside to pick up a newspaper and sees Andy. Andy asks her out, and Prue is not sure whether she should say yes. Piper and Phoebe come over to say hi to Andy. As he walks away, he notices that Phoebe is holding Serena's cat. The three sisters walk back inside, with Prue nervous about how different their lives will be now that they are witches. Prue uses her new power to close the front door.


Tropes

  • Agent Mulder and Agent Scully: Andy Trudeau and Darryl Morris.
  • Bad Boss: Roger. He takes over the exhibit Prue had worked hard to secure and attributes her merits to himself while speaking to his own bosses. He then presents this to Prue as a favor he did to her, and threatens her when she quits her job.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Phoebe has to specify that they are good witches twice. Of course, the show goes by the Wiccan definition of the word 'witch,' and Wiccan philosophy centres around doing no harm.
  • Disappeared Dad: Piper calls their father "invisible". He is in fact missing after having left their mother.
  • Downer Beginning: A witch is killed in the middle of a ritual.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The Book of Shadows says that the powers are tied to phases of the moon. This trait never shows up, and the powers are always tied to the sisters' emotions. Although a Season 7 episode does suggest the sisters turn into beasts when a physically blue moon rises.
    • Prue is able to teleport the cream into her coffee, a power she never demonstrates again in the series. In Season 4 Prue's inability to use her power this way was used to distinguish between her and Paige.
    • Prue controls some telekinesis with her hands, something she doesn't learn to do until near the end of the season.
    • Phoebe receives a premonition in parts, with cuts back to her on the bike in between clips of what she's seeing. From the next episode on, all her premonitions finish before cutting back to her.
  • Fake Nationality: In-Universe, the chef who evaluates Piper pretends to be French. His French accent is very obviously fake (and his pronunciation of "magnifique" really gives him away) and his name is chef Moore. In the next episode, Piper refers to him as "he of the phony accents".
  • French Cuisine Is Haughty: Chef Moore is a cliché of a temperamental French chef, despite not even being French himself.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: The relationship between Prue (responsible, mature, had to take care of her younger sisters after their mother's death) and Phoebe (careless, reckless and short-sighted) is strained at the beginning of the show. Piper tries, and fails, to be the mediator between the two.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Jeremy mentions Phoebe, yet Piper never told him she was back in town.
  • Missing Mom: It is revealed that the Halliwells' mother is dead.
  • Plot Hole: Piper freezes the elevator along with Jeremy. However when Jeremy unfreezes, the elevator does not - and should have carried him upwards.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Prue and Piper are shown to have specific triggers that awaken their powers: panic for Piper and anger for Prue.
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: A special version of the opening titles that does not show the sisters using their individual powers so that they're not revealed in advance.
  • Working with the Ex: Prue's boss, Roger, is also her ex-fiancé.
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