Season 01, Episode 09:
The Witch Is Back
In Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, Melinda Warren awaits burning at the stake for witchcraft. (In the real Salem witch trials, no one was burned; all convicted "witches" were hanged.) Matthew Tate, her former lover, visits her in her cell. He seduced her, copied her powers and then outed her as a witch to keep from being exposed as a warlock. Melinda pulls off the Pewter Heart Matthew gave her as a gift and gives it back to him. Matthew says he plans to copy other witches' powers as well. He opens the locket and pulls out a flower petal. Suddenly, the petal bursts into flames. Before Matthew can figure out what is happening, Melinda recites a curse, and Matthew disappears into the locket.
Leo is repairing the kitchen sink. Phoebe urges Piper to ask him out, but she is reluctant.In the present, at Buckland Auction House, Rex Buckland presents the locket to Prue, telling her it's part of a large estate from the east. She opens it and Matthew appears. Realizing that Prue couldn't have opened it unless she was a descendant of Melinda, Matthew tries to attack her, but Prue sends him flying across the room. Matthew thanks Prue, because he now has her power of telekinesis. He pins her against the wall with a chair, then disappears and reappears behind her to finish her off. Believing that Prue inherited all of Melinda's powers, he grabs her again and tries to goad her into freezing him. Prue tells him she doesn't have that ability. Matthew releases her, blows out a window, and jumps, landing safely on his own two feet. The cops arrive, including Darryl and Andy; Andy knows that the blown-out window is Prue's.
It turns out that Rex and Hannah provided Prue with the locket. The warlock-couple is after the Charmed Ones' powers, and plan to use Matthew to get them.
Prue goes to Phoebe and Piper and tells them of Matthew Tate. Phoebe takes the locket and has a vision of Melinda putting Matthew in the locket.
The sisters consult the Book of Shadows and find Matthew. They find out that he was never supposed to be let out of the locket, since he would likely be hellbent on destroying the Warren line.A lawyer named Arnold Halliwell is on the phone when the door to his office suddenly swings open. Before Arnold Halliwell can figure out what is happening, Matthew blinks in and telekinetically pins him up against the wall and demands to know where Arnold's "sisters" are — but Arnold Halliwell shares only a name with the Charmed Ones. Matthew telekinetically breaks Arnold Halliwell's neck and walks away.
Andy appears at the manor to question Prue. Phoebe answers the door and won't let him in. He tells her of the murdered lawyer and wants to know where Prue is. She demands a warrant and he leaves. The sisters are at a loss as to how to handle Matthew. Phoebe tells them that she found a spell to summon Melinda so they can ask her for help. They cast the spell, and Melinda appears in her 17th century dress. They redress her so she can blend in. Leo shows up and the sisters introduce Melinda as their cousin.
Matthew runs into Rex and Hannah at a "Halliwell Hardware and Appliance", where Matthew has murdered the proprietor. Rex and Hannah offer to find the Charmed Ones for him.
Melinda tells the sisters of her arrest and burning. She had not used her powers to escape so that her daughter,Prudence, would not be found out as a witch as well. She tells them of Matthew's ability to copy a good witch's power and become immune to it. When Prue asks her about Matthew's "wild power," Melinda tells him that it's called blinking—the ability to think of a location and literally be there "in the blink of an eye." She mentions that Matthew copied that power from another witch. Melinda proposes to curse Matthew back into the locket.
Matthew changes into more modern clothes to blend in, and is amazed at how "closed" things are in the 20th century. He appears to be making a pass at Hannah when Rex comes in and snaps them all back to task. He tells Hannah that Matthew goes back in the locket as soon as the sisters are dead.
The four witches consult the Book of Shadows and find the curse. Melinda is amazed at how big the Book has gotten since she started it. Phoebe finds it hard to believe that they'll be able to add to it eventually. Piper thinks she can get most of the ingredients at Quake. However, one ingredient they can't get is a spotted owl feather; Prue offers to get it.
Rex shows Matthew pictures of the sisters and the address of Quake, and has Hannah take him to Quake.
Prue knows there is a stuffed spotted owl at the Museum of Natural History, where she used to work. She offers to get the feather there. Unknown to Prue, Andy is following her.
Matthew is after Piper, but finds Phoebe instead. He grabs her and she has a vision of him attacking Melinda. Matthew now has her power, and knows the sisters revived Melinda. Phoebe calls the manor trying to find Prue. Only Melinda is there, and she does not know how telephones work. Matthew comes to the manor and confronts Melinda. He tries to goad Melinda into freezing him, but Melinda won't go along. Matthew grabs Melinda by the neck, and has a vision of the four witches cursing him back in the locket.
Rex knows Hannah lost track of Matthew; he magically followed her. He demands to know where Prue is, and Melinda sends him to the zoo. Matthew vows to break Melinda's spirit by killing the sisters, then killing her last. He blinks out.
Piper and Phoebe arrive at the manor to find Melinda badly shaken. Melinda says Prue is taking care of the feather.
Prue is heading out of the museum when Andy nabs her and takes her to his car.
Matthew flings Hannah through the door of Rex's office. Matthew is hellbent on killing Prue. Rex tries to get him to focus on Piper and Phoebe, but Matthew tells him that the sisters summoned Melinda and are trying to curse him back into the locket. Rex suspects they'll have to speak the curse in the manor—and if he goes there, he can copy Piper's freezing power and kill them all. He hands Matthew a pistol.
Andy grills Prue about the feather. Just as he's about to take her to the station, Prue sets off the airbag in his car and escapes. Matthew comes to the manor and confronts Piper, Phoebe and Melinda. He draws Piper toward him and points the pistol at her, trying to goad her into freezing him. Just in time, Prue comes in and flings the pistol from Matthew's hand. She then pins him to the ground with a chair. Prue adds the feather to the potion. Piper freezes Matthew just as he gets up. Melinda speaks the curse and sends Matthew back into the locket.
Matthew has failed to steal the Charmed Ones' powers, but Rex and Hannah now know that they are the Charmed Ones. Hannah says that they should have gone after them directly, and Rex admits they should have.
Andy wants to arrest Prue, but Darryl talks him out of it.
Piper asks Leo out. The sisters speak a spell and send Melinda back to among the dead, but not before she grants Phoebe a vision of her many future descendants — "daughters", she says, though that will turn out not to be entirely true. Melinda takes the locket with her— trapping Matthew for eternity.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Rex makes it clear to Hannah that Matthew is going back in the locket once the job is done.
- Eating the Eye Candy: Hannah does so enjoy watching Matthew put his clothes on.
- Everyone Can See It: Piper dreads asking Leo out on a date out of fear of rejection, but Phoebe thinks she's missing his obvious interest. Even Melinda picks up on it within seconds of meeting Leo.
- Evil Lawyer Joke: The lawyer that Matthew kills is shown to be an unpleasant fellow. After finishing him, Matthew remarks that lawyers have not changed one bit since his day.
- Flash Back: This is the first episode in which Phoebe has a vision of the past; previously she would only have visions of future events.
- Greater-Scope Villain: While stewing over how things turned out, Rex and Hannah make a reference to the Source. No name is given, but they dread how "he" won't be happy with their failure and how they'll only have a small window of opportunity to prove themselves.
- Name's the Same: In-Universe, once Matthew gets released, he goes on a murder spree, killing any Halliwell he can find on the chance that they are all Melinda's descendants.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Matthew was sealed in Melinda's locket, and he was released when Prue opened it. Only a descendant of Melinda could do so, which is why Rex gave Prue the locket in the first place.
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: After Melinda compliments Leo's ability to work his hands, they quote Corin from As You Like It.Leo: I am a true laborer. I earn that I eat, get that I wear—
Melinda: —owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness.
- Underestimating Badassery: Matthew could've avoided his fate had he not stopped by Melinda's cell to gloat.
- Unwitting Pawn: Matthew is being used by Rex and Hannah for their own ends.
- Woman Scorned: Matthew seduced and betrayed Melinda. She gladly makes him suffer for it with her curse.