Sexy, silly, sardonic, somber: the fifth season of Charmed
finds the Charmed Ones--sisters Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), and Paige (Rose McGowan)--on an emotional roller coaster. Yet they're also in a fairly comfortable groove with one another. McGowan, who joined the cast in year 4 (see Charmed: The Complete Fourth Season
) as a replacement for Shannen Doherty, is now a perfect fit, turning Paige into a self-deprecating, uber-witch whose clipped dialogue meshes beautifully with Milano's neurotic phrasing and Combs' no-nonsense bark.
Season 5 ties up a lot of loose ends, heralds some major shifts in the show's running narrative, and ushers in a couple of new characters. One of the latter is Piper's baby by husband Leo (Brian Krause), the angelic Whitelighter whose role as an emissary of the heavenly Elders changes dramatically in the two-part finale, "Oh, My Goddess!" Before that happens, however, Phoebe must contend with the reappearance of her husband, the demon Cole (Julian McMahon), who is determined to win her back by proving his evil nature is under control. As usual, all the sisters must use the Power of Three to protect a number of vulnerable mortals, and even some immortals. Among these are a mermaid whose immortality is sought by a greedy demon, several wood nymphs frolicking in the streets of San Francisco, and married men targeted by a hot Siren with a killer kiss. Season highlights include "Happily Ever After," in which characters from multiple fairy tales come to life; "Lucky Charmed," a fun story introducing a demon-vanquishing Leprechaun; and "Sense and Sense Ability," a clever drama in which Phoebe goes deaf, Piper becomes blind, and Paige turns mute as the result of a wicked witch's spell. The aforementioned finale sees all three sisters officially acknowledged as the goddesses they truly are. But it also introduces a new, major character, Chris (Drew Fuller), who seems benevolent but may very well be a wolf in sheep's clothing. We shall see. --Tom Keogh
Piper (Combs) and Phoebe (Milano), now with younger half-sister Paige (McGowan) up to speed with her powers, more or less, and "The Power of Three" all living under one roof at the Halliwell manor, are trying to get their respective personal lives in order. All the while, continuing to battle the worst evils that come their way. Oldest sister Piper and her husband Leo (Krause), the siblings' whitelighter guardian angel, are thrilled at the prospect of the impending birth of their child. Yet, dealing with a normal pregnancy is tough enough, but factoring in their unborn baby's use of her magical powers gives Piper cause for concern. Although adjusting to complexities of being pregnant and fighting evil, Piper has the added responsibility of looking out for her younger sisters and still running the Halliwell's successful nightclub P3. It's become a lot to handle coupled with possessing the trio's strongest power exploding an object or demon at will in addition to the power of freezing, but Piper has proved she's more than capable of carrying the burden. While middle sister Phoebe's career is on the rise, the same can't be said of her romantic life. Recently employed as a popular gossip columnist at a local newspaper, she's gained notoriety for her work, but she's trying to finalize her divorce from Cole (McMahon), the part demon/part human who became "The Source" (the greatest of all evil) and was vanquished, only to cling to life because of his love for Phoebe. Finally over her love for Cole, she's ready to get on with her life without him, unfortunately, after resurrecting himself, he's determined to prove his love for her by trying to do good. Phoebe's martial arts skills, her ability to levitate, the power of premonitions and her skill at making potions have helped vanquish many a demon. Youngest sister Paige has gone through quite a change in the past year with learning of her true heritage, then becoming adept at utilizing her powers of orbing herself and objects at will and getting used to having a family again. Raised by adoptive parents who died while she was still in high school, Paige was used to being a loner, but now she's proved to her sisters that she's up to the task of being one-third of the Power of Three. When it comes to good old fashioned police help, Inspector Darryl Morris (Dorian Gregory) is always there when the sisters need some aide or advice. As "The Charmed Ones," the three most powerful good witches to ever exist, the Halliwell sisters defeated "The Source" but now face the existence of powerful evils still prevalent and looking to defeat them. As Piper, Phoebe and Paige continue to wage war against all evil, they seek to strengthen their sisterly bond as they get closer to fulfilling their destiny.