Maggie's breakup is the most compelling conflict in a packed episode of Charmed

B+

Through Maggie, the return of Charmed taps into its sweetspot of blending supernatural plotting with emotional character work, blurring the lines of the two worlds the sisters belong to in a coherent and meaningful way. Maggie’s devastated in the wake of learning that Parker lied to her and manipulated her. She feels…

Outlander's Brianna problem persists in an episode that only really gets Claire and Jamie's relationship right

C+

“If Not For Hope” fractures the core Outlander group once more, sending Jamie and Claire on a dangerous and—unbeknownst to them—ultimately pointless mission to retrieve Roger from the Mohawk tribe that Young Ian sold him to. Brianna, meanwhile, settles into her temporary new life on a plantation, overseen by Aunt…

Outlander brings together Brianna, Jamie, and Claire for a complex reunion 

B+

Outlander over-relies on sexual assault as a plot device. I say that as someone who has praised its depictions of trauma aftermath many times before and as someone who’s about to praise its depiction of trauma aftermath in this very episode. Yes, “The Birds & The Bees” does technically portray the psychological…

Roger and Brianna fall into old patterns in a punitive, gratuitously violent Outlander

C-

“Wilmington” highlights—in the most horrifying of ways—Outlander’s persistent Brianna problem. The show has never quite figured out how Brianna fits into its narrative, at times using her and Roger to parallel Claire and Jamie but at others seemingly doing the exact opposite and evoking a dynamic that is increasingly…

Brianna and Roger are thrust into the past in an Outlander all about fatherhood and loss

B+

Outlander without Jamie and Claire is, unsurprisingly, a bit like a ship without its captain. They drive the show, fuel its emotional core. Now four seasons in, Outlander has a sprawling cast of characters, and this episode focuses on several of them, all with their ties to Claire and Jamie but all with motivations of…

Maggie carries the emotional weight of Charmed's busy Christmas episode

B+

Merry Christmas from Charmed, a show on which demon dads drink eggnog, guardian angels make Christmas fruitcake, a shapeshifting demon enters a room by saying “Ho ho ho; you’ve been very naughty girls this year; Santa’s going to make you pay,” and another character utters the line “Magical! Gene! Therapy!” with…

Outlander plays to its strengths in an episode full of interpersonal drama

B+

In many ways, “Blood Of My Blood” feels like a throwback episode of Outlander in its rather simple story structure that nonetheless sprinkles in the particular genre ingredients that make this show work. A complicated figure from Claire and Jamie’s past resurfaces, both medical and personal conflict ensue, and it all…

Charmed expands its universe to tell a more complex story about good and evil

B+

Charmed drops us into the action of the sisters chasing after the electricity demon—who also apparently has the ability to teleport, too—after she got away with the scythe that opens up a portal to a demonic prison. It’s one of the better action scenes of Charmed so far, employing several of the active powers at play.…

Outlander dances around the dark parts of America's history instead of tackling them head on

B-

If there’s one thing we can consistently count on Claire and Jamie Fraser for, it’s the fact that they will always and forever be extremely horny for each other. They can barely get through the process of marking the boundaries of the 10,000 acres of land parceled out to Jamie by the governor of North Carolina—a deal…

A disjointed episode of Charmed nonetheless taps into real human conflict

B+

Even though its storylines are a bit disconnected from each other, “Kappa Spirit” is an ideal episode of Charmed in how it layers in just enough deeper context and emotional storytelling underneath the more straightforward plot patterns. Yes, it’s a Monster Of The Week episode featuring a vengeful ghost, but “Kappa…