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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, 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.
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