Everyone loves a witchy story, especially if you're someone who grew up in the late '90s/early '00s on high doses of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and movies like The Craft and Practical Magic. If you were in junior high at the perfect time, then you got all of these things at once, and Charmed was everything you loved about magic, teen drama, sisterhood, and that specific kind of high school new age Wicca that was a little bit hippy and a lot Hot Topic mall goth who definitely got their ears pierced at Claire's boutique two stores down.
Despite its very dated wardrobe and view of technology, Charmed was a series both ahead of its time and exactly of its time. It fed on the fires stoked by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and brought a different kind of sensibility to the world of magic and the supernatural. Charmed was all about the power of women, about uniting three sisters with disparate personalities to fight against the forces of darkness and, yes, sometimes the patriarchy.
The series has officially turned 20 years old this year (and will be getting the reboot treatment in the fall), so we thought this would be the best time for a rewatch. To facilitate this journey through eight seasons of witchy adventures, though, we've assembled this binge guide, which will help you find those episodes which best follow the core relationship of this romance-heavy show: that of the Charmed Ones."Something Wicca This Way Comes" (Season 1, Episode 1)
The one that started it all. In the series premiere, we are introduced for the first time to the three Halliwell sisters, who are about to discover that they are also sister witches called the Charmed Ones. After their grandmother dies and the youngest sister, Phoebe, returns to San Francisco, she reads a spell which awakens their powers and completely changes their lives.
"Thank You for Not Morphing" (Season 1, Episode 3)
The first season introduces not only a lot of demons and other monsters but also all the interpersonal issues within the Halliwell family. While the villains of this episode are technically their demonic neighbors, the core of the emotional story is the tension between the sisters and their absentee father.
"The Witch Is Back" (Season 1, Episode 9)
Some of the best episodes of this long-running series happen when the Charmed Ones explore their family history. In this one, in order to stop a warlock of the past from stealing their powers and wreaking havoc on the present, they have to summon their family matriarch from 17th-century Salem. In the process, they learn more about their powers and their family line.
"From Fear to Eternity" (Season 1, Episode 13)
There is no shortage of episodes and challenges which end up bringing the sisters closer together. In this one, Phoebe figures out that Prue has a hard time saying “I love you,” but before they can get to the bottom of the eldest sister’s issues, they encounter Barbas, the demon of fear. He turns their fears on them, and while Prue may be afraid of drowning like their mother, Phoebe’s worst fear is losing one of her sisters.
"Is There a Woogy In the House?" (Season 1, Episode )
The Halliwell Manor is, for lack of a better turn of phrase, another character on the show, and in this episode, it really becomes one when Phoebe’s childhood boogeyman comes up out of the basement and possesses both Phoebe and the house itself.
"That '70s Episode" (Season 1, Episode 17)
More family drama and more time travel! This time the Charmed Ones find themselves transported back to the 1970s to stop a warlock in the future. There they run into younger versions of themselves (complete with powers!) and both their mother and grandmother still alive.
"Witch Trial" (Season 2, Episode 1)
In the second season premiere, the Charmed Ones celebrate their anniversary of becoming witches by fighting a horrible demon hell-bent on their destruction. In an episode that sees the return of some of the first season’s greatest hits, the three Halliwell sisters have to face their own demons and remember that the Power of Three is all about working together.
"Morality Bites" (Season 2, Episode 2)
MORE TIME TRAVEL! Look, I love the time-travel episodes, okay? They’re actually pretty solid. That’s especially true about this one, in which the Charmed Ones travel 10 years in the future (which is nine years in our past) to find out what happens to land Phoebe on a modern pyre. During their experiences, they each learn important lessons that force them to adjust their behavior in the present. Prue learns to place more emphasis on her personal life, Piper wants to work harder in her relationship, and Phoebe, and the sisters as a whole, learn the incredibly important lesson of not using their powers to punish the guilty.
"P3 H2O" (Season 2, Episode 8)
After more than a season talking about and occasionally dealing with the trauma of their mother’s death, this second season episode finally offers the Charmed Ones the opportunity to avenge her death. In addition to the extremely dangerous task of facing the water demon that killed their mom, the three sisters also have the chance to learn more about their mother as a person when they discover that, much like Piper, she was also involved with her Whitelighter.
"Awakened" (Season 2, Episode 12)
There are a lot of episodes that force the sisters to put the safety of the innocent over their own, and so many of them actually end with them having to accept the death of one of their own. In "Morality Bites," it was Phoebe. Here it’s Piper. When the middle sister contracts a deadly disease, Prue and Phoebe use a spell to save her life, but they have to reverse it when it nearly costs the lives of others. This is a very common theme.
"Apocalypse Not" (Season 2, Episode 21)
Like now! In this episode, the sisters encounter the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and accidentally lock Prue in another dimension with the Horseman of War. In order to get her back, they’ll have to help the remaining Horsemen and risk bringing about the end of the world.
"All Halliwell’s Eve" (Season 3, Episode 4)
ALL THE TIME TRAVEL! Shut up. This episode is great, and while it doesn’t necessarily depict the sisters getting closer together, it does have them traveling back to the past to learn more about their history and their magic. At the end of the day, they manage to rescue their pregnant forebear, learn a more holistic approach to magic, and establish a few witchy stereotypes along the way.
"Power Outage" (Season 3, Episode 7)
This show may technically be about witches and demons and the supernatural, but it's really about the bond between the central sisters. That bond is so important to the series that it is also the core of their powers, and when the newest Big Bad, Belthazar (in the guise of ADA Cole Turner), magnifies their petty arguments, he actually manages to sever the Power of Three. In order to save themselves, they have to put aside their differences and get their powers back.
"Sleuthing With the Enemy" (Season 3, Episode 8)
More or less the second part to the story started in "Power Outage," this episode forces Phoebe to choose between her sisters and the love of her life when she discovers that Cole is the demon who is trying to kill them. It goes … poorly.
"Just Harried" (Season 3, Episode 15)
Piper’s wedding day approaches, but Prue is having some difficulties dealing with this newest development. Her astral projection self has been taking over and causing all sorts of problems, and it ruins the big day. While the Prue story is good, this episode is also the first time we get to see the girls, specifically Piper, interacting with both of their parents.
"Pre-Witched" (Season 3, Episode 17)
Things are a little cramped in the Manor, so Piper and Leo plan to move out and into their own place, splitting up the Power of Three, at least geographically. While the sisters wrestle with this change, the episode cuts between this story and that of the days before their grandmother died. What it lacks in witchy battles it makes up for in a deeper look at the backstory of these sisters when their lives were much less fulfilled and their relationship was strained.
"All Hell Breaks Loose" (Season 3, Episode 22)
This is what happens when the world finds out about witches, and it is not pretty. It’s actually pretty deadly.
"Charmed Again, Part 1 and 2" (Season 4, Episodes 1-2)
Prue’s death in the third season finale completely changes the makeup of the show, both because they have to find a way to deal with their grief and because it changes up the dynamic of the core sisterhood. In the fourth season premiere, Piper and Phoebe have barely had time to come to terms with their loss when they discover a sister they never knew existed.
"Hell Hath No Fury" (Season 4, Episode 3)
Technically, this episode is Piper-centric, but it’s also the first opportunity she and Paige have to bond over a shared trauma: the loss of a loved one. Plus, Phoebe has to figure out how to be the middle sister after a life spent as the youngest.
"The Fifth Halliwell" (Season 4, Episode 16)
Despite the fact that Paige has been part of the Halliwell brood for months, her relationship with her older sisters isn’t quite as strong as their bond to each other, which is why, when Paige realizes Cole is a demon again, her sisters do not believe her. Meanwhile, Cole uses the rift to destroy Paige’s credibility with her sisters and draw them further apart.
"We’re Off to See the Wizard/Long Live the Queen/Womb Raider" (Season 4, Episodes 19-21)
Okay, yes, these are three different episodes, but they really tell one big story: a story of Phoebe discovering that her husband is the Source of all evil and her baby is a demon and then having to choose whether to stay with him or continue her fight against demonic forces with her sisters. It’s a really well-crafted story about the incredibly difficult choice between romantic love and familial love, and it is heart-wrenching to watch.
"A Witch’s Tale, Part 1 and 2" (Season 5, Episode 1-2)
Another season premiere brings a lot more changes for the Charmed Ones. Like a baby and a career change and some continued trauma from the whole “I married a demon” thing. Phoebe is working out her problems by becoming a mermaid while Piper deals with some pregnancy-induced panic attacks, and it’s Paige’s turn to try to figure out what’s wrong with her sisters.
"Sam I Am" (Season 5, Episode 9)
For several seasons, the original Charmed Ones had their fair share of parent-related issues, and now it’s Paige’s turn. As the youngest sister sets out to explore her Whitelighter half, her long-lost and seemingly deceased father shows up as her first charge and her sisters have to help her through the realization and repairing that relationship.
"Centennial Charmed" (Season 5, Episode 12)
The 100th episode of a show always means big things, and it’s no different here as Paige accidentally orbs herself into an alternate reality created by Cole in which the Charmed Ones were never reconstituted. It’s up to the youngest (and newest) sister to find Piper and Phoebe in this new reality, bring them together, and vanquish Cole once and for all.
"The Day the Magic Died" (Season 5, Episode 15)
There’s a baby on the way and no magic in the world. This is bad news in so many ways, but while Piper goes through a difficult delivery, her sisters take it upon themselves to protect her and the baby, which means teaming up with demons and finding creative ways around the lack of magic using some basic chemistry and a little bit of unicorn.
"Necromancing the Stone" (Season 5, Episode 21)
All the Halliwell ladies are in one place, including the dead ones, to celebrate a big day for baby Wyatt. With that many witches in one place, crazy things are gonna happen, and in this case it’s a necromancer who used to be in love with their grandmother.
"Valhalley of the Dolls, Part 1 and 2" (Season 6, Episode 1-2)
While the Season 5 finale might not technically be necessary when it comes to the sisters and their relationship, the fallout of that finale definitely is. After Leo chooses to become an Elder, leaving Piper and the baby behind, an encounter with Valkyries is the last thing they need. Much like what happened with the furies after Prue’s death, Piper’s grief and anger threaten to turn her into something else, and her sisters are the only ones who can help.
"The Power of Three Blondes" (Season 6, Episode 4)
A case of stolen identity pits the Charmed Ones up against a trio of imposter sisters. It’s a weird, fun episode with a bunch of interesting guest stars, and nothing says sisterhood like helping your family steal back their identities.
"Chris-Crossed" (Season 6, Episode 10)
The mysterious Chris becomes a whole lot less mysterious in this episode, where we finally find out why he has traveled to the past and what his connection is to the Charmed Ones. As with all things in this show, it’s all about family. Also sometimes time travel. Family and time travel.
"Witchstock" (Season 6, Episode 11)
Speaking of time travel, how about traveling back to the 1960s where you accidentally save your grandmother from the demon that would make her a badass? See? Family and time travel. The secret of life.
"It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World, Part 1 and 2" (Season 6, Episode 21-22)
If you thought it was fun to fight imposter Charmed Ones, how about traveling to an alternate world where everyone is evil? Not only do the sisters have to, once again, work together to vanquish a terrible evil and keep baby Wyatt from becoming evil himself, but they have to work with evil versions of themselves to do it.
"Cheaper by the Coven" (Season 7, Episode 3)
Maybe the Charmed Ones should just not perform any kind of family ritual, since they never go very well. With a new baby comes a new Wiccaning, and another opportunity for their grandmother to wreak havoc from beyond the grave. In this case, it’s turning the sisters back into teenage versions of themselves and forcing them to overcome their differences all over again.
"Extreme Makeover World Edition/Charmaggedon" (Season 7, Episode 12-13)
If there’s one thing the sisters tend to agree on, it’s that the world would be a better place if they didn’t have to fight demons anymore. Less death, less sacrifice, and some normal lives would be great. In this two-parter, the sisters are finally able to bring about a world free from the struggles between good and evil, but it, of course, isn’t all they had hoped for.
"Death Becomes Them" (Season 7, Episode 21)
The seventh season finally comes to a place worthy of a seventh season in this episode as the Charmed Ones are forced to face the thing that haunts them: the innocent lives they were unable to save since they started their journey. It’s pretty much the worst thing they could have to go through, and they have to overcome their failures in order to take on their biggest battle of the season.
"Something Wicca This Way Goes" (Season 7, Episode 22)
This is the episode that should have been the series finale, as the Charmed Ones face an evil that steals their Book of Shadows and once again threatens the world and the delicate balance of good and evil. But it’s the sacrifice they have to make at the end that really shows the ways they’ve grown over the last seven years, even if they still have one more year to go.
"Still Charmed and Kicking" (Season 8, Episode 1)
Season 8 is really no longer about the Charmed Ones so much as it is about them training a new witch named Billie, but it has a few gems that wrap up their story. That includes the season premiere, in which the sisters are trying to live a life away from their magical destiny now that they have brand-new identities and things aren’t going very well.
"Kill Billie Vol. 1/Forever Charmed" (Season 8, Episode 21-22)
Cut to the end of the season, which finds the Charmed Ones up against another pair of sister witches, as well as the return of old foes The Triad and The Hollow. When their finale battle ends in the deaths of two of the sisters, Piper has to lean on a surprisingly common trope in the series, traveling back in time to save her sisters and stop Billie from turning to the dark side.