One Year Ago
Chinese monks are deflecting the yearly attack of a group of demons lead by Novack trying to get hold of a holy stamp. Novack and the others leave, warning they only have to be lucky once.
Phoebe is moving out and Piper is unhappy with her father taking the kids to Marine World. Piper is scrying for who they're up against and wants Phoebe and Paige to leave her to it. As they leave the attic, a Chinese symbol appears out of nowhere in the scyring pot.
Billie pays a visit to Phoebe who tries to get her out and sends her to help Piper with her divining. As soon as she's gone, Paige orbs in then pops out to knock on Phoebe's insistence. She wants advice on how to handle Henry after her revelation to him that she's a witch. As soon as she leaves, the doorbell rings and it's Phoebe's handsome male neighbor RSVPing.
The demons at Magic School bring out Novack from a coffin for his yearly attempt on the monks – he conserves his strength the rest of the time. The demons bring him up to speed on what's happened since the last year and reveal they're tracking a servant who knows where the handoff of the staff occurs.
Billie helps Phoebe in the Manor attic and reveals the Chinese symbol again. They track it to a laundry store in Chinatown and ask the owner about the symbol. He cautiously probes them about the Chinese zodiac and reveals he called them. They hear noises and go through a magic portal to the secret garden, where a single monk with the staff is overwhelmed by Novack and his demons. Billie telekinetically grabs it and Piper drives the demons off. The owner reveals the monk was "the Zodiac" and the Charmed Ones must now protect the staff.
The owner explains the staff must be passed to the new Zodiac at midnight and he's in charge of finding the location to make the exchange. He further reveals that the cycle must not be broken and wants them to protect the staff until it is passed on, and warns they must be clear of mind or their Zodiac-personality will influence others. The man knows about Billie's background and suggests she may find answers to her problem with her sister. Piper reluctantly takes the staff while Novack tells the other demons they can still get the staff. Novack figures the Zodiac Monks will come out of hiding to get the staff and they can track them to the staff.
Paige meets with Henry and tries to explain things on his terms – he's still not sure why they don't use their powers to help out the suffering in his world. Piper shows up and the staff influences Paige – she's not interested in helping Piper and starts obsessing about Henry. At the hidden garden, Billie is going over the files and the store owner, Lo Pan, talks about the power she can't use yet – her power of projection. He helps her to focus her power and project a small tree into becoming what she wants it to be. She succeeds and he advises she can use her power to see her sister.
At the Manor, the Zodiac Monks arrive and demand that Piper give them the staff. They attack and she defends herself then threatens to destroy it if they don't back off. Their leader agrees to talk. At the garden, Billie focuses to direct her emotions, which drive her projection power. She lets her power take her to where she needs to go – some kind of cell covered in Chinese mystic symbols, and containing a frightened young girl.
Piper talks to the monks, who are not too impressed with Lo Pan. However, they can't take the staff until midnight and the new year. Novack arrives to take the staff and the monks' leader, Dog, teleports out with Piper while the other monks defend fight the demons. He tells her to flee before going back in. Piper calls for Paige but Paige is busy orbing around with Henry to explain everything. They're atop the Golden Gate Bridge and she plans to call the Elders to explain things. He's confused and then Piper calls Paige but Paige is still obsessed and has to break off to rescue Henry when he falls.
Phoebe is holding her housewarming party and flirts with her hunky neighbor. She's interrupted by Piper who yanks her into the hallway…and inadvertently influences her with the staff. Then Phoebe grabs the staff and her personality influences Piper, who takes off to be with her kids. Worse, the staff influences her partygoers, livening up the place considerably.
Paige orbs into the Manor where the monk/demon battle is still going on. Phoebe shows up as well and finds the place in ruins (again). Phoebe has finally covered the staff and Paige figures out it influenced her and it's worn off. While they call Piper, Billie talks with the girl who doesn't know much about what's going on. Billie tells the girl, who she assumes is Christy, that she's a witch then realizes that's what the girl's captors want. The girl is wearing an amulet which bears the symbol from the diary, and her captors wear the same amulet. When the girl's captors arrive, Billie returns back to the manor…without the girl. Lo Pan tells her that Billie visited the past, before Christy was changed in some manner by her captors, and that she can do something about Christy now.
Piper is in the street with a flat tire when Novack catches up to her. He takes her to the Manor where he has the staff and uses it on the three of them, imposing his personality on them. He sends them to destroy Lo Pan, who is the key to the eternal cycle. They go to the garden and meet Lo Pan and Billie, who realizes something is up. They duck for cover and Lo Pan tells Billie she must use her power to save them. She focuses and projects her power, snapping them out of it.
The other demons are unhappy with Novack's plan. As they're talking the Charmed Ones arrive, Paige orbs the staff to her, and they all focus its power to destroy the demons. Everyone heads off leaving Piper to get the staff back to the garden. There she finds that Lo Pan is being "elevated" as the new monk who receives the staff to complete the cycle. Lo Pan assures her Leo will return when it's time…and not before.
Paige takes Henry back to the bridge and they resolve their issues as Henry assures her he's okay with her magic. They both admit their love for each other. And Billie returns to the cell to find her sister…