Season 5 Episode 1

A Witch's Tail (1)

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Sep 22, 2002 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
354 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Piper, Phoebe and Paige come to the aid of Mylie, a Mermaid-turned-human, when she shows up looking for their help after a pact she made with an evil Sea Hag begins to go drastically wrong. Meanwhile, Phoebe attempts to divorce Cole, until he shows up claiming to want her back, Paige, attempts to juggle her new position as a full fledged Social Worker, as well as being a Charmed One, and Piper must protect her unborn baby, and face her fear of the water demon.moreless

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  • A Witch's Tail part 1

    A Witch's Tail part 1 was a perfectly entertaining episode of Charmed. I really enjoyed watching because the story was awesome and guest star Jaime Pressley was superb in her role. It was interesting to see a Charmed version of the Little Mermaid, but with a darker twist. I was excited and surprised when Cole returned as Phoebe was petitioning for a divorce. His powers are intriguing and I hope to learn more soon about how and why he's back and where his power comes from. I was shocked that Leo could be so easily held by the Sea Hag's power. Mylie the mermaid has hope in the end but Phoebe takes a liking to her new found freedom in the sea and dives deeper leaving every one to worry. I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Season 5 starts with a belly flop...

    So, we have another 2 part season premiere, but Charmed Again this is NOT. Yes, mermaids, but I hardly see how people can complain about Season 5 as if the mythical creature box wasn't opened up all the way back to the Wendigo.

    There is actually a lot of snappy dialogue in this episode. Great lines include Leo asking- "Why am I standing in the ocean?" "Because Phoebe is a mermaid." "Oh, that explains it." And the perhaps more classic, "Who are you people?" "Witch, angel, mermaid." Great stuff.

    There is also an excellent guest actress in Jaime Pressley, always a welcome addition, and I really dig the layering of bad guys with the Sea Hag being the prime antagonist in this episode but having the bigger and badder Necrom behind her. Lastly, there clearly was some money spent on this episode, and the result shows: very good effects and grander sets including outside.

    Besides the always reliable acting of Holly and the quirkiness of Paige, those above listed things are about all that is right in this episode. Unfortunately, there are plenty of things that are wrong.

    Leo describes Patti as "careless" and "thought she was invincible." We have met Patti a couple times now. Anyone else think either of these lines apply to her?

    The Sea Hag is nothing like the water demon that killed Patti. Why would Piper be afraid of it? And Piper has never showed any emotional hang ups from her mother's death before.

    Paige never asked her sisters how their mother died? Come on. That is ludicrous. Phoebe and Cole were legally married, thus requiring a divorce? That is hard to believe. Cole Turner was a wanted man at the time, besides being the Source. Phoebe has also passed through the 6 stages of grief in record time, not to mention the 15 minutes of fame. This is all just a little too soon after the supposed heartbreak of Long Live the Queen.

    On the other hand, despite everything Cole has done for her, it is understandable that Phoebe would have moved on and be scared to death of Cole coming back into her life. All the reviewers seem to have missed the big detail that Cole's blood burned like acid. This is basically a foreshadowing, or a reminder, that though Cole is trying to be good, and is currently a sympathetic character, there is still something fundamentally wrong with him and it is only a matter of time before things begin to go sideways once again.

    Paige has red hair and there is a little more meat on her bones. Otherwise, she is the lone sister who has remained about the same as we left her. Overall, that is the ultimate problem with this episode. There is just too much change in too little time. So, Piper is suddenly gutless and Phoebe hates Cole. Maybe a stronger rehash of The Little Mermaid could have saved this episode, but in this case, it didn't.moreless
  • Something Fishy This Way Comes

    A Witch's Tail (1)-Piper, Phoebe and Paige come to the aid of Mylie, a Mermaid-turned-human, when she shows up looking for their help after a pact she made with an evil Sea Hag begins to go drastically wrong. Meanwhile, Phoebe attempts to divorce Cole, until he shows up claiming to want her back, Paige, attempts to juggle her new position as a full fledged Social Worker, as well as being a Charmed One, and Piper must protect her unborn baby, and face her fear of the water demon. Mermainds! Now you wonder why I didn't want to review Seasons 5-8. Well, I guess it could be worse besides, the show obviously got a hugh budget boost during the 5th season. The sets look larger, the film looks brighter, the SFX looks better than usual and Paige's hair is red!! Anyway, the mermaid plot is actually pretty decent at the beginning. Millie (played surprisingly decent by Jamie Pressly) and her dilemma with Craig seems to be the only decent amount of drama during this episode. The whole Cole/Phoebe arc seriously picked during the last half of Season 4 because it seems the writers didn't know what else to do with him. How else do you explain Phoebe suddenly hating Cole and wanting nothing to do with him. Since when was Cole responsible for becoming the Source and turning Phoebe evil? As I recall, he was a victim of possession and he was killed because it was the only way to destory the Source. But whatever works...right? *eye roll*

    Piper's sudden phobia over demon conflict is also the other decent part of the episode. Holly is always spot on and it makes you wonder what is going to make Piper run in fear. Like I said, the episode has some great special effects and while the Sea Hag isn't much of a villain, her powers look great and Necrom also looks physical awesome. But a las, the writers had to stretch this out into two parts and while Part 1 makes for an overall average "demon of the week" episode, but Part 2.....ehw!moreless
  • Mermaids, divorces and fears are all par for the course in this season opener.

    Phoebe wants to divorce Cole but realises that it isn't going to be as easy as she first thought. Meanwhile, a misplaced mermaid who had the misfortune to make a deal with an evil sea hag turns up and wants help. On top of all this, Piper fears for her unborn baby and there just seems to be one thing happening after another.

    As a season opener, this episode wasn't very strong. There just seemed to be too many sub plots for it to hold together properly. A focus on one or two points would have been better than having so much taking place, particularly for any new fan watching for the first time. It was good, but not brilliant. Could have been much better.moreless
  • Sink or Swim...

    I often ask myself a very serious question with regards to this show: would I watch Charmed if Holly Marie Combs wasn't in it? Probably not. (At least from season 5 onwards...)

    I dig Paige and think Phoebe is a very underrated character, but this episode does them absolutely NO favours. They come across as selfish brats. Annoying, selfish brats.

    As for the fishy main plot, it's only somewhat redeemed by Piper's very real reaction to vanquishing a sea hag. It's the kind of demon that killed her mother, and it's something that'll resonate with long term viewers who saw the very solid episode 'P3H2O'. It tethers this episode down and is the only grownup storyline within this ridiculous plot.

    Visually, the episode is a bit all over the place: the hag has some interesting powers - the water FX look superb and her suspended animation ability looked very cool. But the split-screen conversations and cheesy transitions gave off too much of a sit-com-y feel for my liking.

    The Phoebe/Cole storyline is a bit murky at this stage in the game. It becomes even more muddled in part 2, making Phoebe come off as the lesser person. As for the 'cliff-hanger,' I wouldn't hold your breath...moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (13)

    • Leo says that he's been watching Piper ever since she was a baby because he's her whitelighter but wasn't Sam their whitelighter until their mom's death when he clipped his wings?

    • When Paige is talking about the water demon Piper tells her about that Demon having killed Patty, but it seems odd that in a whole year of learning about her long lost family Paige never asked about the demon that killed her mom.

    • TRIVIA: This is the first time Phoebe's car is shown - it is a mini Cooper. Paige drives a VW bug and Piper drives Prue's old car, a Grand Cherokee.

    • When Craig is in the sea hag's lair he asks where they are and Phoebe replies "somewhere off the north Atlantic". How on earth did Phoebe swim from San Francisco to the north Atlantic in just a few minutes?

    • Leo says there was no one around to finish Piper's baby book after Patty died but what about Grams? If he had been watching over the house as he claimed to have been he must have known Grams was looking after them. How else did he think they were raised?

    • TRIVIA: Just like the episode Charmed Again, this episode features a modifed opening credits, where the main cast are included in the secondary cast.

    • In the scene with Darryl and Cole in the restaurant Cole freezes time. As they get close to the guy with the gun in his hands, we can see clearly that near to the gun there is a smoke's spot. Anyway, after that, the smoke is not there anymore despite the fact that time is frozen.

    • TRIVIA: In this episode it's revealed that Phoebe is allergic to shellfish.

    • TRIVIA: As of this episode and for the rest of the season, Rose McGowan's hair is dyed dark red and cut really short.

    • TRIVIA: As of this episode Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano are now producers of the show.

    • When Paige gets wet in the rainstorm she's soaked. After Phoebe finds the mermaid she goes home, her hair is in perfect curls and she is totally dry, I guess her clothes could have dried between all that time, but how could her hair have been so perfect?

    • Notice that when Mylie gets splashed in the parking garage with water, her sundress disappears, yet when she dries off, the dress does not reappear. Same as when Phoebe is turned into a mermaid by Paige's spell, her clothes disappear. Why would normal clothes just disappear?

    • In the beginning of the episode the mermaid stabs the Hag and the Hag bleeds, however, every other time someone stabs her she doesn't bleed but seems to be made of water. Was it the surprise of the attack or dumb luck?

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Leo: Okay, excuse me, could we please refrain from blowing up demons in the nursery?
      Piper: Oh, Honey, it was just one.

    • Paige: What is going on with everybody? We're talking about the Sea Hag. The mysterious monster of the deep blue sea. The one whose name strikes fear into the hearts of sailors everywhere.
      Piper: Okay. Somebody's been watching way too much Discovery Channel.

    • Leo: Phoebe, take my hand, I'll orb you back.
      Phoebe: Nope. I'm staying in the ocean.
      Paige: Okay. Just meet us back at the beach, you swim so fast you'll probably beat us there anyway.
      Phoebe: No. I'm staying in the ocean. I'm not going back.
      Paige: I don't understand.
      Phoebe: Paige, it's everything that Miley said it was. It's complete freedom.
      Miley: The call of the sea. It'll turn her heart cold if she lets it.
      Leo: Phoebe, get out of the water.
      Phoebe: No.
      Paige: Phoebe, take my hand.
      Phoebe: No!
      Paige: Phoebe, fight it.
      Phoebe: I don't want to fight it. I just want to be free. (Swims off)
      Paige: Phoebe!

    • Paige: Weather advisory: If you're going to go outside, bring a paddle.

    • Phoebe: Go to Hell.
      Cole: Actually I was just there.

    • Phoebe: Okay, Piper. I can't be late getting to the office today, I have a radio interview with those morning guys Pip and Skeeter.
      Piper: That's Skip and Peter.

    • Miley: I'm not evil or anything.
      Phoebe: I've heard that one before.

    • Phoebe: Good people don't turn other people into water coolers.

    • Paige: It's official. Phoebe's on the run.
      Leo: On the swim, technically.

    • Craig: (after Leo has orbed him off his plane): What? Who are you people?
      Leo: Angel.
      Paige: Witch.
      Phoebe: Mermaid.
      Paige: Don't you mean "witch"?

    • Leo (as he orbs into the ocean): I found Craig. He was on a plane on his way to New York. (he notices he's in the water) Why am I standing in the ocean?
      Piper: Phoebe's a mermaid.
      Leo: Oh. Well, that would explain it.

    • (Paige tells Phoebe that she is the best swimmer)
      Phoebe: Yeah at the Y! But this is the ocean! And it's very cold and I am allergic to shellfish!

    • (After Piper tells Phoebe to put her head under water)
      Phoebe: And get my hair wet?

    • Phoebe: Nothin' perks up a girl's career like sending her ex-husband straight to hell.

    • Paige: I haven't seen her this happy since Cole died.
      Leo: Which time?
      Paige: Good point.

    • Piper: What if he does not do this? We'd have to fight the evil person!

  • NOTES (6)

    • International Episode Titles: Czech Republic: Malá mořská čarodějka (Little Sea Sorceress) France: Les sirènes de l'amour (Mermaids of love) Italy: Una sirena di nome Phoebe (A mermaid named Phoebe) Germany: Der Ruf des Meeres (The call of the sea)

    • This episode scored 6.3 million viewers.

    • Allysa Milano and Dan Gauthier (Craig)previously worked togethor on the TV series Who's the Boss when he played her boyfriend Pierce.

    • Alyssa Milano appeared in Poison Ivy 2, while Jamie Pressley appeared in Poison Ivy 3. Plus, they worked together in several episodes of My Name Is Earl.

    • The scenes where Phoebe is swimming in the ocean were actually quite hard for Alyssa Milano to film because of her fear of water.

    • In this episode Phoebe is turned into a mermaid, but this isn't the first time Alyssa Milano was a mermaid. She was supposedly, the inspiration behind 'Ariel' from Disney's "The Little Mermaid".


    • Title: A Witch's Tail

      This is a reference to Shakespeare's play "The Winter's Tale", and a slight reference to the 2001 movie "A Knight's Tale" starring Heath Ledger.