In a season with more than its fair share of magical creatures, I guess we could have done worse than mermaids. As a theme it's alright but this is no more a season opener than "Witch Way Now?" was a season finale.
The real problem is the weak storyline. Take away the flippers and it's just another 'save the innocent' episode. The story takes an age to reach a very predictable conclusion and the ending is far too soppy. How much better would it have been if the mermaid had turned out evil?
It's not a vintage performance by any of the cast and the guest actors range from average (Mylie and Craig) to downright awful (Necron's messenger). The one exception is Diane Salinger, who does a great job as the sea hag.
On the bright side, this episode features some of the best special effects ever seen on the show. The way the sea hag dissolves in the car park is superb and Cole's freezing of the bullets likewise. I only wish they'd put the same person in charge of the set; the undersea cavern is less than convincing and what on earth was that seaweed thing that choked Paige?
The sub plots just about keep the episode afloat (pun fully intended). Leo is building a nursery and Piper is so worried about the safety of her child she's getting panic attacks. Meanwhile, Cole is desperate to win Phoebe back and Phoebe is desperate to get shot of him. Both these themes take centre stage in part two.
The direction is unusual this week, with lots of panning in and funny angles. I also counted the word 'honey' six times in the opening scene.
Brian Krause looks particularly hunky this week. Must be the handyman outfit. I think my heating needs fixing....