From the moment Piper puts on the leather pants, this is a substantial and certain improvement over Part 1.
The leather pants that I believe were first broken in by Prue in Ms. Hellfire are virtually always the sign of good things to come, (unless Piper is possessed, which then debacles are surely to follow). Ironically, Piper's fearless spell merely replicates the Piper from Hell Hath No Fury. Regardless, this Piper is about 1000 times more enjoyable to watch than the impotent, panic attack Piper was. The urgency of Charmed is always ramped up a couple notches when it is one of the sisters who stands to be lost, and not an innocent. That is the first and most important difference between this episode and the last. Phoebe is the one whose role as a witch hangs in the balance. Frankly, some of Phoebe's dialogue is good comedy, but the rest of her subplot is borderline annoying and not the stronger part of this episode. I do appreciate the outfit, however.
Paige by now has firmly taken Prue's role of superwitch, and it is basically up to her to save the day here, with some mostly ineffectual help from Leo. Her red hair is straight this week and looks much better with the orange top and white pants. Love the look this week. Her scenes with Cole are probably the best part of this episode, except for the end. They are well-written and very well acted, as Julian just continues to be too good to properly vanquish from the show. Paige casts another spell here, on Cole, and has clearly taken Phoebe's role of spellcaster pretty much for the remainder of the series.
I also appreciate one last scene with Darryl and Cole talking like they are friends. It is a good scene and a pleasant reminder of when the sisters, Leo, Cole, and Darryl were all friends who fought together against evil. I believe that too brief time from Season 3 to Season 4 was the best of times for Charmed, though don't get me wrong, good things and great episodes are still to come.
The very benign torture scene with Piper is a classic, and we have a very explosive vanquish. I actually didn't like that they redid the scene from Fear to Eternity with Piper this time around. Lame. The special effects were markedly improved from last time, at least. Great closing scenes with Paige leaving her job, Cole and Phoebe on the beach, and Piper adding to her baby book. Very touching. Well done. There is some hope for Season 5 after all.