Season 4 Episode 7

Brain Drain

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Nov 08, 2001 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
539 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Source sends Piper into a deep coma, where she perceives an alternate reality. Phoebe and Paige must find a way to return her to reality and save her from giving up her powers while she is delusional.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Brain Drain

    Brain Drain was a superbly entertaining episode of Charmed and I really enjoyed watching because the story was awesome and it was interesting to see the series do their own take on the "It's all just a delusion and your in a mental hospital" theme. The Source finally took matters into his own hands after repeated failures at defeating the Charmed Ones and it was awesome to see him in action. There was lots of humor, drama and magic. I liked that Cole barely saved the sisters from The Source and look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • The Charmed Ones don't exist.

    Every genre show eventually gets around to doing this storyline – Buffy, Supernatural, Smallville etc. – and while Charmed doesn't exactly add anything new to idea, it has a lot fun messing with its own format and the production team went all out in completely defacing the manor and transforming it into the institution. Has anybody else noticed how Leo seems to be kicking a lot of ass lately? He had that elaborate fight scene last episode, he takes out a demon in this one, and he attacks a high level demon in the next. Brian must have pointed out how unfair it is that the girls get all of the action and asked for his pacifistic character to completely forget he's a pacifist. Holly gives a great performance here, and the events build up to an action-packed climax. It's just a pity the source, at this stage, carries about as much onscreen presence as Paige's ugly piece of furniture.moreless
  • You have to be really careful around The Source because he simply won't behave himself.

    This episode had a strong sense of Deja Vu about it for me because, once again, Piper is sick. This time, however, she has been placed in a very deep coma by The Source who wants her to relinquish her powers and so, sends her to an alternate reality where it looks as though he just might get what he wants as poor Piper has no idea that what she is experiencing isn't the way things are supposed to be.

    Out of the sisters, Piper is my least favourite character, so several (not all) of the Piper-centric episodes have annoyed me. This happens to be one of them. I was bored with it. Good acting though, especially by Phoebe as she and Paige work desperately to save their sister.moreless
  • Eternal Sunshine of Piper Haliwell's Mind

    Brain Drain-The Source sends Piper into a deep coma, where she perceives an alternate reality. Phoebe and Paige must find a way to return her to reality and save her from giving up her powers while she is delusional.

    One of Charmed's most well executed episodes despite working with a cliche storyline, "Brain Drain" is a stunning episode from start to finish. The concept of "a hero put in an alternate reality where their real life was just their imagination and their trapped in an asylum" has been done multiple times on other fantasy shows like Buffy, even Smallville years later. But Charmed was one of the few that did it well and flawlessly. It would make sense that Piper would be struggling with her life as a witch since Prue's death and I loved how the Source used this opportunity to create one of his most genius plans yet.

    The whole cast is brilliant throughout with Holly Marie Combs giving another season best performance. You honestly feel bad for Piper as her sanity slowly destoryed and her world comes literally crashing down. Then there's Rose and Alyssa who are beyond hilarious as Piper's fellow patients in the hospital who deliever some of the best lines of the episode. Julian was also hilarious when Cole was going through shock therapy and Brian was great as one of the doctors of the hospital looking after Piper. Then there's Alastair Duncan who was fantastic as both the Source/head doctor of the asylum. The manor was also perfectly transformed into an insane asylum, with all the locked cages and mentally ill patients running around.

    The real world scenes were also well done with Paige and Phoebe working together to get into Piper's mind as Cole and Leo battle in the underworld to save Piper. The whole episode just works so well by giving each character virtually something great to do, contributing to the overall storyline which always means the writing is exceptional. All and All, "Brain Drain" is a remarkable episode with such a well written storyline, excellent acting all around and dark scenes.moreless
  • The Source of Piper's insanity...

    I have always been shocked that this very good episode is somehow rated among Charmed's best.

    Cole is back, which is a huge plus right off the bat. Also on the good side, the Source has decided to step his game up in going after the Charmed Ones. He finally comes to the same conclusion that Belthazor and Zankou found and decides to attack them on a personal level, this time by targeting Piper's desire for a normal life and a baby. Piper's quest for motherhood will remain a Season 4 plotline for the duration, and it is well-leveraged here. Probably the main reason why I don't rate this episode as high as others is because I found the entire dream-sequence in the manor somewhat tedious though punctuated by humor. Since Piper still remembers her past life, there is no way she would accept her dream as reality as quickly as she does here, and as soon as the Source mentioned the spell to release her powers a huge light should have went off as to why she was put into this alternate reality. I thought it was tremendously obvious. I also don't like how hands-on the Source has become here. Would the Lord of the Underworld have to resort to such tactics? It is also quite strange that he is so poorly guarded while he performs such a crucial task.

    However, I also love how Leo and Cole work together to find the Source. Leo actually takes out a couple demons himself, very rare in his whitelighter days, and Cole's attack on the Source is one of the best scenes in the series. Dang shame that the hot oracle had to save the Source. She was another plus. So, basically we have a good beginning and a good ending with some craziness in between.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (10)

    • When Piper freezes the room, in the beginning of the episode, the clock also freezes, but in That 70's Episode, when Piper freezes Nicholas, the clock doesn't freeze and Nicholas knows they got their powers, when he only hears 5 chimes, instead of 12.

    • TRIVIA: In this episode Cole created the biggest energy ball in the Charmed universe.

    • When Phoebe and Piper are discussing Piper having children, Phoebe mentions the little girl they saw in the future. However, Phoebe never saw the little girl because she was in prison awaiting execution during that trip. So what she should've said was the child Piper saw in the future!

    • TRIVIA: In this episode Cole whistles to get the sisters attention. This is later used in the season 8 episode "Malice in Wonderland" where Piper whistles to get the other two to listen when they keep obsessing.

    • When Piper is visited by her friends in the "hospital", one of them says she had her baby shortly after the baby shower and reminds Piper that she was at that shower. If Piper has been in the "hospital" for more than three years, how could she go to a baby shower? She could have noticed that the Source made a huge logical mistake here.

    • TRIVIA: This is the second time Piper has been put into a coma. The first time was in the season 2 episode "Awakened".

    • At the end when Leo, Phoebe, and Paige are trying to convince Piper who they really are, Leo keeps moving. In one camera angle Leo is standing up and hunched over in front of Piper. In another angle he is kneeling down next to Piper.

    • It was said in the season 1 episode "Wicca Envy" that all the sisters had to say the spell for their powers to be relinquished. In this episode Piper should not have been able to get rid of all their powers if it was only her saying the spell. - Also, isn't she really just "inside" her own mind, so saying the words would actually just be the same as thinking them... What harm would that do?

    • When the girls run up to the attic, Piper hits the "demon" with the broomstick. After she hits him the broomstick is still perfectly in tact, but in the next shot, Piper is only holding the bottom half of the broom in her hand.

    • When Piper was hit by the car, she had been injured on the left side of her face, but when she's shown again in the underworld, the injury is on the right side of her face.

  • QUOTES (20)

    • Phoebe: Um, Piper, remember when you told me to tell you when you're obsessing.
      Piper: I'm not obsessing. I just want everything perfect, that's all.

    • (Piper blows up a mysterious seat in the living room)
      Phoebe: Uhm that was Paige's chair.
      Piper: I know. I just hated it.

    • (Piper knocks an orderly to the ground with Phoebe's broomstick)
      Phoebe: Boy, he sure flew.

    • (Cole is being tested and is screaming)
      Cole: You can't hurt me! I'm the mighty Belthazor! Yah!

    • (At Halliwell Hospital)
      Alastair: There are no demons. They're just figments of your imagination.
      Piper: Want to bet?
      Evil hiding in plain sight,
      I use this spell with all my might,
      to stop your changing form and shape,
      this vanquish seals your fate.
      (Nothing happens.)
      Orderly: Doesn't really rhyme, does it.

    • (Cole and Phoebe run upstairs, and Piper and Leo are hugging)
      Paige: Okay, and I'm just gonna go to the store and get some milk, or something.

    • Cole: Why, Ms. Halliwell, are you trying to seduce me?
      Phoebe: Always.
      Piper: Eww.

    • Phoebe (seemingly having a premonition): Ahh!
      Piper: What? What is it? What did you see?
      Phoebe: I saw the back of my eyelids, what do you think I saw?

    • Piper: Are you really my husband?
      Leo: Yes.
      Piper: Then that would make you really my sisters?
      Phoebe: Whether you like it or not!

    • Piper: Let go of me so I can blow him up. I'm gonna blow you up!

    • Paige (to Piper and Phoebe): I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting a not-so-good feeling about this.

    • Piper: Who knows? Maybe someday I could be having a baby shower of my own...what do you think?
      Leo: Well in that case I think we need to practice a little. (Leo picks up Piper)
      Piper: Leo!

    • Paige: Hurry up, looney tunes, get me outta here.

    • Paige: What the hell happened?
      Piper: The freakin' furniture just attacked!

    • Phoebe: Generations of Halliwells fought demons and had kids. It didn't stop them, why should it stop you?
      Piper: Did it ever occur to you that maybe this is none of your business?
      Phoebe: Oh, that's besides the point.

    • Phoebe: You're changing the subject.
      Piper: No, I'm ignoring you.

    • (In Piper's mind, they're in a garden with clean-cut grass, and flowers everywhere. Phoebe and Paige arrive after saying a spell)
      Phoebe: I think it worked.
      Paige (when a red and blue butterfly flies past her): Either that or we're in Mary Poppins' head.

    • (Piper takes the broom and hits the doctor over the head. He falls back onto some chairs)
      Paige: Mmm...well he sure flew.

    • Piper: What are you eating?
      Phoebe: Chocolate chip cookie, not your best.
      Paige: Got milk? Ooh don't think so.

    • Phoebe: Sorry...had to grab my broom.
      Piper: For what?
      Phoebe: Well for flying, silly.

  • NOTES (2)


    • Cole: Miss Halliwell, are you trying to seduce me?

      This is a reference to the film The Graduate, which the character of Benjamin Braddock says the famous line - "Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?"

    • Title: Brain Drain

      A reference to talented and educated people from one country leaving to go to another country for better conditions.

    • Paige says to Piper, "What do you say we click our heels and get out of this crazy joint?"

      This is a reference to the 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz", where Dorothy, the main character, clicked her heels three times in her ruby red slippers in order to go back to her home in Kansas.

    • Phoebe shakes the nearly empty milk carton at Piper and says "got milk?"

      A reference to the punchline from The California Dairy Board's hugely successful advertising campaign. The ads focus on an absence of milk and beg a single question: Got Milk?