Season 4 Episode 7

Brain Drain

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Nov 08, 2001 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (23)

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  • 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!!!!!!!!!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "Are you telling me the Manor is supernaturally bugged?" - Piper Halliwell.

    WOW! this is the second best episode of Season Four (the first being Charmed and Dangerous and the third being Hell Hath No Fury).

    Piper once again rules supreme. her emotion at wanting a baby and yet having to fight evil all the time is very well handled. the ending where she and Leo orbed up the bedroom was very funny.

    phoebe and paige were good in this episode too. they are begining to act like sisters and paige is using her common sense and knowledge of witchcraft to help Piper.

    overall a good episode. Holly need another award for her role in this!
  • A suprisingly funny episode

    I was watching this episode again recently and I never really noticed just how good it was! While I'm a huge believer that this show was better in it's first three seasons, this episode was an exceptionally good episode. While there are many episodes that were good in the fourth season when the show was developing Paige's character, this episode is great! Possibly one of a few I'd put up there in the level of quality that was in the first three years. While this episode had some very serious moments, it also had some incredibly funny ones. When Phoebe brought out the broom and then moments later the notebook that was the Book of Shadows, I couldn't stop laughing! This episode was also a good oppurtunity for Paige to establish herself, which she did when she was the first to figure out the Sources plan. I was actually glad to see that because while I preferred the first three years, it was not a result of Paige. Rose McGowen is a very good actress, I just always liked Shannen and the contributions Constance had made to the show, but this episode was actually a chance for Paige to evolve into a character who had in the previoussix episodes had just been written like a season one Phoebe. The episode on the whole was cleverly written and once again gave the actresses on the show a chance to show off their comedic abilities.
  • A moment of madness

    I love these Source-based storylines. They're every bit as good as the Belthazor episodes from Season Three. Plus, with the Source's awesome range of powers, they're never the same twice.

    This week, our favourite demon-in-chief taps into Piper's ongoing doubts over being a witch. He traps her in a dream world, convinces her she's going mad and comes within a whisker of getting her to relinquish her powers. It's a powerful storyline and leaves no room for subplots. Piper has had her doubts over the craft since day one and I'm really glad they've kept this idea going. I'm just surprised this is the first time anyone has tried to take advantage of it. I also note the shapeshifter is known as a chameleon this time. Must be the new writer.

    Others on here have pointed out that the mental hospital thing has been done on other shows but, seeing as I haven't seen any of them, I'm happy to say I thought it was great. Using the Manor as the hospital is one of the most imaginative things the writers have yet done and, once again, Holly puts in a heartfelt and moving performance. The whole sequence is believable yet surreal - exactly what you'd expect in a dream. Top marks!

    The demon is back! What a difference he makes. I love it when Leo and Cole work together and this is their best effort yet. Both are totally kickarse. The sight of Cole pounding the Source with one thunderbolt after another is amazing and I love the huge energy ball he works up at the end. I've always thought Cole's love for Phoebe was quite a selfish love but this week he seems genuinely concerned for Piper.

    So the Source is wounded (loved the black blood). Serves him right. Something tells me he'll be back....
  • OK, it's OK..but not that good, i dont like it..

    Brad Kern really tip-toes around the source. He's this ultimate power and barely uses him in any unique ways, immediately casting him off as just another run of the mill demon. Killing the bird is about as threatening as he gets unfortunately. Which brings into question why he used the source in this instance at all. The girls do a good job of building up the potential threat he carries with him, but it is ultimately undermined by the episodes end.

    - Ugh. Not more of that seer! I'm all for mid-riff, but higher someone who can act!! Just dont like it
  • Charmed Interrupted. "You can't hurt me! I'm the mighty Belthazor!"

    One of the best lines ever; Cole: "You can't hurt me I'm the mighty Belthazor!" I really enjoyed this episode and it makes me laugh every time I watch it. The Charmed ones are at their funniest when they either switch personalities, get stuck in alternate realities, or any other sort of shake up to their routine. This episode also provides the continued struggle that Piper's been having with being a witch and wanting to give up her powers and lead a normal life. Piper's been having a tough time so far with Prue's death and trying to get along with Paige. This episode, to me, seems lighter than the others and is a nice change of pace.
  • Very good episode.

    Cole brings news that the Source has sent a Chameleon demon to Halliwell Manor to spy of the Charmed Ones. When the Chameleon demon's cover is blown, the Source destroys him and takes his place in an attempt to use the fact that the girls will try to hunt down the Chameleon demon and vanquish him, against the sisters. The Source then manages to kidnap Piper and uses his dark magic to project into her mind, trying to convince Piper that she isn't really a witch but a patient in a mental hospital and that Leo is a doctor and Paige and Phoebe are also patients who think that they are witches but not,and they are also told they never will be witches. The Source ultimately wants manipulate Piper into relinquish her powers to him so he can destroy her and her sisters.
  • alternate reality...

    I love this episode. I keep watching it and I never get sick of it. Since Piper has the strongest desire to give up magic the source puts her into an alternate reality where magic does not exist. She wakes up at the halliwell hospital and leo is a nurse. Piper is just another patient. Everyone told her that she was crazy and to give up. The soource disquised as a doctor tells her this spell to give up her powers. Obvousibly she doesn't. Great acting for crazy people, it was so funny how Paige and Phoebe were in this episode. This episode was so cool.
  • The Source uses Piper wish for a real life to get her to say the relinquishing spell to end the Charmed Ones. Paige and Phoebe enters Piper mind before she can say the spell the third time but she didn't believe they were real. Leo had to convince her.

    Showing that the Charmed Ones have wrekness even though they are the most powerful witches. It is also show that the sisters relay on each other because as a unit they are strong. The episode show that Piper deals with alot of issues and try not to show it to the other. It seems that she trying to deal with the change in the house and how much she misses Prue. It also show that she loves being a witch even though she wants a normal life. The best part is showing that Paige is accepted by them and that she is not expected to be as perfect as Prue. The sisters depend on each other for their strength to fight evil while trying to have a normal life. Leo love for Piper made him risk his life for her and Cole helped because of his love for Phoebe. The episode also show the kind of power the source has, because to enter a person mind and create an alternate reality is not easy.
    Piper realizes how much she likes being a witch and how important her sisters are to her and that having a normal life is great but being a Charmed One is better.
  • One of my favorite season 4 episodes.

    Seeing an alternate reality was a quite a change from the normal reality of charmed. It made for quite a great episode and was very visualy impressive. I really enjoyed all the cast interaction and characters changes in this episode, it all worked great on many levels. You also felt Holly's emotional presence and skill in this episode, her forte in my opinion.
  • NICE

    n n n n n n n n n n n n n n nn n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n nn n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n
  • piper is captured by the source who preys on her inner desires in an attempt to make her relinquish her own powers, along with Phoebe and Paige's.

    this was a great episode...

    it was a little annoying to constantly hear the source dressed up like a doctor and to keep repeating that piper was insane...i thought that III was going crazy. lol

    besides seeing that Piper really does need some time to be an average person first and witch later, and establish a life with to have kids and time with Leo and a social life, we also got to watch cole just about kick the sources a**, and some other weird stuff going on in Piper's mind. i lik the chameleon demon...he's cool. and he was a lamp.


    P.S. what was up with the butterflies?
  • The Crazy Charmed Ones

    Brain Drain proves that Charmed has quality , this episode is really exciting. The Source send a Camaleon to spy the Charmed Ones house and Cole discovers that. After this, This Camaleon gets Piper and take her to the UnderWorld and invade her mind for she gives up with her powers, proveing to her that she doesnt have any powers, and she doesnt have sisters. This episode had a great story line, I really enjoyed this episode, has a greating writing and really funny scenes, the end is great, one of the best episodes of season 4.
  • We get to see inside Piper's head.

    Wow! Another great episode. There were alot of things to love in this episode...

    The source trying to get Piper to reinquish her powers & her sisters powers too.

    Leo's confused looks when Piper mentions having a baby.

    Cole & Leo working together.

    Cole letting himself get caught by the bounty hunters so that Leo could find Piper & save her.

    Cole almost defeating the Source but vanquishing Oracle, who gets in the way to save the source, instead and Cole wounding the him.

    Holly did great in this episode and Pheobe & Paige were funny.

  • Sister Psychos

    It's extremely rare when a writer on Charmed gets hold of a clichéd story idea but makes it really entertaining and brilliantly done. Brain Drain surprised me as it's wonderfully written by Curtis Kheel and Holly Marie Combs gives a season-best performance as the institutionalised Piper.

    Brain Drain has the Source abducting Piper and sending her into a deep coma. Inside her coma, Piper imagines that she has been in a mental asylum for the past four years. The asylum is the Manor, Leo is a doctor and Phoebe and Paige are two of her fellow inmates. Meanwhile, in the real world, Phoebe and Paige attempt to save Piper before she unknowingly gives over her powers to the Source.

    Holly Marie Combs has always stood out as the most talented actress on Charmed and in season four, she gets to act out so many memorable scenes which are at times moving, hilarious and deeply dramatic. She had her breakdown at the death of Prue back in Hell Hath No Fury and now, in Brain Drain, she shows she is an absolutely brilliant actress capable of conveying any emotion on screen.

    The asylum storyline has been done to death on various TV series, including Star Trek and Buffy, but Charmed embraces the format and makes a brilliant episode out of it. Brain Drain is one of the best episodes of season four and there are so many memorable moments. The re-design of the Manor into the asylum is brilliant with cages, straightjackets and creepy doctors. I loved how in this reality, the Book of Shadows is like a child's imaginary prop, with childish artwork inside of the Ice Cream Man and Belthazor. The characters were all brilliant in this reality, most notably the tortured Cole, who is tied up to a machine which forces him to reveal his demon side.

    Brain Drain is shocking and entertaining, with loads of twists and turns and a genuinely edge-of-your-seat finale. The Source was such a great villain and it's a shame that the writers have never produced a big bad as bad as this one. All-in-all, a spectacular episode which must be seen.
  • Showcases Holly's acting talents.

    This is a great episode and Holly Marie Combs does a wonderful job showing how torn Piper is when fighting to find out what is real and not real. I loved the book as a notebook with kiddie drawings in it like the real one. Some of this was so funny and other parts broke your heart. This is why I love this show.
  • OMG i absolutly loved this episode!

    OMG i absolutly loved this episode. It's funny and interesting at the same time, i liked and laughed when looney Phoebe first came and unleashed Piper from the bed, she was so funny. Cole (Julian) looked very cool in this episode too.
    oh, and Paige's chair really... it was horrible LOL
  • What isn\'t to love about this episode?

    yes, you heard it... what isn\'t to love. It combines tragedy, comedy and a nail biting plot.

    The tragedy is when Piper breaks down after seeing her \'friend\'s\' baby and she literally falls to pieces. No Piper fan likes to see this

    Comedy... wow, alyssa and rose get to release their inhibitions when they play as the \'wacky sisters from hell\'... literally. My favourite moment has to be when Phoebe finds the book of shadows. Only, it\'s a NOTEPAD that has been scribbled on by seven year olds.

    And it\'s a nail biting plot because we were all wondering if Piper was going to relinquish the powers... that would\'ve been bad right?

    So I give it a 9.5. I think it lost pints for mediocre special effects (did you see those butterflies). And I could say there was room for improvement. You don\'t get a 10.0 from me unless it\'s excellence. This was not - just came close
  • Amazing

    This is my FAVORITE episode of charmed...or atleast up there tying for favorite...It was well written well thought out and it was entertaining and funny. Not one thing about this episode i would change... i could watch it over and over..a really facinating look at the psyche. great all around