Some Charmed fans would never recover from the loss of Prue. I am not one of those. Charmed Again represents easily the best season opener Charmed ever had.
From the very first scene where a disheveled and despondent Piper tries to use magic to reach her lost sister in a candle lit attic, we are immediately introduced to a darker and grittier Charmed. Piper is an understandable mess throughout the episode, and as usual, Holly shines whenever tears are to be shed. She has had a lot of practice, and unfortunately, she will get more. Her attack of Leo for healing her instead of Prue is very true to her character and heartfelt. Her fit of anger over the demonic attack at Prue's funeral is also very fitting for the character; we are quickly reminded- same old Piper. As usual, the end of the Charmed Ones is nearly taken with relief by Piper, who now wants to concentrate on the lives that are left, and as such, the discovery of a new sister is met with a good dose of doubt and then frustration from her. This can actually be interpreted as apathy towards Paige, but it isn't. It is apathy towards being a Charmed One again.
Like in the beginning of the series, Phoebe is again the wiccan heart of the manor, and her and Cole actually take over the demon hunting duties, temporarily. The scene where Cole and Phoebe spy Shax's attack of Paige on the rooftop is a classic. Fantastic writing. And how cool is it to see a witch being able to orb? I love this rinse and revamp of the Phoebe/Cole story. The melodrama at the end of Season 3 needed to be seriously dumped and forgotten, and that is exactly what has been done here with very little explanation how, which is fine with me. The bottom line is that Cole is back in Phoebe's good graces and it is GREAT to have him back. Great scene when he goes toe-to-toe with Shax. Kind of surprising he couldn't vanquish Shax considering the damage he does to the source in Brain Drain.
Paige showing up at the manor and the Charmed Ones being reconstituted is another classic scene. The vanquish of Shax was somewhat quickly handled, but it was still great to see revenge exacted. Rose McGowan as Paige isn't given too much to do this first episode, but she is more than adequate in the role. She is actually more believable as a sister of Piper and Phoebe than the black haired, blue-eyed Prue was. The exposure subplot in this episode is about as ridiculous as any we ever see on this show, and it is highly annoying that the writers would beat that drum again so soon after All Hell Breaks Loose. Fortunately, it is a small part of the show, and I do like Cole threatening the guy and the Timbuktu spell. Personally, I had no problem with the show spending no time trying to explain the gap between last season and this. Everyone can come up with their own explanations, quite easily.