As soon as I saw Phoebe pick up that vase I thought we were in for a boring remake of the Season Two finale. Just goes to show how wrong you can be. It's not the first time the Charmed Ones have mistakenly freed a demon but having the genie turn out to be the baddie is inspired. The result is probably the funniest episode since "The Truth is Out There...."
The action is non-stop as first Phoebe becomes a genie then Richard. At times it's hard to keep track of the master but I was always on the edge of my seat waiting for the next wish. In a brilliant twist, the demon wishes the Charmed Ones dead, only for Phoebe to possess her and send her back to the bottle. It's well written and well directed, and the acting is first class.
The only slight downside is the rather cheesy desert setting. We've had worse, but do we really need flying carpets to prove it's Arabia? The idea of resurrecting a lost city isn't bad but it's kind of wasted with everything else that's going on. To be fair, though, the graphics aren't bad.
For the first time, Chris is able to speak candidly and his opening scene with Phoebe is nicely acted. Turns out he now needs to get Leo and Piper together in time for him to be conceived. This forms a strong subplot for the whole hour and serves up some great humour. Paige's reaction when she finds out he wished for his parents to sleep together is priceless, as is Leo's sudden bout of chumminess (which sees Brian at his absolute best).
As if any more humour were needed, Richard keeps conjuring outfits and jewellery for Paige. It's a real shame this is his last episode as he is finally becoming a worthwhile character. Still, at least he gets to go out on a high.
This episode really is a gem. "You look tense, master. Neck rub?" Hehehe.