Season 2 Episode 2

Morality Bites

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Oct 07, 1999 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
542 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Phoebe has a vision of herself being burnt to death, the sisters travel ten years into the future to learn what happened. Only to discover that she used her powers to kill Cal Greene, causing a local D.A. named Nathanial Pratt to begin modern day witch trials as a platform for political office. Meanwhile, Prue and Piper try to save Phoebe, but they both are surprised and somewhat disappointed to learn how their lives turned out.moreless

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  • Phoebe pulls of prison well!

    So my first qualm with this episode - Nathanial starts a witch hunt because he gets dog poo on his shoe? It's not like he was staring at it and it turned up out of nowhere, he was looking around... And I'm sorry but 'punishing the guilty' is wrong (mostly) yes, but flicking dog poo at him is HARDLY a big issue. As someone below said, Phoebe turns d**bag into a Turkey in later episodes. And also, I'm sure there are things that could be done if a man is intentionally doing this on your side walk and not cleaning up after himself.

    I don't get why Leo is so dead set against the idea it's possible for them to be from the past (especially since in his past he was the one that sent them to the future).

    As witches 10 years in the future, I don't get why they didn't just create a summoning spell. As past witches sure they don't know they can just make spells, but the future ones would..

    I also don't get why people ALWAYS have to say "Piper freeze... him/her/whoever" like when you open a door, I'm sure Piper knows she needs to freeze, but by saying Piper freeze, before anyone is actually frozen means they've heard her say that. But that aside, it's every single time, I'm sure she knows how to use her power.

    Overall I have always loved this episode but I wish we got to see more of Phoebe for a Phoebe centered episode. But as the person below said, the moral of the episode may not be horrible but they just did it badly I think also. Comparing murder to flicking dog poo on this man are extremely different things. It's like her saying "I shouldn't lie about the murder I committed last week, so I won't lie about what I ate for dinner last night". BUT Brilliantly played by Phoebe, the episode took away from the amazingness that was her acting, but I thought she did it so well, I thought she was really on fire for a second.

    Fashion: As usual Phoebe won this episode for me, in both her purple top and in her prison jumpsuit I thought she looked gorgeous, loved the long hair.

    Piper: I thought looked gorgeous in that white top and long hair, so natural and functional!

    Prue: Well the blonde hair was just too fake to me, it felt like a cheap plastic wig, but the leather wasn't too bad (over the top maybe) but was fine.

    My biggest dislike: I hate that we NEVER get to see this electrical power from Phoebe ever. I do like her other future powers yes, but it sucks she never gets it. If the powers that be don't trust her to have it because of this episode well it never happened, she learnt her lesson, so hardly fair. Would've liked to of seen it, even if only for a season.moreless
  • Morality Bites

    Morality Bites was a perfect episode of Charmed and I really enjoyed watching this episode because it had a great story full of character and plot development for the sisters. It was awesome to see I interpretations of their future selves. Prue with long straight blonde hair, Prue with a daughter and Phoebe a murdering witch! It was suspenseful to watch the story unfold and I liked how every thing was approached. Leo played a key role in the episode and it was nice to see more of his presence. The sisters learn their lessons and return to their own time and it was great to see them grow from the experience. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • I've seen the future... and it SUCKS!

    This is a very good but overrated episode basically memorable for two fantastic scenes that have a place among Charmed greatest.

    The first scene is where Piper goes to bind her daughter's powers and finds that she can't do it. Leo shows up and talks about their attempt at being together. It is an emotionally powerful scene with amazing color and even more amazing acting from Holly and Brian. Holly looks gorgeous, and Brian is once again spectacular when emoting over Piper: a truly beautiful and bittersweet scene.

    The second scene is the execution scene. All three sisters are incredible, especially Alyssa. There are very few scenes in all of Charmed more gut-wrenching than this fiery spectacle. Too bad the amazing and powerful scene is basically followed with an ending that is the equivalent to- Oh, it was all just a bad dream!- Frankly, the ending seemed hurried.

    Since I've already seen the future for Charmed, it wasn't as interesting for me to see a future that I know won't happen. The future is all so unrealistic that basically it can only be taken as allegorical: a morality play. The problem is I can hardly agree with the moral of the story. The Charmed Ones are meant to protect the innocent, not punish the guilty. However, one is often the same as the other. I don't agree that Phoebe did anything wrong in killing a man she knew was a murderer. Illegal? Yes. But not immoral. I would say a murderer getting justice is for the greater good. I also see nothing wrong with having a man step in his own mutt's poop. Sounds like karma to me. Phoebe in later seasons would turn an obnoxious man into a turkey. I would say that is a harsher use of their magic.

    Amazing episode at times, but the nonsense of the lesson to be learned keeps it from being among Charmed's best.moreless
  • To say this one is great would be an understatment.

    Although I rate this episode as one of my favorites, the entire reasoning for that is wrapped up in the final ten minutes when the sisters come together and realize the wrong that was done.

    Up to that point, it is great, but still a very much average episode.

    A simple one-line synopsis would be "A hard-hitting look into the future"

    Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) gets a shocking glimpse of herself being burned at the stake in the year 2009 for a crime she states she did not commit.

    However, when another glimpse reveals she did do the crime, she accepts her fate and burns for her crime.

    As said at the top, the sisterly bonding before the burning is one of the best scenes in the history of the show.moreless
  • awesome eppisode!

    i loved this episode. it was awesome to see prue in BLONDE hair! (sry, i love prue). it was cool to see all the sisters powers advance! i thought it was cool (in a good way) when phoebe was burned at teh 'stake'. lol. too bad prue doesnt live to that age! 'tear tear' lol. dow long in the future is this? one of the best episodes!!
Pat Skipper

Pat Skipper

Nathanial Pratt

Guest Star

Clara Thomas

Clara Thomas


Guest Star

Lisa Connaughton

Lisa Connaughton


Guest Star

Brian Krause (I)

Brian Krause (I)

Leo Wyatt

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (20)

    • We learn that Piper and Leo have a daughter called Melinda in the Future. However in future episodes their first and second child are boys (Wyatt and Chris) and in the season finale we are introduced to their third child, this time a girl (Prudence Melinda according to the companion book The Book of Three Volume 2).

    • The girls' powers expand tremendously in the future, Prue is capable of moving objects with ease enough to cause massive destruction with a mere afterthought, Piper's powers are strong enough to freeze everything around them for an extended period of time including birds and water while Phoebe killed a man (likely) by projecting anger into him in the form of electricity. However their grown powers (Prue's Astral Projection, Piper's Exploding power and Phoebe's Levitation are not in this future, or undiscovered at this point)

    • TRIVIA: This is the first time the girls travel into the future.

    • When Leo visits the Manor for the second time once the girls return, he seems to know about what has just happened and says that all the Elders told him was that they had alesson to learn, which implies he knows about his part. However, the sisters returned to before all of that and Leo is arriving before he ever went to the attic. So how does he remember what the Elders had told him about why he was going to attic when he hadn't even been there yet?

    • At the beginning of the episode when Leo arrives to spend the day with Piper all seems well that is until their duties interrupt them, which then brings about the topic through the rest of the episode of how they always have to "talk about it later". However, in the previous episode, Piper had not heard from Leo in weeks and even gone out on a date (which turned a little hot and heavy) with the banker. Even by the end of the episode, there was no Leo. So where did all these issues as well as Leo and Piper all of a sudden being in some sort of serious relationship (or even still dating) come from?

    • TRIVIA: This episode features Stroke 9's song Tail Of The Sun.

    • TRIVIA: This is the second time that the girls time travel.

    • In the beginning of the episode, Piper sets a new carton of milk on the counter, but it seems light and empty when she sets it down.

    • Though Phoebe says "We're back to where we started" the events don't repeat exactly. The dog doing its business came before the news report in the opening but at the end it's the other way around.

    • During this episode when future Prue and future Piper are looking through the Book of Shadows at Bucklands they see that the spell they need is no longer in there, but later when future Prue is looking through the book at the manor she passes the Return Spell which was the spell they needed to get back to the present.

    • TRIVIA: This is the only episode throughout the entire series, that only feature the three lead actresses in the opening credits.

    • If Leo was so concerned about the girls being exposed as witches then why would he orb into Phoebe's cell with a camera pointing right at it?

    • TRIVIA: This is the first time that the Charmed Ones learn the consequences of using magic for personal gain. They reiterate this lesson in the season 6 episode Crime and Witch-demeanors when Phoebe loses her powers for forcing premonitions.

    • When future Piper and Prue are walking into the attic to get the Book of Shadows, a typewriter is visible. Yet in the season 1 episode That 70's Episode they said they got rid of it.

    • TRIVIA: This is the second time Shannen Doherty has had to wear a blonde wig in a role.

    • When Phoebe is burning at the stake, Prue and Piper are standing near together. Piper's head is on Prue's shoulder and Prue's right hand on Piper's head. One shot later, Piper's head is down and Prue has a note in her hand instead.

    • Pratt is inside Phoebe's execution chamber when Prue and Piper try to save her. Yet when Piper's freeze is released, he doesn't notice two women appearing out of nowhere just a couple of feet away.

    • When "future" Prue is looking at the "to create a door" spell, there is nothing between the pages. Seconds later, as she's flipping through the book, she finds the prison map inserted between the pages where the "create a door" spell is.

    • When Piper and Prue are in the future looking through the book, on the page next to the binding spell, there is another spell written there, but when Prue rips it out, there is no spell on the next page!

    • When Prue and Piper are about to punish the dogwalker in the end of the episode, they're all standing in the window. Phoebe says something like, "Hopefully now he won't [start a chain of events that ends with Phoebe being burned alive]." She then exits to the left side of the window. Therefore, from inside the manor, she should be on the right side of the interior window. But when the camera cuts to the inside, she's on the left side of the window.

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Nathaniel (on TV): Now, some people say this is a victory for me. But I say here's a victory for us all. For today a blight on everything that is good in our world, will be extinguished. Tonight, the witch will burn!

    • Phoebe: Prue? Piper?
      (Nathaniel walks up to the cell.)
      Nathaniel: They haven't been to visit you before. Why would they come now? No... they're gonna be as happy to get rid of you as I am.
      Phoebe: Who are you?
      Nathaniel: I'm sorry. It's been so long since our last visit. Executions are a bitch to plan. Logistics, alerting the media, gathering the kindling.
      Phoebe: Uh, you know, I've had a lot of time to do some thinking about why I'm here.
      Nathaniel: No amount of thinking will affect the outcome. Justice will be served for your crime.
      Phoebe: But it wasn't really a big crime, was it?
      Nathaniel: You are truly evil. What bigger crime is there than taking a man's life?
      Phoebe: I killed someone?
      Nathaniel: Phoebe, what is this? An attempt to stay your execution? Plead insanity? It won't work. You have five hours to live. Tick tock.
      Phoebe: What? Five hours? But that's not possible.
      Nathaniel: Well, I'm happy to see the seriousness of your crime has finally hit you. See, you represent everything I abhor. You're a threat. A danger to everything that is good and pure in our world.
      Phoebe: You're talking out of fear. Just because you don't understand something, doesn't make it evil.
      Nathaniel: No, it's you who doesn't understand. You killed a man using your power and now you're gonna die because of it. I only wish I could burn all of your kind with you. But don't worry, in time I will. This is only the beginning.

    • Phoebe: Hello? Hello? Could somebody please answer me. I really need to talk to someone. Okay, how about a snack? Maybe some crackers, peanuts, something? (A guy slides a tray full of slop in the room.) A tray full of goo? Hey, wait a minute. (She touches the glass and it gives her a shock.) Don't I even get a phone call?
      Man's Voice (from other room): Shut up, witch!

    • Phoebe: Well if you can't teach the dog new tricks how about the owner? Just think of the money we'd save just on carpet cleaning alone.

    • Phoebe: Prue, wait! Don't become a murderer too. It has to end with me.
      Piper: Phoebe, he was evil, he deserved what you ...
      Phoebe (as she starts to cry): Wrong thing done for the right reason, still the wrong thing... Our job is to protect the innocent, not punish the guilty. And I crossed that line, I know that. And now you guys have to know that too.

    • Phoebe: Prue, we were sent here for a reason. Maybe not to stop this like we thought. But maybe to understand why this has to happen. Why you have to let this happen. I don't want to die. But I don't want you to die because of me. (They hug) I love you.

    • Piper: This guy still hasn't learned his lesson. (she freezes him)
      Phoebe: Apparently neither have we.
      Piper: But it's just a little thing.
      Phoebe: Yes, but once you break the small rules, it's the big ones that come next.

    • Phoebe: Why does everyone think that I killed someone? I wouldn't... I mean... I... I couldn't. What did I do, premonition the man to death? My power is passive.
      Leo: Not in the future. It's grown, it's changed. As have you. Which means unfortunatly you have to suffer the consequences.
      Phoebe: No... I don't believe it.
      Leo: Then believe what you see.

    • Guard (to Piper & Prue): Freeze!
      Piper: Good idea. (She freezes him)

    • Prue (through tears): If I died tonight, my gravestone would read 'Here lies Prue, she worked hard'.

    • Leo: Nobody's gonna rescue you.
      Phoebe: If that is some kind of whitelighter humor, let me be the first to tell you, you are not a very funny race of people.

    • Piper: And you're blonde.
      Prue: Yeah, strange.

    • Piper: TV, shut up! Mute! (The TV goes on mute).

    • Newsman: And now back to your regularly scheduled programming MTV's Real World 18: On the Moon.

    • Piper: I wonder how I look.
      Phoebe: Piper, you look great, and it's not really the time for…
      Piper: No, in the future. We saw ourselves as kids in the past, and now we're going 10 years in the future. All that vanquishing, think of all the wear and tear.

    • Phoebe: An eye for an eye, a shoe for a shoe.

    • Piper (hearing barking in the background): That couldn't be.
      Phoebe: Oh, I hope it is.

    • Phoebe: What did you buy?
      Piper: Doody.
      Prue: We weren't out of that.

    • Prue: Leo, listen to me the two of us, the Prue and Piper you see before you, are from the past, from 10 years ago.
      Piper: So we have no idea what is going on.
      Leo: Don't even lie to me. Phoebe is set to die today and I only hope that this madness dies with her. These people are in danger because of the witch trials she started.
      Prue: How, how did she start them?
      Leo: You know, I don't know what you hope to accomplish by pretending not to know.
      (Piper kisses Leo)
      Leo: You haven't kissed me like that since...
      Piper: Since this morning, 1999, remember? We were supposed to meet. You had to leave. I went up to the attic and this is where I came, the future and if you don't believe me, at least believe what you feel. Trust that!

    • Prue: He's gonna stay frozen, right?
      Piper: If he knows what's good for him, he'll stay frozen.

    • Piper: Hey, stranger.
      Leo: Is that what I am now?
      Piper: Playing hooky?
      Leo: No, they're making me work tonight so I've got the afternoon off.
      Piper: The old 'I gotta save the world' excuse again?
      Leo: Like you've never had to use it.
      Piper: Ahh...
      Leo: You're about to use it.

    • Prue: Did he see you?
      Piper: So what if he did, what's he gonna do, cry witch?

  • NOTES (2)


    • Prue and Piper's creation of a door to break into the prison alludes to the 1988 film Beetlejuice, in which a door is created in almost the exact same way.

    • While Piper is in the future and is watching TV a commercial for "Real World on the Moon" comes on. This is a reference to the MTV series The Real World about a group of people living together in various places.

    • Pratt: I love the smell of burnt witch in the morning!

      This is a reference to the famous "I love the smell of Napalm in the morning!" line from the film "Apocalypse Now", starring Martin Sheen.

    • Title: Morality Bites

      This is an allusion to the 1994 film, "Reality Bites", starring Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller.