'Please don't get me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.'
Bill Bixby, pilot to THE INCREDIBLE HULK
The night has been perfect for Phoebe. The candlelight, the music, the hint of flower incense, and the smell of her musk mixing with her lover Cole's in complete sexual rapture. Never in her years has she experienced such ecstasy, such bliss, such spiritual union. This night, she has finally met her soulmate. The one to whom she will call betrothed forever and ever.
So why does he pull away every time she wants to open up and merge with his soul? The lovemaking was passionate, but without heart. It is more animal than spiritual, almost pornographic. Phoebe asks Cole what is he hiding? He's evasive, trying not to tell her the darkest part of himself, the part that wants her and her sisters dead. Phoebe is insistent. Whatever it is, she's willing to accept him. Body and soul. Cole was afraid of this. So, he shreds his human cloak into the monster Belthazor and attacks her. He can feel her racing pulse with his claws and her muffled screams with his fingers. The last thing he sees is the glimmer of her soul as it's ripped away from her eyes. Part of him thrills for this carnage, while another part thought long dead cries out in rage and despair… and then he screams.
Then he screams out and discovers it's only a dream. A nightmare. Phoebe is not in his apartment. It's about a week since they last made love. Cole can still taste her lip-gloss and smell her hair. Oh, but to only forget what he is and what is expected of him, he would gladly die a thousand, million, billion deaths just to be with her again. But, the figure at the foot of his bed won't let him forget. It's one of The Triad, Cole's paymasters. He's taking a great risk appearing in this plane. If any of the Higher Powers found him out, the Unholy Trinity would be diminished greatly. But the risk is necessary to prod the wayward demon into completing his task. The nightmare Cole experienced is a reminder of his pact. The Triad member insists Belthazor finish his task and kill the Charmed Ones. His constant hesitation and carelessness has been costly. In fact, the very thought of the Great Dark One bedding one of the witches revolts him to the core. He gives Cole a dagger of enchanted metal and tells him to do his duty. He can bring assistance of his own choosing, since the last time he had a partner it had ended badly. Beyond that, The Triad will tolerate no more excuses. The Charmed Ones must die within the week, within the moment, or Belthazor will be destroyed and his very name will be cursed throughout the Hells. All Cole can do is nod slowly and accept his fate.
Things are just as tense for the Halliwells as they meet at P3. Prue is concerned about The Triad and their champion. From what little she has learned, Belthazor will be the toughest foe they'll come against, so their skills must be sharpened to a razor's edge. Phoebe's on edge, but not about the eventual conflict. Cole is about 45 minutes late and she worries about where their budding love affair will go. Prue drags her youngest sister out from the clouds. Their chief concern should be getting a pound of flesh from Belthazor to make a vanquishing spell to defeat him, once and for all. Piper jokes about whether they should go for light or dark meat. She has other problems, such as making ready for the group Fastball and her doctor's appointment. A thousand things to do and only a few days to do them. The last thing she wants to deal with is an assassin from Hell. Phoebe then leaps to her feet. She sees Cole.
Cole is not too happy to see them. Under his breath, he makes a mock breaking up speech about why he has to stop seeing Phoebe because he's a demon out to kill her and her sisters. He laughs bitterly over the joke. He has experience pure uncomplicated bliss for the first time and now...
Prue reminds the others about the important 'earthquake drill' at 3 o'clock tomorrow. They can't be too careful practicing their maneuvers. Piper reminds her of the doctor's appointment, but then decides to reschedule it for later. Phoebe promises to attend the drill, but she needs the car afterwards to get to class. Prue agrees, but she insists the gas tank be topped off before she gets it back. Phoebe once again promises, muttering about only leaving the tank empty once. Prue whispers loudly, 'It was twice!' Anyway, Prue needs the car by 5 for the photo shoot at P3. Piper is surprised... especially since she hadn't even heard of this shoot before. Seems Prue's original location fell through at the last minute and she figured it wouldn't be an inconvenience if she borrowed the club for some shots. Piper reluctantly concedes, but then reminds her eldest sister about the homeowners meeting tomorrow afternoon that she was supposed to supervise. Prue's eyes widen. She had completely forgot. She asks Phoebe if she can cover this little detail, but she just shakes her head. The last time she 'refereed' a meeting, it took two and half hours to deal with where to put the garden gnomes. That kind of debate, she doesn't want to participate in. Prue insists she do this little chore since she's borrowing her car. Phoebe's eyes start to glaze over.
All the while, Cole just stands there and is intrigued. Is this the mighty Charmed Ones who has all of the Netherworld held at bay, squabbling over petty mortal affairs? If he could, he would laugh his head before bringing in the whole place down on their ears. But then, a plan begins to form. He has found a weakness that could bring him back into The Triad's good graces and perhaps give him what he deserves most. It's worth a risk and he knows of just the fiend to exploit the situation. As Piper and Prue go off to their errands, he tells Phoebe he has to leave. A big case is tasking him and now suddenly he has an epiphany. An inspiring moment that he can't put off for a few hours of passion. Phoebe is hurt. She was in the mood for fun and now her lover has to go. He gives her a peck on the cheek and promises to make it up to her. Cole walks off into the street and tells his shadow the good news. It slithers off into the nearest drain.
The next morning is a busy day. Talks of the shoot, talks of Cole, talks of the homeowners meeting. The sisters are distracted and fully engrossed into their tasks at hand...
Then Belthazor crashes into the patio, dagger at hand and ready for combat!
The girls assume battle positions. Phoebe floats over the demon's head long enough to give a few swift kicks in the face. Belthazor throws his dagger at Piper and she freezes it mid-stream. Prue goes into astral projection mode and delivers a rear attack. She urges Piper to attack the demon and cut off a piece of skin. She jumps at the chance... and the demon says 'Ow! You got skin!' Then, Leo drops his act and becomes his true self, his pride and neck wounded. Piper is mortified. She didn't mean to cut that deep. While Phoebe wonders what other people Leo could imitate (like maybe Brad Pitt), Prue gives some harsh critiques on their moves. She decides on another drill, but Piper vetoes the idea. She'd like to have her boyfriend alive long enough for the honeymoon, thank you very much. Phoebe looks at the time and decides to go off to her class. Prue asks her to drive to the store to pick up some snacks for the meeting. Course, this would affect her plans to have the car back in time for the shoot at P3 and with everything else to deal with... they look at Piper and asks her to help with the catering. Piper is not amused. Once again, she'll have to call her doctor she can't make it. Twice in a week is taking a chance she can ill afford.
At Cole's apartment, an interview is being conducted and a bargain is being made. He asks his soon to be partner if he had ever destroyed siblings, sisters in particular. Andras, the Spirit of Rage and Wraith, is insulted! He has caused riots and wars and discord throughout the centuries and he's being quizzed about this? He reminds the Dark One of his power, to heighten anger that's already bubbling in a person into uncontrollable rage and this rage will build until it's released by an act of violence. If it can work Serbia, Germany, Indochina, Selma, and countless other places... then three sisters will be child's play. Cole reminds the demon about how these sisters are witches and this makes Andras uncomfortable. He can't deal with witches. Cole assures him that first and foremost they're sisters and their power base is founded on their family bond. Break that, and they're vulnerable. And he knows the perfect target to start...
Phoebe rushes out from the library, cell phone in hand. She tells Prue that her class ran a little late and that she had to get a book for her psych class, but she's hurrying to get home and help out with the refreshments. She's running late, but she'll be there. She doesn't think too highly about 'being born late' and all, but that's the burden of being the youngest. As she reaches for the car, there stands Cole. Seems his case has been all but wrapped up and he has the afternoon off. To make up for last night, he made dinner arrangements for two at Brazil's and wonders if she's free tonight. Phoebe is flabbergasted. Of all of the times now for an apology dinner and dance... She couldn't possibly do it because she promised Prue to help out with the homeowners' meeting and come Hell or High Water, she's going to do it. Cole understands completely. After all, it is family business. Phoebe then changes her mind. She figures she can sweet talk Piper into handling that mob of suburban malcontents. Sure, she'll be mad. But she'll keep it suppressed until the proper moment and chew her out later. She'll get ready for the date in an hour. A few friendly growls and she's off for home. She doesn't notice Cole using his magic to loosen the gas line ever so slightly and drains away just enough fuel to leave the next person stranded. His plan is working like clockwork.
The meeting is going well at the Manor... if the idea of a contained riot is one's idea of going well. The homeowners argue and fuss and threaten and all sorts of things dealing with the pettiest of issues. For the moment, it's about a privacy fence and how it would affect the neighbor's flowers. Piper is running ragged and her nerves are being frayed. Tripping over Prue's tripod only fouls her mood further. Leo tries his best to help and to cheer her up, but it's a losing battle. Being the head of the refreshment committee, she couldn't very well do a simple chips and dip routine. She's a chef with a slight obsessive-compulsive complex and she must play the proper host with proper snacks. As she slaves over a cookie sheet with warm pastries, she mutters about how hard it was rescheduling her appointment and how she's being railroaded into doing things she rather not do. When Leo tells her she should learn to say no, she gets defensive. She mutters something about how sisters argue over one thing and end up talking about who stole whose Malibu Barbie in 1979 for no good reason. Sisters are like that. Phoebe shows up with the neighbors in full blow about lawyers and fences and prize-winning flowers going to mulch. Piper's been patient, but now she's ready to commit murder unless Phoebe starts pulling her weight. Phoebe has some bad news. As Piper freezes the crowd to listen better, she hears her sister's plea to keep up the fort since Cole has asked her out and she wants to know if they're going to be friends... or something more. 'This is just perfect,' Piper curses to herself. She's dealing with a mob crying out for Johnnie Cochran and Phoebe wants to see if Cole's her soulmate. She wants to put her foot down, but remembering how hard it was for her to get her man, she relents and lets her go. Phoebe races upstairs to get ready. As Leo arrives with a bottle of mineral water, Piper insists that he stay around to play traffic cop. The natives are getting restless even in frozen form. Suddenly, the Higher Powers start calling and Leo has to orb out. Piper barely has time to retrieve the bottle before it falls to the ground and curse out Leo before unfreezing the meeting. This just isn't her day.
As Cole pulls over to the Manor, he briefs Andras. Instead of infecting Phoebe first, he must deal out his rage spell on Piper and then Prue. Their bickering will build up long enough for Phoebe to arrive and then he can infect her and watch the sisters tear each other apart. Andras marvels over this plan. It's simple, yet effective and very ironic. He praises Belthazor for his cunning, but his partner doesn't join him in celebration. Somewhere inside, his heart is breaking. Andras goes off to do his dirty deeds.
The verbal sparring is now at fever pitch, with the neighbors going at it with talk of lawyers and cops and possible fistfights. Piper tries to keep a calm face, tries to be the mediator of sanity, tries to be nice... but you can't stay cool when you see your youngest sister go off to get nasty with the ADA wearing a dress that would make a streetwalker look like a nun and wearing your earrings WITHOUT PERMISSION! Forget being angry. She's now pissed off! Andras sees his opportunity and takes it. He throws his rage bolt at Piper and suddenly, the reserved calm goes off like a 20-megaton citykiller. She screams at the neighbors for being petty, for being shallow, for being annoying jackasses! She throws a tray of food at the wall and throws the unruly mob out. Shunned and shocked, the meeting breaks up. Piper doesn't care about how her sister will think about this outburst or having a fence around the Manor to keep her in. She's just mad at Phoebe and Prue for leaving her on the lurch and damnit, they're gonna hear it from her. From a distance, even Andras is impressed. Not even Hitler was this intense and he was but a housepainter.
At Brazil's, the music was romantic, the food was exquisite, and the small talk is delightful. Phoebe tells Cole about her mall job as a penguin handing out balloons to kids at age 15, doing a funny walk. She even shows him and he laughs wholeheartedly. There is some serious vibes of love and devotion between them and Phoebe opens herself up further. She confesses her desire to grow up and find a place of her own, but with college and all, living with her sisters is a necessity. When she asks him about his past, he just evades the questions. His parents were dead and his family life was uninteresting. Why bore her with the details? Phoebe sympathizes. She never knew her mom, her dad left the house soon after she was born, and the lost of Grams was a hard blow. With her sisters, though, she feels safe and strong. She can't imagine being without them, and she dreads the day she'll lose them. She notices something about Cole that doesn't seem right. He confesses the truth: he's a lousy dancer. Phoebe just laughs. Noticing a good slow tune, she coaxes the ADA into a well-deserved dancing lesson. The night is still young.
For Prue, the night couldn't end soon enough. First, she runs out of gas and had to get a tow. That threw the photo shoot schedule straight to Hell. She pleads on her cell phone to her bosses to give her another chance. Granted, things have been a little frustrating, but she can make good once she gets the P3 shoot out of the way. Piper's not in the mood. She lashes out on Prue by telling off the editor and hanging up on him. She then ups the ante by throwing a set of telescopic lens to the ground. After Andras adds his magic to Prue's anger, she retaliates by trashing one of Piper's food processors. The gloves are officially off!
Unaware of this, Phoebe and Cole make their goodbyes. She liked how he played along with her joke about he's being married with 3 kids, two dogs, and a cat and how she was his 'Seven Year Inch'. There are no regrets on what happened last week. It was magical, but Phoebe wonders where is it leading. Cole jokes about how she can't predict the future and she tells him otherwise playfully. They kiss gently, closely, passionately…all the while Andras is spying on them and can't hold back his disgust. Cole tells his love he has to go. Cases to solves and criminals to convict. Phoebe gives him one last kiss and promises to call him. All he can do is say goodbye. He knows what is about to engulf her and it's something he takes no pleasure in.
The argument has been going non-stop between Prue and Piper. Pointed words about the Triad, about using P3 without permission, about being stepped on and being pandered. Insults and spittle are exchanged with no thought or reason. Phoebe tries to calm the stormy seas, but it only gets worse. Andras makes his final move and Phoebe suddenly let loose with her own rage. The words get uglier and uglier and the attacks more personal. Ghosts of abandoning fathers and grandmothers not thinking highly of her youngest granddaughter, broken promises and unfulfilled dreams, taking up the slack and dropping the ball... they all are aired out with the force of Category Five hurricane. The final salvo is thrown by Piper who takes back her earrings from Phoebe in a huff and a snatch. They scuffle and fight and Phoebe lands on the ground. She throws Prue's camera at her. Prue deflects it with her telekinesis and pushes it back to Phoebe. She in turn floats over the flying projectile. Piper freezes it long enough to get out of its way and it strikes down a picture frame. For a few minutes, they stand there stunned without a word. Then, Phoebe storms out the door, going to you know where.
At the attic, the symbol on the Book of Shadows glows and splits apart. What was once united is now made third.
Leo orbs down to the living room as Prue and Piper clean up their mess and express their regrets. There was a disturbance felt by the Higher Powers and it points straight at the Halliwells. The pair confesses to a little tiff, an argument. Leo is not so sure and asks Piper to freeze a glass bowl as he drops it. It shatters. Prue tries to move the pieces and they stay put. Their powers are gone! From what they could recall about the arguments and the fight, it's the worst case possible. By using their powers against one another, their bond as sisters has been severed. The Power of Three has been vanquished. Belthazor couldn't have the power to do this much damage, so there had to be a catalyst. Whatever or whoever it is, the sisters must heal the breach between them before all Hell breaks loose. Without their powers, any demon feeling lucky will defeat them. They need to get Phoebe back, but no one knows where she went.
Alone at his altar, Belthazor makes his prayers and offers in his true form. The words were simple before, but now his heart is no longer into it. He wonders what is wrong with him. He hears Phoebe at the door and reverts back to Cole. She is in tears. The fight had taken a lot out of her and she's confused and alone. All Cole can do is console and ignore the malevolent calling from the altar. The Triad wants blood... but he's conflicted with his own emotions.
The girls try a simple locating spell, but even that doesn't work. They're powerless and helpless. If Phoebe's in trouble, her life span could be measured in seconds. The Book of Shadows, though useless for spellcasting, does provide Prue and Piper with a likely suspect. It tells them of Andras and his work. Suddenly, their worst fears don't even come close.
Phoebe pours out her soul to Cole, telling him how sorry she felt about the words she said and the things she's done. She wants to take back all the anger and hate and make things right again. She doesn't notice his hand reaching for the dagger, doesn't notice how carefully he hides it from her sight. Her eyes are full of tears and sadness. She embraces her lover and kisses him, the dagger just a foot away from her neck. Cole makes his room... and sneaks the dagger underneath a pillow. He tells her to go home, to leave now. She's vulnerable and he can't take advantage of it. She's better off with her sisters to find out what happened. Phoebe looks into his eyes and knows he's telling the truth. Inside his eyes are the love and devotion of a true soul. She thanks him for the wise counsel and leaves for home. Andras materializes and he's displeased. The Great Belthazor has failed! He's fallen for a mortal, a witch at that. The Triad will not view this failure likely. Not even a quick merciful death will be in the cards. Belthazor argues with the spirit, threatening him with his life if he told. Andras sees his anger and seizes his chance. Belthazor never knew that his 'assistant' could possess people and demons if they were enraged enough. Andras simply merges with him and takes charge. If the weak willed lover boy can't carry out The Triad's wishes, he will... using his own body as a form of delicious punishment.
Phoebe returns home to the relief of everyone. After finding out their powers have been negated because of their anger to each other, the three decide to reform the bond. One by one, each Halliwell expresses regret and shame and humility for their actions. One by one, each of them express admiration and pride and forgiveness for what they have become and for what they are. Slowly, their powers take root. Slowly, the foundation reforms...
Then Belthazor, possessed by Andras, crashes through the patio door, dagger in hand...
Leo runs interference, but the fight's one-sided. Their powers still in flux, Prue tells Piper and Phoebe to run while she holds the demon off. The two sisters refuse. If they're going to die, they'll die together as blood. Suddenly, the symbol on the Book glows and merges into one. What was once three is now one! Their powers have returned and they assume their defense positions. Prue knocks the dagger from Belthazor's hand. He retaliates with an energy burst, but Prue bounces it right back at him. It strikes him head on and knocks Andras right out of him. Belthazor throws another burst, this time at the rage spirit. Andras has only seconds to screams before dying in a burst of flames. This distraction is more than enough for the Charmed Ones to subdue the Dark One and take a chunk out of his hide before he's thrown out of the house by Prue's telekinesis. Wounded, all he can do is fade from sight. Piper picks up the piece of demon lying on the floor and grimaces. Now they have the means to take him the next time he comes fighting. Their bond restored, the sisters celebrate.
As Fastball plays to a packed house, things finally calm down from the roaring boil of the past few days. Prue's photo shoot came off well after all. Piper's doctor found nothing wrong with her except for some excessive stress. The neighbors settled their disputes and no lawyers were used. The sisters vow to be more open with each other's feelings and more respectful of their needs. Their bickering almost killed them, so they decide to work it out. Everyone's happy... except from Phoebe. There's no sign of Cole since yesterday. Prue assures her that he's probably working on a case. The lovestruck woman vows to figure out that man someday...
For The Triad, someday will never come. They summon Belthazor for judgment and final execution. He has failed them. He showed sympathy to the witches and can no longer be trusted. Allowed one final statement for the record, he can't find the words... so he finds the actions by throwing the very dagger meant for the Halliwells at one of The Triad. Seeing his brother fall dead, the second throws a fireball at the assassin and misses. Belthazor rematerializes behind the third member and breaks his neck, then throws a fireball of his own to kill the final Triad member. The pain of his wounds and his betrayal are unbearable. Among the dead Triad, Belthazor, The Dark One, cries out in sorrow.
He is now truly damned!