Season 3 Episode 6

Primrose Empath

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Nov 09, 2000 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
418 votes

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Episode Summary

Prue begins experiencing the powers of an empath, thanks to a demon, but she soon loses control. Meanwhile, Phoebe's relationship with Cole becomes turbulent when he tells her he doesn't want to see her anymore.

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  • Primrose Empath

    Primrose Empath was a superb episode of Charmed and I really enjoyed watching because the story was pretty good and interesting. I liked seeing Prue try to help the guy who was actually a demon passing off a deadly power to her. It was also interesting to see Phoebe and Cole go through a rough patch. Prue displayed an amazing new aspect to her astral projection power and in the end saves the day. I certainly look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!moreless
  • Cole joins the party and Prue, super w(b)itch...

    This is a marvelous episode until a very unfortunate finish. Cole is maintaining his indirect attack on the Charmed Ones; this time by leading Prue to a demon infected with the power of empathy, which is understandably quite a curse for any demon to be inflicted with.

    Probably my favorite thing about this episode is Cole, Phoebe, Leo and Piper being together and going out for lunch. It is a short scene here, but it portends to the future, when Charmed is at its best.

    The demon, Vinceros, is very well played. The actor, admittedly, makes a better suffering empath than he does an unstoppable demon, but he is just sinister enough to be believable. Meanwhile, a strong case can be made here that Shannen is at her all time best; it is a little easy to say when she has so much to do. I loved it when Piper went off on the Father and told him to buck up. That was the Piper that we will get used to in future seasons. As the hard-working business owner and engaged sister, Piper is very much becoming like the eldest sister that she will eventually be. Did the writers already foresee Shannen's departure by this time? Perhaps.

    The final Matrix inspired fight scene was ridiculous, frankly. When did Prue become Bruce Lee? The idea of having her astral self jump into Vinceros was a great idea, but she should have just done that in the first place. However, Vince was able to survive with everyone's pain at the beginning of the episode, right?

    A second issue I have is the scene where Vinceros kills his second victim in church. If you are going to treat demons like they are real, then I don't know how you can have them freely passing into churches and using their powers. Demons should be avoiding them at all costs.moreless
  • Matrix rip!

    Good episode, enjoyed watching it up till the point where Pru vanquishes Vincerus.... anyone else see the fact that it was the biggest 'The Matrix' rip ever! I mean kumon, i would have awarded the episode 9 if it wasn't for this blatent display of unoriginality! I enjoy watching this show, and am working my way through all the episodes, but after this I'm not sure I want to. The storylines are usually original to 'Charmed' and I feel let down by the fact that they actually aired this one thinking it wasn't noticeable! However, saying this, I guess everything can be described as unoriginal these days, because the whole idea of everything being done before, but still, this wasn't changed enough to give any credit to the writers of the show. Therefore well done 'The Matrix' writers, shame on you 'Charmed' writers, you only get half the score for this episode.moreless
  • Prue's All Sweaty! Aaaaggghhh!

    Shannen Doherty gets to show off her amazing talent in this thrilling episode which shows that Charmed is capable of more mature storylines compared to the first four episodes of this season.

    Primrose Empath sees a demon transferring his empathic abilities to Prue, causing her to go insane with the feelings and emotions of so many people running through her head. Whilst Piper and Leo try to save her, Phoebe discovers that Cole is planning on leaving San Francisco.

    This episode has many shocks throughout, the first being the twist that Vince, apparently this week's innocent, is in fact Vinceres, an evil empathic demon, who is working with Cole to destroy the Charmed Ones. I was fooled by his façade and it made the episode extremely exciting for me. I found that the evolution of Prue’s empathic abilities was well handled. It started out being funny as Prue starts laughing at the doctors and then discovering that her abilities are causing her to feel just like a patient injected with laughing gas, who is near by, before turning completely painful and making Prue lock herself up in the basement to get away from all the emotions.

    Harry Groener gave a brilliant performance as Father Thomas and there was some nice reasoning behind why Vinceres has his abilities. I found the fight at the end laughable as it was blatantly obvious that the writers had just watched The Matrix when they were writing it. It could have worked... if the budget was much, much bigger. This episode rests on the shoulders of Shannen and she is remarkable throughout. A really good episode.

    Rating: Bmoreless
  • A melange of different pop culture icons gone horribly wrong.

    "Primrose Empath" started out to be a great episode. Prue, thinking she's saving an innocent, in fact saves a demon and gets "infected," so to speak, with an empath's powers. This allows her to feel all the emotions in the city (and the world, to be sure) and essentially drives her insane. However, she is able to use the empath power to vanquish the demon in "Matrix"-style fighting, which I found hackneyed and, well, unoriginal.

    Haven't I seen everything in this episode before? The empath situation seemed really familiar to me. Then I realized - Buffy the Vampire Slayer did an episode similar to this. In the episode "Earshot" from season 3, Buffy gets infected with a demon's blood and is able to hear people's thoughts. It seemed to me that Prue in "Primrose Empath" wasn't feeling the emotions of people; she was hearing their thoughts.

    As demonstrated in season 6 of Charmed, when Phoebe got her empath powers, she couldn't hear thoughts or voices. However, in "Primrose Empath," it seemed that Prue heard voices. So, who was the true empath here - Prue in this episode, or Phoebe in season 6?

    And the Matrix-style fighting did absolutely nothing for me. How many times has that movie been parodied or copied? How many times have those copies been BAD? If the Matrix hadn't already done it, the fighting in this episode would have really impressed me. But, it just seemed like a poor-man's Matrix.

    All in all: Charmed at its worst.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (14)

    • This episode features Idol with their song "Shameless".

    • Why, if the power of empathy could be transferred by touch, did Prue, who could not emotionally handle the power, just give it back to the priest when he came into the basement? She could not handle it and he wanted it back! She could have given him his powers back and then just worked with her sisters to write a spell to vanquish Vinceres. It was just their powers he was immune to. It was never said that he could not be vanquished with a Power of Three spell. Prue was not originally in the mindset to vanquish Vinceres anyway, so you'd think she would have jumped to give the priest back his powers.

    • TRIVIA: Prue is the first sister to get the power of empathy. Phoebe gets this new power in a later season.

    • TRIVIA: When Prue is in the basement having her breakdown they flash to a bunch of houses, 2 of which they have shown in many other episodes.

    • TRIVIA: Prue's ability to astral project grows in this episode allowing her to be awake in both her astral and normal forms, however she never uses this extra boost on her powers again. Another piece of irony from this episode is that in the previous one, Sight Unseen, she was trying to get a power boost in her astral form and in this episode she did.

    • When Piper, Phoebe and Leo go back to Vinceres' old apartment, a "For Rent" sign is visible on the back wall. This is, however, a logical mistake, since Vinceres was forced to move out because the building is to be torn down.

    • TRIVIA: In this episode Prue vanquishes the demon by astral projecting into him and making him feel human emotion.

    • When Prue fights with Vince, the harness the actress is wearing is visible.

    • When Prue is talking to the demon before the cop interrupts, she unlocked the door, but when the camera goes to the door it is locked. The next time it shows the door, it is unlocked.

    • TRIVIA: The scene where Prue defeats Vince is identical to the way Neo defeats Agent Smith in "The Matrix", complete with the one-armed punch blocks, twisting arm, shove, and then diving into the opponent which makes him explode.

    • TRIVIA: Harry Groener was also in the similarly-themed Star Trek: The Next Generation's episode "Tin Man" in which he played an empath/telepath, who was over burdened by the thoughts and emotions of the humans around him.

    • When Prue is in the basement crying with the Father trying to comfort her, her hair is curlyish, but when she comes upstairs to vanquish Vinceres, her hair is dead straight.

    • When Phoebe goes to Cole's apartment for the first time and they are kissing at the door, her left hand keeps moving positions. First her arm is behind his neck, then it jumps to his ear, and then it is on his lips and jumps back to his ear.

    • After Phoebe has her premonition in the empath demon's apartment and she is in the hall explaining it, her hair changes. First from the behind view there is a whisp of hair on her face/cheek and from the front view it is tucked behind her ear.

  • QUOTES (34)

    • Phoebe: So what do we do?
      Father Thomas: Nothing. There's nothing you can do. It will find us and when it does, we're all dead.
      Piper: Well, you're just a ray of sunshine, now aren't you?

    • Father Thomas: Your sister is too far gone. She won't live to see the night.
      Piper: All right, that's it!
      Leo: Piper…
      Piper: No. I am sorry, but this man has experienced the entire rainbow of human emotions, and the best he has to give us is self-pity? I don't think so. Look, you used this power to stop this demon. Now my sister has your power. Deal with it, and then help us.

    • Piper: (about Prue's empathic ability) All right, if this is a gift, we are returning it.

    • (Cole and Phoebe kiss.)
      Cole: You have no idea what you're getting yourself into.
      Phoebe: Neither do you.

    • Prue: Whoa, I haven't felt anything like that since Andy was alive.
      Phoebe: Anything like what?
      Prue: Spinning into infinity. You know, that headlong spiral that steals your breath and stops your heart.
      Phoebe: Prue, what the hell are you talking about?
      Prue: Falling in love.

    • Piper: Yeah, but Prue, you got quite a power boost there. You gonna miss it?
      Prue: Yeah. But I did get to stop an unstoppable demon.

    • Piper: Thank you. You're an angel.
      Leo: Well, not technically.

    • Piper: What are you two doing together?
      Prue: Cole pulled up behind me.
      Cole: Good timing.

    • Leo: I lost my wings for you. You know, I've hurled my body into the path of oncoming demons. You wanted heaven, I took you there, literally. I am more than a friend.

    • Nurse: And who are you here to visit today?
      Phoebe: Um, we came to visit our father.
      Nurse: What's his name?
      Phoebe: Dad?
      Nurse: This is a psychiatric facility. We can't very well let every-
      Piper: Okay. (Piper freezes her)

    • Cole: I don't know how to say this...
      Phoebe: Don't ever start a sentence like that with a girl.

    • Prue: Would you guys please stop being so negative?
      Phoebe: We didn't say anything.
      Prue: Yeah but I can feel all of your...
      Prue blows up the TV.

    • Piper: Sometimes being magical takes the magic right out of things.

    • Phoebe: I can't believe you haven't taken care of that tooth.
      Prue: Yeah well, I have a dentist appointment in an hour.
      Phoebe: Good I hate to see you so miserable.
      Prue: Me too.

    • Phoebe: Oh my God, you lost your powers.
      Prue: Can't lose what you never had. (She astral projects out)
      Phoebe: I hate when she plays astral games. Marco.
      Prue (in the attic): Polo.

    • Prue: Thanks. I mean, I really appreciate it. I think that it's abscessed. (Prue starts to laugh) I'm so sorry, I don't... My tooth has been hurting for a long... (she bursts out laughing) Why aren't you guys laughing?
      Another receptionist opens the door to a room and a woman is in there laughing hysterically.

    • Phoebe: Piper, now! (Piper freezes him but he fights through it.) Okay, I guess this is the unstoppable part.
      Vinceres: Where's Father Thomas?
      Piper: Plan B, plan B!
      Piper picks up a vase and smashes it over his head. He pushes her across the room. Phoebe kicks him in the head. He knocks over a table. Phoebe kicks him a few more times and he grabs her and throws her across the room.
      Phoebe: Okay, uh, do we have a plan C?

    • Piper: I'm starting to smell a demon.

    • Cole walks in the kitchen and picks up the phone. He dials a number. His shadow moves away from him.
      Cole: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Where you going?
      His shadow puts his hands on his hips.

    • Cole: Let me, um, make a call, see what I can do.
      Cole walks away but stops. Not knowing where to go and looks at Piper.
      Piper: Kitchen.
      Cole: Thank you.

    • Piper: Phoebe, I know you're upset Leo crashed you're lunch date but...
      Phoebe: No, it's not that. Cole is pulling away from me again, I can see it.
      Piper: Premonition?
      Phoebe: Intuition.

    • Vince: You've forget who I was before I was an empath, Belthazor. I'm immune to their powers.
      Cole: Maybe, but you're not immune to mine.

    • Phoebe pinches Piper and Prue feels it too.
      Prue/Piper: Ow!
      Piper pinches Phoebe.
      Prue/Phoebe: Ooh!
      Piper (realizing what's happening): Uh-oh.

    • Cole: Morning.
      Phoebe: Good morning.
      Cole: How you feeling about last night?
      Phoebe: Um, last night was magical.

    • Piper and Leo are snuggling and kissing.
      Prue (from the attic): Not now! I have a headache!

    • Prue: No, stay, you have couple issues to work out.
      Piper: We have couple issues?
      Prue: (pointing to Leo) Resentment. (pointing to Piper) Denial.

    • Phoebe (after Prue vanquishes Vinceres): You kicked ass.
      Prue: I did, didn't I?

    • Phoebe (about Cole): He isn't human.
      Cole chokes on his drink.

    • Police officer: What's the matter with you?
      Vinceres: Just wondering what you're feeling right now...
      Police officer: Yeah, why is that?
      Vinceres: Because... (Vinceres picks him up then kills him) I can't feel a thing.

    • Phoebe: Cole, I have to tell you something. (She kisses him) Actually, I was always better at show than tell.

    • Piper: An empath? And me without my dictionary.

    • Prue: What's your last name?
      Vinceres: Misery.
      Prue: In that case, would you like some company?

    • Piper: Here he is. Vinceres, hmm... Pretty much lives up to his gloss. Unstoppable hitman. Just keeps going until he gets his target.
      Phoebe: Great. The energizer demon.

    • Piper: You were at Cole's all night?
      Phoebe: Uh huh.
      Piper: Did you?
      Phoebe: Uh huh.
      Piper: Was he?
      Phoebe: Uh huh.
      Leo: Can we talk about this later?

  • NOTES (2)


    • The entire fight scene, almost move for move, between Prue and Vince is alluding to the film The Matrix

    • Phoebe: How does the-demon-formerly-known-as-Vince tie into this?

      This is a reference to the artist formerly known as Prince, who changed his stage name from Prince to a symbol.

    • Phoebe: Great, the Energizer demon.

      She is referring to the battery brand Energizer, which has the slogan "it keeps going and going..." and features a pink bunny that never stops.

    • Title: Primrose Empath

      "Primrose path" is a phrase that refers to a pleasurable life style, from Hamlet Act I Scene 3:
      Ophelia: Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads.