Season 4 Episode 17

Saving Private Leo

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Mar 28, 2002 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
358 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When two ghosts from Leo's past return to seek revenge, Leo faces his demons by submitting, causing Piper's life to be threatened,leaving Paige to deal with the situation. Meanwhile, Cole tries to convince Phoebe they need a home of their own.

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  • Saving Private Leo

    Saving Private Leo was another awesome and very entertaining episode of Charmed. I really enjoyed watching because the character development and plot progression was outstanding! It was great to learn more about Leo's past and to see him deal with it. I also thought it was intriguing the way Cole/The Source continued to manipulate Phoebe. His new assistant is pretty cool too! The ending was awesome with Piper looking on as Leo learned the true good he did that day in his past. It was a very touching ending and I certainly look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Saving good writing for later...

    Finally an episode that highlights Leo and HIS past... It is ABOUT time, and frankly, the timing here is beyond curious.

    This episode gets a 7 thanks to the acting of Brian Krause (if maybe some overacting in parts) and the subplot of Paige showing some of her whitelighter instincts as she basically pulls a Leo on Leo. Those two things along with the pleasing appearance of a sexy assistant for Cole and a feel good ending keep this episode above the 6 range reserved for the worst of Charmed.

    Unfortunately, the writing here is an epic fail, about as bad as anytime during the series. We all know that Leo is as close to an all good character as there is on the show. He is an angel afterall. However, the writer could have felt free to give Leo some human failing, when he actually was a human, for him to bonafide feel guilty about. Instead, we get a bunch of mularkey that makes no sense. His "friends" were killed by an artillery shell seconds after he left them. Leo leaving them had NOTHING to do with their death! If he would have stayed, he would merely have died too, along with everyone else that he later went on to save. So, these supposedly close "friends" of his, soldiers even, are mad at him for doing his JOB moments before an artillery shell killed them? Give me a break. Complete hogwash.

    And to make matters worse, Leo feels guilty about it? And not like minor guilt here, but like crushing guilt. For what? For his murderous, evil "friends" getting blown up by an artillery shell, which was apparently better than they deserved?

    That is the 2nd problem here. If you wanted to work the guilt angle on Leo, fine, but then you needed to make the ghosts somewhat sympathetic figures. We understand why Leo feels guilty because we can sympathize with the soldiers. Instead, these soldiers turn out to be two of the worst villians ever on the show, who apparently kill innocents both as a matter of convenience and for the sadistic pleasure of it. Ah, nice "friends" for a guy like Leo to have had in real life. Yeah, right. We all believe that. Lastly, the show again gives too much power to ghosts, who should be less empowered than demons, not more. If a ghost is capable of affecting the corporeal, then it stands to reason that the corporeal must also be able to affect THEM. This could have been great if it wasn't written with complete laziness.

    Did I mention the final scene where Leo meets the families of the men he saved is fantastic though? So, there is that.moreless
  • The ghosts of Leo's past.

    Leo is usually the sensible one, but sometimes, he doesn't make some very smart decisions. This is one of those occasions when two ghosts from long ago in his past arrive in the present and try to make his life as difficult as possible for a variety of reasons.

    In other news, Cole wants to get Phoebe away from the protection of her sisters and, therefore, "The Power of Three". He suggests that, as newlyweds, it would be nice if they had a home of their own. The reaction to this statement is varying, to say the least, but you'll have to watch to see what eventually happens because this is a good one and definitely worth having a look at.moreless
  • The Brothers Grimm

    This isn't necessarily a bad episode of Charmed (although it does have its fair share of cringe-worthy moments); it simply suffers quite a bit due to its placing within the season. Had this story been told during the first half of the season, I would have allowed it more rope, but given that it's clonked between two arc-heavy storylines, effectively terminating the momentum gained by the last few episodes, there's no forgiving the script's shortcomings.

    Phoebe and Cole are relegated to sub-plots this week and not very interesting ones either. I did enjoy Cole's assistant taking charge and mimicking Cole while he was away, but it was the only memorable moment in an otherwise dull and predictable story. You can always tell when a writer likes or dislikes Phoebe and scribe Daniel Cerone evidently despises her – she's a whiny, bordering on obnoxious character throughout, with all of her trademark witticisms tossed to the side to make way for more whining. Who works in a kitchen, which they know is busy EVERY morning, only to complain about the noise level and lack of peace?! Shoddy writing!

    Leo is finally given something to do. Sorta. While I really loved the flashback – very, very cool – the whole storyline about two old pals coming back to torment Leo because he chose to save the lives of many instead of his friends, felt extremely forced. It highlights Charmed's major weakness with regards to planting plot seeds for them to grow later on in the season. Cole's arc aside, this series has a woeful track record. We're suddenly shown all of these pictures of Leo in the war, all of his merits just because the story calls for it. Had these props appeared in earlier episodes, it would have leant weight to such a flimsily strung together tale.

    The writers do aim for dark – these ghosts are nastier than your usual demon-of-the-week. They kill a charge Leo saved minutes beforehand, only to hold Leo down and force him to watch her die. Likewise, they kill Piper, but before they do, one of the brothers reaches into Piper's chest and grabs hold of her heart just to feel its final beat. Unfortunately, the drama is overplayed, and overacted by Brian. The script called for him to be a broken shell, but Brian just can't rein it in and offers up some woeful daytime TV hands-in-face teary moments that you can't help but snicker at, much like the majority of the episode.moreless
  • Past Imperfect

    Saving Private Leo-When two ghosts from Leo's past return to seek revenge, Leo faces his demons by submitting, causing Piper's life to be threatened,leaving Paige to deal with the situation. Meanwhile, Cole tries to convince Phoebe they need a home of their own.

    After 4 seasons, Leo has pretty much been a fairly limited supporting character. Besides his high profile romance with Piper and being the Charmed Ones' whitelighter, we have never really gotten any insight into Leo's past or his own personal struggles with the life he once lived. "Saving Private Leo" sees the writers finally delving into Leo's past and having him face his own demons for the first time. Brian Krause gives probably his finest performance on Charmed as Leo and I loved his breakdown scene with Paige. Knwoing that Leo has felt so guilty all these years and feels his been living a lie is heartbreaking. Louis Mandylor (Nathan Lang) and Costas Mandylor (Rick Lang) are both convincing as Leo's former friends turned vengeful spirits out to kill Leo for betraying them.

    Cole's sub-plot was also entertaining with him trying to get Phoebe out of the manor. I even loved the introduction of Deborah Kellner as Julie, Cole's sexy demonic secretary. She makes for another impressive villainess for the sisters and I love she tries to seduce Cole but he just rejects with clever remarks. Also, the sister dilemma with Phoebe moving out brings some nice scenes between the leads. Phoebe actually moving in with Cole is great development as it cause friction between the sisters and Cole is starting influence Phoebe convincingly. "Saving Private Leo" is seen my most fans as a boring and dull episode, but I was found it very enjoyable with a great performance from Brian Krause and a solid sub-plot.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (24)

    • When Cole is interviewing Julie she tell him she can throw fire balls, but in the episode We're Off to See the Wizard, she throws energy balls instead.

    • When Paige orbs out of the teacher's apartment, the ghost guys see her orbs going through the roof and to the sky. Since when does this happen? Whitelighters' orbs have been shown to vanish completely in past episodes.

    • When Rick stabs Piper and puts his transparent hand into Piper's chest we can see that in some shots his hand is visible on top of Piper's chest and in others the hand is inside her chest.

    • When Phoebe and her sisters are discussing her wanting to move out now that she is married, why didn't Piper bring up how her sisters (Phoebe especially) was adamently against and offered her no support when her and Leo were first married and wanted to move out?

    • Piper only had to say the vanquishing spell one time, but when Prue vanquished the ghost of Alcatraz, she had to say it three or four times.

    • TRIVIA: This is the third time that the sisters fought a ghost, but the fifth time that there was a ghost in an episode.

    • At the beginning of the episode when Nathan and Rick are watching the old woman work, they see the Halliwell's home address but one of them says "1 2 3 9 Prescott Street" but on the piece of paper it says "1329 Prescott Street" as we also know from previous and future episodes.

    • TRIVIA: When Rick is ranting about Leo and is destroying things, he says "Payback is a witch" - that is also the name of an episode in season 8.

    • When Piper and Leo go to the memorial, telling everyone that Leo is in fact Leo Wyatt's grandson, wouldn't at least some of the veterans know that Leo died childless, hence he could not have grandchildren?

    • When Nathan and Rick are at the War Service Memorial building, Rick is talking to Nathan about getting revenge on Leo, and about how he was made a whitelighter. In the background, there are three photographs hanging on the wall. In the centre, a war hero, on the right George Bush, and on the left, John Howard. What does John Howard have to do with American war heroes/memoriam in World War II?

    • When Paige was looking at the Book of Shadows she mentions the spell to banish a ghost, Piper states that they used it 3 years ago. In the season 2 episode "Reckless Abandon" they tried to use it but instead the object of the ghost obsession killed herself.

    • TRIVIA: This is one of three episodes with "Leo" in the title.

    • TRIVIA: Paige successfully tries, for the first time, to use her sensing power from her whitelighter side to find Leo, when he doesn't answer Piper's call.

    • When Leo is hit in the stomach with the knife, he pulls it out, and is able to heal himself. This is because he is already dead and so not vulnerable to regular mortal injury. He is only vulnerable to the poison of a Darklighter's arrow.

    • When Phoebe is typing in the kitchen, she tells everyone else to be quiet. A kitchen is normally loud and busy in the morning, so why doesn't she go work in her room?

    • Apparently the argument that Phoebe and Paige had at the end of the previous episode about Cole has just been forgotten.

    • TRIVIA: The spell Piper uses to vanquish the ghosts was previously used by Prue in the season 1 episode "The Power Of Two".

    • In the season 1 episode "The Power of Two", when Phoebe and Prue had to deal with the ghost of Jackson Ward, they used the ghost vanquishing spell, which only a ghost can say. In that episode Prue made some sort of drink (that was in the book) that stopped her heart so she would become a ghost to say the spell and the only thing was that someone had to do CPR within 5 minutes or else she would die. All three sisters know CPR so why doesn't Piper, or Phoebe, or Paige take that drink say the spell and be done with it?

    • According to the plaque under Leo's army photo (and conversations in many episodes) he was born on May 6, 1924 and died November 24, 1941, making him only 17 years old. He was also married quite young, as mentioned he had a first wife named Lillian.

    • When the teacher gets stabbed, and they hold Leo down so he can't heal her, why didn't he just orb away from them and to the teacher to heal her.

    • Since when does a laptop shutdown immediately after the power is disconnected? Most of them have a backup battery pack.

    • When Rick is typing after he got Leo's address, more keys (like the K and H) are being pressed rather than just the ones to type "I am coming for you."

    • Usually when Piper freezes a projectile it continues along it's path when unfrozen, unless it has been touched. In this episode she unfreezes it and it drops.

    • In the season 1 episode Love Hurts, Leo tells Piper that he grew up in San Francisco and joined the army. Also in the episode Ex Libris Piper visits his widow in San Francisco, but in this episode it shows him joining up with two friends in Biloxi.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Paige: Hey! Newsflash - friends don't kill each other!

    • (Phoebe phones Cole's office)
      Julie: Cole Turner's office.
      Phoebe: Hey, who's this?
      Julie: I'm Julie, Mr. Turner's new assistant. Who's this?
      Phoebe: I'm Phoebe, Mr. Turner's new wife.

    • Army Guy: Hey you. Dear God! I'm looking at a ghost!
      Piper: You know him?
      Leo: Ya.
      Army Guy: You're related to Leo Wyatt aren't you?
      Piper: Yes, this is his grandson, Leo Wyatt the third.
      Army Guy: Milly, Frank, I want you to meet the grandson of the man who made it possible for you to be born. His grandfather died saving my life 60 years ago. You wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for that man.
      Army guy's grandson: It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Wyatt. My dad's been telling me stories about your grandpa since I was a boy. I'd like you to meet my family. Hey guys, C'mere!
      Army Guy: Franklin, Sirdes, he's related to Leo Wyatt! He's the same guy who saved your butts too.
      Lady: What's going on? Who is that?
      Piper: My hero.

    • Cole (while interviewing for a new secretary): What kind of legal document did you draft as a paralegal?
      Julie: Discovery, administrative, pretrial, trial, motions, pleadings.
      Cole: What's your dictation speed?
      Julie: 120 words per minute.
      Cole: How fast can you shimmer across town?
      Julie: 30 miles in two seconds.

    • Paige: Yeah, but I mean he's a ghost. Who knows where he came from? What era? He's like a piece of man-hunk history.

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Episode Titles: Czech Republic: Zachraňte vojína Lea (Save Private Leo) France: Compagnons d'armes (Brothers in arms) Italy: Salvate il soldato Leo (Saving private Leo) Germany: Der Soldat Leo Wyatt (The soldier Leo Wyatt)

    • This episode scored 3.9 million viewers.

    • Costas Mandylor previously co-starred with Holly Marie Combs on the TV series Picket Fences. He is the third member the Picket Fences cast to appear on Charmed. Previously Christine Rose and Matthew Glave, both of who had recurring roles on Picket Fences have appeared in multiple episodes of Charmed.


    • Title: Saving Private Leo

      This is a reference to the movie "Saving Private Ryan", starring Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg.

    • Paige (holds up the ghost summoning spell): Who ya gonna call?

      This is the tagline from the 1984 movie "Ghostbusters", starring Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver.