Season 5 Episode 7

Sympathy for the Demon

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Nov 03, 2002 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
323 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Barbas, the Demon of Fear, returns and tricks Paige into giving him Cole's powers, and plots revenge on the Halliwell sisters by playing them against their darkest fears.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Gotta love Barbas.

    I think the only sucky thing about this episode is at the end where he vanquishes barbas because he KNOWS the sisters can't and they look at him like he's some evil creature who should eff off.

    I'm sorry but I completely blame the sisters for his inevitable trip to evildome again. Well maybe 90% their fault, obviously he made his own choices but he doesn't belong in the world and the only people who he can talk to about his feelings shut him down and TELL him he's evil no matter what he does. God Cole could probably save a bus full of kids, donate all his money to charity and solve world hunger and still be told he's evil instead of thanked.

    I'm not a big Cole supporter during season 5, while I like him, I feel the drama they try and create and making Phoebe look like a cow is annoying, which makes me not like her which makes me angry at the show I guess because she's actually a good character.

    And Paige did nothing wrong here. She stripped his powers not like she was told "btw they'll go to Barbas" and she was all "meh who cares". And the other two only made their decisions because of Barbas anyway.

    But I love this episode, Barbas is an awesome bad guy, I especially love him when he's the demon of Hopemoreless
  • Sympathy for the Demon

    Sympathy for the Demon was a perfect and very entertaining episode of Charmed and I really enjoyed watching as Barbas returns and causes all sorts of trouble on his mission for revenge against the Charmed ones. It was great to see him take Cole's power and watch him use it. Paige had a lot of great character development as she was torn between her instincts and her sisters. The stakes were high but the sisters pulled through in the end. I liked the ending with Paige having a realization moment. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Barbas is back, and he is very put out.

    The original demon is back in this brilliant episode, and after stealing Cole's powers he is powerful enough to shrug off the very spell that destroyed the Source. Now THAT is trouble!

    Some reviewers have complained about Barbas and the acting of Billy Drago. Not me. The guy is a genuine creepy demon, and his valium-induced and somewhat self-amused style is truly unique among the catalogue of Charmed bad guys. He absolutely oozes vengeance in this one, and I love it when he loses it after Phoebe tempts him (great scene).

    The genius of Barbas is that not only do the sisters have to conquer him, but they also have to face their own inner demons in doing so. In this episode we find out that Piper is afraid of her baby having to grow up alone, understandable, Paige is afraid of being isolated and trapped, and Phoebe is afraid of actually being evil, again, also very understandable. We see a great piece of Charmed history when Victor argues with Grams and leaves the manor. I love it when Piper overcomes her fear and blasts Barbas- "Preying on an expectant mother's fears. That's a good one, but not THAT good." I love how angry she is there and that for once a Charmed One made the mistake of talking before attacking, allowing Barbas to shimmer out.

    Paige carries this episode for the most part. Her desire to be as good as Prue is fleshed out from the beginning. In fact, this episode is sort of a memorial to Prue; she is mentioned constantly. The only annoying part of the episode is putting up with the sisters harassing Paige over empowering Barbas. They were all manipulated by Barbas, and it isn't like Paige knew what could happen. Stripping Cole's powers was actually a dang good idea that should have been thought of sooner. This episode put it to rest that it won't work. The abuse towards Paige helps build the sense of isolation that she has. So, at least, there is a good reason for it in the script. The scene where Phoebe cries over Paige's body after killing her (this is the first of two episodes in a row where Paige gets killed) while Barbas hunches over her, whispering to her in consolation and then raising the dagger to kill her is one of the best Charmed scenes ever. Amazing.

    The final showdown was no let down. Fortunately, Barbas chose to kill Paige first. Pulling a Prue, she is able to orb a spilled potion off the floor and into Barbas' mouth. Then, of course, it is always great to watch Cole vanquish someone. Poor Cole. Someone perhaps should have thanked him in the end, but we are starting to see where this is all going. This is the 2nd time that Cole's powers nearly killed the sisters.

    Fantastic episode. Among the 20 or so best of Charmed, and the best of Season 5 until Centennial Charmed.moreless
  • Sympathy For Billy Drago

    Sympathy For The Demon-Barbas, the Demon of Fear, returns and tricks Paige into giving him Cole's powers, and plots revenge on the Halliwell sisters by playing them against their darkest fears. Oh great! Barabas again! Another episode where we have the misfortune of watching Billy Drago try to deliver a line without coming off as a tool yet fails! Not to mention, I hate how the writers keep building Barbas as this powerful villain that the sisters can't defeat, so that's why he keeps showing up. Honestly, Barbars was probably the least most interesting aspect of both "From Fear To Eternity" and "Ms. Hellfire", so why the hell would the wirters bring him back? A recurring villain must have a presence and charm to become a enough of a fan favorite for the writers to bring such a villain back for more. But with Drago in the role, it's such wasted opportunity and such a boring villain to watch!

    Despite all that, this is probably the best Barbas has ever been used. Instead of his usual M.O., we get a surprisingly well plotted revenge story with a psychological edge. There were actually moments through the episodethat were effectively creepy like the opening where Cole has his hallucinations. Not to mention the moment where Barbas survives the Soruce vanquishing spell and trapped the sisters in the Manor added some genuine suspense that I actually felt scared for them, which is rare for Charmed (at least at this point in the series). My favorite moments was definately Piper re-living the day her father left and Phoebe beating the crap out of Pagie only to then kill her soon after. Seeing a sister kill another sister was shocking, not to mention the moment where Barbas taunted Phoebe as she cried over Pagie's dead body was the first time he felt like a threat. I also loved the when Leo suddenly became Barbaus during Piper's fear, nothing big, but a nice fakeout. I also enjoyed how Prue was brought up to remind us that she was the only one who defeated Barbas the last two times and how much Paige is trying to step up her game to be as strong of a witch as she was. Considering all the on set drama, I'm glad the writers remember how much of a focal point Prue was to the series the first 3 seasons.

    With such a strong episode, it sucks that the writers have to continue with Phoebe/Cole's beyond tiresome dilemma. It doesn't help that everytime Phoebe is in the same room with Cole she has some smart a$$ remark. Get over yourself please! Cole was actually presented as a selfless person with and without his powers by giving them up to save Phoebe (and not hurt anyone else in the process) and taking them back to defeat Barbas. The moment where Cole takes his powers back and everyone stares at him like he's a monster again makes me sick. If anything, the way everyone keeps pushing Cole away, telling him he's evil, is probably the reason why evetually gives in to being evil again a few episdoes down. Sigh. Anyway, "Sympathy For the Demon" is a solid episode that makes Barbas seem like a formitable villain and gives us some dark plots to sink our teeth into. Too bad for those poorly done CGI spiders. I guess that portion of the budget was used for Billy Drago's check....shaking head.moreless
  • Fear Factor

    Season 5 offers up its first corker. Barbas is probably one of the most irritating guest-stars in Charmed's whole run, however he's used rather well in this instance. Abhorrent overacting aside, the repercussions of his attack on the sisters (thanks to his newly advanced powers) allows for a rare moment on Charmed where the sisters must deal with the psychological before throwing potions. It's their inner demons that cripple them, and in a shocking display of brutality against Paige, it's Phoebe's fear of being evil that's the real highlight of the hour. While the girls struggle with motherhood, spiders, and claustrophobia, I have to ask once again why the writers depict Cole as an evil doer? He selflessly rises to occasion and offers to take his powers back in order to stop Barbas and save the CO's. It's the third time now on the show that he has been infected with magic beyond his control. The guy is a flippin' tragic hero!moreless
Ken Marino

Ken Marino


Guest Star

Todd Eckert

Todd Eckert


Guest Star

David Grant Wright

David Grant Wright

Suit #1

Guest Star

James Read

James Read

Victor Bennett

Recurring Role

Jennifer Rhodes

Jennifer Rhodes

Penny Halliwell

Recurring Role

Billy Drago

Billy Drago


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (21)

    • TRIVIA: Leo is the only main character whose fears are not revealed in this episode.

    • The sisters kept on insisting that the numerous demonic powers had to be returned to Cole because he was the only who knew how to control them. It was most likely a death sentence as said by Paige. However, this all could have been easily resolved by either a potion or spell to remove the powers from Cole and send them to the Demonic Wasteland where it's more than likely that another snake creature would devour the powers.

    • TRIVIA: This is the second episode where one sister kills another - this time Phoebe kills Paige.

    • While Piper is seeing her past, and Phoebe is holding Paige crying after she stabbed her, Barbas appears corporeal for both of them. They don't seem to be seeing him, only hearing what he's saying. However, when he's about to stab Phoebe, Piper comes and blows him up. So she sees him, and if she could see him, surely Phoebe could as well. In that case, how can they allow themselves to listen to him and let him manipulate them since they know he's tricking them?

    • When Phoebe is first attacking Barbas/Paige, why doesn't Paige orb to a different part of the house or at least away from Phoebe in the attic? For that matter, why doesn't she just slap or punch Phoebe in the face to try to snap her out of it? Phoebe surely would rather have a (healable) broken nose than a dead sister.

    • When Barbas throws Cole out of the window and he is lying in the floor, his body and his head keep changing positions between shots.

    • When Piper says "Barbas? You couldn't have brought back Andras or Shax or somebody we could actually vanquish?", she is referring to Andras, who was shown in the season 3 episode Power Outage. But the sisters did not vanquish him, it was Balthazor.

    • Barbas attacks Cole with a energy ball and he hits him right in the face but Cole did not explode even if he was a mortal without magical powers. How is that possible?

    • Barbas astral projects himself near Cole when he drinks the potion and absorbs his powers. But he was not corporeal so how could he become corporeal only with the powers? Besides if he was using astral projection, what happened to his real body?

    • As Paige looks at the Book of Shadows in her bedroom, she finds the spell she used in her past life. The evil enchantress page should be right there next to the spell but it is not there.

    • TRIVIA: In this episode Barbas shows for the first time his power of astral projection. This power has been seen before in season 1, Rex had the same powers and used it to manipulate the Charmed Ones.

    • When Barbas and the other demon are underground, the other one says that it's very hot down there but he is still wearing his coat.

    • TRIVIA: This episode confirms Piper's big issue through the show - she thinks she cannot be happy at all, that something will always happen that will leave her devastated.

    • When Paige is trying to conjure some doves and looking through the Book of Shadows, the pages that are being shown are the Alchemistic ones, why is she looking there?

    • When Cole has his secretary in the air, a shot shows that she is not touching the floor but after that Cole does not put her down fully but she is then shown clearly touching the floor.

    • In the final scene in the attic when they vanquish Barbas the girls had just lost their fears and the windows had become clear (they were closed by Barbas/Cole's powers). So in this scene, the small window in the attic (behind Barbas) is still closed and it shouldn't still be that way.

    • Barbas had to know that the potion Paige orbed at him was to take away the powers he got from Cole. So why, when he stood up again, would he try to conjure an energy ball? It was very obvious what the potion did, especially since it caused the forcefields holding Piper, Leo, Phoebe, and Cole back to disappear.

    • TRIVIA: It is shown in this episode that the vanquishing spell for the Source won't vanquish Cole; Barbas had his powers and it didn't work on him so it won't work on Cole either.

    • TRIVIA: Throughout this whole episode, Paige feels inferior to Prue, and her sisters thought that she was the same as Prue - but she had had less training, different powers and a different personality.

    • When Phoebe is hugging Paige after Leo brings her back to life, in the background Paige's head is on Phoebe's left shoulder facing the camera, but on the close-up before they stand up, it is on Phoebe's right shoulder facing away.

    • Cole says Barbas can use his power to become the Source, but in the season 4 episode "Womb Raider" they established an aspiring Source also needs the Grimoire, which was hidden away by Leo beneath the Andes.

  • QUOTES (26)

    • (Barbas and the demon Stimple are trapped on a ledge at the mouth of hell, where they've been banished.)
      Stimple: So the witches are going to do what you want?
      Barbas: In time. Oh, the Charmed Ones are not your ordinary witches.
      Stimple: Yeah, I know, I know, it's just, how much time? You've been working on them for weeks. I don't mean to rush you or anything but I'm really hot, like all the time!

    • Stimple: Barbas, please, I beg you. Forget the witches, you can deal with them later.
      Barbas: The witches may be able to avoid their fears, but they will not be able to avoid my new power.
      Stimple: Now listen to me, the demonic leadership is backing you. The Underworld is yours for the taking.
      Barbas: I do not care about the Underworld, I care only about my revenge! Oh, and in regards to that, I need you to hurl a fireball at me.
      Stimple: What?
      Barbas: I need to test my new power.
      Stimple: I don't…
      Barbas: Do it. (Stimple throws a fireball, which Barbas reflects
      back at Stimple, vanquishing him.)
      Finally, he shut up.

    • (Barbas brings to life a memory from Piper's birthday when she was a little girl.)
      Victor: If my girls are raised around this it'll destroy their lives.
      Grams: Oh, don't be overdramatic.
      Victor: A demon tries to kill my daughter and I'm being overdramatic?

    • (After Phoebe beat up Paige thinking she was Barbas, Paige is lying on the floor in pain, but Phoebe is still seeing him)
      Barbas: Come on. Finish it. Please. You can do it. I know you can. Come on, kill me.
      (She looks around and finds an athame. She grabs it and stabs Barbas in the abdomen. When he morphs into Paige, Phoebe is shocked and starts to break out in tears.)

    • (While Paige and Piper are having their own hallucinations, it's Phoebe's turn. And she gets her share when Miles appears.)
      Miles: Phoebe.
      Phoebe: Yeah?
      Miles: I had to talk to you. I had to tell you the truth. (Miles' eyes glow an evil, demonic yellow)
      Phoebe (to herself): This isn't real. This isn't happening.
      Miles: I'm evil Phoebe. You know that's why you're drawn to me.
      (Phoebe reaches back and throws a punch right on Miles' chin. He shimmers out.)
      Phoebe: Ok, people, time to get over our fears right now!
      Piper: Easy for you to say. You're not facing killer spiders!
      Phoebe: Neither are you.

    • (After Barbas trapped the sisters in their own house, Paige begins to hallucinate. She hears rumbling. She turns and steps into the nursery.)
      Paige: Guys?
      Phoebe: What's the matter?
      Paige: Don't you see it? (she looks at the nursery walls and is amazed to see them moving toward her) The walls are moving in on me. (Not wanting to stay too long, she turns around only to find the nursery door closed in front of her face) Hey!
      (Piper and Phoebe watch as Paige faces the open door and struggles to get out)
      Paige: Help! Get me out of here!
      Piper: Is she claustrophobic?
      Phoebe: I don't know. Is she?

    • (After Paige's failed attempt to get through the brick wall)
      Piper: Well, I can get out. (She takes a few steps to the brick wall)
      Phoebe (encouraging): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
      (Piper blasts the brick wall and a small explosion occurs, but doesn't affect it)
      Piper: I can't get out. (turns around to Phoebe and Paige while beginning to panic) We can't get out!

    • (After Barbas encased the entire house with brick)
      Phoebe: We're trapped.
      Paige: Like hell we are. (Determined, she tries to orb out. She turns to orbs and moves to the brick wall, but she bounces off. And like a pinball, she bounces off a wall and another and another. Finally she turns into solid form and lands on the floor, disappointed) Uh. Ok. On second thought…

    • Barbas: I know your fears.
      Phoebe: Really? You sure about that?
      (Barbas raises his hand as if reading it. Nothing happens)
      Phoebe (mocking, with exaggerated gasp): What's the matter? Lost your touch? (She turns around to the demon leaders behind her) And you want this guy to be your new leader? Tsh.

    • Paige: Apparently saying "I'm sorry" a hundred and twelve times didn't work, maybe a hundred and thirteen… I am sorry.
      Phoebe: Paige, I'm not trying to make you feel bad. It's just, you know, you pulled me away from my third date with Miles. I had a third date.
      Paige: A hundred and fourteen! I'm sorry.

    • Piper: It's the story of my life. When everything is going great, something inevitably happens that will ruin it.
      Paige: A little spider did all that to you…
      Piper: Oh. You just wait. You will see.
      (Cole shimmers in, apparently scared)
      Cole: Please, you gotta help me.
      Piper (to Paige, pointing at him): See?!

    • Phoebe: Paige, orb the potion.
      Paige: It's in a puddle.
      Piper: You can do it, Prue did.
      Barbas: Ay, there's the rub. You're no Prue, are you?

    • Paige: Oh, the elders don't know anything, what a shock!

    • Paige: Okay, sixteenth time is the charm. (Throws something into a cauldron, but it just makes an explosion and some feathers fly out) Damn it.
      Leo: What's going on Paige?
      Paige: Just trying to conjure up some doves.
      Leo: Oh. Down here in front of all the windows huh?

    • Phoebe is holding Paige in a big bear hug right after Leo heals her.
      Phoebe: I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.
      Paige: You're suffocating me.
      Phoebe: Oh, I'm sorry.
      Phoebe lets go long enough for the two of them to stand up. She then wraps her arms back around Paige.

    • Piper (to Barbas): Playing on an expectant mother's fears. That was a good one. But not that good.

    • Phoebe (to Barbas): It's, uhh, pretty hard to rule the Underworld if you kill everybody, don't you think?

    • Barbas: Very smart, operating above ground. It's like hiding in plain sight.

    • Paige: I really don't need a lecture right now.
      Piper: No you really do, because you have no idea what you've done, and now we have a serious problem.
      Leo: Guys.
      Leo heals Cole.
      Piper: Great. He's not evil, but we still have a serious problem.

    • Leo: As your whitelighter, I would say go with your instincts.
      Paige (very happy to hear that): Okay.
      Leo: But as your brother-in-law, going up against your sisters is pure suicide.
      Paige: Great. You really helped clarify this issue.

    • Piper: We don't need to go looking for trouble. Trouble comes to find us anyway.

    • Paige (to Piper): What is wrong with you? Is this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Piper? Make up your mind, lady.

    • Piper: Desperate demons call for desperate measures.

    • Paige: What does this Barbas do? What's his thing?
      Phoebe: He brings really bad things to life.

    • Piper: Hi! I am off to yoga and then to the salon for a manicure and pedicure. There's a cherry pie cooling on the counter and I will be on my cell.
      Paige: Uh uh. Prenatal police lady. Put the mug down, step away from the coffee.

    • Miles: Hey, how long were you married?
      Phoebe: Not long, but we were together for two years. The beginning was great it's just the end was uh...hell.
      Miles: Yeah, I had the same experience with my ex.
      Phoebe: Uh, no pretty sure you didn't. Well you know 'cause you know every situation is so different.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Paige (to Piper): What is wrong with you? Is this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Piper? Make up your mind, lady.

      This is a reference to the novel "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" , written by the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894).

    • Phoebe: Paige, orb the potion.
      Paige: It's in a puddle.
      Piper: You can do it. Prue did.

      Piper is referring to what occurred in the season 1 episode "Out of Sight", when she telekinetically threw a spilled potion from the ground to a Grimlock's eyes, vanquishing him, and then again in the season 3 episode "All Halliwell's Eve" when she saved Leo from the Grimlock at the end.

    • Phoebe: He brings really bad things to life.

      A play on General Electric's slogan of "we bring good things to life".

    • Episode Title: Sympathy for the Demon

      This is a reference to the Rolling Stones' 1968 song "Sympathy for the Devil".