Season 4 Episode 14

The Three Faces of Phoebe

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Feb 14, 2002 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
324 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Phoebe develops a case of cold feet over marrying Cole and casts a spell which brings a young innocent Phoebe and an old cynical Phoebe to the Manor to help her make a decision. Meanwhile, while Cole is horrified to find that the Source is now taking over his entire being, the Source's chief rival, who believes the Source is dead, is convinced by the Seer to kill the Charmed Ones in order to earn the allegiance of the entire underworld.moreless

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  • Also a good one.

    Out of every time Paige uses magic annoyingly, I don't feel this time was personal gain (or last time technically). Her promotion wasn't the intended outcome of the spell. To me personal gain is when you cast a spell to get rich, cast a spell for yourself with a desired outcome. When she fixed Carolyn's face, the outcome was for her to get her child back and to be able to appear in court, nothing more. So I feel it wasn't personal gain and she should've been able to accept the promotion.

    I found Phoebe's spell a bit on the side of personal gain but at the same time it wasn't I suppose. I don't feel that Phoebe was questioning whether she should marry Cole though, to me if you question the groom then there's a problem. I feel she was questioning the idea of marriage, questioning what she will be like as a bride etc etc but not if Cole is the right groom. At least when she cast it. Maybe cynical Phoebe made her question Cole as well but I don't think it was her initial intention (even if that's what she wrote, I don't believe it's literally what she felt).

    One thing I want to wonder is why Cole simply doesn't tell Phoebe, I think the sources powers are inside of me, we should make another power stripping potion.. I mean I get why the writers didn't, but you have to wonder why he wouldn't just do that.

    I didn't really like how suspicious they were over Cole 'getting the knife from Kurzon'. I mean it's not the first time demons chose hand to hand. The Source stabbed Cole in the premier because he wanted him to suffer, the two Belthazars battled hand to hand opposed to using energy balls, so I think it's reasonable to assume he went after Cole with a knife, and if that's the case, Cole is very experienced in hand to hand combat and could've easily gotten the knife away. But no, they all just seemed to automatically think "omg evil!"moreless
  • The Three Faces of Phoebe

    The Three Faces of Phoebe was a perfect and very entertaining episode of Charmed and I really enjoyed watching. There was a lot of character development and plot progression as Cole fought what he was becoming and tried to make Phoebe happy. The Seer was a very interesting character and I like how she played other characters against each other. This episode was filled with great villain scenes and I liked how well portrayed all the evil characters were. There are now new levels of intrigue to the drama of Phoebe and Cole's relationship and I look forward to watching how things play out!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Three equally clueless Phoebes...

    Obviously there is no place to go but down after vanquishing the Source, and this is a ambivalently average episode with some very good elements balanced against some annoying storylines.

    On the good side, the Seer is back and better than ever as she continues to manipulate not only Cole but another fool demon who thinks he's ready to be the Source. Julian is sensational, of course, as the conflict builds inside of Cole. I could argue that Charmed was at its best when Cole was an ally of the Charmed Ones, but there is no question that Julian is at his best when conflicted and evil. The faceoffs between Old Phoebe and Cole are the clear highlight of the show besides Paige's orbing.

    Unlike many of the reviewers, I liked the Paige subplot. I would first point out that Paige did not cast a spell for personal gain last episode, but to aid an innocent. Therefore, I'm not sure why the consequences. Anyway, I thought it was a good continuation from last week. I think we should see more of that. The point of this subplot was to show how much Paige has learned. She gets it now. Her orbing her sisters at the end is a huge step for Charmed. From this moment on, the sisters no longer need Leo to orb about. Paige orbing her sisters will play a role throughout the remainder of series. Nice way to get around!

    As for the annoying, first and foremost, Phoebe's spell is sorta cool as far as the older and the not much to do younger Phoebe goes, but what was the point again? Phoebe needs magic to decide whether to marry Cole or not? Since when? And now you know why Old Phoebe is angry about the whole thing. Sort of unrealistic that Phoebe would turn out old and bitter just over Cole considering she goes through about 5 boyfriends just in the years immediately after. Secondly, in what universe did Kurzon think he could be the Source? Personally, I don't care for this entire idea. You either are the Source or you are not. There is no gather enough demons under you, go through a crowning, and become the Source. Lame. Hey, maybe I could be the Source?moreless
  • The Three Faeces of Phoebe

    I'm usually one of Alyssa Milano's harshest critics, mainly because I want to stick my tongue into an electrical appliance whenever she appears on screen. But, occasionally, she acts pretty well. This is one of the (few) occasions where she is good throughout, probably because her character name is in the title but, y'know, whatever...

    The Three Faces of Phoebe sees the slutty one getting cold feet over her imminent wedding to Cole and conjuring up two different versions of herself, a free-spirited and excitable young Phoebe and an old, more experienced Phoebe, to decide whether or not she should go through with it. Meanwhile, The Seer continues her quest to turn Cole into the new Source and Paige gets a promotion at work.

    The main storyline of this episode seems pretty pointless. Despite placing Alyssa, once again, in center stage, it doesn't do much to evolve season four's arc plot, instead leaving Phoebe with the moral that she has to make her own decisions for once, instead of relying on others. Yes, that's it. Alyssa is good in the episode and genuinely convinces, same goes for Frances Bay (aka "The Marble Rhy Lady" on Seinfeld) who gives a good performance as the older, more cynical Phoebe.

    It was a good decision to turn Cole evil again as he's, to be honest, a boring character when not plotting somebody's doom. But it's a shame that the demon story in this episode wasn't that great. Harry Van Gorkum is pretty much demon-of-the-week material and does nothing to make his character Kurzon any more memorable than all the other Cole-related demons on the show.

    This wasn't a memorable episode by any length but does give Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan chance to show off their, sometimes underused, acting talents. Despite that, the demon storyline is easily forgetful and the whole "three Phoebe's" story ends up being kinda pointless.

    Rating: C+moreless
  • Me, Myself and I.

    The complication phase of the season, 'The Three Faces…'' sees the beginning of a more mature show than we're usually used to, with genuine threat, as Cole slowly loses out to the source's invasion. The episode starts off okay enough, but things gradually get better and better as the hour progresses, resulting in a final confrontation with future-Phoebe and Cole that creates a menacing depiction of what present-Phoebe has in store within the coming episodes. There are, of course, a few things that don't work. Paige's subplot had no relevance whatsoever, even though it featured heavily in the last episode and gets more air time here, and for what? We know from past stories that personal-gain is bad so why bother with such a pointless plot? Rose might as well have not been in this episode.

    The past/future storyline was enjoyable enough. I didn't care much for Phoebe's 10-year old mini-me, but I did enjoy her interludes with her geriatric self. Despite having only a handful of scenes, Frances Bay really sells it that she is in fact Phoebe Halliwell. Alyssa plays wonderfully off of Frances' believably stubborn performance, and there's a level of 'tell her already!' to the proceedings, making things far weightier than expected.

    Overall, it's your bog-standard Charmed demon-of-the-week plot elevated by some impressive character development and neat advances to the overall arc. The show will continue to provide such strong outings and that's mainly down to the fact the show, for the first time ever, has managed to find a balance between arc-related activities and stand-alone fare.moreless
Harry Van Gorkum

Harry Van Gorkum


Guest Star

Frances Bay

Frances Bay

old Phoebe Halliwell

Guest Star

Samantha Goldstein

Samantha Goldstein

young Phoebe Halliwell

Guest Star

Debbi Morgan

Debbi Morgan

The Seer

Recurring Role

David Reivers

David Reivers

Bob Cowan

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Wiccan law says that you cannot knowingly use magic for personal gain, and when Paige gets a promotion because of the spell she cast on Carolyn, and everyone says it was personal gain. However, Paige didn't use the spell to get a promotion, she actually did it to help Carolyn. AlthoughPaige felt bad about getting the promotion due to using magic,she didn't actually use it forpersonal gain.

    • Even though she referenced Prue whilst on the stairwell with current Phoebe, why did past Phoebe not ask where Prue was? Surely the absence of Prue would have been important to her.

    • This is not the first time one of the sisters has been unknowingly involved with the Source. Previously, in Charmed Again (2), Paige's boyfriend was also possessed (although more literally) by the Source.

    • TRIVIA: This is one of four episode titles with "Phoebe" in the title. However, there is only one episode with "Paige" in the title, one with "Prue" and two with "Piper".

    • TRIVIA: For the first time, Paige manages to orb herself and then herself with her sisters, successfully from one place to another.

    • TRIVIA: Old Phoebe confronts Cole about his "secret" that she knows he's hiding from present day Phoebe.

    • When Cole starts fighting Kurzon toward the end of the episode, you can see there's no blood on the knife when there should be, since he had just stabbed Old Phoebe.

    • During the scene where Phoebe is wistfully staring at Balthazor's face in the Book of Shadows, a "How to Summon Balthazor" spell is immediately visible to the left of it. In the season 3 episode "Look Who's Barking", Phoebe is seen placing pictures of Balthazor's human form on that same page, but the summoning spell is a few pages after the Banshee's page.

    • In the beginning of the episode Piper makes a big breakfast for everyone saying that they vanquished the Source the night before, but when Paige gets her promotion she says she cast the spell on Caroline last week, which was also the night they vanquished the Source.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Paige: Oh good, breakfast, I'm starving! Leo: Yeah its the orbing, it burns a lot of calories.

    • (Leo has just orbed out)
      Phoebe (just waking up): Does he have to do that so brightly?

    • Piper: This demon didn't even seem to know who we were, which by the way I find insulting.

    • Leo: The Source's death has created a power struggle in the underworld, and killing you means direct ascension to the throne.
      Piper: Ugh.

    • Paige: I did the rhyme, I will do the time.

    • Paige: What about little Phoebe? She went back to her time with all this knowledge of the future. Won't that cause complications?
      Piper: I doubt it. The minute she starts talking about magic, Grams will do some hocus pocus to erase all that knowledge.
      Paige: That's nice.
      Piper: That's Grams.

    • Leo (about to orb Little Phoebe to somewhere safe): Come on, take my hand. (She walks over to him) Now hold on tight.
      Little Phoebe: Are we going on a plane?
      Leo: No, but you might see some clouds.

    • Little Phoebe (about Cole): Wait, you mean he's our prince? The one who sweeps us off our feet?
      Piper (laughing): Prince?

    • Piper (to Phoebe): Having problems with geriatric you?

    • Little Phoebe (blocking her ears): Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream...
      Piper: Honey, you have to listen to me.
      Little Phoebe: Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.
      Piper: We're just trying to help.
      Little Phoebe repeats the song. Piper groans.
      Leo: She's your sister.
      Piper: Yeah, don't remind me.

    • Cole: Who are you?
      Old Phoebe: Maybe this will refresh your memory. (she walks over and slaps him across the face) You bastard.

    • Cole: Why did you summon her?
      Phoebe: That's between me

    • Phoebe: Having a little trouble with young Phoebe?
      Piper: Yeah, enough to make me reconsider having children. Maybe we should just lie to her again.
      Phoebe: No. I think I have an idea.
      She turns to Little Phoebe.
      Little Phoebe: Stay away from me or I'll sick Prue on you.
      Piper: Oh, yeah, don't go there.

    • Phoebe: I'm going to knock some sense into me!

    • Old Phoebe: Nobody's gonna take you seriously until you stop dressing like a tramp.
      Phoebe: A tramp? That is so 'in' right now.

    • Little Phoebe: I'm ten, I'm not stupid. Grams!
      Little Phoebe runs out of the attic.
      Piper: Wow, I do not miss that.

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Episode Titles: Czech Republic: Tři podoby Phoebe (Three Appearances of Phoebe) France: Face à son destin (Facing her destiny) Italy: I tre volti di Phoebe (The three faces of Phoebe) Germany: Die Frage aller Fragen (The question of all questions)

    • For this episode, Samantha Goldstein (young Phoebe) was nominated for the 2003 Young Artist Award for "Best Performance in a TV Comedy or Drama Series-Guest Starring Young Actress Age Ten or Under".

    • This episode scored 4.7 million viewers.


    • Title: The Three Faces of Phoebe

      This is an allusion to the novel "The Three Faces of Fascism".

    • Title: The Three Faces of Phoebe

      This is a reference to the movie "The Three Faces of Eve", about a woman named Eve that had Multiple Personality disorder, causing her to have three, very separate, personalities.