Season 1 Episode 9

The Witch Is Back

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Dec 16, 1998 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
531 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Witch Is Back
A warlock from the past is released from his curse and tries to steal the sisters' powers with the help of Rex and Hannah, but the sisters resurrect their ancestor to combat him. Meanwhile, Piper works up her courage to ask Leo out and Andy gets frustrated by Prue's continued involvement with bizarre police investigations.moreless

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  • The Witch Is Back

    The Witch Is Back was a perfect and very entertaining episode of Charmed. I really enjoyed watching because the sisters are confronted By Matthew a Warlock from their Ancestor Melinda's past. The way Matthew came to be in the modern world was intriguing as Rex and Hannah plot to use him to their advantage. The sisters bring Melinda back from the past and learn how she trapped Matthew and set out to do it again. There was action, magic and plenty of drama. Prue really tests Andy's limits in this episode which was great to watch. There was a lot of character and plot development as the sisters learn more about their pasts, themselves, each other, and test the relationships of those around them. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Great, great, great, great, great, great grandma is back and looking good.

    Along with Dead Man Dating this is one of the better first episodes. The highlights are the guest actors. In Matthew Tate we have our first really dangerous and impressive bad guy. Warlocks, and not demons, seem to be the bads of early Charmed days, and this is the best one. He is the original enemy of the Halliwell line, and he has the useful and later imitated ability to steal any power that is used against him. He is the first in a line of later bads to be able to take the sisters' powers and use them against them. The character is played with overconfident evil gravitas and a touch of sexual magnetism. He is such a handful that the sisters see no other alternative but to seek help from their ancestor- Melinda Warren. Melinda is a powerful witch and an attractive character. She is nearly so good-hearted as to be unrealistic. She became the first character to be conjured by the sisters, something that would become fairly common in regards to grams and their mom in later episodes. The subplot involving Prue and Andy is actually stupid. Of course the police would track Prue down after everything started in her office. All she ever needed to do was give them a statement of what happened. She could have easily done that and just left out the magical details. Then, Andy would have left her alone.

    Piper has a small subplot involving Leo, which is good, of course. Essentially, she has to restart their relationship now that the truth spell has worn out. I still can't get over how young her and Leo look. Season 1 might be the only time Holly looked like the youngest sister, which technically she was.

    Prue, once again, is pretty much the key to the vanquish at the end. The sisters take care of Matthew, and then Melinda returns from whence she came, unfortunately, never to be seen again.

    Yes, this is the first time we get to see a character move about through blinking, shimmering or orbing. It is cool, though not as cool as the other two methods we see in later seasons. I appreciate the improved effects of later seasons.moreless
  • melinda!!

    this was a great episode about mellinda warren! that was cool when she came back from the dead. i liked the warlocks power! to copy other peoples powers and blinking! i really want to be able to blink! i liked the part about mellinda's daughter named pruedence! that was a cool episode!
  • Melina Warren back in the 17th Century accuses her lover Matthew of betraying her. He has taken her powers and turned her in to be burned as a Witch. She traps him in a locket and takes her powers back. Prue accidentally releases him causing problems.moreless

    Another smart episode to follow up the last one. Good storyline and very entertaining. In a way this story took some setting up from pieces of former stories. Melina Warren played by Tyler Layton is the first Witch in the line of the Warren's which the Halliwell sisters are now the current descendants of. She also started the Book of Shadows. Matthew Tate played by Billy Wirth is a Warlock who stole her powers and then turned her in to be burned as a Witch. She curses him and places his essence in a locket and traps him forever. We find out that Rex and Hannah are not who they seem to be. They are Demons from Hell who are bound and determined to steal the sisters powers for themselves. Their plan is for Prue to release Matthew and have him steal all of their powers and then take them from him. So Rex leaves the locket on Prue's desk to catalog.

    I won't give you a blow by blow but let's just say Rex was successful in getting Matthew released. He now has Prue's powers and is looking for the other two women. No one can count out their ingenuity though. They summon Melina to life with them and they learn the curse spell they need to trap Matthew again. After many trials and Matthew getting Phoebe's power as well they managed to stop him and return him to the locket. When they return Melina to where she came she takes the locket with her thereby saving the sisters from having to deal with him again. So Rex and Hannah are foiled in their plan and decide they must up the stakes.

    Andy and Darryl sort of get in the way trying to investigate everything that is going on and Andy threatens to arrest Prue, but she gives him the slip. You get the feeling that this situation will come to a head eventually.

    Great episode and the second in a row that was pretty good all of the way around. Really a joy to watch. Thanks for reading...moreless
  • A fantastic episode from start to finish when the girls must call upon the wican ancestor, Melinda Warren, to come forward from the past and help them to re-enslave a warlock whom she captured and has now been set free.moreless

    Since they have accepted the fact that they are witches, the girls have been eager to learn about their past. One of the central figures of that past is their ancestor, Melinda Warren, who burned at the stake when a warlock denounced her as a witch. Melinda thought he was in love with her but, of course, he merely wanted her powers and to eliminate her so that he could conceal his true identity.

    Naturally, Rex and Hannah are continuing their evil plots and doing everything they can to help this escaped warlock gain what he wants. The way he can steal a power as soon as it is used against him is very interesting and was a great twist by the writers.

    I felt very deeply for poor Melinda Warren because she had been so badly betrayed but she got her own back in the end and the girls got to meet her so there was a great 'feel good' aspect to the ending.

    Superb episode with a great script and some excellent acting.moreless
Shannen Doherty

Shannen Doherty

Prudence 'Prue' Halliwell

Holly Marie Combs

Holly Marie Combs

Piper Halliwell

Alyssa Milano

Alyssa Milano

Phoebe Halliwell

Dorian Gregory

Dorian Gregory

Darryl Morris

Ted King

Ted King

Inspector Andy Trudeau

Billy Wirth

Billy Wirth

Matthew Tate

Guest Star

Tyler Layton

Tyler Layton

Melinda Warren

Guest Star

Catherine Kwong

Catherine Kwong


Guest Star

Brian Krause (I)

Brian Krause (I)

Leo Wyatt

Recurring Role

Neil Roberts

Neil Roberts

Rex Buckland

Recurring Role

Leigh-Allyn Baker

Leigh-Allyn Baker

Hannah Webster

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (18)

    • TRIVIA: Featured music in this episode -
      -In The Air Tonight by Holly McNarland
      -Around Here by Counting Crows

    • TRIVIA: The spell to invoke Melinda Warren is as follows "Melinda Warren, blood of our blood, our great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, we summon thee..."

    • Although it's quite a nice scene when Leo quotes Shakespeare and Melinda finishes the sentence, it's unlikely that she would know who Shakespeare was at the time she lived in and died. Although he was writing at that time, his work was performed almost exclusively in London and Stratford and his work didn't spread abroad until the 18th and 19th centuries.

    • Assuming that he never left, Leo was at the house the whole time the chaos was going on downstairs. Wouldn't they be worried about Leo seeing or hearing things?

    • Melinda said that Matthew must have copied blinking from another witch. Why would that be necessarily true when it is said in a later episode that most warlocks blink to get around. However, Matthew gained his blinking power in the 17th century, and it is likely that the composition of warlock powers may have changed over the last 300 years.

    • TRIVIA: This is the first episode to show someone blinking.

    • How did Andy and the rest of the S.F.P.D. know that Mr. Tate killed that lawyer? It had just happened, and he used his teleportation power to both enter and exit, so no one could have seen him.

    • TRIVIA: When Phoebe learns that her premonition power has developed so she can see the past, she says that she always thought she would get to fly. Ironically, in the season two episode "Careful What You Witch For" the genie gives her the ability to fly. Then in season three she gets the power of levitation.

    • TRIVIA: Melinda Warren reveals that her daughter was also named Prudence.

    • TRIVIA: Phoebe becomes the first sister to have her powers expand, she can now use her premonitions to see the past events.

    • After Prue gets out from behind the chair in her office, right after Matthew copies her power, she's talking to him with her right hand bent in front of her with her hand on her stomach. Yet, when the camera is shot from behind her, both of her arms are at her sides.

    • Melinda has no idea what plumbing is? It's not like indoor plumbing was common in 17th century America, but plumbing in one form or another has been around for thousands of years. It seems unlikely that she would have never heard of it.

    • After the warlock copied Prue's powers he jumps out of the office window and breaks the glass, but no broken glass hits the ground before or after the warlock.

    • No witches were ever burned in Salem, the opening flashback sequence set in Salem, 1692 to the contrary. However, all female witches killed at Salem were hung but there was one male with named Giles Corey who was crushed to death by having large stones placed on him one at a time.

    • The potion for the vanquish spell, the one that Melinda used in Salem 300 years previously, requires a feather from an endangered spotted owl, which makes it difficult for the sisters to make the potion. There weren't any spotted owls, endangered or otherwise, on the East Coast where Melinda came from so how'd she do it in the first place?

    • Melinda claims if she'd user her powers to escape Salem, it would have endangered her daughter Prudence. So why wouldn't she just escape with Prudence?

    • When the sisters chant, for some reason Phoebe and Prue say six "greats" before grandmother - Piper slips in the seventh on her lonesome.

    • The establishing shot shown of the lawyer's office was the same shot of the waitress' apartment in the episode "The Dream Sorcerer".

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Prue: Rex?
      Rex: Ah, good morning, Prue. I've, uh, left a few things for you to catalog. A marvelous shipment from an estate back east.
      Prue: I'll get right on it.
      Rex: Thanks.
      (Rex leaves. Prue sees the locket and picks it up. She opens it. The door slams shut and Matthew comes out of it.)
      Matthew: At last, freedom. The world has changed. What time is this?
      Prue: Excuse me?
      Matthew: Where am I?
      Prue: Who are you?
      Matthew: Matthew Tate, and if you freed me from that locket you are descendant of Melinda Warren. (He walks closer to her and she uses her power and he flies across the room.) Thank you.
      Prue: For what?
      Matthew: I tricked you into using your power on me. Now, I have it. (He uses her power and a chair pushes her against the wall. He then disappears, she runs in the middle of the room and he appears behind her.) Behind you, witch.
      Prue: How did you do that?
      Matthew: I can share your power but you can't share mine.
      Prue: What do you want?
      Matthew: I want what Melinda took from me. I want all three powers back. (He grabs her.) Defend yourself. Stop time.
      Prue: I can't.
      Matthew: Ah, so you're not alone. There are others. (He disappears and appears in front of the desk.) And the family name is now Halliwell.
      Rex: (from outside) Prue, are you okay in there?
      (Matthew uses Prue's power to break the glass on the window. He jumps out the window and floats down to the ground, landing on his feet. He walks away.)

    • Melinda: Matthew.
      Matthew: Hello, Melinda.
      Melinda: Why? Why did you betray me?
      Matthew: You got what you deserve.
      Melinda: So you've never loved me? All the passion, all the heat?
      Matthew: I had to make you trust me. It was the only way to share your powers.
      Melinda: And so now you have them. So why would you turn me in? You know I'll burn.
      Matthew: I had to keep my secret.
      Melinda: Well, you can keep your trinkets too.
      (She pulls off a locket that was around her neck and throws it at him.)
      Matthew: I'll find another witch to give it to.
      (He opens the locket.)
      Melinda: Maybe not.
      (He takes out a little piece of paper and it catches on fire. He throws it on the ground.)
      Matthew: What magic is this?
      Melinda: I'm taking back the powers you stole from me. "Outside of time, outside of gain, know only sorrow, know only pain."
      (It gets really windy and Matthew gets sucked into the locket.)

    • Piper: Am I the only one having second thoughts?
      Phoebe: Yes.
      Prue: We don't really have any others options.
      Piper: But aren't we, like, raising the dead? What if she's all..
      Phoebe: I read The Book of Shadows very carefully. She will come back as a real live person, flesh and blood. She will have her powers too, our powers. (Phoebe picks up a knife.)
      Piper: What's that for?
      Phoebe: Well, the spell works by blood calling blood, so it shouldn't hurt.. much. (Phoebe cuts her finger.) I lied, I lied. Okay, come on guys. It'll be just like the summer by the lake. Remember when we made a blood oath to be friends forever, not just sisters? (Prue takes the knife.)
      Piper: I remember my finger got infected.
      Prue: (Prue cuts her finger.) Ow. Yeah, but the oath worked.
      Piper: And I couldn't go in the water for three weeks. (Prue holds out the knife.) Don't hand me that knife.
      Prue: How are you gonna cut yourself?
      Piper: I'm not.
      Phoebe: Piper.
      Piper: I can't stand the sight of blood.
      Prue: Evil beings have blown up in our attic..
      Phoebe: ..Disintegrated to dust right before our very eyes..
      Prue: And you're afraid of a little drop of blood?

    • Phoebe (to Piper about Leo): Stop hinting around and ask him out already. Give him some of your crab.

    • Melinda: No, don't...don't rip the dress to make it fit me.
      Phoebe: Oh, no, no, I'm not ripping it. It's called a zipper, see?
      (Phoebe zips up the dress)
      Melinda: Oh, a wise witch made this.
      (Melinda takes the dress off of Phoebe and plays with the zipper)
      Phoebe: Yeah, and wise witches in this century keep a low profile. You slip this dress on, you'll blend right in.

    • Prue: Great, so I'm being hunted by a warlock and the San Francisco P.D.

    • Leo: I earn what I eat, get what I wear.
      Melinda: Owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness.
      Leo & Melinda: Shakespeare.

    • Phoebe: You've never asked a guy out before?
      Piper: Not on a real date, no.
      Phoebe: I don't understand. Am I the only person in this family who's inherited the 'take a chance' gene?
      Piper: Probably, 'cause if I remember my biology correctly it's attached to the 'can't mind my own business' gene.

    • Melinda (talking about short skirts): How do you keep your legs warm?
      Prue: We drink coffee.

    • Melinda: What sheep has wool this soft?
      Phoebe: A synthetic one

    • Piper: Leo?
      Phoebe: Frozen. Quick, have your way with him!

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Episode Titles: Czech Republic: Návrat čarodějky (Return of a Sorceress) France: La sorcière de Salem (the witch from Salem) Italy: Il ciondolo antico (The Ancient Pendant) Germany: Rückkehr aus dem Jenseits (Back from Heaven)

    • For this first 9 episodes, the show was nominated for the 1999 IHG (International Horror Guild) Award for Best Television. Plus, Jay Gruska and Tim Truman (the music composers) won the 1999 ASCAP Award for Top TV Series

    • This episode scored 6.0 million viewers.


    • Leo: I am a true labourer:
      I earn that I eat, get that I wear,
      Melinda: Owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness.

      This is a quote of Corin in the play "As You Like It", by William Shakespeare in Act III, Scene II.

    • Title: The Witch Is Back

      This is a reference to the Elton John song "The Bitch Is Back".