Lily said in Count On Me "focus on the good, not on the bad" but there isn't much good in In Charm's Way.
The episode, which is all about charm, is almost entirely devoid of charm. Many jokes weren't funny and most characters' laughter seemed forced. There were problems with the storylines and the new character, Blaire.
Focusing on the good, the characterizations of Ray and Travis are great. Ray's humour is genuine and his protectiveness of Lily shows his growth in maturity. In About A Boy, he broke up Lily's date with Lee Johns by asking her about an imaginary rash. Here, he talks to her and accepts her decision to stick with River. Not that he's happy about it.
Travis shows his sage-side again, advising Robbie to join the newspaper to satisfy his need for journalistic recognition and keep true to his ambitions.
Travis's words to Ray mimic Mickey's words to Lily when she worried about Travis' Miss Communication persona in Girl Talk Radio. They are also vaguely reminiscent of a poem, The Friend Who Just Stands By written by B. Y. Williams.
The acting was fine, especially considering with what the actors had to work.
Focusing on the bad again, the Lily and River storyline has a major problem. Forget that River is trying to date a minor niner which is a supposed faux-pas. Forget that the ambidextrous joke has been circulating the Internet for years. Forget that Lily has already been warned about River's deviousness and, as far as she knows, got a taste of it in On A Wingman And A Prayer. River's "charmed" her in previous episodes but now he's nervous and off-his-game?
Another character could have been substituted for Parker and the half-decent comic relief scenes would have remained relatively intact. Victoria deserves better.
Robbie's storyline is annoying. Despite being supposedly bewitched by Blaire's charms, there is no real chemistry between Robbie and Blaire, and at first it's unclear what Blaire "charmed" Robbie into doing. Was it making him not suggest great ideas she didn't know he had?
Until she touches his arm during his second visit to the newsroom, there's no clear manipulation and even then there was no way she could have known he had great ideas. Yes, he wants to write something more substantial. That doesn't mean he knows what to write.
Blaire's character has the most problems. First, an editor kissing his/her reporter is ethically problematic, with potential future questions about conflicts of interest and harassment.
Second, the "I said 100 words, not 103" line is bad. Unless the author of the article wrote the word count on the sheet, Blaire could not have known it was 103 simply by glancing at it. Besides, while word counts give journalists a target for an article's length, the bottom line is that the article fits in its allotted space in the newspaper.
It's like filling up a jam jar with jellybeans. It can fit 100 beans, or 103 if some beans are small or only 50 if some are big. The article's format shown to Blaire wasn't in columns so she couldn't have known how those 103 words would fit.
Third, she gives an important assignment to a grade 9 student with no apparent experience or credentials. Then she complains about scrambling to find filler but throws his story aside.
In Charm's Way also leaves several unanswered questions. Why was Ray late for RFR? How did River know to get Travis a Cherry Cola? Does Waller run The Oracle too?
Why did it make it to air?
Word Count is: 600.