Charmed S03 E10 – Dad = bad

Previously: Piper got possessed and climbed on a bar.

We All Scream for Ice Cream

Marines: P^3. White girl dancing. Piper and Phoebe are in the back room. Piper is made uncomfortable by a guy who is just staring at her. Phoebe thinks it’s clearly flirtatious and the guy looks cute and innocent. For some reason, Piper has to remind Phoebe that she has a serious boyfriend. As if 73% of all the problems around here aren’t Piper and her serious boyfriend.

Prue walks in with a problem of her own: she’s got a song stuck in her head, but she doesn’t know what it is. She hums it, badly, and her sisters make fun of her. She decides to go ask the DJ for help, but Piper and Phoebe follow her. They received an invitation from Justin for a family BBQ. I’m guessing Justin is the high school friend of Piper’s from last episode. (S: It’s only the next episode and we’ve already forgotten who the characters are.) Prue seems very uninterested in going to this BBQ. Her sisters think it’s because of her #daddyissues. Prue insists it’s not, but then runs away to find the DJ, humming the thing she has stuck in her head.

Stephanie: There is absolutely no melody to the tune she is trying to hum. No one is going to be able to identify that for her.

Mari: Cut to an ice cream truck. It’s song is Prue’s song. Wow. The mystery. I’m so intrigued.

In the middle of the damn night in an empty alley, the ice cream truck parks and some kid whose parents clearly don’t love him approaches it. The van is all dry-ice-foggy and a nefarious voice asks if the kid wants ice cream. The man who appears isn’t that scary looking, but then when the camera turns away, something happens that makes the little boy scream.


Establishing shots, terrible music. It goes on so long that I love it for eating up some episode time.

Steph: This is the first episode in a while that has the crappy opening montage. They were about 18 minutes long, so you know this episode needs a lot of padding.

Mari: I’m not hating it. Fast forward that crap and my job got that much easier.

Manor. Prue is sweating and twitching in her sleep. We see her sepia-toned dream. It’s a creepy playground and baby!Prue is screaming for help and runs into a man’s arms. Prue startles awake.

We cut to later that morning as Prue gets the newspaper and gets a creepy vibe from something outside. In the kitchen, Phoebe basically ignores Prue’s greeting because she is busy still trying to find more information on Cole. Phoebe gets an instant message from “an old friend” and quickly shuts the laptop because Prue has started asking what’s going on. Phoebe says it’s nothing, but Prue immediately knows that means it’s about a boy. Because almost every time something is going on, it’s about a boy.

Piper comes in with more news: an old friend saw their dad in the city, at the Bay Tech Building. Piper asks if they should try and track him down. Prue thinks not because he’s a sucky dad. The other girls are like, “c’mon girl.” I feel like we’ve seen an episode exactly like this already?

Steph: I know there was an episode that dealt with their daddy issues, and I’m trying real hard to remember it, but nothing is coming back to me. I’m guessing dad = bad is about as much as we need to know to follow along.

Mari: We are really good at this.

Crowded elevator. Someone is humming the ice cream ditty and Prue looks all around. She doesn’t realize it’s the child on the elevator until the child and mother are getting off. Prue tries to follow them off, but the elevator doors close in her face.

Piper goes to the Bay Tech Building. She rambles at the receptionist before asking what company Victor Bennet works for. The receptionist can’t find him, so Piper shows her an old picture. Still no recognition. A man gets off an elevator and Piper takes after him, but it turns out it isn’t Victor. Moral of the scene: no Victor.

Phoebe and Prue are having lunch together. Prue is talking about the photoshoot she’s working on and Phoebe is like, “blah blah blah, let’s talk about boys.” Namely, Prue’s daddy issues and how it means rejection for Justin. Prue says nuh-uh, Phoebe says yes-huh, my dialogue is actually better than the real one.

Steph: Let’s be real , this has nothing to do with their dad. Justin is not coming back because these guys never do. My theory is that all the love interests disappear because none of them can stand to be around the P’s once they get to know them.

Mari: Seems legit.

Once again, Prue hears someone humming the ice cream ditty. This time, she’s able to find the child, a girl sitting all alone at a fountain, and ask where the ditty is from. She points at the ice cream truck as it rolls by. Phoebe wants to keep talking about boys, but Prue is wigged out by the ice cream truck during winter, the lack of parental units, and why no one else finds this weird.

Steph: Hold on a minute, Prue says it’s weird that there’s an ice cream truck in cold weather, but they’re both wearing light jackets? Also the people walking around in the background are not even wearing coats? I’m very confused by her definition of cold.

Mari: Plot appropriate TV cold.

The Fountain Girl runs after the truck and finds it parked in an alley. Just as she gets pulled into the truck, Prue and Phoebe reach her and pull her back out. But then they fall to the floor and just stare up at the bad guy, giving him enough time to suck them all into his worm-holey-ice-cream-truck.

We are in Prue’s dream scene, now in a different Instagram filter. More blue. It’s snowing and awful. (S: Now THIS is cold weather.) The Ice Cream Man asks them what they are doing here and the girls, or rather Prue with the useful power, discovers hat they don’t have their powers. Suddenly, the Ice Cream Man is spooked by a black swirl in the sky. A little boy comes running toward them, asking for their help to stay safe from the black swirl– The Nothing. It eats up the children and leaves nothing behind. The boy shows Prue and Phoebe a good place to hide, but then Fountain Girl starts running toward them too. Prue tries to help her, but she gets eaten by The Nothing before making it to safety.

P^3. Piper is leaving repeated messages for her sister when Flirty Bar Guy walks in. He says he’s new in town and is looking to meet someone special. Right away my ha–ha-ha-misunderstanding alarm bells are set off. Piper talks about her big, muscular fiance and Flirty Bar Guy seems real interested in him and whether or not he lives nearby. When Piper suggest introducing him to her single sisters, Flirty Bar Guy [FBG] wants to know if they hang out with her fiancé too. Piper says there is a kink club down the street he might be interested in. FBG realizes Piper has the wrong idea, but instead of explaining further, decides to leave and come use his words later.

Icy Hell. Prue and Phoebe feel like they are walking in circles, but Boy tells them that it’s just a feature of Icy Hell. They try to get more information from him about Ice Cream Man, but the boy basically knows nothing. We’ll call him Boy Snow. Boy Snow is really excited to bring the adults to the rest of the children and to be rescued from Icy Hell. As they walk on, Phoebe touches the playground swing and gets a premonition of the sepia dream Prue had earlier. Even though their powers supposedly don’t work… Piper tells Prue that she saw baby!Prue at this playground with dad. Prue just gives her a really aggressive look.

Manor. Piper calls for Leo and he tinkles in. He tells her that he was busy working and stuff, but Piper tells him about her missing sisters. He uses his witchy GPS or whatever (…have we ever seen him use this before?) (S: When is Leo not pulling powers and knowledge out of his ass?) (M: TRUE.) but can’t sense them. It’s like they disappeared.

Icy Hell. Boy Snow has found the two remaining children and brought them to the P’s, who think the secret to getting out of Icy Hell is finding Ice Cream Man. Thankfully, he just conveniently appears when they need him. Piper and Prue chase him for a half a second before again conveniently happening by the worm hole exit back to the city. So, in all their wandering, the children NEVER came across it but here it is. Okay.

Phoebe and Prue help the kids out and Ice Cream Man yells at them to get away from the door. They all get out successfully. Ice Cream Man tries to pull Boy Snow back in, but Boy Snow gets all demonic and burns Ice Cream Man. Phoebe and Prue see it happen and realize their mistake. Demonic Boy Snow tells the other children to thank the witches, which they do and run away. And nary a move is made by the magical witches to stop them.

Steph: I was just thinking about how boring this episode is, but Boy Snow suddenly having a demonic voice filter made me laugh and perked me up again. I suppose this explains why these kids are picking up dessert in dark alleys.

Mari: Manor. Piper is worried and Leo is trying to calm her, saying any minute her sisters will walk in with a perfectly good explanation. They walk in, everyone hugs, but their explanation isn’t all that great, I’m just saying.


We cut to the attic, where Phoebe and Piper are looking through the Book of Shadows, having presumably filled Leo and Piper in. There is an entry on Ice Cream Man, a mortal who plays the special ditty that captures child demons. For real. They get trapped inside the truck where The Nothing is the only thing that can vanquish them. Unfortunately, The Nothing isn’t very discriminating and will eat good and evil alike. So, they left the good mortal man in there and don’t have a way to get back in.

Phoebe is all ahem, ahem, because of that premonition she had about their dad and Prue. It seems like Victor might be able to help, but they don’t know how to find him. Phoebe is all ahem, ahem again because actually Victor has been in town for three months and Phoebe has been keeping in touch with him and it was him who IM’ed her yesterday. I never want to hear Phoebe spout a single ‘nother platitude about keeping secrets or any of that BS. She is #01 secret keeper.

Street, somewhere. Demon Boy #02 just charcoaled someone. Demon Girl and Demonic Boy Snow find him. (S: Boy Snow asks Demon Boy #02 what he’s doing and he just goes, “KILLIN’!” in the worst acting ever and I laugh a whole bunch.) It turns out that Demon Boy and Girl just want to get their kicks KILLIN’ people, but Demonic Boy Snow wants to find the witches and the ice cream truck and get rid of them. Then they can happily murder ever after.

P^3. Prue wanted to meet Victor at the club instead of at their house. I’m really weirded out by how Piper and Phoebe think Prue is being unreasonable about not wanting to sing songs with the father that abandoned them. I mean, he did abandon them, right? I’m not misremembering that? And last time he was in town he basically just disappeared on them again?

Steph: Don’t ask me to remember things. I barely know what show we’re watching. I’m sticking with dad = bad.

Mari: Flirty Bar Guy shows up again to be very interested in the sisters. Piper yells at him to get a hint and go away. She asks Leo for some back-up and Leo makes up a story about FBG having a call in the office, and ushers him that way. Which is weird.

Victor shows up and Phoebe is the only one to get up and hug him. She also immediately starts using a baby voice. Now THAT seems like some daddy issues. (S: Whenever she starts talking in that voice, I want to turn my TV off. She does it with Cole too, which is even worse.) Victor says he can’t believe he’s here with all three of his daughters and Prue’s like “yeah, yeah, yeah, family bonding after we save the city from child demons.”

Victor tries to lie to his girls about the playground, but since Phoebe had the premonition, he can’t. He admits that he was there. Prue had a cold and he stayed home with her while Mama Halliwell took Phoebe and Piper on errands. We flashback and see that Prue fell asleep while Victor read to her. Later, she wakes up and head downstairs without Victor noticing. She heard the ice cream truck and watched as a little kid was pulled inside. She went in there after him.

Out of the flashback, Victor says he went in after Prue and saved her, a fact that gives Prue bitch face. Victor says it was one of the last things he did as their father, because it was then his arguing with Grams started. She wanted the girls to use their powers and he didn’t so I guess he quit being their dad. The girls figure out that a mortal needs to open the ice cream truck, which means that they need their dad’s help.

Steph: I’m really not understanding the dad’s story. It seems like we’re supposed to think, “oh, it all makes sense why he left now!” But he still comes off as awful? Did he forget to include the part where grams put a banishment spell on him or…?

Mari: I feel like most parents who abandon their children have a ~*reason*~… but they still abandon their children? So, okay Victor. Whatever you say.

Prue tells Piper that this is totally a one time group effort and EVERYTHING IS FINE and SHE IS FINE DAMMIT. Piper is like …okay. Phoebe walks arm in arm with Victor and wonders why he thought she wouldn’t answer his email. He says because he abandoned them twice. She knows that but she always believed he didn’t leave by choice.

Steph: …But he did though? AM I MISSING SOMETHING?

Mari: NOPE. Because the second time he “abandoned” them, GRAMS WAS DEAD.

They arrive at the alley where they left the truck, but it’s gone. Unfortunately, the demon children are also there and the girl knocks them down with her super breath. The kids run away and Phoebe wonders why they are just letting them run away. The group splits up and Phoebe and Piper chase after the children. Victor notices a tow sign and figures the ice cream truck got towed.

Tow yard. Prue breaks in while yelling at Victor that she doesn’t need his help. But then they get to the ice cream truck and she needs his help. She weirdly tries it alone first even though they had a whole discussion about how she wouldn’t be able to do it. Victor looks hesitant to open the door to Icy Hell, so Prue gives him a pep talk about visualizing himself opening the door. He opens the door. It was a lot of building up for some door opening.

Icy Hell. Prue and Victor stand around all, “hmm where is he?” without actually looking for Ice Cream Man. Thankfully, Ice Cream Man starts coughing loudly. He’s in rough shape. Prue apologizes for her mistake, and Ice Cream Man for his. As soon as he mistakenly pulled the Charmed Ones in his truck, he was alerted and sent to save them. Prue wants to return the favor. They start trying to pull Ice Cream Man out, but The Nothing is coming. Ice Cream Man gives Prue instructions on reactivating the truck, handing her a glass bulb, and The Nothing eats him. Prue is very sad, but it’s Victor’s turn to pep talk her out of there to finish what Ice Cream Man charged her with.

Piper and Phoebe find the demonic kids and hear them plotting to destroy the truck. And then three more demonic kids show up. Piper and Phoebe take this as their cue to run back to Prue and Victor.

At the yard, Phoebe and Piper are quickly surrounded. They ask how bad their odds could be and then one of the kids throws a car part (?) at Piper’s head and knocks her out. (S: Incredible. Best moment yet.) Phoebe is left alone to fend them off until Prue and Victor get out of the truck.

Icy Hell. Prue and Victor get back to the exit, but The Nothing starts to pull at Prue. She screams for her daddy because she now she needs him and her daddy issues don’t matter. Victor promises not to let her go because #poignant. He saves her.


Phoebe gets blown away by super breath pretty quickly. Things are looking bad for her, but Prue finally makes it out of the ice cream truck and telekenesises all the kids away. She gives Victor the glass bulb and works with Phoebe to keep the kids away. Victor stares at the glass bulb for an incredibly long time, giving Demonic Boy Snow a chance to almost burn his face off. But now it’s Prue’s turn to save him. They share another very long look, considering they are surrounded by murderous children, and then Victor reactivates the truck. The little ditty plays, the demonic children are sucked back into their Icy Hell, and Piper comes to in time to have missed the whole thing.

Speaking of fine timing, Leo and Flirty Bar Guy arrive. Turns out he’s just the new Ice Cream Man. He’s been lost, but didn’t want to come out and ask Piper if she was a Charmed One, not knowing her identity for sure. Ha ha ha misunderstanding!

Steph: That was a whole lot of build up for absolutely nothing. I actually thought he was going to turn out to be their long lost brother that their dad had while he was away or something.

Also, this guy is really stoked about his new job, and I kind of feel bad for him because the other ice cream man seemed extremely miserable. Maybe the benefits package is really good.

Mari: One can only hope.

Manor. Victor is saying goodbye and Phoebe is wearing a knitted tank top that says WYOMING. Wow. Victor gives Phoebe a hug and says they don’t have to keep anything a secret. It’s a loaded statement because of all the secrets Phoebe keeps. Victor moves on to Piper and makes jokes about having a little chat with Leo because it’s a father’s prerogative. Prue says she isn’t saying goodbye, but adds that this is just “see you soon” because her daddy issues are fixed now, I guess. Victor says that he’d like to accept a job offer in San Fran and see them more often. He leaves, but this time on a happier note.

Steph: Why are they forgiving him though? They found out an ice cream truck led to him leaving, and now it’s all better? Just… what?

Mari: I don’t know, but I’ll end by saying that while looking for gifs for this episode, I came across this from someone who claims that this episode is one of their favorites:

Steph: Oh… wow. 

Mari: Yep. I can assure you that I will still look at ice cream trucks the exact same way.


Next time on Charmed: Someone is planning to kill all the Whitelighters in S03 E11 – Blinded by the Whitelighter.


Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

Stephanie (all posts)

I'm a miniature adult who still gets offered the kid's coloring menu at restaurants. I like to pretend I'm an illustrator, but mostly I spend my time complaining about TV on Twitter. My life dream is to have my consciousness placed into an android body so that I'll have more time to watch/read things.


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  • Blinvy .

    Yeah, me and ice cream trucks are still good. If you want to be traumatized by ice cream trucks, watch the Clint Howard movie where he abducts children and turns them into ice cream. Sure it’s a comedy but tell that to a traumatized child.

    • TayciBear

      Or watch Maximum Overdrive. Way scarier than whatever this was.

  • Ryan

    Yep – ice cream trucks still look the same here!

    The Charmed wikia tells me that the season 1 Halliwell dad is a different actor from season 3+. I didn’t think he looked familiar, but I just attributed it to Charmednesia.

    Who’s with me in expecting Piper and Prue to be upset with Phoebe for only ~1.8 episodes when they find out her ~*secret*~?

  • The Bad Slayer

    In fairneas, I’ve always looked at ice cream trucks as being creepy fucks but that was looonnngggg before this show aired. And not because they might house demonic children. Rather, that they might house demonic adults.