The Source (Charmed)

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The Source of All Evil
Charmed character
Head and shoulder shot of fearful looking man with right half of his face scarred from being badly burned, right eye covered with scar tissue, left eye completely black
Peter Woodward as the Source
First appearance All Hell Breaks Loose (Season 3, but see text on earlier influences in plotlines and dialog)
Last appearance Desperate Housewitches (season 8)
Created by Constance M. Burge, Brad Kern
Portrayed by Michael Bailey Smith, Bennet Guillory, Peter Woodward, Julian McMahon, Debbi Morgan
Species Upper Level Demon
Family Evil Spawn conceived by Cole Turner & Phoebe Halliwell

The Source of All Evil is a fictional character on the WB television series Charmed, a demon who is the ruler of the underworld for the show's first 4 seasons. He is portrayed by Michael Bailey Smith, Bennet Guillory and Peter Woodward over the course of the series and had a brief resurrection in one episode during the show's eighth season.

He was responsible for incarcerating the powerful demon Zankou[episodes 1] and The Tall Man. He is also responsible for banishing numerous beings from the underworld, such as: The vampires, wizards, Kurzon and possibly even Hecate.

His first on screen appearance is in the episode "All Hell Breaks Loose", but his lurking backroom presence was a regular theme in the backplot creation of many prior episodes during the show's first four seasons—especially so in seasons three and four—- where he occurred regularly in exposition dialog as "a name" behind or of having sent or being connected with other evil entities mentioned. He is depicted very differently in appearance than in the later episodes (picture above, and right), having an appearance in early depictions of an unseen face-in-the-shadows in a heavily cowled dark colored robe, the first being a robe of blood-red velvet, the next few appearances, just ones in less exotic materials colored black.

The unhooded Source has a tattooed face, that when finally revealed, is partially mutilated from battles with other demons when he seized power.[episodes 2] It is said that the damage done to his face is the result of battles with the upper level demon Zankou,[episodes 1] who appears as a major villain in the seventh season.

Among his many demonic powers are throwing fireballs, teleportation (flaming), manipulating flame, shape-shifting, summoning demons and evil beings, mind control, and possession. He sends numerous demons after the Halliwell sisters during the development of various plots in the series' eight seasons, including the Triad and so indirectly the half-human/half-demon love interest of Phoebe Halliwell, Belthazor/Cole Turner. He later puts a bounty on Cole's head when the latter turns good.

The actor Peter Woodward who plays the half-faced source, also appears as another demon in the season seven episodes "Someone to Witch Over Me" and "Ordinary witches".

Season 1[edit]

The show’s first season sees two warlocks, under the aliases Rex Buckland and Hannah Webster, stalking and attempting to kill the Charmed Ones and take their powers shortly after they were unbound. In the episode The Witch Is Back, Buckland mentions having failed a mysterious “He”, after the 17th century warlock Matthew Tate is unsuccessful in killing the sisters. The two agree that by outing the Halliwells as descendants of Melinda Warren (and thus, as the Charmed Ones) that it is not a complete failure, a feat which will buy them time to vanquish the sisters themselves.

Following this, Buckland and Webster expose themselves as warlocks to the Charmed Ones and attempted to extort them into giving up their powers. However, they are unsuccessful. After the Charmed Ones tricked Hannah, in panther form, into mauling Rex to death, Hannah is seen surrounded by intense flames. She screams "Wait, it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t fail, he did! No, please, no!" before she and Rex are turned into dust. It is presumed that the Source vanquished Hannah for her failure.[episodes 3]

A few months later, the Source was alarmed enough by the rapid decimation of his ranks that he sent a low-level demon to find out who was behind it. The demon set himself up as Inspector Rodriguez, an internal-affairs investigator with the San Francisco Police Department, and finds out that Andy Trudeau, Prue's on-and-off boyfriend, is connected to many unsolved cases with supernatural overtones. With the help of the demon of time, Tempus, Rodriguez found out that the Charmed Ones are the ones who have killed so many demons and warlocks in such a short time. Rodriguez was ultimately vanquished by the Charmed Ones, but not before killing Andy.

Season 2[edit]

In "Give Me a Sign", Litvack refers to the Source as his boss. After the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse fail to end the world, the Source vanquishes them, though as in "Wicca Envy," he is not actually shown on screen. It is known that it is him because it is mentioned throughout the episode that only the Source could kill them and also at the end of the episode it is the Source keeping the vortex open, thus killing them.[episodes 4]

Season 3[edit]

The Source is talked about all through the season mainly by demons who he sends to kill the Charmed Ones. Most notably, he sent Belthazor after the sisters. However, this plan backfires after Belthazor's human half, Cole Turner, falls deeply in love with Phoebe and turns good.

The Source is seen for the first time after his assassin Shax tries to kill a good doctor the Source wants dead. When the saving of the doctor reveals the existence of magic to the world, he uses the demon Tempus to restart time to the point when the doctor was saved. In the end Shax kills both Prue and the doctor, destroying the original Power of Three.[episodes 5]

Season 4[edit]

Soon after Prue's death, the Source learned that the Halliwells had a long-lost half-sister, Paige Matthews. He sent Shax after her, but was unable to prevent her from reuniting with Piper and Phoebe. Undaunted, the Source tried to turn Paige evil by warping her sense of good and evil. However, he failed, and the Power of Three was reborn.[episodes 6]

The reconstitution of the Charmed Ones seriously threatened the Source's hold on power. Out of necessity, he makes several attempts on the Charmed Ones' lives and their powers, including putting Piper into a coma in order to force her to give up her powers.[episodes 7]

Looking for a way to finish off the Charmed Ones, the Source decided to unleash The Hollow,[episodes 8] an ancient formless being that has the power to absorb all magic. This move is strongly opposed by his principal adviser, The Seer, since if not contained it will destroy the entire world. He is successful in stealing Piper and Paige's powers, but does not steal Phoebe's powers because he thinks they're too weak. However, the Seer encourages Cole—who was by this time fully mortal—to take in the Hollow, telling him it's the only way to save Phoebe. Cole absorbs the Source's power when he throws a fireball at him.[episodes 8] The Charmed Ones then vanquish the Source by calling on the magic of the entire Warren-Halliwell line.[episodes 8]

What neither Cole nor the Charmed Ones knew was that the Seer intended for Cole to become the next Source. When the Source was vanquished, the Seer said that his essence went "into the void." However, she was referring to the void in Cole's soul where Belthazor had once been. She expected that the Source would enter that void and take over Cole. Cole tries to fight becoming the new Source; The Source first appears to Cole inside Cole's dreams, where he stabs the surprised human Cole's dream self with a sword. Cole battles the Source now living inside him, to no avail; within a few days of the Source's vanquish, the Source has almost completely taken over Cole. Eventually, there is little left of Cole's humanity except his love for Phoebe. Although demons normally can't handle human emotions, the Source maintained to the Seer that he needed Phoebe's love because without it, Cole's soul would die and he would cease to exist, but that was likely only a ploy because he did not want to admit that even the possessed Cole's love for Phoebe would survive decades and eternities no matter what happened. Believing his previous incarnation as the Source was too reckless, the Source opted not to renew his war against the Charmed Ones. Rather, he intended to use Phoebe's love for Cole to turn her evil and permanently destroy the Power of Three.

While Cole/the Source intended to make Phoebe his queen, the Seer feared that Phoebe could sway Cole away from evil. The Seer secretly engineered an attempt on Phoebe's life. She convinced Kurzon, a longtime rival of the Source, to go after Phoebe. At the time, the Source was presumed dead, and it was understood killing even one Charmed One meant automatic succession to the crown. After Cole/the Source found out about the Seer's involvement, he threatened to kill her if she ever betrayed him again.

Cole/the Source was due to obtain the full powers of the Source in a ceremony that called for him to take an oath on the Grimoire, the dark counterpart to the Book of Shadows. However, after the Source completely took over Cole, the Seer told him that she'd foreseen Phoebe giving birth to the most powerful magical child in history. Had Cole/the Source married Phoebe in a white wedding, the child would have been born as a powerful good witch. With the Seer's help, Cole/the Source sabotaged the wedding and tricked Phoebe into marrying him in a dark wedding disguised as a private ceremony. In case Phoebe found out what was happening, the Seer had Cole/the Source slip Phoebe some chocolates enchanted with a potion she'd brewed up.

The Seer still opposed the idea of a Charmed One as Queen of the Underworld. She tricked Cole/the Source into hiring a female upper-level demon, Julie, as his personal assistant. She hoped that Julie would seduce him away from Phoebe, but this was futile. Cole was on the verge of giving up his powers to an evil wizard after Phoebe inadvertently found out that he was a demon again, but the Seer convinced Phoebe that Cole was in danger. Phoebe killed the wizard, stopping the transfer. Cole and Phoebe were then duly crowned as the rulers of the underworld.

Shortly afterward, Cole/the Source ordered the Seer to give Phoebe a "tonic" that was designed to strengthen the baby and turn Phoebe completely evil. Phoebe finds out about the tonic, and also learned that Cole had personally killed an innocent her sisters were protecting. As a result, Phoebe joined her sisters in vanquishing Cole/the Source shortly after his reign began.[episodes 9]

Following Cole's death, one of his lieutenants, Dane, was due to be crowned as the Source. However, the Seer claimed that Phoebe's baby was the rightful Source, and that with her help he would be able to rule immediately. By this time, the baby had rapidly developed fierce demonic powers, and was powerful enough to control his mother even from the womb which he used to do both bad things. The Seer lured Phoebe into the underworld and magically transferred the baby into her own womb. The Seer then takes the oath to become the new Source, and planned to sacrifice the Charmed Ones as her first act. She intended to destroy them using the powers of the source, but was unable to because of the Charmed One's Power of 3 Spell. The baby's powers caused the Seer to overload and destroy not only her, but the entirely demonic council Shortly afterward, Leo took the Grimoire and hid it in the West Andes so no new Sources could be crowned.[episodes 10]

The Seer said that the baby would be the solely the Source's demonic spawn containing nothing of Cole or Phoebe. She was right, the fetus was pure evil, and Phoebe herself said she felt the pure evil when the fetus took her over. There was nothing of Phoebe or Cole in the fetus, it was clearly the spawn of the Seer and the Source. Essentially, the fetus was the source's powers reborn, which the Seer wanted to use become the Source herself and rule the underworld.

Season 8[edit]

Four years later, an unnamed possessor demon invades the body of a woman named Mandi, in order to manipulate Wyatt.[episodes 11] She then uses Wyatt's incredible powers to bring the previous half-faced Source back from the dead. This also, again, makes the point that Cole Turner was not the Source in and of himself, but was possessed by the Source (or Cole would have returned instead of the half-faced Source, when Wyatt's powers are used to bring back the Source). However, Leo and Billie, trapped in Magic School with no way to get home, realize the school has been taken over by evil, and discover the demon's plan.[episodes 11] Shortly after, they find a spell to return Billie, who warns the Charmed Ones, who in return go to Magic School to rescue Leo. Meanwhile, Leo stays in the school to watch over Wyatt. Although he is disguised from the world, the Source senses that he is in fact the Charmed Ones' former Whitelighter. The Charmed Ones arrive just in time, and Piper casts a spell to eject the possessor demon from Mandi. She then vanquishes the demon, and the resurrected Source with her, as their magic is interconnected.[episodes 11]

Powers and abilities[edit]

  • Flaming.
  • Fireball throwing.
  • Energy ball throwing.
  • Optical blast throwing.
  • Force field creation.
  • Portal creation.
  • Shapeshifting.
  • Sensing.
  • Healing.
  • Cloaking.
  • Telepathy.
  • Levitation.
  • Possession.
  • Telekinesis.
  • Pyrokinesis.
  • Super speed.
  • Regeneration.
  • Super strength.
  • Materialization.
  • Sleep induction.
  • Transformation.
  • Bolt generation.
  • Dream leaping.
  • Summoning.


To Vanquish the Source

Prudence, Penelope, Patricia, Melinda,
Astrid, Helena, Laura and Grace;
Halliwell witches stand strong beside us;
Vanquish this evil from time and space.

Episode footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Witchness Protection". Charmed. 2004-11-28. The WB.
  2. ^ "Desperate Housewitches". Charmed. 2005-10-16. The WB.
  3. ^ "Wicca Envy". Charmed. 1999-01-13. The WB.
  4. ^ "Apocalypse Not". Charmed. 2000-05-11. The WB.
  5. ^ "All Hell Breaks Loose". Charmed. 2001-05-17. The WB.
  6. ^ "Charmed Again (Part 1)". Charmed. 2001-10-04. The WB.
  7. ^ "Brain Drain". Charmed. 2001-11-08. The WB.
  8. ^ a b c "Charmed and Dangerous". Charmed. 2002-02-07. The WB.
  9. ^ "Long Live the Queen". Charmed. 2002-05-02. The WB.
  10. ^ "Womb Raider". Charmed. 2002-05-09. The WB.
  11. ^ a b c "Desperate Housewitches". Charmed. 2005-10-16. The WB.