Marnette Patterson as Christy Jenkins
|First appearance||"Kill Billie Vol. 1" (8.06)|
|Last appearance||"Forever Charmed" (8.22)|
|Created by||Brad Kern|
|Portrayed by||Marnette Patterson (adult)
Stephanie Patton (age 11)
Allie Orsatti (age 7)
|Title||The Key to the Ultimate Power|
Christy Jenkins is a fictional character from the American television supernatural drama Charmed, which aired on the WB Television Network (the WB) from 1998 to 2006. The character was created by executive producer Brad Kern and was portrayed by actress Marnette Patterson. Developed in response to the WB's request for a new character, Christy was originally planned to expand the show in a new direction for a possible ninth season or spin-off. It was later confirmed that all future plans for the show were cancelled following the WB's closure to launch CW Television Network (The CW). Introduced as Billie Jenkins's long-lost sister, she secretly collaborates with the demonic council known as the Triad with their plans to destroy the Charmed Ones. She eventually convinces Billie that the Charmed Ones are corrupt, and use their power to fulfill their own personal desires, rather than help for the greater good. Billie kills Christy in self-defense after being unable to convince her to understand the Halliwell sisters were good, and to return home with her.
Throughout season eight, Christy is shown to be a powerful witch with a mastery of her powers of telepathy and pyrokinesis. She is also called the Key to the Ultimate Power due to her connection with Billie, who is prophesied to be the "Ultimate Power". The exact nature of Christy's morality and her status as the season's antagonist have been subjects of debate among critics and fans. Critical response to the character was mixed: some critics praised her storyline with Billie, while others criticized Patterson's acting, and the portrayal of the character as a villain. Christy is also referenced in canonical Charmed material such as comic books and novels.
The WB Television Network (the WB) renewed Charmed for an eighth season on condition that it incorporate new characters that could either sustain a ninth season or a spin-off series because lead actors Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Rose McGowan did not want to renew their contracts for future seasons. Executive producer Brad Kern initially felt that the sisterhood between Christy and Billie Jenkins would preserve the show's focus on family. Marnette Patterson told Starry Constellation Magazine that she enjoyed the chance to be featured on an established series and its finale. She added that her chemistry with co-star Kaley Cuoco made it easier to make their storylines and relationship as sisters more believable to the audience. During the WB's merge with United Paramount Network (UPN) to form The CW in 2006, network executives said there was not enough room for a Charmed spin-off. In an interview with E!'s Kristin Veitch, Cuoco confirmed that a spin-off involving her character would not be developed, saying "Charmed is done". Brian Krause, who played Leo Wyatt, later expressed confusion at the direction of the final season, stating: "I don't know if they were trying to groom talent to go on to something else".
Characterization and powers
Conceived as a recurring character, Christy has been noted as a "source of fandom controversy" over the definition of her morality. Kern referenced Christy's kidnapping and imprisonment by demons while raising the question if she was "the sweet child" or someone "Stockholm Syndrome'd and now believes in the demonic way". He cited the nature versus nurture debate as one of the factors behind the development of the character. Despite Kern's intentions to portray the character's beliefs as ambigious, critics frequently characterized Christy as an antagonist. Brittany Spanos of Vulture.com viewed Christy as an evil witch due to her betrayal of Billie and the Charmed Ones, and SpoilerTV's Gavin Hetherington identified her as the season's big bad. In their book The Book of Three, authors Diana G. Gallagher and Paul Ruditis write that she was the Triad's protégée. Alternatively, Ruditis, who later became the lead writer on Charmed Season 9, viewed Billie as a pawn manipulated by the Triad, rather than a proper villain. He followed this up by questioning the lack of a strong, female antagonist on the show. Demain of Television Without Pity compared Christy's identity as the Key to the Ulimate Power to Buffy the Vampire Slayer character Dawn Summers (Michelle Trachtenberg) who was also known as the Key.
Christy is the oldest of Carl and Helen Jenkins's two daughters. Both of her parents are mortal, and her powers were inherited from her maternal grandmother, making her a carrier of the genes determining magical ability. As a witch, Christy possesses the basic ability to cast spells, perform rituals, brew potions, scry for lost people or objects through the use of a crystal pendent, and communicate with the dead. She also possesses an advanced form of telepathy, enabling her to hear and project her thoughts, as well as channeling other magical creatures' powers. Carl and Helen Jenkins (David Starzyk and Barbara Niven) said Christy heard voices prior to her kidnapping, implying that this power was already active. As a firestarter, Christy had the power of pyrokinesis; this power could be augmented by Billie's projection powers to vanquish demons previously believed to be invincible.
As a child, Christy was kidnapped by a demon called Reinhardt (Brian Oerly) as part of a plan by the demonic council known as the Triad (Steven J. Oliver, Seren Oliver, and Leland Crooke) to destroy the Charmed Ones: Piper Halliwell (Holly Marie Combs), Phoebe Halliwell (Alyssa Milano), and Paige Matthews (Rose McGowan). Prior to her abduction, the Triad sent the demon Dumain (Anthony Cistaro) to pose as Christy's imaginary friend and corrupt her. It is implied that Christy has some awareness about the Triad as her parents find the council's symbol on the final page of her diary. During the fifteen years of her kidnapping, Christy is taught to believe that it is her destiny to unite with her sister Billie Jenkins (Kaley Cuoco) and to stop the Charmed Ones since they have become corrupted by their selfish desires. After gaining the power to warp reality, Billie travels back in time to speak with an 11-year-old Christy and track down her location. She rescues Christy off-screen between the episodes "12 Angry Zen" and "The Last Temptation of Christy".
With the Halliwells' help, Billie attempts to help Christy reintegrate back into everyday life and to gain control over her powers. Billie and the Halliwells are unaware of Christy's collaboration with the Triad. At this time, Billie is identified as the "Ultimate Power" foreshadowed in earlier episodes as the season's big bad, and Christy as the key to the "Ultimate Power". The Triad arranges for Christy's parents to be killed by a pair of Noxon demons (John Rosenfeld and David S. Lee), believing prolonged contact with them could sway her morality to the side of good. Billie becomes angry and feels betrayed by the Halliwell sisters when they decide to interrogate the demons to gather more information about the "Ultimate Power" rather than killing them to avenge her parents' deaths. Christy uses this moment to turn Billie against the Charmed Ones. Billie and Christy vanquish the Noxon demons, who were previously believed to be invincible, and the Halliwell sisters realize that Billie is the "Ultimate Power".
Christy attempts to convince Billie that the Charmed Ones only use their powers for their own personal gain rather than to support the greater good, and it is their destiny to stop them. Billie agrees with Christy's plans to kill the Halliwells after exploring the sisters' dreams and believing their "inner-truths" were driven by selfish desires. After turning the magical community against the Halliwells, Billie and Christy engage in the ultimate battle with the sisters, which destroys Halliwell Manor and kills Christy, Phoebe, and Paige. Billie uses her projection power to travel back in time to save Christy, but discovers that she was being manipulated by the Triad. She realizes that Christy is working with the Triad and begins to question her morality. Christy and Dumain steal the cupid Coop's (Victor Webster) ring to travel back in time to warn the Triad about the outcome of the ultimate battle. Billie helps the sisters project back in time to vanquish the Triad and the past and present versions of Dumain. Billie attempts unsuccessfully to convince Christy to come back home with her. Christy throws a fireball at Billie and the Halliwell sisters, and Billie telekinetically deflects it back at her and kills her.
Christy is also referenced in a novel and the comic books based on the Charmed television series. In "Trickery Treat", Paige experiences guilt for being unable to prevent the massacre of the magic community because Christy puts her under a hex turning her inner truth into obsession. An issue from Charmed: Season 9, a canonical comic book continuation of the television show written by Ruditis, reveals that Billie and Christy were not intended to be powerful enough to confront the Charmed Ones. The eldest sister Prue Halliwell's bond to the Charmed Ones prophecy, even after death, restricted her sisters from reaching their true powers, and made them vulnerable to the Triad's plot with Billie and Christy.
Christy's role as a villain and Patterson's performance received mixed feedback from television critics. Vulture.com's Brittany Spanos placed Christy as number three on its list of 161 "demons, warlocks, and baddies" as ranked by "scariness". Demain of Television Without Pity praised Christy as an interesting character following the reveal that she was secretly working for the Triad. Following the reveal of Christy's morality, Demain consistently referenced her as "Chrissssty" and "Ssssecretly Evil Chrissssty" throughout his recaps of season eight to parody Cuoco's pronunciation of the name. Digital Spy's Hugh Armitage criticized Patterson for having "a habit of pulling 'evil' faces when no one could see her like a pantomime villain".
Critics have also commented on the character's storyline with Billie Jenkins. Jeffrey Robinson of DVD Talk felt that the Billie and Christy storyline was the strongest part of season eight. Sheldon Wiebe of the entertainment website Eclipsemagazine.com praised the Billie and Christy storyline for having a "dark undercurrent" reminiscent of the show's first and second seasons. SpoilerTV's Gavin Hetherington wrote he was "impartial" about Christy and opined that the Jenkins sisters were disappointing villains for the show's final season compared to those of previous seasons. Digital Spy's Hugh Armitage listed the Jenkins sisters as "the gruesome twosome" and one of the eight things that derailed the show. Nadim of the television and film review website Nad's Reviews praised the concept of the Charmed Ones engaging in an ultimate battle with another set of sisters, but described its execution as a "downright embarrassing affair". PopMatters' Jon Langmead of described the familial relationship between Christy and Billie as weak in comparison to those from previous seasons. Langmead was critical of Patterson's performance, saying she "huffs and puffs through her on-camera time".
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