The Ten Best BEWITCHED Episodes of Season Three

Welcome to another Situation Comedy Tuesday! Today we’re continuing with our coverage of the best episodes from the best supernatural sitcom of the ’60s, Bewitched (1964-1972, ABC). Every single episode is available on DVD.

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Advertising executive Darrin Stephens marries Samantha, a beautiful blonde who just happens to be a witch. She agrees to give up witchcraft and live a nice mortal life with Darrin, much to mother Endora’s chagrin. But with family members constantly popping in and interfering with their life, Samantha and Darrin find that living a normal life is easier said than done.

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Bewitched stars ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY as Samantha Stephens, DICK YORK as Darrin Stephens, AGNES MOOREHEAD as Endora, DAVID WHITE as Larry Tate, KASEY ROGERS as Louise Tate, SANDRA GOULD as Gladys Kravitz, GEORGE TOBIAS as Abner Kravitz, and MARION LORNE as Aunt Clara.

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Season Three, the first year in glorious color, is probably Bewitched at its best, retaining most of the heart from the first two seasons, while incorporating some of the wacky ’60s fun that would later become a series hallmark. In these regards, Season Three is the most balanced of the series — equal parts humor and heart, and the writing is as imaginative as ever, with many excellent episodes stemming from wonderfully original premises. There’s more Endora, more Larry, more Aunt Clara, and even Maurice and Uncle Arthur each pop in for a visit, (the latter for a two-parter)! However, there were two casting changes starting this season. Sandra Gould replaced the late Alice Pearce as nosy Gladys Kravitz, and though Pearce was much funnier, Gould functions well in the character’s growing role as antagonist. On the other hand, Kasey Rogers fills Irene Vernon’s shoes as Louise Tate marvelously, making the character funnier and more dimensional than ever before. There were many episodes I wanted to choose this week. But, I have picked ten episodes that I think exemplify the season’s strongest installments. For new fans, this list will give you a place to start. For seasoned fans, there might be a few surprises.

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Here are my picks for the ten best episodes of Season Three. (They are in AIRING ORDER.)

 

01) Episode 76: “The Moment Of Truth” (Aired: 09/22/66 | Completed: 07/06/66)

Darrin learns about his daughter’s powers as Tabitha’s magic causes chaos when the Stephens try to celebrate their anniversary with the Tates.

Written by David V. Robinson & John L. Greene | Directed by William Asher

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The second from a trio of episodes that launches the season and introduces Tabitha as a witch, this episode is definitely my favorite of the trilogy. In the previous installment, Samantha and Endora learn that Tabitha has powers, but Darrin doesn’t find out until this episode. In addition to that great reveal, this episode boasts some wonderful Aunt Clara moments, as she attributes the strange goings-on to her faulty powers. But the real strength of the episode lies with David White as Larry Tate. He’s in rare form and has excellent chemistry with his new Louise. Sam and Darrin trying to convince Larry that he’s crocked is a scream. One of the funniest shows of the series.

02) Episode 77: “Witches And Warlocks Are My Favorite Things” (Aired: 09/29/66 | Completed: 08/01/66)

Tabitha’s powers are formally tested, and Endora, Enchantra, and Hagatha, decide that Tabitha should leave the Stephens house and be enrolled in a special school.

Written by David V. Robinson & John L. Greene | Directed by William Asher

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Actually, this isn’t one of the funnier shows of the season, but it’s one of the best in terms of narrative construction. Furthermore, it’s jam-packed with guest stars: Endora, Clara, and Maurice PLUS the return of Reta Shaw as Aunt Hagatha and a rare appearance by Estelle Winwood as Aunt Enchantra. Integral to the series, this episode is actually more dramatic than a typical Bewitched episode — Endora going against not only Darrin, but SAM is shockingly antagonistic, but at least Maurice and Clara are there to back-up the Stephens. Important and entertaining episode.

03) Episode 80: “Endora Moves In For A Spell” (Aired: 10/20/66 | Completed: 09/02/66)

Endora and Uncle Arthur’s sibling rivalry results in a house repeatedly appearing and disappearing on a vacant lot across the street, much to Gladys Kravitz’s annoyance.

Story by Robert Riley Crutcher | Teleplay by Ruth Brooks Flippen | Directed by William Asher

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Uncle Arthur returns here for the first time since his introductory episode last season. Like “The Joker Is A Card,” the installments in which we get to see Arthur’s rivalry with sister Endora are his best. Their interactions here are deliciously acidic, and certainly make the episode. Gould does well in her first aired appearance as Gladys, but my MVP for this episode goes to Elizabeth Montgomery, who finally lays down the law to her bickering relatives in a very satisfying scene. Even though the next episode is flashier and more highly regarded amongst fans, I actually prefer this well-written and character driven installment.

04) Episode 81: “Twitch Or Treat” (Aired: 10/27/66 | Completed: 09/12/66)

The siblings’ feud continues into Endora’s Halloween party, that Darrin and Samantha agree to let her host at their house.

Written by Robert Riley Crutcher & James S. Henerson | Directed by William Asher

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I featured this Halloween episode in a post a few weeks ago, so no surprise that it should pop up again. Despite contradicting everything we already know about Endora regarding her sentiments toward Halloween, this episode is VERY entertaining. The Arthur/Endora moments continue to delight — her poem is a highlight — but there are also some nice moments between Sam and Darrin. Meanwhile, Willie Mays makes a delightful cameo appearance. Largely an excuse for the writers to dedicate an episode to a party for witches and warlocks, this is still a memorable installment.

05) Episode 83: “The Short Happy Circuit Of Aunt Clara” (Aired: 11/10/66 | Completed: 07/25/66)

While Sam and Darrin go to the Tates with a client, Aunt Clara inadvertently blacks out the entire Eastern seaboard.

Story by Lee Erwin | Teleplay by Ed Jurist | Directed by William Asher

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Per usual, Aunt Clara shines in this episode that has her blacking out the lights on the entire Eastern seaboard. (This was based on a real event that happened in 1965.) But the best stuff occurs during her interactions with her old playboy beau Ocky, who discovers that if he raises his hands, the lights come back on in the house. The bit at the end with the shoes walking over the unconscious Mrs. Kravitz is excellent and one of the more inspired coming togethers of witchcraft and advertising. Oh, and the bit where Clara tries to sing a lullaby is superbly played.

06) Episode 84: “I’d Rather Twitch Than Fight” (Aired: 11/17/66 | Completed: 08/25/66)

Larry and Louise turn to psychology when Samantha and Darrin fight over a houndstooth sport jacket, but Endora has a better idea: Sigmund Freud.

Written by James S. Henerson | Directed by R. Robert Rosenbaum

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I love that this episode allows both Samantha and Darrin to do some mortal bonding with the Tates. The contradictory “advice” they give the Stephens is something straight out of an A+ domestic sitcom, but Bewitched takes this to a whole new level when Endora decides that if Samantha is turning to psychology, she should have the best of the best — Sigmund Freud. Norman Fell is very funny and strikingly appropriate in his role as the famed psychologist, but the comedic gold of this episode are the interactions between Sam and Darrin, who, for the first time, fight COMEDICALLY. (Most of their previous fights are a little more dramatic.) Great, funny episode.

07) Episode 97: “I Remember You… Sometimes” (Aired: 02/16/67 | Completed: 12/22/66)

Endora enchants Darrin’s watch, granting the wearer a perfect memory, much to the annoyance of all those around him.

Written by David V. Robinson & John L. Greene | Directed by William Asher

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This episode reminds me a lot of last season’s stellar “Speak The Truth” in that, instead of enchanting Darrin, Endora puts a spell on one of his objects. Last time it was a statue, this time it’s a watch. Like the destruction caused by total honesty, Darrin’s newfound perfect memory makes for some hilarious interactions between Darrin, the know-it-all client, and the amused wife who’s finally glad to see her husband dethroned. Also, the perfect memory naturally allows for some discord between Sam and Darrin. Though these types of episodes will soon become formulaic, the script and the premise for this installment are both well written and fresh.

08) Episode 99: “Charlie Harper, Winner” (Aired: 03/02/67 | Completed: 01/19/67)

Samantha zaps up a mink coat to impress the snobby wife of one of Darrin’s old friends, but this ends up causing more harm than good.

Written by Earl Barret | Directed by R. Robert Rosenbaum

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Another fan favorite, this romantic episode serves as a companion piece of sorts to Season One’s “A Is For Aardvark.” While that episode found Darrin becoming power hungry after a taste of Sam’s witchcraft (only to realize that living the mortal way is more satisfying), this episode has Samantha conjuring up a mink coat to make a snobby wife jealous. The scene where a hurt Darrin confronts Samantha about being unable to provide her with the things that her witchcraft can is the most powerful scene in the entire series. But there are lots of SUPREME moments here, and the Harpers are perfectly cast as complex antagonists that we can’t completely hate. Thankfully, in addition to the “romdram” moments, there are some nice laughs between Sam and Daphne. But “Charlie Harper, Winner” cuts to the deeper human conflicts presented by a witch marrying a mortal, and this is the perfect representation of the larger themes fundamental to Bewitched‘s premise. Phenomenal episode.

09) Episode 103: “It’s Wishcraft” (Aired: 03/30/67 | Completed: 02/20/67)

Endora and Samantha panic when Tabitha explores “wishcraft” on the same day that Darrin’s parents are coming for a visit.

Written by James S. Henerson | Directed by Paul Davis

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I always love the episodes that pit Endora against Phyllis Stephens, and while last time they feuded over a pair of teddy bears that they’d each gifted newborn Tabitha, this time their sniping is more peripheral, as the story here is about Sam and Endora’s attempts to keep the in-laws from learning about Tabitha’s new powers of “wishcraft.” (Whatever Tabitha wishes for, she gets.) Added for more conflict is Phyllis’s snooping and her conclusion that Sam and Darrin are having marital problems. Again though, the cattiness between the mamas is the best. “Do you live here now?”

10) Episode 105: “Bewitched, Bothered, And Infuriated” (Aired: 04/13/67 | Completed: 02/07/67) 

Samantha and Darrin try to prevent Larry from breaking his leg after Aunt Clara reads about it prematurely in the next day’s newspaper.

Written by Howard Leeds | Directed by R. Robert Rosenbaum

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This is such a cool premise. Aunt Clara mistakingly zaps up the next day’s newspaper and sees that Larry Tate has broken his leg. Darrin convinces Samantha to intrude on Larry and Louise’s second honeymoon to prevent the accident from occuring. Of course the Stephens make pests of themselves and realize that Clara zapped up an old paper — Larry broke his leg all right, but it was ten years ago when he and Louise were supposed to honeymoon the first time!  Everyone is very funny here, and I like the true ensemble established by the interactions between both couples.

 

Other excellent episodes that narrowly missed being included with the above are: “A Most Unusual Wood Nymph,” which has Samantha time-traveling to the 1500s, “Oedipus Hex,” a fan favorite that has Endora enchanting a bowl of popcorn so that its eaters become lazy goofballs, “Sam’s Spooky Chair,” which features a unique premise and several HILARIOUS guest stars, “Sam In The Moon,” which has Darrin suspecting Samantha of lunar travel, “Super Car,” another fan favorite that has Endora gifting Darrin with a futuristic automobile, “Art For Sam’s Sake,” which has Endora stealing a famous artist’s painting and passing it off as Samantha’s, “The Crone Of Cawdor,” which is one of the show’s most delightfully spooky episodes and has Endora doing a hilarious impression of a fashion designer, “How To Fail In Business With All Kinds Of Help,” which is hysterical largely because of an over-the-top guest star, “Nobody But A Frog Knows How To Live,” which boasts a unique premise and an excellent guest star, and “There’s Gold In Them Thar Pills,” which introduces Dr. Bombay in a funny episode.

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*** The MVE Award for the Best Episode from Season Three of Bewitched goes to…..

“Charlie Harper, Winner”

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Come back next Tuesday for the best from Season Four! And tune in tomorrow for a new Wildcard Wednesday post!

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6 thoughts on “The Ten Best BEWITCHED Episodes of Season Three

    • Hi, Nicole! Thanks for reading and commenting (and subscribing)!

      You know, I think the exaggeratedly antagonistic way that Aunt Clara is treated by her own family inhibits the script’s comedy. I generally adore any episode with Marion Lorne, and while I don’t dislike this particular installment, I think Season Three offers a lot better!

      • I’d have to agree here on Samantha’s family’s attitude towards Clara…poor dear. I don’t much care for “The Corn Is As High As A Guernsey’s Eye,” a plotline that leads to the next episode. “Trial” might have been better if they’d been able to have Reta Shaw and Estelle Winwood (zap!) reappear as Hagatha and Enchantra, but the persecution of Clara just seems mean-spirited.

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