Slowing down molecules to the point where things and people "freeze"
Fear, frustration, panic
Molecular Immobilization, more commonly referred to as freezing, is the ability to slow down molecules to the point where they move so slowly that objects and people appear completely motionless.
Piper Halliwell developed this power after she was born. It had been bound during her childhood and adolescent years by Grams but was activated again in 1998. She originally triggered the power by panicking or being scared, flicking her hands into the air as she "freezes" her target.
- Mark: "But how?"
- Piper: "I don’t know. I panic, I put up both hands and bad things tend to freeze."
- Mark: "For how long?"
- Piper: "Not very, let’s go."
- — Piper explaining her power[src]
Originally Piper could only freeze objects in the same room as her or that were in her direct line of sight within a certain range, regardless of what room they were in, and the freeze would only last for seconds at a time. When she was outdoors, it was unknown the range of effect that her powers had, but it can be noted that she was able to freeze a truck and a baby stroller moving on the other side of the street from her front door step, giving her a considerable range.
Over time, Piper was able to freeze people and objects on command. She was initially scared of her power, considering that she was a jumpy person and could accidentally freeze someone, but as she grew more skilled at using her ability, she could freeze without needing panic as a trigger, could unfreeze a target, could freeze someone for a longer period of time, and could freeze or unfreeze desired objects or parts of an enemy without affecting the rest of her surroundings. This power advanced for Piper so much that she was able to almost completely freeze two Triad members.
In a fight against Dr. Curtis Williamson, it was revealed that Piper was able to make her Molecular Immobilization power stay active as long as she focused. She was able to keep a metal disc frozen by keeping her hands up and mentally focusing.
Becoming more Advanced
Aside from the obvious limits of range, the type of being that is to be frozen may also affect how well this power works. For example, initially Piper was not able to freeze good witches or upper level demons. Still, over time and as her powers developed, she (almost) overcame one of these limitations. Piper was able to freeze Billie Jenkins, but possibly only because Billie had been partially transformed into a demon. Piper also froze a member of the Triad, whose powers surpass many if not all upper level demons.
By season 4, this power advanced to where Piper did not need to directly see an object to freeze it. She has shown this ability when she only stuck her hand through the door the freeze the jury, and after having a long look at the jury, she did it again when she, Leo, and Paige left after helping Phoebe summon the spirit Angela in Trial by Magic. She also displayed this again in season 6, when Phoebe was possessed by Mata Hari and tried to walk away from Piper and Paige. As Phoebe/Mata Hari walked towards the stairs, Piper froze her without being able to see her. This is substantiated by the fact that after she froze Phoebe, she and Paige walked around the corner to stop her before she went up the stairs.
In season 8, Piper uses this more offensively sometimes, usually in conjunction with her combustion power or demonic attacks. For example, in Still Charmed and Kicking, while disguised as Wyatt, she froze an energy ball in mid-air and then blasted a demon into the frozen energy ball, which vanquished him. Later, she froze two Triad members and a fireball; however, Piper said that she couldn't freeze them for long and the Triad was clearly starting to unfreeze slightly, and after Paige orbed one in front of the fireball, she unfroze them, vanquishing one and allowing her to vanquish the second one with her Molecular Combustion power.
Selective FreezingThis is an ability within Molecular Immobilization. This allows the user to unfreeze certain parts or things, within the frozen area. For example: Piper became able to unfreeze one person while keeping a room frozen; then in the following year, Piper learned that she could set a criteria for a freeze, such as freezing only innocents, then later on discovered that she could unfreeze a body part, such as a head, allowing her to talk to a demon while their body is still frozen. This ability also entitles the user to freeze another section of things; this would mean if other persons entered the room during the freeze, the user could freeze them without unfreezing the entire room, and freezing it again. For example: Piper was able to freeze Jack, and then when Jeff walked she was able to freeze him also, without unfreezing the room. Piper has also been shown to be able to freeze demons in mid-shimmer, for example, in season 7 she did this to a possessor demon.
This power is always channelled through the use of one's hands, usually by stretching forward one or both arms at the target and extending one's fingers. However, pointing only one finger also worked. When Piper's hands were bound, she was rendered powerless. This also applied to Patty when her hands were restrained by hand cuffs. Unfreezing was usually done by waving one's fingers inwards at the frozen subject, as if physically pulling off the freeze. There were other gestures used to unfreeze that were demonstrated. Examples include:
- Waving one's hand. Piper taught Denise how to unfreeze using a simple hand gesture; gently waving one's hand diagonally upwards.
- Pointing at the subject with all digits extended. When Curtis Williamson gained this power, he unfroze a doctor by simply pointing his hand forward.
- Flicking one's wrists. Piper unfroze a busy hospital by simply turning her wrists very slightly. She also unfroze a loud restraught by twisting her wrist with her index finger pointed.
- Moving only one's digits. Piper once unfroze Bane Jessup by tapping her fingers together while both her hands were joined. Piper also unfroze a Genie, while keeping the area frozen, by spinning her index finger at him in a circular motion.
- Nodding one's head. When Piper was a child before having her powers bound, she could unfreeze by nodding her head.
In a broad sense throughout the series we see Piper attempt to use this power a number of times for personal gain. When at a beverage supply store, Josh takes the last bottle of Calera Jensen which Piper needs for a coq au vin recipe. She freezes him and is tempted to take it but then decides it's the wrong thing to do. Piper used the power to freeze a noisy restaurant when she was on a date with Leo.
She also froze a hallway full of people, because they kept touching her stomach, Paige even chastised her for it. Piper also uses the power to freeze regular humans a few times throughout the course of the series rather than for magical threats, but most of the time it is so she can think things through or prevent accidents, thus it can't be considered personal gain. She also uses this power for sexual purposes, as mentioned by Leo Wyatt.
List of beings who use(d) Molecular Immobilization
- Original power
- Through spell, potion, power, stealing, etc.
Advanced Molecular Immobilization
- Prue: "You just froze-"
- Piper: "Everything!"
- — Prue and Piper, marveling at the latter's power[src]
When the 1999-Piper and Prue visited the future of 2009, they had discovered that Piper's power had advanced. She was able to freeze an entire city block including the birds high up in the air. Instead of a small group of people and objects, Piper was now able to freeze "everything".
Over time, Piper noticed her power advancing: being able to freeze some of the strongest known demons or at least slow them down. In time, Piper was able to freeze everything around her, including things in the natural environment; such as rainfall.
The ability to make molecules reverberate at a speed which causes them to become disordered. This causes the target to rapidly heat up. As a result of this heat, the power can cause objects to melt or burn.
The ability to speed up molecules to the point that they combust. The power is channeled through hand gestures and is seen as the advancement of this power.
The ability to slow down the molecules of an individual or object, making it appear as if time slows down, putting the target into slow motion. It is seen as a weaker form of this power. It was the main power of Piper's ancestor, P. Baxter.
Also referred to as Ice Stasis, this ability allows one to crystallize an object or being, encapsulating them in ice. It literally means stopping motion with ice. Piper gained this ability temporarily when she turned into a warlock in 2001.
The ability to slow down time to the degree that they appear to be frozen in time, while causing that being and even others to be at normal speed, as well, for an indefinite period.
Because this power requires a great deal amount of magic and power, this ability is possessed by greater, powerful beings such as the Angels of Destiny, the Avatars and the Angel of Death. Beings who are able to manipulate time such as Tempus also possess this power.
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- Holly Marie Combs said on one of the bonus features that her eldest son, Finley, runs around the house making the same hand gestures as she did when portraying Piper, at the same time yelling "freeze!".
- Certain fans believe that P. Baxter possessed this power, while she actually possessed Molecular Deceleration. This is due Anton adjusted to her power, though he never completely froze.
- In "All Halliwell's Eve" Piper, while dressed as Glinda, the Good Witch, was able to channel her power through her toy wand and freeze the Grimlocks by waving it at them.
- In "Long Live the Queen", Piper creates a potion to duplicate this power.
- Of all the non-Warren beings to have possessed Molecular Immobilization, Zahn is the only being who didn't acquire this power through Piper Halliwell.
- Correct Term: This power is sometimes incorrectly called Temporal Stasis, which means "stopping or balancing the flow of time". In "Exit Strategy", it was revealed that this power works on a molecular level by taking away kinetic energy from molecules (slowing them down) to the point where they become motionless and was hence correctly termed "molecular immobilization". However, the correct term was never actually mentioned in the show itself.
- In the teen sitcom Saved By The Bell the main character Zack would sometimes, in a similar fashion to Piper, put up both hands, shout "Time Out" and everyone but him would freeze. He would then break the fourth wall and talk to the audience then to unfreeze everyone he would again hold up both hands and shout "Time In". For most of the series this was thought to be a narrative device until he froze everyone, moved out the way as Slater was about to punch him who then unintentionally hit the Principal who was behind Zack from implying that this was actually some form of magic or a supernatural power.
- In "Morality Bites", each time Piper froze something with the advanced version of her power, the sound effect following each freeze would be reverberated, demonstrating how it effected a larger area.
- When Zachary replicated this power from Piper, the sound effect was different when he used it.
- Sometimes in the comics, when Piper freezes something, her hands and the object will be surrounded by blue or white energy. This was probably done to illustrate that Piper is using her power in comic form.
- Even though Piper cannot freeze something if it's behind a physical barrier, she can still use her power successfully while wearing gloves (as seen in "All Halliwell's Eve" and "Sight Unseen").
- ↑ Explained by Leo Wyatt in the season 3 episode "Exit Strategy".
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Astral Monkey
- ↑ Used Karma
- ↑ Once in a Blue Moon
- ↑ The Fourth Sister
- ↑ Dead Man Dating
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 That '70s Episode
- ↑ Ordinary Witches
- ↑ Vaya Con Leos
- ↑ Chick Flick
- ↑ Ms. Hellfire (episode)
- ↑ As seen in "Is There a Woogy in the House?"
- ↑ As seen in "Chick Flick".
- ↑ As seen in "Spin City"
- ↑ Mentioned in "Blinded by the Whitelighter", "Hell Hath No Fury" and "Wicca Envy"
- ↑ Morality Bites