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, simulating the stoppage of time in a localized range.
- 1 History
- 2 Immunity
- 3 List of beings who use(d) Molecular Immobilization
- 4 Developed Powers
- 5 Related Powers
- 6 Similar Powers
- 7 Notes and Trivia
- 8 References
- Mark: "Scared?"
- Piper: "Terrified. Trust me, that's a good thing."
- — Piper utilizing her fear to activate 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. Piper could not freeze anything if there was a solid barrier completely covering it. For example, she could not freeze a Wendigo because she was inside a closed phone booth at the time. Force fields were also able to block the effect of her power, presumably because of this principle.
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 doorstep, 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. She 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.
Unfreezing an object/person could be done by Piper in a similar manner to how she freezes. Other beings could also end the freeze without possessing Molecular Immobilization by physically manipulating the frozen subject without too much effort. Users of telekinesis could also unfreeze someone with said power without necessarily moving them. The warlock Bacarra unfroze a knife in midair by incanting "glacies imber," thereby causing the knife to resume its trajectory. The length of time in which a subject stayed frozen seemed to vary on occasion. Not too long after her powers were unbound, Piper could only keep Leo, Andy Trudeau and a bag of popcorn frozen for about 20–30 seconds. Two years later, Piper managed to keep two Grimlocks frozen for a much longer duration, even when she had left the area and the time period for the majority of the time they were frozen. 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 (i.e. she was able to keep a metal disc frozen by keeping her hands up and concentrating).
Becoming more Advanced
Aside from the obvious limits of the 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.
Following Prue's death, this power advanced to the point 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. She also displayed this again two years later, 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 to the stairs. By 2005, Piper was able to push a frozen individual without disrupting the freeze.
Piper has used this power more offensively sometimes, usually in conjunction with her combustion power or demonic attacks. For example, 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. As her powers developed, Piper was able to disrupt an object's momentum, as seen when she caused a dagger thrown at her to fall to the floor after she unfroze it instead of it resuming its original trajectory path.
This 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 (and not causing any physical harm or change in the demon). 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, she did this to a possessor demon.
This power is always channeled 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 handcuffs. Piper was able to freeze two grimlocks by channeling her power through a plastic wand. When The Source of All Evil stole Piper's powers he was able to use her freezing and blasting powers in unison with one hand, something Piper herself learned to do two years later, but with separate gestures.
Unfreezing was usually done by waving one's fingers inwards at the frozen subject as if physically pulling off the freeze. Other gestures used to unfreeze include simply pointing at the subject with all digits extended, flicking one's wrists or index finger, tapping one's fingers together  and nodding one's 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 while she was pregnant, 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. She also uses this power for sexual purposes, having frozen Leo Wyatt several times during their first time together. Leo was later made aware of this and accepts it. Such abuses suffered little to no consequences probably because they would be considered minor infractions with little benefit.
Witches, normally good ones or morally ambiguous, are naturally immune to this power. Whenever Piper froze an area with witches around, those witches would find themselves unaffected while everything else was frozen. Bianca, a Phoenix witch, was immune to this power despite being an enemy of the Charmed Ones. Half witches are also immune to this power. It should also be noted that being's who naturally possess this power can't use it on themselves.
Witches are immune to this power through their magic, meaning if they lost their magic or were severely weakened, they would not be able to withstand it. Witch practitioners are also not immune. Being possessed could also take away a witch's immunity, as seen when Phoebe was taken over by Mata Hari's karma and persona. This is not consistent, however. When Piper froze the witch Aviva while she was possessed by the demon Kali, Aviva's immunity caused her to separate from Kali who was frozen.
Aside from witches, numerous Upper-Level demons and supernatural beings are immune to this power. As Piper's powers advanced over the years, the less resistant some demons became.
It has been shown that witches under the Window of Opportunity are immune to this power, presumably due to their indecision about joining good or evil. This immunity will probably become permanent if said witches choose the path of good.
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 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 able to freeze "everything". This advanced version of the power was, however, still restricted by physical barriers, as a woman inside a nearby building was unaffected by the large-scale freeze.
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 has slowed 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 and the Avatars. Beings who are able to manipulate time such as Tempus also possess this power.
Notes and Trivia
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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!".
- It's doesn't take much effort to unfreeze somebody affected by this power, as Paige managed to unfreeze Leo by nudging his shoulder. Piper also warned Prue not to touch a policemen she froze.
- Piper creates a potion to duplicate this power, but it wasn't used.
- This power is sometimes mistaken for Temporal Stasis. This is due to Melinda Warren's prophecy stating one sister could stop time and because of their similar effects. In "Exit Strategy", it was revealed that this power takes kinetic energy from molecules (slowing them down) to the point where they become motionless. However, the correct name "molecular immobilization" is 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 than to unfreeze everyone he would again hold up both hands and shout "Time In".
- 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 affected a larger area.
- When Zachary replicated this power from Piper, the sound effect was different when he used it.
- In the comics when Piper freezes something, her hands and the object would occasionally be surrounded by blue or white energy. This was likely done to illustrate the power.
- While Piper cannot freeze something behind a physical barrier, she can still use her power successfully while wearing gloves (as seen in "All Halliwell's Eve" and "Sight Unseen") and freeze somebody inside a car (as seen in "They're Everywhere").
- At the beginning of the series, when Piper froze things, after the freezing sound effect, all background sounds and music would go silent.