Following an episode that killed off a circle member last week, this week’s episode of The Secret Circle looks ahead to where this show is going, devoting less time on past events. Like a few previous episodes, “Wake” draws more inspiration from the horror genre for its story, bringing in more characters who want the circle dead. People die, relationships change, and for a show about witches, the magic remains scarce.
Where Has All The Magic Gone?
As a show that is going for the demographic of younger viewers who have embraced the supernatural genre, The Secret Circle is still having a little trouble coming into its own, even going so far as to borrowing an actor from Teen Wolf while that show is in its off season (JR Bourne, who seems to be cast in a very similar role to the one he plays in that show as well). The problem is most likely that they haven’t found a way to separate this show from others. As anyone who has watched enough teen dramas will know, there isn’t much that's new to the romance department in terms of tension, triangles (or whatever other shape they are making), and all that jazz, so we need a spark to get the other aspects of the show into the “something special” category.
Starting with the magic. This show’s about witches, right? Obviously they aren’t swinging around wands, so the CGI budget is probably nothing to brag about (if it exists at all), but what we have been “treated” to so far has been on the underwhelming side of things, especially with the circle bound. In other words, there has just been a lot of fire (which was technically set practically this time), a lot of objects flinging out of hands, locks being opened, etc.
We need to get back to what was started in the first episode, exemplified in the scenes involving Charles. Just take a look at the scene in which he kills Cassie’s mom. To connect him to what he was doing inside the kitchen, he poured water on the ground or lit matches, giving the magic something tangible to connect the characters to what they are doing, making it all the more dramatic. He even made Adam’s dad cough up water for crying out loud! But now we’re mostly just listening to them chant spells, and lame ones at that. What the heck does “burning star, blood red eye” do anyway? Give someone an extreme case of pink eye? I’m not saying they all have to be in Latin or anything, but at least then it would mask the silliness.
The Blake Family
As I mentioned last week, Cassie still isn’t the strongest protagonist; however, Grandma Blake drops another bomb when she says: “You’re stronger than you realize. Your lineage goes back to the very beginning of witchcraft, Cassie. It’s more powerful than any of the others. And you were born with the responsibility to lead and protect your circle.” We already knew that Gma Blake was pretty BA, and this level of importance might explain how she seems to know so much about everything they come up against, from how to kill demons to what the crescent moon symbolizes. Now we just have to wait for Cassie to take her grandmother’s lead. And considering she says that the circle is the closest she has had to having friends, especially Diana, the potential power struggle between the two could put some cracks in that foundation. (Sidenote: How sad was it that after breaking up with Adam because of how he feels about Cassie, Cassie was the only person could go to for comfort?) But if Cassie is really to step into the role of leader, she is going to need to be less soft spoken and figure out a way to get attacked less.
Speaking of Gma Blake, she really needs to pay attention to the amount of trust she places in certain people, starting with Cassie herself. For starters, she tells Cassie not to tell Jake about the circle, yet somehow this scene and the following ends up going something like this: “Ok Gma, I won’t tell Jake about the circle. Hey Jake! We have a circle!” Considering this track record, should she really believe that Cassie is going to keep that crystal a secret? Jake is already asking questions about her using power on her own when she saves his life, so if he doesn’t figure it out I still think it is safe to say that she is going to tell someone about it. And then there is Dawn. Obviously Gma Blake shouldn’t trust her, but is it to be assumed that she already doesn't? After all, during their conversation she doesn’t tell Dawn about Melissa being possessed by the demon last week, but instead implies that the demon jumped straight from Heather to Nick. It’s possible that she doesn’t want Dawn to know about just how involved she is with the circle, which is definitely a good idea considering Dawn was contemplating stabbing her to death in this scene.
And last but not least while we’re on the Blake family, another name is mentioned while Adam’s dad is talking about Cassie’s mother. Who is this Blackwell? Is this Cassie’s father? Hopefully there will be more on this name soon, and I am willing to give Adam’s father another bottle of alcohol if that is all it takes.
Dumping on Diana
Technically Diana was the one to break up with Adam, but her role as the dumper was still pretty sad, even if I am a fan of a classic love triangle set up. What is so sad about it is thanks in large part to a conversation she has with Adam’s father. Prior to this conversation, Diana has been noticing the connection between the two, but seeing as Adam was her best friend she was able to look past this and believe in the love they have for each other. Even after the return of Nick’s brother brings up some strong jealousy in Adam when a potential relationship starts between Jake and Cassie. But the tipping point on the scale came when Adam’s father goes into the “our families are written in the stars” spiel, warning Diana to get out of the doomed relationship before she is too deep in to turn back.
Though this set up has freed Adam to pine after Cassie, it’s not as if he can just go running after her come next episode. For starters, he did actually love Diana and looked really heartbroken when she broke up with him, so in all honesty this could just be a speed bump that starts a temporary break. After all, Cassie now has other fish in the sea to look at, setting up Adam to end up like his father. I seriously doubt Cassie and Adam won’t end up together in the end, but the story will probably still milk plenty of episodes out of the drama created by all of these emotions being aimed all over the place.
If I am to go on the comments received on last week’s write up for “Slither,” I would have to assume that I am not of the popular opinion when it comes to Nick. Turns out a lot of ladies were enamored by his “bad boy with a growing heart” personality, though I was more led to believe that a lot of the anger at his death was largely caused by the loss of his looks. I’m sorry to say it, but the attributes of a good character are not simply that they are hot. At risk of being skinned alive by the angry masses, I am still going to say that his death will probably still be a good thing for the show in terms of story. Also, his hair was stupid (I couldn’t resist). The point is that characters die all the time on shows, sometimes even favorite characters, but it has to happen for a show to thrive and have stakes.
With that said, this episode doesn’t really do that much with his death. Melissa cries (she had a key to Nick’s house?), and there are some pictures of him shown at his wake (with some even goofier hair), but it didn’t really feel like it was an episode about him, more so just a way to sweep him under the rug as a used plot point needed to move on. Starting with the brother.
At the beginning of this episode Cassie spies Jake (who I have chosen to call Aquaman due to his resemblance to Alan Ritchson, who played Aquaman in Smallville) standing over a fire in the family backyard, cementing him as a red herring for the first part of the episode. At least until Cassie gets attacked by Miley Cyrus (look-a-like number two), throwing the theory that Jake likes to set crescent moon shaped fires in lawns. He may not have done this, but he still is causing quite the stir, starting with the female characters.
Prior to when he left town years ago, he must have been somehow involved with Faye in the romantic department, to an extent in which Melissa says that he almost sent her to the psych ward. I am assuming she was just exaggerating on the whole mental institution part, but I cannot wait to see an even crazier Faye. She’s already started down the crazy-ex path in concern to reading into the relationship potential between Jake and Cassie, and his cold personality towards her is just going to make it worse on her twisted little mind.
Though this episode seemed to be more about the romantic elements of the show and less on the story in concern to demons, the accident, etc., one new factor is thrown into the mix when we learn that there are witch hunters out there, starting with Simone (the Miley Cyrus look-a-like). Once again drawing inspiration from the horror genre, Cassie stupidly walks through an unlit house that she was just attacked in two episodes ago, allowing Simone to menacingly stalk her from the shadows. Jake does save her before anything deadly happens, but she is able to steal some blood from Cassie. What this vial of blood was for is unknown, but Jake does get it back from her. And more importantly, we learn that Jake is a witch hunter as well, vowing to avenge his family and rid Chance Harbor of witches.
Even following this reveal, his drive to complete this mission seems to already be coming into question. Let’s face it, there’s no way he’s going to kill Cassie, yet he is able to kill Simone. This might actually be simply to save himself seeing as she has pulled a knife on him, as he tells the witch hunters, but in all likelihood he is going to switch teams down the road seeing as he will be spending more time with the circle, and Cassie, now that he is a part of it.
With a strong turn to the romance in this episode, hopefully next week will bring in more answers to the mysteries of the show, more magic, and more plots involving the witch hunters. Will we learn more about the other people who are in this group, and more about what Jake meant by calling Simone a “true believer”? Who will Cassie choose between Adam and Jake (both in the short run and the long run)? How crazy is Faye going to go over the return of Jake? Who’s more likely to abandon their plans for the circle, Jake or Charles? Tune in next week for the Halloween episode to see if any of our questions are answered.