The Secret Circle Review: Piering In...

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An interrupted kiss. A showdown between Cassie crushes. The revelation that witch hunters are adept at a ritual to remove dark magic and this was exactly what went down 16 years ago during the infamous, deadly fire on the docks.

Yes, it's safe to say The Secret Circle got off to an intriguing start on "Witness," as all these developments took place before the eerie "duh, duh, duh, da-duh..." of the opening credits.

Jake vs. Mirror

From there? Viewers were treated to three separate storylines, two of which captured my attention, one of which really captured my attention and one of which I could have done without. Let's get the latter out of the way first.

I just can't get over the random way in which Faye tracked down Lee (via an Internet search) and how he's quickly become a rather important person both on the show and in her life... despite the fact that we know nothing about him and, at least for now, are asked to simply accept his creepy, Voodoo-based lair without wondering how the heck it came to be or what the dude's story actually is.

He sells drugs? He has a rude friend named Callum (the great Michael Graziadei from American Horror Story)? A whacked out ex named Eva? Okay. I just don't care very much at the moment.

Elsewhere, let's applaud the use of Ethan this week and hope he plays more of a prominent role going forward. The Charles/Dawn relationship/feud has definitely been growing stale, with these two just fighting over the crystal each week and talking mysteriously about their unknown plan.

Why did Ethan lie about his presence at the fire? What is his (sober) agenda? How much does he know, or suspect, about what Charles and Dawn have been up to? The elders started out as my favorite aspect of the show - are they protecting their children or aiming to take out their powers? Or both? - but their storyline is in need of a fresh start. I'm hoping Ethan can provide it.

For the most part, of course, this episode was all about Cassie's journey into Jake's head. I'll do my best to ignore what felt like a major plot hole - if Cassie is traveling back in time via Jake's memory, can't she only see what his younger self witnessed? How was she able to go on without him? There were many scenes from the pier, such as the key one of Cassie spying the medallion drop, that little Jake couldn't possibly have noticed... - and focus instead on the fascinating dynamic this trip down scary memory lane has created.

John Blackwell is alive! And seriously, seriously powerful.

I said two weeks ago that the season can't JUST be about Cassie's battle over her two sides. The dark magic issue must be couched in a larger story, one that goes beyond Cassie's internal struggle. We may have that here. We now know witch hunters really don't like dark magic and went to every length they could to eliminate it all those years ago. Are they coming directly after Cassie now? They best be, to set up some major stakes as the season progresses.

This would be a prime opportunity to introduce a Secret Circle villain. We actually don't really have one yet. Yes, there have been questions about Jake and, yes, Charles and Dawn are sort of shady. But I'm talking about a Klaus-like bad guy that truly gives the characters someone to cower over, and the viewers someone to root against. I envision the head of the Counsel as an individual who believes (perhaps rightfully so) witches are bad for mankind and has been fighting for years to take them out.

Give him a personality and multiple layers and set up two distinct sides in this battle of dark versus light. All shows of these nature need a captivating villain, don't they?

I adore Britt Robertson and Cassie is a great character, but we need to expand this world beyond her questions over her dad and her past. Let's hope they tie into a larger narrative that really explodes the series in the near future.

Finally, can we finally trust Jake now? Adam facetiously referred to him as an "avenging angel" to kick off this hour and asked Cassie whether he cared about... or just her powers? Considering he now is aware Isaac lied to him about the fire, it's safe to chalk Jake up on the side of good, right? Also, is it too soon to ask if you're on Team Adam or Team Jake? It was sort of lame when, after ALL she had seen and gone though, Cassie stopped to ask Jake if there was another reason he came back. The Secret Circle doesn't do love triangles so well just yet.

I mean, Jake is IN LOVE with Cassie? Really, Diana? That's quite the bold, quick assessment, isn't it?

What did you think of the episode? Are you excited to meet John Blackwell? Think he's been hiding out for nefarious purposes or to keep his daughter safe? Anything from the flashbacks shock you? We have two weeks until the next episode - aptly titled "Medallion" - so there's plenty of time to analyze, discuss and wonder what Melissa was up to this week...


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (124 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


I've rewatched this ep a couple times and have some thoughts. Could Diana be the other Blackwell child? This could mean she is destined to be with Adam. I think someone said in the books Faye is but these shows do not go by the books, for example The Vampire Diaries. And child Jake was peering through the slats on the boat and saw more than just as far as he and Cassie walked when he was stopped by the headache, and remember he was blocking memories until he became desperate to save Cassie and was then able to continue further to bring her out. And Cassie's powers possibly allowed her the strength to access memories he was at first unable to and so continued without him like a hypnotist drawing out repressed memories. I also don't get why some of you think Jake is wooden. I think Zylka is developing the character really well and overacting is a far worse crime to me than a little reservation, Thomas Dekker.


Am I the only person who has further questions about the woman who saw Cassie? She should be a significant person to color the whole picture. Does anyway know whose parent she was? Btw hate Jaje's acting, sucks bad.


oh man the scriptwriting has got to improve. adam is too emo to be interesting as the romantic lead. jake is too wooden. lee's hotter but his role is limited to date.


I knew John Blackwell was alive! And, let's not forget, Cassie isn't the only child of bet is on Faye. I think that would SORT OF be in in line with what happens in the books, no? Also, I love that the writer of this review said "Klaus-like" villain and that knew automatically what he meant :-) I too felt that plot hole of how Cassie was alone in Jake's head, but I chose to ignore it. Finally, what were the parent doing on the in the first place again? Offering to forfeit their magic for safety? Yet some of them didn't trust the elders so they (wisely) stayed away and lived? Clarification please...


Oh I agree about the Lee guy too. I'm not interested in that storyline so far either. I thought it was gonna be a one episode random fake voodoo guy, but he's gonna be in a few. His friend Callum was actually more interesting than him in the brief time he's been on, and that's partly cause he's a better actor. Regarding having a villain like Klaus. I think the witch hunters were good villains. I'd like to see different villains and evil adversaries show up for them to battle. And preview for next episode shows Lee's shady friend Callum knows Jake. Not surprised. I think Jake should stay a bad boy - he's more interesting that way. Adam is right to be cautious of Jake. Cassie is better off with Adam.


Good review. I thought it was ludicrous too when Diana said Jake is in love with Cassie. I was like when and how did that happen. He was trying to get her killed not long ago. I thought the writers are desperate to throw in Jake in the triangle, or Diana was trying to put doubt in Adam's head cause Cassie is her competition. I believe the attraction with Cassie and Adam and the destiny thing - I see romantic chemistry there. I don't see romantic chemistry with Jake even if he's cute. Not surprising Britt said she's team Adam too -- and that's who she has chemistry with. Jake is a bad boy in his core and can't totally be trusted. He's not the guy for Cassie. I'm team Adam - he's Cassie's destined love, and both felt the destiny connection from the moment they met.


I read every review here and not one Team Adam and I'm Team Jake too since the ep when they danced together and had a completely charming conversation. Wasn't sure i would like a ken doll like Chris Zylka but he's damn sexy. I like Adam but it's clear he needs to be with Diana at this point. And there's zero chemistry between Cassie and Adam. On the other hand, Jake and Cassie, a chemistry bath going on there folks. The writers have to recognize and readjust if plans were not for those two to be together and it's clear who Cassie (ahem Brit) prefers at this moment. She's all moon eyed for Jake and has inexplicably trusted him from the beginning. And why are they wasting Faye and Melissa? What is up with Faye and garage boy? He is not interesting and Faye is by relation becoming uninteresting. Geez get a grip, we know Faye's a bad girl but you don't have to condemn her character to sideline filler.


The writing is still awful but I love the John Blackwell-storyline so much that I can't stop watching! Until this episode he's been the only interesting parent. The others have bored me since the first episode but Ethan's actions (in the past and the present) have me intrigued. Faye is becoming annoyingly boring. And what happened to Melissa?? Oh and I am definitely on Team Jake. Have been for a while now.


This show keeps on getting better and better. Just when I thought we would find out who exactly JOHN Blackwell is, we just caught a glimpse. Faye is going down a dark path that will lead 2 her distruction due 2 her need 4 power. I think Faye and her quest 4 power will ultimatly wil make her the villain of the show. I dont believe that Fayes boy toy will incourage her drug use. He did warn her after all and told her about how it distroyed his girlfriend. I only hope that he will bring her back 2 the light. Ethan and his secrets. I believe that he was involved in what happened 2 his fellow group members 16 years ago, due to his jealousy towards John Blackwell and his relationship with Cassie's mom. With Ethan's control of the crystal and its power, I wonder what will he do once he finds out that Jake was an eye witness to the terrible tragedy and that he was there. Dawn, huh bitch you no longer have the power over the losers.


Team Jake, no choice there, but I have to disagree about Faye, I definitely could NOT do without her storyline... or Phoebe Tonkin for that matter :)

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