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...

Review

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+.

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