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+.


Team Jake!


Ok, just who was the girl who could see Cassie on the boat during the memory/flashback?


I still don't like Jake,even though this week he shows some emotions, I still don't like his way of acting, it really feels fake.
But I see the connection between him and Cassie,he pushes her to understand and look for the truth instead of shielding her like Adam is trying to do.
Ethan is getting interesting,could he be the villain that we need?I would love to hate him...


Team Jake for sure! And I don't think that Diana's assessment was quick - Faye said it in the midseason finale when Jake found them to go save Cassie.


I am so pleased people are coming over to the Team Jake side. Absolutely loved the scene where he saved her. Unreal. p.s. Hilarious idea about the "Dark Magic drinking game", hilarious. Still, amazing show. It looks to me like Adam's dad is making all of that "made in the stars" stuff up and is actually a crazy person. This episode showed that he plotted the fire and the capture of John Blackwell out of jealousy of him. Hence the alcoholism and why he wont talk about he fire. And why he wants Cassie with Adam. It's all coming together now. Love it.


Loved the introduction into the episode! They cut right to the story from the begging!
CASSIE! I think it's great she doesn't negate the connection with Jake! Cassie's magic was strong enough to keep them her in the past! Lucy is the character who will be played by ex GA star(the one who played Rose, she is a psychic)
JAKE!I really enjoyed him today!Not bad!
DAWN/CHARLES!i love they are going at each other!But Dawn is so smart she plays a hard game/double game!
FAYE!Callum WTF?Unnecessary character introduction! Interested where they are heading with this story! But OK, "Devils Spirit"! Let's see where they are heading?
ADAM!I don't buy his act at all! Really doesn't fit the character! But Ethan being a double crosser, doing everything to get down JB! Not the fine British way.
DIANA and MELISSA IRRELEVANT as always!So sad!But seems like Mel gets an drug addiction, the new Adrianna of CW!
Miss Jane by the way!


Better than the last 2 but still suffers from poor writing and plotting. The magic was better. The new info advanced the plot thankfully. But we don't know half? the parents' circle so that limited interest in following events and caring who sided with whom. The connection between Cassie seeing young Faye and Cassie seeing Jake' memory was fuzzy. Ethan's character transplant? Faye's story was all right but still setting-up. Lee is super boring. Callum's more interesting. Unless the memory was than a memory for Cassie??? There was that young woman who saw/talked to Cassie and Cassie was choking on smoke.

Strawberry fields

Jake was surprisingly good this week. The whole thing with his parents finally made him show some emotions. Keep it up. I’m rather Team Jake at this point. Adam tried to hold on to Diana for so long and then suddenly went with his feelings for Cassie. But what really annoys me is how everything is too dangerous in his opinion. Cassie’s power is out of control, but being afraid of it doesn’t really help. She needs to make peace with it. She needs to believe it doesn’t have to be evil, otherwise she’s screwed. At least Jake makes her do things.

Strawberry fields

Faye is acting like she wants to break the record of doing all the stupid things in one week. First trusting some random shady dude to per form creepy ritual, then trying to steal power, and now drugs with even more random shady dude. Does she have a brain at all? Everything else about this episode was fairly good. I love how they focused on Ethan. I was expecting him to become more important over time. Now we know he was there the day of the fire. Cool. Btw, Dawn was pretty desperate to come to Ethan for help, wasn’t she? The trip into Jake’s memory was great (except for the fact that he was simply not capable of seeing and hearing all that, but let’s drop it). So we finally know the truth about who started the damn fire, we have alive John Blackwell (I was kind of expecting that) who betrayed Amelia, and we have the woman who apparently was able to see Cassie when she was in Jake’s head (seriously, who the hell was that?).


Team jake!!!Adam really annoys me!!He's acting like he owns Cassie!This episode was more intriguing than last week's one,and for some reason I cant help but guess that Ethan is really Cassie's dad...his voice...his shadiness in the probably wrong haha

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