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+.


The B story with Ethan, Dawn and Charles was so bleh. Ethan is a gullible idiot. No way will he be able to hold off the seduction of power. And how can he live with himself when he caused Jake's fathers death. That was the most heart breaking scene! My word the hunters are worse than John Blackwell At least he killed the hunters. Well that is all we saw. I wonder if they are going to talk about the ancestors and the master tools. That would be an excellent story. The master tools. A+ ep, can't wait for feb!


I like the attempt by the writers to use a different method to do a flash back but it wasn't well thought out. Cassie shouldn't have seen everything she saw simply because Jake didn't see everything.
What they should have done is explain somehow that Cassie was about to use the Jake's connection to that memory to see more than what he actually saw. Oh well.
They didn't explain how one of the girls saw Cassie. That was a major wtf moment. I like that there is some sort of heading and I hope to see more good eps like this.


Team Margarita....because that's what I'll start needing to ease my frustrations while watching...and I don't even drink. This episode was better than it was last week but I still want more. I agree with @Rande on...everything. This show can't be solely based on Cassie. A show is only as good as its least developed character...which is everyone but Cassie.Where was Melissa?Why are Adam&Diana certified props?The episode was better this week but the payoff is glacial.


I want to know who this Lucy is and why she could see Cassie. I rewatched the episode Loner because they show the article about the fire and it doesn't mention any Lucy in the deceased


Ok so I know all this i'm posting wasnt mentioned in this review, but I read a different review and wrote this then couldn't post it, so I decided to share here

Casssie can still do magic alone and faye can't because faye isnt a blake. I think its the combination of two powerful magical lines that allows cassie to perform alone, not just her balcoin magic. Also when faye tried to steal cassies magic in fire/ice, the reason the spell took the circles magic and not cassies was because the dark magic in faye recognized the dark magic in cassie and decided they were allies and arn't after the only magic that wasnt its twin. I think its kinda like in harry potter, how voldemort couldn't hurt harry because harry was a horcrux(a piece of his soul).


Hopefully Melissa was off finding herself a legitimate storyline? Too soon? Diana was definitely quick to jump the gun with her assessment of Jake's feelings for Cassie, although they are teenagers, so that may actually be accurate. Easily the best episode in a good long time. Serious plot development, only some dumb stuff (looking at you Faye) and the return of the parents makes it seem less like a teen-problem. Our take:


Also when jake and cassie were doing the memory spell at first and he had tears in his eyes I was like aww look at chris zylka finally acting lamo


While I have to say this episode was an improvement over last week's one I still felt a lil disappointed over the "unique" flashback. When cassie and jake first showed up on that dock in his memory I was like yes! But too many plotholes were glaring me in the face and I really wanted to see ethan, charles, dawn and amelia back then..u kno characters that we actually know and are vested in??


VDluv I totally agree! Its not that I loved the character of Nick so much but there was definitely so much more potential there! Think about it, what would the dynamic be like between Nick and his brother Jake? I'm sure they haven't seen each other in awhile so that would be awkward. And there was so much more possibility with the relationship between Nick and Melissa. Since he died I have not rooted for any relationship on this show! I like a show that has the balls to kill off main characters, but they definitely shouldve waited longer than 5 episodes! We didnt even really know him yet.


I love this show yet I know that season one storyline could have included a living nick for longer and killing him off in the finale not in the fifth episode...that way things would have evolved slowly and made more sense..sometimes I feel like it is too rushed and like the writers are trying too hard!

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