The Secret Circle Review: One Shady Sibling

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The death of Nick Armstrong grew even sadder this week on The Secret Circle. Because I felt bad for various characters, most notably Melissa? Eh, sure.

Mostly, though because it led to a rather gloomy, dare I say it, boring hour of television. Granted, "Wake" was faced with the challenging task of following a pair of outstanding, shocking, suspenseful episodes, but that doesn't change the irony of the episode title: I found it hard to stay awake.

Jake and Cassie

I hate to pick on a young actor, but Chris Zylka did very little for me as Jake. The character isn't exactly oozing charisma, is he? He's stiff, he lacks a personality and yet he was the major focus of this episode.

Fortunately, the final scene teased an intriguing set-up for Jake's presence. I'm less surprised and fascinated by the fact that Jake is a witch hunter - did anyone really trust this guy at any point? - than I am by the fact that there are witch hunters in general out there. This clearly raises the stakes, along with numerous questions. The most pressing:

Is this the outside danger to which Dawn and Charles constantly refer? Are these people the reason they want to regain their powers? Are they responsible for the events from 16 years ago and whatever the heck Blackwell is? Or whoever the heck Blackwell is? Ethan wasn't entirely clear on that one.

Can we pour the guy some more drinks and really get him talking?

Outside of a look into Faye's troubled history, a lot of crying by Melissa and Charles moping around over his murderous actions (Dawn clearly wears the cold-hearted pants in this relationship, loved when she squeezed his face), two other developments stood out this week:

Cassie has a crystal. This can be tied in to the fact that the Blakes are apparently one of the original witch families, which forced grandma to give granddaugher the Peter Parker speech: with great power comes great responsibility. Step up, Cassie. You need to be a leader. That's a lot to dump on a 16-year old, but remember how we first met Cassie: changing her own tire, laughing off her mom's offer to help.

This is one independent, strong witch. I say she's up to the task.

Diana no longer has Adam. I wonder what she'll do with all that leftover whipped cream now. Can't say I was shocked by this split, but I was happy to see the truth just laid out there. Ethan told Diana the truth (or his version of it, at least), Diana relayed that to Adam and then even to Cassie. There's no lying here, no backstabbing, just one honest conversation after another. That's not exactly the norm on teen-based primetime soap operas. I like it.

I'm also curious about Ethan's running theme: don't mess with destiny.

So, am I being too harsh on Jake? What are your feelings on the older Armstrong brother? Are you on Team Cadam now, anxious for them to officially get together? And, seriously, can we come up with a better nickname for this potential couple?

Wake Review

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

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