This review may contain spoilers
Jake (Chris Zylka) has returned to warn Cassie (Britt Robertson) that the witch hunter council lead by Eben (Sammi Rotibi) are going to hold a special dark witch killing ritual for her. The same ritual they used on her father, John Blackwell.
In order to understand the ritual and defend against it, they need to know what happened the day of the fatal boat fire that killed half the previous generation. Jake shares that his delinquent toddler self (Owen Mason) was there the day of the fire, but he has repressed most of those memories.
With Cassie's help he can cast a spell to view his memories and hopefully get past the blocks. Establishing that they can see but are not seen in the memory, they follow Jake's parents, but Jake is overcome by pain and a feeling of impending doom. He wakes himself up, but Cassie continues without him, determined to see.
Jake's father (Marcus Rosner) has arranged a truce with the witch hunters; all they need to do is promise not to do magic any more. John, Dawn and Charles don't want to sign up, but that's all moot because the witch hunters have double crossed them. They've slaughtered everyone there except Sarah (Jake's mom), Lucy (Melissa's mom?) and John. Also, Ethan (Adam Harrington), who Cassie sees sauntering away from the carnage.
Vanquishing John fails because he has a talisman that gives him control over their cleansing fire. He slips his bonds and immolates them. Dropping this extremely useful seeming talisman, he leaves. Lucy (Nina Kiri?), who sees spirit Cassie, just strolls out. Sarah (Cindy Busby) is trapped by a particularly lame looking glass door and dies in the fire before the horrified eyes of Jake, who has returned to help Cassie.
Adam (Thomas Dekker) and Diana (Shelley Hennig) arrive half way through and are told what was learned afterward, includin the detail about his father, who claimed he was not at the boat that day. Cassie retrieves the talisman in the present and with Jake's labour exhumes John's grave to find what looks like a dog skeleton in the coffin.
Meanwhile, Charles (Gale Harold) has been avoiding and ignoring Dawn (Natasha Henstridge). When she confronts him, he tells her she will never get her hands on the active crystal in his possession, and he will find out what she is plotting and stop it. So, Dawn turns to Ethan, telling him that Charles magically assaulted her. Ethan has never liked Charles and enthusiastically offers to neutralize him, crystal or no.
Taunting him over the phone brings Charles to The Boathouse where Ethan clobbers him from behind and takes the crystal. Returning the favour of a little dry land drowning action as Charles did to Ethan in the pilot sends Charles packing. Ethan subsequently refuses to give the crystal back to Dawn; although, he claims that he will let her see it on the morrow. Luckily, Dawn can never catch a break.
Back at the voodoo garage, Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) meets Callum (Michael Graziadei), a shady customer of Lee's (Grey Damon). Lee used to deal in mystic drugs, one of which is Devil's Spirit, an herb, that delivers clarity of mind and, Callum claims, super powers that will help you get or do anything you want. Callum forces Lee to get some for him while he holds Faye willingly hostage. Faye stays, when it looks like she could have easily left, because she wants to know more about the power conferring drug. Eva, Lee's former girlfriend, was "destroyed" by this drug. After Callum mysteriously finds where she lives, Faye predictably takes the sample of drug offered.
Points Of Interest
1. Melissa does not appear in this episode, having gone to Seattle with her dad. Are the writers suffering from a lack of ideas for Melissa or does Jessica Parker Kennedy have another role that is taking her away from this production?
2. The previous generation's circle was never bound. Diana's book implies that their magic flared unexpectedly and that was what caused the fatal fire.
3. Toddler Jake stowed away in his parents car, then followed them onto the boat and spied in the windows. Then they both died, so another adult must have taken him home. You'd think, associated with a big scandal in a small town, it would be well known that he was there when it happened.
4. Cassie's dark magic gives her connection abilities other witches don't have as demonstrated by her ability to see Faye's memory vision of her younger self in "Beneath."
5. Amelia, Cassie's mom, was not there, wanting nothing to do with John after he betrayed her. Would that betrayal involve the creation of the other Blackwell mentioned in "Balcoin"?
6. Part of the ritual to vanquish John involves circling him with a black powder that looks a lot like gunpowder. They named it and I listened a few times, but all I could get was dark mumble mumble. Sorry.
7. John was hooded by the witch hunters, so Cassie (and we) never saw his face.
8. Cassie's spirit self being affected by the smoke was apparently just a mental thing since she physically wasn't there. Similarly being blocked by the particularly fragile looking glass door and Jake's ability to open it, all mental constructs. Which doesn't entirely fit with Lucy's ability to see Cassie in Jake and Cassie's shared reality simulation.
9. Cassie now has a powerful dark magic enhancing talisman.
Cassie doesn't want to "wait around for these witch hunters to come at me with some super special dark magic killing plan."
The big mystery of what happened to the previous generation has been explained. Now the only major mystery is: What has Cassie's dad been up to all this time?
What Didn't Work
They find the boat in some kind of ship graveyard where it's been sitting untouched for 16 years or more? The boat, in memory, looks pretty much exactly like the present boat complete with peeling paint and rust. It's been abandoned for some time and the parent generation have been using it as their equivalent of Briar Hill, their spell component storage space and hang out.
Tom and Sophie-Ann are already on board. Dawn and Charles are up on deck with John. Are Tom and Sophie dead? Whose parents are they? Who is Lucy? How did Dawn and Charles get away when the more powerful John was caught?
Sarah and Lucy are left unguarded in an unlocked room. Lucy just stands up and leaves later, why doesn't Sarah go too?
When John gets the upper hand, he immolates all the witch hunters. How does Eben get away to be witch hunter council head in the present?
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"The Secret Circle" stars Britt Robertson, Chris Zylka, Thomas Dekker, Shelley Hennig, Adam Harrington, Natasha Henstridge, Gale Harold, Phoebe Tonkin, Grey Damon, Michael Graziadei, Cindy Busby, Marcus Rosner, Sammi Rotibi, Nina Kiri, Owen Mason. "Witness" was written by Dana Baratta and was directed by Eagle Egilsson.
"The Secret Cirlce" airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.
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