The Secret Circle: Busted! (PHOTO RECAP)

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Whew! We're only five episodes into the series and already it's clear that The Secret Circle is NOT messing around. After last week's embrace of full-on horror, this week's episode continued the demonic-possession storyline, moved the mythology forward, and also killed off a MAIN CHARACTER for good measure! Earlier this season, I complained that binding the circle would keep the characters too safe, but I was wrong. Credit where credit's due!

"Slither" picked up the morning after the events of "Heather." While Heather herself was off in a body bag somewhere, her tiny little snake demon had crawled into MELISSA and it was probably not going to be a good day for anybody.

It made me laugh that she couldn't feel THAT THING crawling beneath her skin. But you know, we've all had those kinds of mornings, am I right? (I'm not right, am I?)

But hey, do you want to see what an exhausted witch looks like?

Apparently Cassie hadn't slept all night, either because she was up late cleaning up the carnage, or perhaps because she was traumatized by what happened? Either way, I was impressed the show would even address the wear and tear several hours of sheer terror can have on someone.

Jane confronted Cassie in the kitchen and asked what exactly she'd been up to lately (guess she didn't notice all the missing lamps?). It was clear she really wanted to talk witchcraft, but Cassie was being so coy! If I were Cassie, I would have been grilling my grandmother on Day 1, but as Diana later explained, their grandparents had stripped the powers from their own kids, so there was some reason to believe the teens needed to tread cautiously. It actually made sense to me! (Trust me, few things ever do.)

Meanwhile, at school, Melissa was all fidgety, like a teenage bag lady. This episode ended up being a pretty amazing showcase for Jessica Parker Kennedy, who really brought her A-game.

Not gonna lie, I kind of didn't understand the demonic possession process. I kind of THOUGHT Melissa was possessed the whole time, but it turned out she was just an itchy weirdo version of herself. But THEN later on she became possessed?

I don't know, I'm not a demon doctor or whatever. But yeah, then Melissa became super creepy and promised she'd show Nick her Book of Shadows if he would just dig it up from a filthy shallow grave in the woods.

But then she immediately betrayed his trust by luring other members of the circle to the secret house. (Quick question: Where do they park? Is there a driveway, or maybe there's a bus line they all take?)

I'm not an expert on lady homoeroticism but how about this part where Melissa and Faye stared intensely at each other for a few beats. That was some straight up L Word stuff, right?

Meanwhile Adam was eating a candlelight dinner over at Diana's house. Don't you love how Charles has decorated the place? You can tell it was designed by a longtime bachelor and single dad because of the OUTDOOR FLOWER BOUQUET? Dude stuff, basically.

Anyway, Adam did NOT like Diana's cooking.

Luckily she'd planned a sensual treat for dessert. Okay, sure, The Secret Circle. Just a very white hot scene, basically.

Back at the decrepit clubhouse, things quickly took a turn toward the horrifying.

The funniest part about demons is that they are TERRIBLE actors. Not only was Melissa acting like a cagey weirdo, she kept talking with a man voice and screaming for no reason. Generally I prefer my friends to not scream at me in a demon voice, but that's just a personal preference.

If you can believe it, Adam and Diana were making the kind of love that would heat a fire. How that house didn't just burn down is beyond me! But anyway, because they are TV characters and it's federal law, Diana was compelled to check her phone right in the middle of their tryst.

So they rushed over to the clubhouse and there was a pretty funny bit where, immediately upon their arrival, Nick smashed Melissa over the head with a log and the rest of the gang was like, "It's not what you think." Like, I'm sure Adam and Diana just assumed it was a typical case of someone bashing a girl over the head with a log for no reason, but good thing Faye and Nick cleared that up.

They managed to secure Melissa, who was just so angry and shouting at everybody.

I liked this screengrab because it looked like everyone was SO MAD at T-Mobile.

Anyway then the demon tried to manipulate everyone into believing she was Melissa again. Typical demon stuff. My favorite part was when Nick gave her the staredown just like Larry David does on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

But again, demons are terrible actors!

Elsewhere, Charles and Dawn were chillin' on a boat in the harbor and trying to determine the location of the other crystals. It hasn't been made clear, but it kind of seems like when the elders stripped their powers, they trapped the powers in crystal form? So there should be a crystal for each member of that circle? Not sure.

Uh-oh, their crystal ran out of juice just before they could track down the others. Dawn was MIFFED.

I'm not sure how I feel about Charles being retconned into a sadsack. Remember how he was an uber-powerful villain in the pilot? Oh well, Dawn's badassery more than makes up for it. Is this is a good opportunity to say how much I love Natasha Henstridge? She is great! I don't think she's getting enough credit for the work she's doing here, but she's basically perfect. Remember in Species when Michelle Williams turned into a cocoon and then Natasha Henstridge squirted out and ate a black lady? Natasha Henstridge is awesome, I want to buy her a Frosty.

Oh, right, the show. So at the decrepit clubhouse, Cassie pointed out that they probably couldn't defeat a demon seeing as Cassie's mom was unable to do such things. But Nick insisted they try to help Melissa anyway, and there was a nice moment where Cassie immediately agreed. She is a good person! Plus, she is smart and immediately went to go get her grandmother.

It probably wasn't intentional but this reminded me a lot of that episode of My So-Called Life where Angela had to go get her mom to help with Rayanne's overdose. I don't know, I guess in both situations the main girl needed help dealing with a friend who was behaving like an asshole.

Oh, I had to point this out. THIS. Was amazing! Note Melissa lying on the couch in the beginning.

It was such a weird, hilarious, straight up cinematic thing to have happen, and I JUMPED. I gotta give the production and actors credit, it looked hard to do!

Anyway, suddenly Nick was being held at scissor-point, and the other three witches had no choice but to bust out a truly questionable spell.

Ouch! But also I guess the spell no longer works when the people are on the floor?

This was a weird moment where Melissa/The Demon forced everyone to recite incantations at knife-point. I bet witches hate that! Anyway it was all to open this suitcase which by now was writhing and hissing! I wish I had a dollar for every time I declined to open writhing, hissing suitcases.

FORTUNATELY Cassie returned with her grandmother, and guess who has a crystal of her own!

Demons HATE crystals! Or they're at least very bored by them, because the Demon was out like a light. But you know, it'd had a long day, bless its heart.

Pretty soon after that Jane determined that Melissa was no longer possessed! But it was sort of a good news, bad news situation.

Then, in a pretty nice homage to The Thing (I'm guessing), Jane went around the room with the crystal trying to detect who was possessed. I thought it was pretty cool of her to start with Cassie. No bias there. But, it was pretty obvious who it would be:

Then he caused a big ruckus and tried to open the suitcase, and it was FULL OF SNAKES!

Apparently demons take the form of snakes, but I didn't care! I'd have a hard time deciding what's worse, snakes or demons? DO NOT WANT EITHER OF THEM. Because Jane is gangsta, she had the kids throw the suitcase into the bathtub and TORCH IT.

At one point Adam tried to beat the snakes with a stick for some reason, and when Cassie tried to stop him a snake almost bit her! SEE, that's why people should carry guns. Sorry, I feel very Second Amendment-y when it comes to snakes.

So then the demon went to the Boat House and chatted up Dawn. Apparently the Demon's name is Abaddon and was CONJURED by Dawn back in the day? So, wow. No wonder the elders took away their powers, that is ridiculous! Like, what does it take for someone to consider the possibility of conjuring a demon in order to solve a problem? Is that just like a classic Plan B for a witch? Like, whoops, the cable's out. Better conjure a demon. We're out of mayo? Conjure a demon. The cat's giving me attitude again. Gonna conjure a demon. Personally, I like to think that I would conjure a demon in NO situations, but who am I to judge? I'm sure Dawn had a terrific reason.

Anyway, the demon had come home to roost and it simply wanted everything. Dawn was like, "Yeah okay, let's go."

But what the demon didn't know was that her cell phone was on speakerphone and she'd dialed Charles. Then THIS happened!

Right in the kisser! Look how hard he hits the ground! Was that the main actor? Dang, tough last week, guy. It kind of looked like he hit his head! That's commitment. Hope he puts that on his reel.

As we'd previously learned, demons can only be destroyed through burning or drowning, so Dawn and Charles took drastic measures.

And he DROWNED Nick!

And just like that the circle was broken! Not only that, but the parents had just straight-up murdered one of the kids after having painstakingly manipulated the circle into binding together in the first place. Kind of an inglorious way for Nick to go out, but still pretty horrifying.

Elsewhere Melissa was just recovering from her possession when Faye got the call.

Faye is the best.

To their credit, Dawn and Charles felt pretty bad about the whole situation.

Like, are they villains? Are they decent human beings? It's never clear, and that's one of this show's strengths!

An emotional montage ensued.

This one got me:

And in a nice callback to the pilot, Cassie stared out her window into Nick's room, where he'd first attempted to strike a shirtless hunk pose.

Obviously I am just a lowly TV recapper who dwells in the boonies of the internet, but did I WILL this to happen? Not just Nick's death but also the casting of upcoming "guest star" Chris Zylka? (Quick question: Does The CW always include "guest stars" in their promotional artwork?) I've been a huge fan of Chris Zylka since that surprisingly not-terrible MTV slasher movie My Super Psycho Sweet 16, not to mention the time he played Thomas Dekker's naked roommate in Kaboom. All I'm saying is, I think I WILLED this to happen, much like the time I willed Trevor Donovan's character to make out with Alan Ritchson on 90210. I have great taste, basically.

Anyway! R.I.P. Nick. Long live The Secret Circle!

QUESTIONS:
... Will the witches' individual powers return?
... How long until the other kids discuss witchcraft with THEIR guardians?
... How good was Jessica Parker Kennedy?
... Should there be more Diana-Adam sex scenes?

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