You know, I've given a lot of guff to the crystal MacGuffins on this show. They look like something you'd buy with skee-ball tickets and it never ceases to look embarrassing when a serious actor holds one up and pretends it's anything more than a piece of hippie junk. But if the whole point of a MacGuffin is that it's an object that forces a character to take action, then "Crystal" used them perfectly. I can't believe the irony of this situation, but yes, an entire episode about crystals is one of the BEST episodes of the season. None of this changes the fact that I still want to destroy them all with a hammer, but still. Success!
This episode was basically just a big scavenger hunt and in addition to dumping a ton of information and making a huge revelation and killing off a character (I think?), it was just plain fun. Characters were paired off into fresh combinations and everyone worked as a team to get the job done. This show feels pretty invigorated right now and, crystals or not, it's a thrill to behold.
Anyway, let's talk about John Blackwell's sex life!
We began at Faye's house, where she and Melissa were following Blackwell's instructions to rifle through all their parents' sh*t. In a move reminiscent of the Damon Salvatore Soapdish method of hiding things in plain sight, Dawn had kept her private diary in the coffee table.
And the Penthouse Forum-style reminiscences contained therein (alongside, I'm guessing Lisa Frank stickers) were how Faye came to suspect that Blackwell might've knocked her mother up back in the day.
First off, I love how quickly this plotline moved along. We as an audience knew Dawn and Blackwell had been a thing, now everybody knew. Also I loved that Faye immediately was fine with this potentially earth-shattering revelation so long as she now got to have dark magic of her own. Teenagers!
Later at the witch house, did it seem like everyone was in a super crabby mood?
I mean, they had JUST witnessed a man exploding, wouldn't you think they'd be all hyped up about it? Apparently not. But I DID love the idea that Adam and Jake were reading the same book together. I liked that about this episode: Characters who almost never hang out were suddenly hanging out. I'm serious, it made things seem a lot fresher and brought out new dynamics in all their friendships.
Faye couldn't resist trying out Cassie's crystal:
She broke the pile of test tubes! And then some mirrors and junk. (Where'd all those mirrors come from?) Anyway, Blackwell was real ticked about it. He'd gotten a really god deal on these items back in the day!
I loved how he was getting very Dad-like with Faye right off the bat.
So yeah, then the episode became this big scavenger hunt for crystals. I really liked it! Scavenger hunts are the best! I also really liked how Cassie immediately called shotgun in Jake's car (because who wouldn't?) and lied to Adam about having already made that arrangement. And did you catch Faye giving a sarcastic "hang loose" sign as they all trudged out? Loved that.
So as promised, Diana was giving Grant a day to win her back over, but it really only took about twelve seconds and a bouquet of flowers. And another great coat. (How big is that sailboat again? Where is he keeping all these coats?)
But just as Diana was about to spend the day with her flossin' Aussie (Flaussie?), along came a couple of cockblockin' witches to hassle Diana about her crystal-finding duties.
They ended up letting her off the hook, but still. Diana could not get a moment's peace all day! Oh but the main thing is, Adam and Melissa teamed up for the whole episode and it was GREAT. There wasn't even any bogus romantic hooey between them, they just seemed to really enjoy each other's company. I loved when they both openly fawned over Grant's accent. See? Adam is such a better character now, he smiles and everything.
Then this guy showed up:
Melissa was NOT interested, but Callum wasn't taking "no, definitely not, blackout forever" for an answer. He was REALLY into her witchiness so Jake had to step in.
Which, wasn't it weird how most of the circle was dressed in black in this episode like some kind of gang? Also, just FYI, witch blood is bought and sold on the black market. By whom, you may wonder? Voodoo people. That's right, those mousy geeks we saw at Callum's party are buying and trading witch blood. Lord.
Then Cassie went home and heard some noises in the kitchen!
It was Jane! We knew Charles had unbroken her brain in order to enlist her services in killing Blackwell, but there was some question about how much of her memory she'd regain. The answer was "almost everything." Except the part about Charles spelling her and having her institutionalized for a few months. She didn't remember that part I guess. But other than that she was pretty much back at 100% and dealing with 6 months worth of overdue bills!
Haha, so just to recap, Cassie came home for no reason?
Anyway, SOMEBODY noticed that Cassie had been out of sorts lately.
She lied about how the elixir didn't actually work on her and tried to play it off like she wasn't dragging nine-ton broken heart around with her everywhere she went. To his credit, Jake gave her this look:
Honestly, what couldn't THAT fix? Except for occasionally manhandling a voo-dude, Jake's been a lot nicer and more mellow lately, and this tiny, subtle moment of empathy suddenly got me back on the Cake train.
Right after the two of them (plus Faye!) headed for Jake's grandpa's house, we discovered they were being followed by Callum.
Haha, sorry. I mean, I know it's just the helmet, but did his head look ENORMOUS? Look at the ratio of head-to-shoulders and tell me that doesn't look like a child biker. How could Jake not have seen that gigantic noggin in his rear-view?
So anyway, Jake's grandpa wasn't home so the trio immediately busted into his crazyperson shanty.
As Jake informed us, this was what's known as a Conspiracy Wall. Just FYI.
Also, please update your contacts:
Wasn't it weird how the final five members of the circle were born one a month for five consecutive months? And are those constellations? I KNEW horoscopes were just a bunch of witchcraft.
Back in town, Blackwell was waiting outside Charles' law office hoping to, I don't know, clear the air?
But nope! They hate each other still. But we learned a couple things: 1) Charles believes that Blackwell personally murdered Diana's mom. And 2) Blackwell now admits he made bad choices back in the day (including personally conjuring demons) and insists that he wants to make things right. Didn't work though, because Charles basically just said he was going to kill him. Cool chat, bro.
Also, the laws of TV and movies dictates that anytime you break into somebody's pad, they will arrive ten minutes later. Because then Jake's grandpa arrived! And oooh was he mad. He basically threw his pool table at the intruders!
After the three of them slid the pool table right back at him, Jake's Grandpa was like, "Identity verified" and immediately hugged him hello. Oh, and he hadn't yet heard about Nick's death, so that was awkward. But nobody dwelled on that stuff, not when there was A TON of information to dump on us.
So then Jake's Grandpa broke down what's going on. It involved three circles surviving the Salem witch trials and one relocating to Chance Harbor way back in the day. He didn't mention the difference between a circle and a coven, so I still have no idea how that coven Blackwell genocided factors in, but anyway. Blackwell had been trying to control the Chance Harbor circle by turning it into an engine of destruction. When he realized he couldn't control the previous circle, he came up with a pretty amazing Plan B.
That's right, he'd decided that he'd just procreate a ton in order to make the NEXT circle dark. But apparently his game wasn't THAT great because he only managed to knock up one other lady other than Amelia.
Obviously Cassie was a tad stunned by this stuff. Not only was Blackwell allegedly even more awful than anyone thought, but he viewed Cassie as basically an experiment in eugenics rather than a daughter. Oh, and then there was the simple fact that one of her friends was actually a SIBLING.
Pretty heavy stuff for an only child former orphan. But then things just got heavier: Jake's grandpa started ranting about endtimes! Specifically, if the six crystals were combined they'd form a CRYSTAL SKULL (okay, that's pretty cool right there) and it would be the single most powerful tool of destruction ever and "our existence will be swallowed by a river of blood!"
Faye's reaction to this was basically perfect:
Haha! Love her.
Meanwhile, Team Madam were rifling through Melissa's grandmother's stuff. I guess she was spending the day at an Indian gaming casino or something, I can't remember. Anyway, her method of hiding her crystal was also pretty hilarious:
Melissa explained that the grandmother probably got all those other crystals in Sedona, which made me laugh out loud. My point exactly, writers! Witchcraft is already kind embarrassing on its own, but for the most part The Secret Circle has made it seem cool and interesting—The art and imagery have sort of a rustic-goth-Pottery Barn vibe, which is both interesting and appealing. So mixing it up with annoying New Age b.s. is not the way to go. But honestly, if I actually get to SEE a crystal skull between now and the finale, all will be forgiven. MAYBE.
Back at Diana's house, she was still trying to spend the day with Grant, but Adam and Melissa kept interrupting them. Since Diana was still in the closet about her witchcraft, we got a number of scenes where she awkwardly tried to hide it from him. Including this weird one where he walked into the garage only to find three black-clad teenagers huddled over a dufflebag of crystals.
Anyway, Grant finally got the hint and buzzed off, then the three of them used magic to identify the real crystal.
Hilariously enough, it straight-up GLOWED. The crystals glow now, just FYI.
Back at Jake's grandpa's place, the three kids had a pow-wow about what they'd just heard. That's when Jake more or less confirmed the revelation about Cassie having a sibling.
Plus Faye was jumping to conclusions LIKE CRAZY.
It was a lot to deal with! And that was BEFORE the break-in.
He'd stolen the map to Jake's grandpa's crystal. Because if you ever go to the trouble of hiding a crystal in an abandoned mine, just go ahead and leave a map to it hanging on your Conspiracy Wall. Oh, and by the way, the abandoned mine is spelled to prevent anyone with DARK magic from entering, which is just a good call seeing as people who practice regular magic always make good decisions with crystals. (See: Charles, Dawn, Ethan) But yeah, don't worry about it, the whole anti-dark magic spell probably won't come into play later.
As the kids departed grandpa's house, he and Jake had a nice moment.
I liked that even though the old man was paranoid and irritable, he clearly felt horrible about how Jake's life had turned out. And it was also a reminder about just how sad and lonely Jake's life had become. Basically his family was dead and he had no friends and lived alone in a bedroom next to the girl who didn't love him and I'm pretty sure he didn't go to college and has no hobbies. And now that all the mirrors are broken in the witch house, it's like he has NOTHING left! Poor Jake!
Then Grant and Diana kind of broke up after she was, once again, interrupted by circle drama.
Sorry guys, better luck next time!
Back at Jane's house, she and Charles had set up a scheme in which to kill Blackwell.
It involved a power-sapping chair, a silly crystal, and a witch cruet. But before they could drop a match into a jar (oh, how I long for the brutal simplicity of a wooden stake), Jane wanted to finger Blackwell's brain a bit about what really happened to Amelia.
I was slightly disappointed by the fact that the REAL story didn't come out in this exchange. Wouldn't it have been cool if Blackwell had done some personal investigation work and found out Charles had done it and then outed him right then and there? Oh well. Didn't happen. Maybe later.
Meanwhile, in another killer example of how good this show's location scout is, Adam and Melissa were exploring an abandoned mine. It was genuinely scary looking!
At one point Adam even busted out some Indiana Jones-style skills in order to find the hidden crystal!
They didn't specify, but I'm just going to assume there was hot lava or something down at the bottom of that pit.
Anyway, Adam found the thing and then had a bit of an issue on the swing back over.
Whew! That was close! But then uh-oh:
Apparently Callum had stolen the map because he knew the crystal could be sold on the voodoo black market? Who knows. I liked how he offered to take the money and whisk Melissa off to a "voodoo island." Doesn't that sound awful? I mean, not scary at all because I'm not even sure voodoo is even powerful in this world, but I mean awful as in smells awful. Melissa was not interested.
Meanwhile the rest of the kids arrived and right away Cassie ran into the anti-dark magic spell that Jake's grandpa had placed on the mine.
And since we knew Jake, Adam, and Melissa had already entered that tunnel it left only two candidates from which to choose.
Meanwhile Faye was eager to get herself nearly killed, as she believed it was ignite the dark magic she was by now certain she had. So she stood in front of a fleeing Callum's motorcycle, and I'll admit, seemed pretty badass while doing so.
But it didn't work! No dark magic for you, lady. Fortunately Cassie was there and she got RESULTS.
I loved when Adam and Jake teamed up to "mark" the dude. One, because I like the implication that the circle is kind of a fearsome bunch, but also because I think marking is pretty hilarious. So, you cut your own palm and the thing that happens is your palm will bleed whenever the person returns? Cool vengeance!
So anyway, back at Jane's joint Charles was getting REAL eager to kill Blackwell.
Blackwell had switched out his own blood in the cruet for Jane's! Oh no, poor Jane. Except, did you notice how her complexion returned to normal while holding the crystal? Did it repair her, like the time Charles saved Dawn or Dawn saved that one friend Cassie had that one time? I don't even know. Oh well, if she IS dead, rest in peace lady.
In another nice scene, which was the latest in what's become a series, "Blackwell Gets Paternal," Faye finally asked him straight-up whether he's her dad.
And he said no! And not only that, but that Dawn had basically IMAGINED the affair that she'd so feverishly scrawled in her diary. Which really makes you wonder: If Blackwell was so serious about siring an army of Balcoin children, how'd he pass up the can't-miss proposition of knocking up Dawn? That wouldn't have been too hard for him in retrospect.
Doesn't matter. The thing is, Faye took the news like a champ. Especially when Blackwell took the time to talk about her real dad, and how he was a good guy who'd be proud of her today.
It was seriously touching! The thing this show is absolutely nailing right now is the schism between Blackwell's evil side and the genuinely decent stuff he does to undercut it. Either he's misunderstood or he's just SO charismatic and manipulative, but that's good writing either way. I love that I still don't know what his deal is, it makes him so much more interesting.
So then Diana came clean with Cassie: She was FED THE F UP with the circle. It had been really cramping her style lately.
Cassie brought up a good point: Diana's the one who'd first found her Book of Shadows and recruited the other kids, plus she'd been the one who spearheaded their binding. But now that she wants to do nude somersaults with some hunk she was gonna leave everyone dangling in the wind? Not cool.
Oh, and Cassie was pretty curious about why Diana hadn't actually GONE IN the mine even though she'd arrived first.
Boom. Bingo. Jackpot. Diana's Cassie's sister!
Now, okay. First of all: AWESOME. That is a good choice. Faye was always too obvious, and Melissa's moment with Blackwell from a few episodes ago was a nice diversion. This choice just makes tons of sense and in retrospect was the ONLY way to go. (Still wish it had been Adam, but mostly for LOL reasons at this point).
I admit I'm pretty confused about how the family structure works: So there is no Meade in the circle then? Is that allowed? I thought all six families had to be represented? This is a complaint I keep having: While I love how complicated the actual backstory is—allegiances, betrayals, mistakes—it bugs me how vague and confusing the lineage stuff is. WHAT EXACTLY makes up a circle? HOW MANY of the parents were witches and how many were normal humans? Maybe this is available in flowchart form somewhere on the internet, but my arms and hands are too tired to Google it. Anyway, kinda wish I had a firmer grasp on this stuff, but oh well. It's all a testament to how entertaining I find this show... Ultimately I'm just sitting back smiling. Especially during this episode! So good.
... How soon will Diana turn dark?
... Does Charles even know?
... Is Jane 100% dead?
... What's on YOUR conspiracy wall?