The Secret Circle: Hearts & Powers (PHOTO RECAP)

The Secret Circle S01E14: "Valentine"

Ever since I learned to speak English back in late '07 (I was raised by midget ponies, long story), I began to truly appreciate all the good TV out there. Because let's be honest, much of it isn't good, and that includes a lot of the things that are good. Wait, what? No, I got this: A TV show's value is not really a matter of personal taste (well, it IS) but it's more just that there's a huge spectrum of good to bad, and most shows claim multiple spots on that spectrum. For example, The Big Bang Theory is widely considered to be a "good" sitcom, but in my opinion it's also "very good," "medium-good," "slightly sucky," and "embarrassing garbage." Usually it's one of these things at a time, but occasionally it's all of them at the same time. Conversely, something widely considered to be awful, like, say, the 3am slot on QVC, is definitely unacceptable as entertainment but also has a dot on the "good" side of the good-bad spectrum in that it is surreal and kind of hilarious to hear the host yammering on about some terrible panda sculpture accented with LED twinkle lights. Like, sorry, but if I'm laughing, that's a point in its favor. What I'm trying to say is, the best way to watch TV is not to categorize everything in a black/white/good/bad category, but to instead recognize the goodness when you see it and just nod your head YES when you do.

I nodded my head YES SO MUCH during this week's episode of The Secret Circle and now my neck is sore! (Don't worry, QVC just had a good deal on neck massagers.) I love The Secret Circle, you guys. I know, right? Big shocker. This show is not a guilty pleasure, it is a PLEASURE. And like every other piece of entertainment it occupies multiple spots on the good-bad spectrum. "Valentine" averaged out to "awesome." It was certainly one of the best episodes of this series to date and probably one of the most entertaining hours of television I've seen in a while. It was one unapologetically fun, joyful, scary, funny, clever, dumb, sexy, awkward, ridiculous, and exciting hour of television. See? It was ALL of those things all at once. If you read these recaps without watching the actual show (which, go to the hospital because you're crazy), then you might consider jumping in on this episode. It was good!

Anyway, wanna talk about it? Don't say no, it's probably too late anyway to be honest, because here we goooooo...

We began in Jake's bedroom in the presumably humid aftermath of a whole night's worth of booty scootin' with Faye. A great scene transpired that only served to prove my theory that Jake and Faye are the best matchup this show's had so far: Faye attempted to "sneak out" while actually just passive aggressively trying wake him up and he immediately called her out on it.

Faye just sassed him back, playing it off like she was mortified over the encounter and whatnot. And that's when NEWLY CREDITED SERIES REGULAR Chris Zylka decided to celebrate the occasion with his first underwear scene!

Haha these two. Nothing like a little hate sex to kick off Valentine's Day. No but seriously, Jake spends so much time being all business that it's kind of awesome to see him throwin' sass back at Faye like a champ. They say that the best relationships result in two improved individuals, so the same is definitely true with this pair, personality-wise.

Anyway, at school (which had been thoroughly vandalized by some Valentine's Day-crazed terrorists) Faye was explaining to Melissa why she was walkin' funny.

Just kidding, actually Faye was downplaying the whole thing with Jake, claiming it meant nothing and she hates him, etc. Recently widowed (sorta) Melissa was not having it, and it made me laugh when she told Faye point-blank that they'd probably be a couple soon. (Fingers crossed!)

So that's when Faye declared that they should have a no-boys-allowed sleepover party, just the two of them.

And that's when Melissa immediately recognized that she didn't need to spend Valentine's Day getting 1-on-1 time with her most undermining friend and so she invited Diana and Cassie to join in.

I kind forgot that ever since Faye burned down the school and told everybody off, she hadn't been too involved with the Circle. So yeah, it made sense that she didn't want Cassie to come over, but it was nice that she immediately came around. It actually struck me as kinda true. Teens, they're so mercurial.

Anyway, then Cassie realized she'd forgotten her book and decided to go run to her car.

And on her way she encountered a romantic lead:

And get this: He legit asked her out on a date! Only took 14 episodes, but finally a verifiable relationship's happening here. Apparently all of Adam's wet-blanket nagging really warmed Cassie's heart because she seemed more than down.

Oh and then when Cassie was in her car searching for her book, THIS happened:

Aaaahhh! Get out of here, hooded dude, get into my nightmares!

This was hilarious:

Lee showed up at Faye's house and just sort of gave her a piece of garbage on a stick.

Quick note to the Art Department: Seriously? Was it super late and you wanted to go home? It seriously looks like somebody dipped a stick in some glue and then dragged it around on the ground for ten minutes.

I guess that thing had to do with voodoo and if Faye kept it by her bed it would "drain" peoples' powers and enhance hers. Or something. Basically a dreamcatcher except more embarrassing. But let's get real, if Grey Damon gave you a piece of trash on a stick you'd accept it also. Don't lie.

Then things got SERIOUS:

Isaac came back! (Related question: Anyone else excited about Teen Wolf Season 2?) Anyway, it was pretty nice of him to pay a visit because Jake had A LOT of questions for him. His answers weren't incredibly satisfying though because he didn't seem very honest. For instance, he claimed that Jake's parents were murdered as a result of Blackwell's betrayal. Which, what? Nope, the witch hunters definitely murdered Jake's parents, quit it, Isaac. But Isaac's insistence that Blackwell schemed for the total destruction of his circle DID plant a seed of doubt in Jake's head, as well as establish that maybe Blackwell is kind of a bad guy.

Cassie didn't really believe that, though, so there she was attempting to communicate with him in the basement again.

Unfortunately she had company:

Luckily Adam was just right upstairs and he was NOT about to let cloaked dudes get at her.

Because he's Adam, he immediately questioned why Cassie was trying so hard to conjure her father, reasoning that maybe Blackwell didn't want anything to do with her. Fair enough? No argument there, 16 years is a lot of birthdays to miss. Then to Adam's credit, he suggested Cassie meet up with Jake to learn more about the symbol on the cloaked dude's hood. Jake definitely knew about stuff like that, so it was nice that Adam could get over himself enough to suggest this.

Elsewhere, the no-boys-allowed sleepover party had begun, and guess who brought a SUITCASE?

Oh, Diana. But hey check out Faye's bedroom!

I love these kids' enormous bedrooms. Faye's has a sitting area! Plus I'm getting a Moroccan-Indonesian vibe? Girl's got talent for decor. And that molding is nuts!

Anyway, then Diana accidentally pushed Faye onto whatever that thing was that Lee gave her.

Faye was super steamed about it! Then when she left the room, Melissa got down to business:

Diana was ALL ABOUT the drugs. Diana was like "I don't like the drugs, but the drugs like me." Diana was like "I wanna Puff the Magic Dragon and visit Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Diana wanted to buuuuuuurnnnn!

Oh yeah, the party had STARTED.

And seriously, I thought I liked High Melissa a lot, but she was NOTHING compared to High Diana. High Diana was THE BEST. Just look at this:

High Diana 4-eva! Even grouchy, sober Faye was into it.

That's when Faye announced she was ordering pizza and Melissa and Diana decided they should use magic to conjure the hottest pizza guy possible. I wasn't sure how this worked: Did this mean the pizza place would decide to send its most attractive delivery guy, or was an ordinary dude about to transmogrify into a completely new person? I don't know, I don't ask questions when it comes to attractive pizza guys. All I know is their spell involved making sexy, sensual faces while imagining their ideal pizza guy.

Then almost on cue: DING DONG!

But it was only Lee! What a sexy misunderstanding! He'd only popped on over to fix the garbage stick for Faye, but ended up getting a hungry mouthful from High Diana. (Note: High Melissa's face in this picture is the best).

Oh, there was also this funny part where Diana texted Cassie "Bitch, hurry" and in the next scene Cassie got the text and read it out loud with a raised eyebrow. I don't know, maybe you had to be there. Anyway that's when Cassie noticed her medallion was sliding across the kitchen island all by itself!

But this was why:

Aaaahhh!! No! Get out of here, you goth prowler!

Back at the slumber party, the doorbell rang AGAIN!

And here was the hot guy they'd conjured, although it looked more like he was a composite of the three hot guys they'd collectively imagined?

I want that t-shirt SO BAD. Art Department, I'm sorry about what I said earlier. Can we be friends? With benefits? ("Benefits" meaning baseball tees with fictional pizza place logos on them?) I promise I will only make fun of that garbage stick ONE more time later on.

What was I saying? Oh right:

High Diana was ON A ROLL!

This was apparently a famous moment from the books. I don't know because I don't read (don't know how; these recaps are dictated into SIRI; she hates me), but I DO know that High Melissa CANNOT be trusted with pizza:

Right that pizza, young lady! Anyway then there was a THIRD ding-dong! But this time it was Cassie and she had witnessed Diana mouth-attack that poor boy.

Oh maybe now's a good time to mention it, but did you notice that Cassie's hair and makeup were slightly grimmer this episode? I'm guessing it's dark magic related, but I dug it. She's about two fireball spells away from an eyebrow piercing.

Forget what I said about Faye and Jake being the best couple. #PIZZANA is my new favorite couple!!

I ship #PIZZANA so hard. They are true love personified! BRB I have to go start all the Tumblrs and make YouTube fanvids and create role-playing accounts on Twitterrrrrr!!!

Anyway, while TV's hottest love affair continued on the left side of the screen, Cassie informed the group about her recent ghost troubles.

As Jake had informed her, the symbol on the cloaked dude's robe indicated he or she was the ghost of a dead witch from a long-extinct coven. What he didn't tell her was, the coven had been wiped out by Blackwell himself in order to charge his medallion.

It was actually pretty cool how the ladies immediately believed Cassie's crazy story, including Faye, who generally looks for any reason to throw shade at Cassie. Actually, Cassie had Faye at "ghost." Faye <3s ghosts so much apparently!

Then they got out something that was definitely NOT a Ouija board because that name is trademarked. Let's just call it a witchboard, okay?

Anyway, lo and behold, the ghosts were NOT interested in moving the plastic thingy around. That's when Cassie had a brainstorm.

And of course the medallion immediately started moving around, and it started SPELLING:

Actually the medallion just spelled the word "SACRED" which sparked a pretty humorous debate about what it meant. High Diana suggested it meant that Cassie was "the most sacred witch in all the land" and I laughed out loud. That's right, the literal, real-life LOL. Question: Is High Diana basically Erin from The Office? Is she secretly the funniest?

And just when things got a little TOO fun, Cassie got a text message from Adam:

Suddenly she was driving to his house, which, just so you know, entails driving on a lonesome country road even though he lives on a boat? (Don't ask questions.)

That's when the medallion started acting like a real dick!

This was a fairly astonishing car crash! I'm not just saying that because most of my nightmares are car crash related, this was a really unexpectedly epic crash stunt that looked expensive to do, and also was that REALLY Britt Robertson flailing around in there??

While Cassie was flippin' cars somewhere on a country road, Adam was gussying up his boat for her arrival.

By that time Jake had been tipped off to the ghost situation and he came to find her at Adam's but had to settle for Adam instead. This was actually a nice moment: These guys hate each other but it was still kind of the first "bro" moment in the series so far. Two male teenage characters having a conversation: Imagine that!

Oh, but don't worry, Cassie didn't get so much as a scratch during that seemingly catastrophic crash.

It was hilarious how she was immediately SO PISSED off. Not shaken or scared or wary. Just royally ticked.

And then she just started RUNNING AFTER A GHOST. I'm sorry, this girl is a badass. THAT is why she is the hero of this show. I mean, we already knew how much she likes to run (with those tiny dollfeet of hers), but combine that with being kind of a GANGSTA and she's really turning into something special.

Back at the slumber party, things took a turn for the worrisome.

Oh no! High Melissa became Overdosin' Melissa! Not since Rayanne Graff had someone so likable made such bad party choices.

Actually this was a pretty subtle thread during the episode, but it was implied that Melissa would do drugs whenever people talked about guys. First with Diana's pizza guy incident, then later when Cassie mentioned she was gonna go see Adam. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but if this was intentional on the writer's part it was pretty subtle and very heartbreaking. It's Valentine's Day. Her boyfriend had DIED. And so she'd self-medicated herself nearly to death.

Luckily there was no need to call Angela Chase's mom, High Diana snapped into gear and held Melissa's hair while she, I guess, puked out the drugs?

I mean, I'm not sure that's how drugs work, but fine. Was anybody else hoping this scene would turn into that part in Poltergeist II where Craig T. Nelson vomits up A MONSTER? No? YouTube it up and tell me this wasn't a missed opportunity.

Shortly before discovering Melissa's writhing body, Diana and Faye had argued about how Faye was jealous of Diana and Melissa's friendship, while Faye countered that Diana had ditched Melissa in junior high once she got with Adam. I know that sounds like a trite conversation, but it felt pretty painfully real to me. Anyway, that's why Faye decided the time was right to assert her friendship over Diana's.

And she got DENIED! Melissa instead found solace in Diana's bosom (who wouldn't?) and Faye learned a valuable lesson about pathologically undermining her low self-esteem having best friends over a period of years.

Meanwhile, Cassie was still all mad at that ghost! She chased it through a snowy forest and then to some crazy abandoned church out in the middle of the woods?

Um, WHAT? Isaac or Jake or somebody had mentioned that this was where Blackwell murdered that whole coven, but I don't even care. This was some Argento-style dream logic and I LOVED it. Random and enormous abandoned church out in the middle of nowhere? Sure. Our heroine runs toward it and chases a ghost inside? Why not!

It wasn't long (only seconds, really) before Cassie found herself surrounded by ghosts!

Luckily BOTH of her romantic prospects arrived, having correctly assumed that her destroyed and abandoned wreckage meant that she'd chased a ghost on foot through the wilderness and into a decrepit church.

LOL at Adam's knife.

LOL at Adam's MASS POSSESSION! Okay, bingo. This was incredible. The ghost witches gathered around Adam and just disappeared into him! And then he started talking in a demon voice and threatening to "kill this shell."

Amazing! And it goes without saying it was Thomas Dekker's finest moment on this show to date. I'm sure he knows this. Everybody knows this. At this point I started shaking my head knowingly, all "You crafty writers. THIS is how you're gonna do it. This is how you're gonna overhaul Adam's personality." Because really, Adam could definitely stand to be permanently possessed from now on right? Possessed Adam >>> Regular Adam.

Anyway, via Adam, the ghosts were yammering on about how much they wanted the medallion back.

But Jake was climbing over pews begging Cassie not to give it to them.

But what nobody expected was that Cassie is a BAMF BOSS and she not only knocked Jake on his ass using telepathy, then she did this:

What?! She crumpled up a METAL medallion into dust! At that point it apparently destroyed the ghosts' remaining power and they left Adam's body.

And then Possessed Adam was back to Regular Adam. OR WAS HE? Kinda seemed like it. OR DID IT? Yeah. TOO BAD? Too bad.

Jake returned what was left of the medallion to Isaac, who had earlier implored Jake to return the medallion to the witch hunters so that they could keep it safe or some other bogus reason. I don't know. Isaac wasn't thrilled about the medallion having been destroyed, which kind of made his claim suspicious, but whatever. Jake was way over him by that point.

Back at Faye's house, she and Diana had a moment of understanding where Faye reluctantly (and selflessly!) gave Diana her blessing to be Melissa's new bestie.

It was actually a great moment: Faye informed her that regardless of who Melissa hung out with, Faye would be there for her anyway, like even in the background and in secret. And you know something, THAT is friendship. And very adult! It's nice when Faye demonstrates how big her heart is. Baby steps, you know?

Oh, but remember that dumb voodoo stick that looked like it was used as a toothpick by Marjory the Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock? Faye placed it under her bed and in the next scene Lee put an identical one near the bed of his COMATOSE GIRLFRIEND.

I am so into this plotline, seriously. Lee's gonna leech Faye's life essence or whatever and bring some hussy out of her drug overdose-induced coma. That's pretty awesome right there.

So, last thing about the slumber party angle, and why I loved it so much: It was nothing if not a huge reminder of how fun it is to be a teenager. Plus these witches used MAGIC in order to have fun! I've been begging for that to happen for, like, the entire run of the show, and it just feels good to get what I want, you know? That's just science. These scenes and these people were just a good way to spend my time. Seriously, it just made me so happy.

Speaking of happy, Adam was about to get his Valentine's Day wish.

And whether it was because Cassie actually LIKED Adam, or if she was just completely exhausted and beaten down from life, she finally gave in.

It was just a romantic moment for the ages, you know? Haha just kidding, it was awkward. But good for them, anyway! It's nice that Cassie has officially begun a romance with somebody, anybody. In retrospect, that implied romance with Jake was just silly wasn't it? Like, come on. One kiss? At least Adam used the word "date" in this episode. That's an improvement. Oh hey did you notice that Cassie is the only character on the show who hasn't gotten laid yet? And I don't mean to sound improper, but are we looking at a virginity-related-magic plotline here? Forget it, none of my business.

Oh look, some dude in black is loitering down at the pier!

Who could this be? Besides someone who apparently doesn't have any Neosporin?

Ladies and gentlemen, John Blackwell's snail-paced arrival continues. Welcome, dark daddy!

Might as well restate it in case I haven't been clear enough: What a fun episode! I've watched it thrice now, and it never stopped being entertaining. Obviously the High Diana stuff was great, as was the Faye & Jake nakedness (Fakedness?), and also the hundred megaton bomb of romance known as #PIZZANA. But even the monster-of-the-week element was brilliant: A clever expansion of the witch world, in which dead ones don't stay dead and the transference of power has major consequences. Nice job, everybody!




... That opening scene, am I right?

... Did you like Cassie's go-get-'em attitude?

... Who'd you like better: High Diana or Possessed Adam?

... Which chain restaurant was Dawn pounding mojitos at?

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