The Secret Circle: Prom Moms (PHOTO RECAP)

The Secret Circle S01E21: "Prom"

No offense to readers that are dead, but I am so glad that in real life dead people stay dead. You know how when you're at the mall and you run into someone and it's slightly unpleasant, not because you don't like the person, but because you weren't mentally prepared to see them and so it's more jarring than anything? Take that feeling and multiply it by infinity because nothing is as jarring as seeing a dead person again. Yo, I had closure on you, guy. Seriously, I don't care if it's a ghost, a zombie, or an undead demonic abomination, I do not want to see ANYBODY after they've died. Get out of here, you rude and unexpected phantasm! Life is hard enough without having to entertain the notion that death isn't final or that I can't cross people off my Christmas cards mailing list!

Unfortunately the presence of magic tends to complicate things for the teens of Chance Harbor. At a time when they should be trying on rented tuxes and awkwardly purchasing condoms at Rite-Aid, they have to instead deal with the return of a dude who wasn't all that fun to be around when he was ALIVE. Bad times all around, basically. Fortunately for us the viewers, what proved to be an underwhelming situation for them ended up being supremely entertaining and emotionally rich for us. "Prom" was an excellent episode!

I know you want to talk about it, so fine. Let's do that.

We began at the witch house where everyone was decompressing after a long day of post-funeral carnival massacres. First item on the agenda: The Nick issue.

The main debate was whether it actually WAS Nick, or perhaps some undead ghoul who was controlling his body like a puppet. Either way, everyone was in a really pissy mood and an argument broke out over who had the biggest claim to being upset. Or something. All I know is Melissa and Jake were shouting at each other all of the sudden.

Melissa was in the pro-Nick, 'we gotta help him' camp while Jake was in the anti-Nick, 'let's kill that abomination' camp. Also was this the first time Jake and Melissa had ever talked to each other? I honestly can't remember. If so, now 100% of their exchanges have involved screaming.

After everybody decided to break for the night, Diana tried to scramble out of there so she wouldn't have to talk to the biological father to whom her legal father had forbidden her to speak.

Blackwell was all frowned up after Diana treated him as bad as a teenager normally treats a parent. Fortunately Cassie was still in the mood for some witchcraft detective work, so Blackwell sent her to the high school to figure out what happened to the final missing crystal. Which meant... More time travel flashbacks! Yes! I love those!

But these would not be like the ones in "Witness" where an infant toddler's memories were the focal point. Apparently all Cassie would have to do was smear some blood on the floor and look around. So that's what she did!

Ugh the sound effect while she was cutting her finger was so loud and disgusting and lasted FOREVER.

Just wiping an open wound on a floor where literally thousands of dirty sneakers tread on the daily. Anyway, it sort of worked! Just at that moment Cassie's mom ran by holding the crystal!

So it was only a glimpse, but it was a start.

Meanwhile in Jake's bedroom he was pacing angrily, probably still steamed over his argument with Melissa. It was pretty weird seeing Faye be the voice of reason here.

So then he opened up his old wooden box of witch hunter weaponry:

Jake was very much looking forward to murdering Nick all over again, as though there was some kind of Highlander-esque There Can Only Be One type deal happening. Or maybe Jake just did not want to have to give his room back.

The next morning Diana and Charles were putting A LOT of effort into bonding, and Charles' main move (aside from guilting her over missing out on grilled cheese sandwiches the night before?) was to give her a necklace her mother had once worn and was apparently not buried with.

Oh, and that night was prom! Which you could tell by the insanely half-hearted decorations in the school hallways:

Seriously, how over it was the prom committee this year? I mean, it probably wasn't necessary to put garlands above the lockers, but how about a sign that DOESN'T reek of "it's late and we're tired"? One of the things I loved about this episode was how no-big-deal the prom was. It's so backwards! According to The Secret Circle the teens get totally into that wharf-side festival we saw at the beginning of the season, but darn near forget about prom until the day of? This was so inaccurate it was charming!

Somewhat less charming was a certain back from the dead, obsolete Armstrong brother:

Don't get me wrong, it was cool to see Louis Hunter again, if only for how full-circle this plotline felt. But let's get real, the main thing Nick's resurrection proved was how much better Jake is in basically every way.

Anyway, Melissa was immediately trying to reach out to him even though he was clearly in no fit state.

That was tough to watch! I don't want to see Jessica Parker Kennedy getting pushed around! Nick was clearly a monster.

In my book (which is blank because I'm illiterate) the MVP of this episode was Faye, who despite all the unpleasantness around her kept trying her best to get everyone to act like normal, prom-loving teenagers.

Like, right after Melissa, Jake, and Adam had a nasty interaction wherein Melissa blamed Nick's assault on ADAM somehow, Faye just took a swig of champagne and excitedly informed everyone that it was time for prom. A surprising—but in retrospect, perfect—recurring theme of this episode was at some point the circle had gone from prominent, well-known students in their class to something approaching loser-status. Earlier Faye had lamented that they were meeting up for prom at an abandoned house rather than rent a limo like normal teens and Adam flippantly responded, "We're not normal." To which Faye replied, "But we're not losers either," her tone so crestfallen as to confirm the opposite. I love that this show occasionally remembers the realities of what it's like to be a teenager.

While the rest of the gang car-pooled, the two Blackwell sisters decided to take advantage of Cassie's employee discount and get super caffeinated before prom.

And guess who was chillin' nearby reading the copyright information on his novel? Grant! After Cassie prodded Diana to go talk to him, they immediately rekindled their flirtations and she went so far as to basically invite him over for a post-prom hookup.

I loved the look on his face.

I'm sorry if this is racist, but has anybody ever looked MORE Australian than in this picture? If you somehow gathered up every piece of information about Australia, ran it through some kind of mainframe computer, THIS is the image it would spit out. Australia is great.

Meanwhile we got a BIG piece of endgame action in this particular thread:

First Charles heard echoes of the phone conversation between Cassie and Amelia from the night he murdered Amelia. Then THIS junk started happening:

But it was all in his head! Or was it??

Basically this was AWESOME. But it raised tons of questions: How long had Blackwell known that Charles murdered Amelia? And HOW did he find out the exact particulars of what went down that night (down to the spraying faucet)? Why didn't Blackwell bust out this info when Jane was questioning him? But all those questions aside, this was what we'd been waiting for all season. Charles was about to get found out! It was only a matter of time before Diana came to hate HIM as well.

Okay, the prom itself looked awesome:

Cassie made fun of the fake trees, but this prom looked way better than MY prom in which the theme was, you guessed it, Hollywood glamor. The pictures were red carpet themed. Ugh, the worst.

But they were NOT there to have fun, only to summon the memories of their dead mothers.

Whereas Cassie alone could only see PART of what her mother was up to, adding Diana to the mix promised to give everyone the full story. (Diana only agreed to help when Cassie promised she'd get to see HER mother also.)

I LOVED that we immediately heard Garbage's "Only Happy When It Rains." I was a little shocked at first because that song is apparently an OLDIE now. Oh man, we're all just hurdling toward the grave, aren't we. Also really dug the above girl's '90s frizz.

So yeah, here's what the flashback version of Amelia looked like:

And oh look, Diana's mom Elizabeth was played by the girl from Tower Prep! That's two episodes in a row featuring actors from the Canadian teen mystery serial that I loved so much. Fingers-crossed for a Drew Van Acker (Google image search at your own risk) appearance in Season 2! As the long-lost third Armstrong brother or whatever, doesn't matter.

So the thing to know about this whole business concerning Amelia and Elizabeth was just how much of an information dump it all was. I'm still not sure I COMPLETELY follow what they were bickering about, but it definitely went a long way toward providing the final pieces to the puzzle that is the parents' backstory. Here's what I gathered:

1. Blackwell infiltrated the circle and impregnated both Amelia and Elizabeth.
2. The other four couples also got pregnant around the same time, but accidentally.
3. Blackwell used magic to make sure they all conceived.
4. Amelia had originally convinced everyone that Blackwell was cool, but realized her error.
5. Amelia and the gang then tried to get rid of Blackwell and sold him out to the witch hunters.
6. The witch hunters then double-crossed everybody and murdered a ton of them.
7. Blackwell escaped the witch hunters, then bided his time until the new circle was old enough.

I think that about covers it. It was definitely a lot for Diana and Cassie to have to overhear a couple of teen mom high school students arguing about before geometry class.

Oh, and FYI, at least according to the extras, not a lot has changed between the '90s and the present day.

So anyway, Nick was out lurking around the high school, apparently searching for the now-uncloaked crystal. It's not clear how he found out where it was. Maybe he saw that blank map with the red X on it? Either way, the security guard stationed at some random exit was NOT about to let Nick in.

And then, the best scene of the whole episode:

In what might be the best example of a thesis statement this show's ever had, Melissa and Adam stood watch while Cassie and Diana time traveled. A happy couple walked by and Melissa wistfully realized that the circle's lives would never be as carefree and normal as that.

Adam half-heartedly denied it, but it seemed like even he could see that the year hadn't been too kind to any of them.

Because we haven't seen these kids use magic in fun ways nearly enough, Melissa's point about the tradeoff not being ideal felt true. But, good guy that he his, Adam decided to prove to her that maybe, just maybe, magic can be cool.

And the next thing we knew, he'd pumped up the jam, turned the lights down low, and asked Melissa to dance. It was the sweetest, most poetic image I've seen on TV in a while.

But the episode wasn't finished being slightly deeper than usual. Out on the dance floor, Faye confronted Jake with the fact that he'd ditched her before joining the witch hunters and it had indeed kinda destroyed her.

I loved that he didn't even seem to realize it. They'd been so caught up in supposedly casual sex and sarcastic banter that he hadn't noticed that they genuinely got each other. It was a weird context for him to be concerned with this stuff—His brother was back from the dead! But it made sense that his shell was cracked much more than usual. Like, during a slow dance Jake talked about how guilty he felt for having left Nick alone in the first place—His only living family member left vulnerable to demonic possession and drowning. Heavy stuff! Faye reminded him that she and the rest of the circle were the ones who actually had power to save him but failed to. So yeah, it was lovely to watch as two impossibly attractive people admitted how damaged they were and seemingly come to realize that they're right for each other. This was a pretty sudden shift away from the Jake-Cassie flirtation, but it still felt organic and earned.

Can I just say how much it really bugs me that I am loving this episode so much and yet the show's in jeopardy of cancellation? VERY annoying! Don't do this to us, The CW. There is something really special happening on Thursdays at 9pm! Let's ride this thing out!

Anyway, where were we? Oh right, denim jackets.

Adam's granddad was a math teacher and he was NOT happy that the teens had made a deal with the witch hunters. But since Amelia was about to leave town and go raise a tiny protagonist on her own, Mr. Conant would be happy to cloak the crystal and leave it in the school trophy case for 15 years. Because that is the SAFEST of safe keeping.

Between the various flashback scenes, Cassie and Diana now had a much firmer picture of who Blackwell was and what other people thought of him. And it seemed that history was repeating itself in that Amelia's weakness for Blackwell brought that circle down and now Cassie trusting him was putting hers in danger as well.

But Diana was NOT having it. Too little too late!

After Diana ran out, Cassie gathered herself and told the gang what they had to do: Find the final crystal and then keep them all away from Blackwell. We still didn't know why exactly he wanted a doomsday device other than WHO WOULDN'T want a doomsday device?

So then Adam ran over to the trophy case to recover the now-visible crystal:

But Nick swooped in and swiped it! Next thing we knew five teenagers in prom attire were chasing after an undead hunk through the hallways of their high school.

Meanwhile something huge was happening in Charles' kitchen with the fabulous back splash:

Diana found him sitting fetally on the kitchen floor, apparently not having yet recovered from the Amelia hallucination. He quickly started stammering about how they had to leave town THIS INSTANT, but Diana kept pressing him on what was the matter.

And it didn't take long before the realization dawned on her.

Her "good" father had murdered Cassie's mother! And then, in an understated, borderline haunting scene, Diana ran outside in the rain and walked around in the street looking completely lost while Blackwell crept in the shadows on one side of her and golden Grant drove up on the other side.

I mean, I could make a joke that her devastation was partially related to how uppity she'd been acting for the past few episodes, but it was really a matter of Diana reaching her breaking point. She'd recovered pretty nicely after the revelation of her parentage, but now her remaining parent was arguably worse than the one she loathed. It was just a great reveal, and a suitably devastating pay-off. And Cassie hasn't even found out yet!

So then the kids chased Nick into some kind of abandoned junk yard. Because fine.

And obviously they split up AGAIN. Witches with combined powers <3 splitting up so much! But it at least afforded Jake and Faye a nice little moment where he apologized to her for having stood her up at prom two years prior.

Aw, these two. I hope they go steady and Faye pressures him to get a haircut.

So yeah, Nick. Turns out he only wanted the crystal so that he could trade it back to Eben in exchange for a tiny demon worm? I honestly can't make heads or tails of Nick's motives anymore. He was brought back to life by a demon NOT in his body? And then he still had magical powers OUTSIDE the circle? And he helped Eben and then stopped helping Eben and then killed a bunch of witch hunters and now is working against his friends and for Eben? Honestly, it was all a bunch of hooey. But still! Had to get him back in the game somehow, that was the point, right?

Oh, another thing this episode cleared up is just how powerful Eben's become ever since he became a slumlord to a handful of slimy tenants. Like, here's what happened Cassie stepped to him:

So yeah, he now has tons of telekinesis abilities or whatever. Eventually Blackwell showed up and tried to sort things out:

I love how this show doesn't mess around with its stunts! Both of those moments seemed really huge and dangerous. And this is a show for young women? I don't know the CW, don't sell this show short. I would say its appeals verge on UNIVERSAL.

So then we finally got a brother versus brother showdown!

It was hecka thrilling! Tables done turned! And then, suddenly, it was done:

Goodbye, Nick! The first time you died it was like this show was just getting its last baby tooth pulled. But this time you got to be a relatively interesting and fearsome badass. I would say that's some satisfying redemption right there.

Interestingly enough, some pretty important stuff went down off-camera.

Faye went missing! Because it wasn't shown I have to assume that Blackwell somehow GAVE her to Eben? Or maybe they forgot to film that scene? I don't know. But I definitely do NOT like the idea of Faye being in trouble (which is why it's such a GOOD idea). Plus now Cassie's in an awkward situation of trying to separate Blackwell from the supposed crystal skull. Not that we know what he wants with it. I'm kind hoping for a twist where 100% of the characters were wrong about him and he's misunderstood. But it's definitely looking like next week we'll learn the full extent of his evil ways. Again, part of me is puzzled about why it's the season finale and we still haven't confirmed that Blackwell is a present-tense villain. But I think I like it that way. Questions are good, it means I'm still interested.

Good episode. No, GREAT episode. We're really on a roll here. I can't wait until next week! And also the week after when we learn that THERE WILL BE A SEASON 2 BECAUSE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING YOU GUYS!




... Did Blackwell sell Faye out?

... Are you sort of relieved the parents' plotline is almost over?

... Do you think Jake and Faye will have hecka ugly kids?

... Is Ethan on some kind of off-the-wagon bender or something?