The Secret Circle: Tether Ball (PHOTO RECAP)

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Quick tip for those of you teens who are dealing with supernatural situations in your small towns: Don't go to school dances, ever. That is where all the bad stuff happens! Next time you see a poster for an awkwardly themed dance, just book a room at the Travelodge for that night and just wait it out. Trust me.

Unfortunately the teens of Chance Harbor don't have that kind of foresight. Fortunately for us, "Fire/Ice" was a pretty fun and solid episode, especially those of you nostalgic for the heady days of last September, as this seemed to be sort of a remake/mashup of Episodes 2 and 3. There was a school dance gone wrong; there were magic-related accidents; Faye acted a fool, people got hurt, and she immediately regretted it; Adam and Cassie were love interests again; Adam's dad appeared; Melissa had lines; Faye couldn't open her locker; kids were discovering things they should've known from the get-go, like the witch house's address or the fact it has a basement; Cassie ran all over the place. Sure there were some important new details added, like Cassie's ability to perform solo magic, an exploration of voodoo, and the presence of Jake in the shadows, but part of me couldn't help but wonder if this episode with these storylines shouldn't have happened right after the pilot? That would be the kind of storytelling pace that would've really kicked things into gear. Of course, if it were up to me we would've met John Blackwell in episode six and discovered that Amelia was still alive in episode 9, but that's because this show's main hobby is forcing my brain to fantasize about things that could happen (which I think is a compliment?). Speaking of which, I still refuse to believe that Adam isn't Cassie's brother. I mean, I have no evidence, but still. Let's talk about that later.

Right now we have sexier things to discuss!

Cassie was still crashing at Diana's place while Jane's brain was in the shop for repairs. I enjoyed the fact that even though Diana's grandmother had tried to murder Cassie recently, Cassie still felt comfortable enough to stay at the family's house. Diana is just THAT fun to share a bed with I guess. Fair enough.

Ooh and also, I sort of got my wish? Last week I complained about the show's lack of foundational magic, the sort of harmless everyday spells that teen witches would do just for kicks. You know, at the very least it would provide an illustration of the circle's ordinary powers to which we could contrast Cassie's burgeoning dark magic. While we didn't necessarily get a successful attempt, we DID get this:

Okay, that was hilarious! But honestly, Cassie probably shouldn't be too hard on herself. Dark magic might not have even been involved... That dress looked like it was from Forever 21 and it's a known fact they make most of their clothes out of gasoline and bad ideas. That sort of thing probably happens all the time!

Oh, hey Adam's crazy-attractive father! We hadn't seen this dreamy drunk hunk in a long time, and apparently Adam hadn't either since he was unaware of the fact that Ethan was a few weeks sober now. Okay so Ethan's plotline in this episode could be subtitled "Natasha Henstridge Wants To Take Advantage of Her Timeshare" because he really didn't do much except fill in for a missing Charles and Dawn. (And honestly, it was a big relief not having to endure yet another secret car meetup.) The important thing was, he was going to chaperone the school dance and also Adam admitted to him that he likes Cassie. Like-likes.

Now, obviously Ethan's way into the written-in-the-stars junk, but in my opinion he only thinks it applies to Adam and Cassie because it had once applied to himself and Amelia. But what if deep down Ethan suspects that he is not actually Adam's father and he's overcompensating with this destiny stuff as a form of denial? I realize I'm reverse-engineering this theory of Adam and Cassie sharing the same father mostly because their romance is a D.O.A. and also Faye is too obvious a choice for half-sister. But hear me out: maybe Ethan's drinking might be due to the fact that he has to live with the knowledge that his wife had cheated on him and he's now raising another dude's kid? I don't know. See what I'm saying, I think about stuff.

Oh, look who wanted to hang out?

After Melissa got tired of Faye's antics last episode she made the effort to hang out with the other girls. This actually struck me as really true. Flitting between circles of friends is such a teenage thing to do, so I thought this was really charming.

Anyway, at that moment Cassie thought she recognized a familiar bone structure.

Now, we already KNEW Jake was in town due to last week's (awesome) final shot, so this particular running gag kind of fell flat. It would've been one thing if we really had to wonder whether Cassie was imagining things or not, but yeah, no, Jake's around. No suspense there. He'll show up later, don't worry, girl.

Meanwhile, Chance Harbor High received another too-old-for-high-school visitor. (And not Melissa's cousin, he's probably off chillin' with Sally in the Chance Harbor elephant graveyard of obsolete characters.) It was Lee!

Lee had sussed out that Faye was part of a coven and he'd even spotted the individual members using his basic stalker skills. At first Faye tried to pretend he wasn't welcome in her life, but one thing gave her away:

Yeah, say whatever you want Faye, but we know the truth. Also, this look on her face as she walked off:

Whoops! Someone was easily won over by a fraudulent voodoo stalker with a Black Mustang. They were back in business.

Later on Cassie told Adam she wanted to learn more about her father and next thing we knew she was at County Records jumping on the receptionists' computer while Adam distracted her.

But then she couldn't find John Blackwell's birth or death certificates (WHAT DOES IT MEAN??) and the only document that came up with his name on it was this deed of ownership.

Which house could it possibly be referring to??

First of all, I love that Adam had to actually take Cassie to the house rather than just say, "You know that witch house we all chill in all the time?" But also it made me laugh that Cassie didn't know the address of the place. Like, they drive here right? On roads? With street names? You don't think she saw the word "Briar Hill" and immediately knew where it was? On the other hand, I complained that this series should show-not-tell, so it serves me right. A for effort?

Anyway, it's now becoming a running joke about how incurious these teenagers are about very important things. Like how they always seem surprised to find new things in their books of shadows (I would've had that thing memorized on day 1), or the fact that Cassie didn't know the witch house had a basement?

Haha sorry, maybe I'm just a creepy old house enthusiast, but I would've combed every inch of that joint on my FIRST visit. This show is definitely at a point where the characters being informed and motivated just does not factor into its storytelling. It's okay, they've only had ELEVEN episodes to learn about their basic surroundings. Babysteps, you know?

Anyway Adam is super smooth, so he decided that this trip to the the hepatitis dungeon was a good place to ask Cassie out. And it was awkward!

To the show's credit, the main source of awkwardness in the scene was Cassie's reluctance to hurt Diana's feelings. That is just a nice, thoughtful response. Cassie is such a decent person! But also, her romantic chemistry with Adam can be measured on a negative scale, so really any reason for her to say no would've been fine with me. But ultimately though Cassie was sort of into it. Who knows why. Perhaps the Jake-shaped hole in her heart?

Oh, also the witch house had a tramp stamp:

Cassie's dad had carved this symbol into the ceiling and it had something to do with channeling dark magic into or out of something else. It also just happened to match a symbol in Cassie's Book of Shadows, on the same page that Faye had ripped out and given to Lee! Uh-oh, it seemed Faye was looking to "tether" herself to Cassie's dark magic!

In a perfectly great moment, Melissa and Diana reconnected while getting ready for the "Fire and Ice Dance" (LOL) by reliving some childhood memories together.

It's sometimes easy to forget that these kids basically grew up together. It's a small town, for one thing, but also their parents died together at the same time? But then, of course, you outgrow friendship, or you get boyfriends (romantic) and girlfriends (platonic) and suddenly you aren't besties anymore. So yeah, this was a nice acknowledgement that these kids are human beings and growing up is hard.

Anyway, then it was finally time to attend the "Fire and Ice Dance" (LOL).

(For those of you keeping score, they also attended a dance only 2 episodes ago.) There were the usual dance politics of people in romances versus the singletons, plus Adam looking darling in a tiny suit.

In a promising moment Cassie actually confronted Ethan to ask him about her parents. Yes! All of the kids should be talking to their parents about witchcraft! But even just inquiring about dead parents is a good thing to do also, so good call Cassie.

Unfortunately YET AGAIN Cassie got informationally cockblocked by Adam's dad. He just told her to not ask so many questions, it would lead her down a dark road. Um, dude, this is episode 11, not the pilot. Feel free to open up anytime. Cassie can handle the truth now. Trust.

Didn't it look like Adam's dad would start crying at any moment? Cut back on the Visine, guy!

Also it appeared that Diana was suddenly sad over having dumped Adam. Anytime she saw him spending time with Cassie she'd get all bummed.

Luckily Melissa gave her a pep talk and she was able to go ask a dude to dance (RUN, dude!). Again, I'd like to bring up the problem with Diana being so hot 'n sexy now... She's less relatable and certainly less believable as a fragile sad sack. Fortunately Shelley Hennig has some A+ skills so she sold every moment.

As part of her plan to tether herself to Cassie's dark magic, Faye and Lee broke into Cassie's house to steal a necklace.

How much did you love the creepy silhouette across the way in Jake's room? That's just some good horror movie stuff right there. But I also laughed when Faye looked again and there was nothing there. Um, except that HIS LIGHT IS ON. In a supposed-to-be-empty house! Oh well, I guess Faye had other stuff on her mind.

LIKE VOODOO!

So yeah, there they were in a classroom at school standing in a red triangle. Lee was like, "Let me get out this sabre-tooth tiger necklace and cut your back up a ton" and Faye was all turned on or whatever. It was definitely weird. Cool but weird.

Also weird but way less cool was Adam getting "permission" from Diana to date Cassie. And not just permission, but he actually asked her to talk to Cassie about it.

And even though she was visibly troubled by it, he just kissed her cheek and walked off.

Aw, poor Diana. Well, not really because she dumped him. But still, hers was an honest emotional response. I just hope it was fleeting because you had made the right choice! See what I'm saying? Look at her. Isn't it sort of hard to feel bad for her when she's probably the #1 hot babe in Washington State? Install a turnstile and TAKE YOUR PICK, DIANA.

So then Faye's spell got underway. It involved just your typical flaming classroom triangle:

The effect of Faye's spell were seen immediately as the (non-dark-magic-having) members of the circle immediately began to fall ill.

But, true to form, even with access to individual powers, Faye still didn't have the best imagination as to what she'd use magic for.

So yeah. Hope that was worth it, Faye!

But then, oh no! A visibly weakened Melissa fell and hit her head in the bathroom!

You done messed up, Faye. Melissa does NOT deserve to lie on the bathroom floor, especially not a public bathroom!

Anyway, it didn't take long before Cassie sussed out what was going on.

Faye owned up to her spell right away, but it was funny how Cassie seemed more annoyed that Faye had stolen her necklace than she did about Faye stealing her powers. Anyway, then Faye realized that she'd accidentally tethered herself to the circle's (weak) powers instead of Cassie's and immediately felt bad for having hurt her friends (who were passing out all over the place).

But by this point all of the flaming centerpieces had started causing the DANGEROUS GLASS ICICLES to crash down on partygoers?

Only after everyone had escaped did the group realize they were one short.

Melissa! Because Cassie is sort of a BAMF, she didn't even think twice before running back into the flames. In heels!

But WHOOPS! The only doorway to access the bathroom was ON FIRE. (Note to painters: Please don't mix kerosene into the paint next time.)

Luckily Cassie had an excellent trick up her sleeve.

She finally came upon Melissa in the smoky bathroom:

But then she passed out herself!

Fortunately a pair of black mystery boots who were clearly being worn by an attractive man appeared just before she passed out.

Then she and Melissa woke up on the lawn, which raised so many questions. If Jake saved them, why did he try to still keep his presence a secret after that? Was a heroic fire rescue not a good enough entrance? Was he holding out to interrupt an awkward basement kiss or something?

Anyway, the group was pretty miffed at Faye.

And surprisingly, a typically remorseful Faye ended up turning on them, pointing out that they'd more or less been cool about all of Cassie's accidental mayhem. Obviously Faye's stuff was way worse, but she brought up a good point about double standards. Or something. I don't know, it was just interesting that this time Faye seemed much less remorseful than usual. Character growth! And to her credit, it seemed like Melissa (and even Diana) sort of agreed with her. To me, Faye's abortive magic and Cassie's useful dark magic just point out what a major mistake it's been to restrict everybody's powers. Just a fundamental, no-brainer disaster. Give ALL OF THEM their full powers back and allow them to be misused at dances! Handcuffing everybody just doesn't make sense, dramatically speaking.

I loved how Ethan and Adam both pretended that witchcraft wasn't involved in the fire.

Meanwhile Cassie was just chillin' in the background eating a potato. Ethan's definitely onto her for being her father's daughter.

Quick question: Why is it episode 11 and the importance of intra-family magic remains unspoken between parent and child? Isn't there a birds-and-bees talk but about magic? The griffins-and-scarabs talk? I don't know. TALK TO YO KIDS WITCHES.

So yeah, just to emphasize, Faye's desire to gain magic may have hit a road block but was definitely not over.

As for Lee, this episode suggested he's up to no good. For one thing he put a ton of effort into assisting Faye while claiming he didn't want anything in return. Also there was a creepy moment where he saved some of her blood in a tissue he then carried around in his pocket. So I'm guessing he wants to re-tether her to Cassie's dark magic and then either siphon it for himself or at least control Faye like a puppet? Who knows, I really don't know what's in their future besides shirtless hugs.

Finally, Adam and Cassie went back to the witch house to chill in the basement again.

She'd guessed that maybe John Blackwell had been using the channeling spell to rid himself of dark magic. I'm not sure how she made the leap to that, but it seems nice to think that her dad wasn't the villain everyone expects him to be. The problem is that clearly Cassie's dark magic has been a HUGE ADVANTAGE TO HER LIFE. Seriously, chill out, Cassie. Your dark magic is really just "regular magic" that you can't control. (Again, very episode 2). It's also saved lives. Keep it. Use it.

Oh, but Adam and Cassie kissed.

And I mean, Cassie was REALLY going for it:

Which, fine. They kissed. I still think they're half-siblings! They just don't know it yet. Luke and Leia know what I'm talking about.

Hey Jake! He's officially back now. I can't promise you he was in any way jealous of Cassie and Adam's kiss seeing as his romance with her happened in the 15 minutes before he ran off with the witch hunters. But still: Love triangle time! (Is there a version of a triangle where only two corners of it are interesting? I'm not a geometrist.)

Good enough, The Secret Circle. Can't wait to see what happens in Episode Four Twelve!

 

QUESTIONS:

... Do you feel bad for Diana?

... Have you ever accidentally set a $9 dress on fire?

... When Faye was tethering the circle, was Jake rolling around in the driveway outside?

... Are you still haunted by the delicate clomping noises of Cassie's full-throttle prance?

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