The Secret Circle: The Killing Goon (PHOTO RECAP)

The Secret Circle S01E03: "Traitor"

Things change. People change. I'm not the same person I was several months ago when I was racist against orcas. Back then most of my waking hours were filled with designing and distributing anti-orca pamphlets at malls and county fairs. I picketed Sea World and frequented anti-orca chatrooms, which is how I met my similarly orca-racist wife Felicia. We had several slightly beautiful children, each more racist against orcas than the last. Then one day something clicked and a thought occurred to me. Maybe orcas aren't just the slippery nightmares of the ocean? Maybe my anti-orca prejudices were simply a vestigial remnant of my own parents' old-fashioned orcaphobia? Was I just repeating the cycle of orca racism for no real reason? To test this theory I brought Felicia and the kids to Sea World to get up close and personal with these enormous, mystical aquabeasts. And do you know what happened? During the middle of a live show an orca jumped right out of the water in one glorious burst, its majestic silhouette backlit by heavenly sunlight. Then it flopped out into the stands and ate my children and Felicia in one single, terrifying chomp. Just ate them right up! Oh, it was awful. But the thing was, they'd all been kind of getting on my nerves lately so I had a hard time getting too upset over it. I wasn't even that mad at the orca! See what I'm saying? I'VE CHANGED.

The Secret Circle has changed also. Mapping the ups and downs of this baby show has been a pretty popular sport ever since this show began, but it's been pretty consistently great for the past few episodes and "Traitor" especially reminded me of how far it's come. If this were the OLD Secret Circle, Grandma Jane either wouldn't have been killed all the way or her death would've been covered up and forgotten about until Season 3. Same with Diana's biological parentage situation: The old version of this show would've just had her keep it to herself and everyone would've just carried on like it was NBD. But instead, the new and improved The Secret Circle just swaggered on onto our TVs and handled its beez. YEAH SHE'S DEAD, WHAT OF IT? So yeah, we were already experiencing a great episode and we were only 5 minutes in! And this was BEFORE the Cinemax-worthy makeout scene, the nightmare clown imagery, or the SHOCKING twist!

Ch-ch-ch-changes. "Yes we can." - Some guy

So we began at Cassie's house right in the middle of a wake for poor Grandma Jane. I THINK it was the next day? Chance Harbor citizens really know how to mobilize during a tragedy. Anyway, we got a genuinely touching opening shot of Cassie drifting through the crowd numb to the world while the theme music played all gravely. It was a nice touch. I love it when characters on teen shows deal with death in realistic ways. Like, I love how Cassie began to manically project her troubles onto Diana.

Diana didn't have a lot to say about her discovery that Blackwell was her father and that seemed to REALLY get on Cassie's nerves. I actually took this to be really poignant: Cassie really does seem to wish she had a sister. She's lonely in life!

Then Jake arrived, apparently having just heard a rumor that Jane was murdered by witch hunters.

Fortunately Faye intercepted him and calmed him down with sexy promises.

Quick question: Anyone know what's going to happen to Cassie now? She has no legal guardians! Her father is technically DEAD in the eyes of the government, so just the paperwork alone could take years to sort out. Honestly, I could seriously get into a Season 2 where Cassie has to live with a series of foster parents. Wouldn't that be so weird? Or maybe an oblivious grad student aunt could move in and mostly just open doors?

Anyway, to say Cassie was feeling pretty raw about life would be an understatement. And that included her still-broken heart.

Adam dropped by Cassie's room and she talked emotionally about how she basically has no ties left to her pre-witchcraft life. Adam did his best to cheer her up:

Yeah. His words definitely worked on Cassie better than they worked on me.

So then Blackwell swung by Cassie's room for an awkward chat.

He explained that even though Amelia was his soul-mate, one time he was naked and fell onto Diana's mom who was also naked and she got pregnant and it was definitely an accident. Then he changed the subject back to Jane's death and Cassie got super riled up again.

Back downstairs Faye and Jake combined their powers to try and steal Dawn's prescription medication, which Faye assumed were downers or whatever.

I honestly don't know what made me do this:

So yeah, as I mentioned earlier, right off the bat Diana asked Charles point-blank about her DNA situation.

He was definitely thrown by the question, and even though up until that point he didn't seem to have been aware that he'd been cuckholded, he basically confirmed that it was probably 100% possible that Blackwell snuck one in there. And yeah, same reason: He and Diana's mom had briefly broken up so she probably at one point rolled naked down a hill and into Blackwell who was having a naked picnic at the time and she ended up getting pregnant. I don't know. Charles definitely did not seem very interested in getting a DNA test. So yeah, case settled.

Diana and Charles definitely seemed to still be inseparable, but they were both pretty rattled by this turn of events. (Also Diana's scarf was cool, I kept looking at it the whole time.)

Back at the witch house, the Great Crystal Scavenger Hunt was still in full-effect! But now they could use the crystals they already had to somehow locate the remaining 2 crystals.

I loved that the map was basically blank except for a couple of lines and circles but they could still pinpoint exactly where crystals were located in town with a 10ft margin of error. I would've loved a ten minute sequence where they got out protractors and graphing calculators in order to figure out what the exact co-ordinates were. Just kidding, I wouldn't have loved that, but I would have laughed a lot.

Oh, right, the crystal in Jake's bedroom:

I couldn't believe this:

Jake bit Faye in her bathing suit area! Is that even allowed?

I liked the idea that they were actively grossed out by each other and they'd have to get high in order to enjoy themselves.

I also liked that apparently Faye thought a dozen pills would make the same rattling noise as a single chunk of quartz.

Meanwhile Melissa and Adam were tearing up the Boat House basement (I think?) looking for his grandpa's CLOAKED crystal. Which means they were searching for an invisible thing. That is still tangible. And the other magic crystals can't detect it because they have eyeballs apparently. I don't know.

This girl had ALL the answers though:

Haha I have no idea why Adam and Melissa decided to get crunked in the middle of the day, except that maybe the writers thought it would be entertaining to make Jessica Parker Kennedy act drunk for the rest of the episode? They were right, it was!

So then Diana finally broke the news to the rest of the gang that Blackwell was her father.

And Faye was visibly mad! After finding out that Blackwell was not HER father, I guess she hoped that nobody else in the circle was his child either. Seriously, have you ever seen someone wish so hard that their parents weren't their biological parents? Take it easy, Faye.

Oh, and then the table began to spin and this happened:

The crystal sank into the table and disappeared! (P.S. I love that they were using a graffiti'd half ping-pong table. That was a nice touch.) So yeah, they'd been WITCH-POCKETED!

Meanwhile at Adam's place, Dr. Melissa was on the scene:

He'd apparently stirred up some feelings toward Cassie earlier in the day when they'd kissed, and it reminded me of how dumb Blackwell's elixir was. It erased his love for her in that moment, but weren't they still human beings who would remain exactly the same and just fall in love all over again? So that was happening. Except Adam was still scared of activating the curse, so I guess that's the only thing keeping him from getting back with her. But let's be real, Jake just has to piss Adam off once and he'll be climbin' up in Cassie's bed all over again.

So anyway, Adam found one of his grandfather's coins and suspected the grandfather used to use actual magic when he'd do the coin-behind-the-ear trick. So Adam decided to reverse-engineer a cloaking spell.

Halfway there!

Elsewhere Charles requested the company of Blackwell and it did NOT go well.

Yup, Charles strolled right into that coffee shop and kicked some dark magic behind! When Blackwell stood up to fight back, Charles pointed out that the whole room was watching. The same room of people who'd just seen Charles assault a man and destroy private property? They would NOT approve of reasonable self-defense. So yeah, Blackwell didn't want to upset them and he backed off.

Out in the woods, the remaining four decided they needed to meet up with one of Jake's old witch hunter buddies in order to figure out just which witch was helping Eben. Don't ask me how they knew where exactly to meet up.

And then THIS GUY showed up! Apparently Isaac couldn't make it because he'd been killed by Teen Wolf contractual obligations Eben, so the kid from The Killing and Tower Prep (sigh, Tower Prep) came in his stead. He explained that a witch had helped Eben, but then Eben fired the witch and ordered his death, but Isaac was like "no way," and then Eben killed Isaac for his insolence and then the traitor witch ran off, declaring a death wish upon all witches AND witch hunters! Complicated stuff.

And then Cassie got up in the guy's face demanding to know why he'd killed Jane.

This was a great beat. In no uncertain terms the show was telling us that Diana and Cassie are going to be standing in each others' way in the future. And shockingly enough, it's telling us that Diana's the hero. Again, I was half-expecting Diana to turn into some kind of villain this season, but now I'm getting the sense that Cassie's the one slipping away into the dark side while Diana's the one who'll save her. Love it. So good.

Another thing I love is when my local affiliate writes my captions for me:

Aside from the visual joke of this guy having a Joker smile now, I love the idea that a food business paid to have their ad placed over an image of a guy with bloody gums. Very, very appetizing.

A recurring theme of this episode was that Diana's dark magic has only exhibited itself in the form of judgment and condescension towards her friends.

I love that Diana is the one now regularly triggering Faye's wrath. Cassie can take a break for the time being.

So anyway, the mystical coffee-stained placemat then instructed the kids to go find a crystal at an abandoned amusement park. Excellent!

And across town, Adam somehow managed to 'uncloak' the hidden coin. He did it by, get this, reading the latin written on the coin. Clever, right? By the way, it makes me laugh that Adam's grandfather was so lazy that even when he did a fairly run-of-the-mill sleight of hand trick for a child, he still cut corners by using actual magic. Really dude? Why not just LEARN the coin trick like every other grandpa in the world? Anyway, that was one lazy witch because he also consolidated all of his cloaked items under ONE spell. So basically you say the phrase once and every last thing that's been cloaked would be revealed at the same time.

Including this fancy wall drawer:

Unfortunately the crystal still wasn't in there. Only disappointing girlie mags that drunk Melissa did NOT care for.

Meanwhile at the town's nightmare emporium:

Seriously, we were meant to believe that this carnival was operational during the summertime, but why was the entire facility Halloween themed?

This was cute:

Nobody tell Disneyland about this:

Cool family-friendly mural! Anyway yeah, this was a fun location.

Loved this part:

Because first of all: WHY? Second of all, you are witches who are literally more powerful in numbers. Just why on earth would you split up in this place? Oh, The Secret Circle. As good as you are lately, you still can't help but dabble in laughable horror clichés.

Back in town, Blackwell was trying to get Dawn on his side.

This scene also confirmed that Blackwell had indeed slept with Dawn, and unless I'm misinterpreting him, he grossly admitted to trying to insperminate her and she had been sad about his failure to do so. I don't know, but it was so unsettling. Anyway, Blackwell told Dawn that if she'd help him destroy the witch hunters, he'd go onto murder the elders and they'd all get their powers back. Dawn was obviously interested and agreed to go manipulate Charles into NOT moving away (which he'd decided to do).

Except... Then when Dawn cornered Charles in his immaculately designed kitchen (remind me again why he never knocked up his wife nor married another woman afterward?) she seemed to be immediately sympathetic to Charles.

Dawn made her case that Blackwell needed to be stopped, so it appeared that Charles would be sticking around to make that happen.

So what's cool about this is we have no idea which side Dawn's playing for. She DOES want her power back very badly, but she also seemed really ticked that Faye had been recruited by Blackwell. I think this is just good writing here: Dawn could go either direction and it would be believable. Personally I'm guessing that she's going to be more protective of Faye than anything else, but who knows? I'm definitely getting the sense that Jake may not be the only orphan by season's end.

Back at unamusement park, Jake and Faye ran into their old pal Ian and he was NOT having a good time.

Did you like when Jake still tested Ian's pulse? And how spooky was it when the ride turned on and there were MORE bodies?

WHO was killing these witch hunters? Was it the mysterious hooded figure lurking in the shadows? Or did the witch hunters come to realize their hypocrisy and commit suicide at a brokedown carnival? It wasn't clear.

Oh, but guess where Adam's newly uncloaked crystal was? This map made it VERY clear:

Just FYI, it's at the high school.

Not that they'd attended classes in a while.

Back at the park, Diana decided to finally tell Cassie off about her dark magic. Her point was that Cassie had embraced it a little TOO quickly, particularly when it came to setting dudes on fire. Self-defense or not, Cassie had definitely taken more lives than Diana was comfortable with.

Again, good writing, because Cassie's case was equally compelling. Dark magic is kind of the best? It's saved their life so many times! Diana still wasn't impressed. What a hippie.

The witch traitor! He was off wheezing in the shadows and Cassie focused her gangsta-gaze upon him. And you know what that means:

We knew we were dealing with a powerful witch when he BUSTED through some bars:

Or maybe it's just a janky carnival? Either way.

At the same time, Jake and Faye stumbled upon the traitor witch's nest, a storage closet in the back of the Haunted Mansion™.

And the witch traitor either wasn't of sound mind, or he just had a faulty ballpoint pen he was constantly trying to get flowing again:

And WHAT was he doing with a photo of Jake's family?

We were about to find out:

Deciding that her tiny ponyfeet had pranced across the park long enough, Cassie stopped in her tracks and did the next best thing she knew how:

And sent a spear HURLING at the fleeing witch! But because Diana begged her not to slaughter him senselessly, at the last second Cassie did this:

And because we are not Jake (and we occasionally read CW press releases), we had immediately figured out who it was...

NICK! It was Nick, everybody! Even though I was 100% in favor of his murder in that it cleared the way for Jake's arrival, this is still an undeniably cool turn of events. I'm interested to see how they'll explain his resurrection. And, you know, what exactly he's been up to since Charles drowned a demon out of him. But still, this is just a cool callback to how the season began, so I'm pretty excited about this. It had been foreshadowed that Nick would be back, but I still had no idea that HE was the one lending power to Eben. Didn't see that coming.

So yeah, that was just a good episode of television. We're entering really treacherous times with regard to renewal/cancellation, and I personally cannot understand how the ratings for this show have declined even as its quality has accelerated. I'm honestly guessing it's a delayed reaction: Maybe some viewers subconsciously gave up on the show around midseason but only stopped watching recently? But on the upside, I'm predicting that the delayed reaction effect could hold true for a Season 2 and ratings will go back up after people get caught up over the Summer and realize just how strong Season 1 is ending up. I don't know, I'm not a Nielsen scientist. I just want a Season 2, is what I'm saying.

Okay, see you next week BYE!



... Are you happy to see Nick again?

... Whose side is Dawn on?

... Do you agree or disagree with Diana?

... How do YOU feel about clowns?

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