The Secret Circle recap – 1×19: ‘Crystal’

Courtesy of The CW

It’s been three weeks since we last saw our intrepid crew of teen witches. In the last new episode, ‘Sacrifice’ John Blackwell (Joe Lando) gave them a mission: find the Elders’ crystals and unite them to protect themselves against the witch hunters. Tonight the show takes another leap forward as several crystals are discovered, and two big events occur which are sure to have a a big impact on the remaining in the season.

Let’s bitch it out…

Anyone who’s been following along with these recaps knows that I am a big fan of Ashley Crow, the actress who plays Cassie’s (Britt Robertson) grandmother, Jane. So tonight’s episode is particularly sad as Jane goes to the big cauldron in the sky after taking on John Blackwell…and failing. Of course it’s not completely her fault – she dies because Charles Meade (Gale Harold) tries to kill Blackwell on his own hands after she changes her mind. In an amusing way, this proves that the parents’ generation is just as foolish as the kids: where the kids trust every stranger they meet, the adults consistently underestimate Blackwell’s smarts. Newsflash mouth-breathers: this is a guy who faked his own death and disappeared for sixteen years after collectively duping your entire circle. He’s clearly on top of his game!

Alas it’s Jane who pays the price for Charles power play. With the witch’s brew materials swapped, Jane crumples up like a Vampire Diaries Original and Blackwell finds himself in position of one of the six crystals. The big question: how the heck are they going to explain Jane’s death to Cassie?!

For now our blonde protagonist has her own issues to deal with. The other big event in ‘Crystal’ is the reveal of the second Blackwell child, who – in a nice twist – turns out not to be Faye (Phoebe Tonkin), but rather goody-two shoes Diana (Shelley Hennig). This works for a number of reasons: Diana has consistently pushed to the rear for the majority of the season, so this not only brings her back into the fold when she wanted out of, but now actually gives her something to do. High fives all around for the Blackwell sisters (hmm…sounds like a country band).

With this news – and a possible romantic development on the horizon for Adam (Thomas Dekker) and Melissa (Sarah Parker Kennedy) – the show has become one huge incestuous affair. Everyone is now related to everyone, or has slept with everyone, or wants to. Forseriously, it’s pretty crazy how many different combinations they’ve explored in under twenty episodes! Of course, one connection that didn’t happen is a naked relationship between Dawn (an unseen Natasha Henstridge) and Blackwell…or at least that’s what Blackwell claims. You totally know that sixteen years ago he was hanging out around school in a leather jacket, smoking in the ‘no parking’ space in the teacher’s lot, being all “hey ladies, I got black magic. Wanna see?” Oh yeah – I’m betting that there are Balcoin children all over the country (if you catch my drift).

Actually I do kinda mean that literally. Anyone paying remotely close attention to Jake’s Exposition Grandpa (John de Lancie) totally just got an earful of where the show will go in future seasons. There were two other circles beyond ours that escaped from Salem and, if corrupted and joined with our Blackwell infused crew, will bring about the end of the world*. Perhaps this is where Blackwell spent his time in between stints in Chance Harbour?

*I hope they can get all that organized before the Mayans steal their thunder later this year

Courtesy of The CW

Two guys make an exit from Chance Harbour tonight: Phoney Accent Grant (Tim Phillipps) and greasy haired bad boy, Callum (Michael Graziadei). After lying about his wealth and position, milquetoast Grant wants to make it up by giving her a perfect date. Unfortunately for them, the search for the crystals interferes at every junction and with a quick kiss, Grant shoves off. It seems certain that he’ll return since Diana’s kisses are like milkshakes: they bring all the boys back to the yard.

Callum, meanwhile, is part of the semi-groan worthy ‘A’ plot. After following Faye (Phoebe Tonkin), Cassie and Jake (Chris Zylka) to Grandpa Exposition’s place, Callum steals the map to the family crystal, hidden in a nearby mine. I say the storyline is groan worthy because Callum is simply not an interesting character: he’s a plot mechanism (and a poster boy for bad hygiene). After being absent since trying to steal Melissa’s powers in ‘Return’, Callum’s return simply means that he’s stirring up trouble to keep the plot moving. Thankfully after his plans are thwarted, Jake (Chris Zylka) marks him and tells him to get his bacon-fodder hair out of town. He’ll likely return, too, since Jake’s threats are also kinda like milkshakes (think about it: all of the witchhunters that Jake threatens – Eben, Samuel – inevitably return).

The circle’s efforts to stop Callum gives rise to two events: first, the mine is spelled against black magic (which leads to the climatic reveal that Diana is a Blackwell because she can’t enter). And second, it sets off a POTENTIAL COUPLE alert after Adam and Melissa have a meet-cute moment when she saves him from falling down a mine shaft. The fact that I wasn’t screaming “Let the both fall!” is a testament to how much more interesting these two have become (it’s something I absolutely would have done just a few weeks ago). So good job, show!

Other Observations:

  • Grandpa Exposition is a great addition to the show. He provides us with all kinds of useful intel (like the six crystals will form a crystal skull aka the most powerful weapon of destruction evah). His craziness is also good for a joke. After using their most popular spell on his door (that would be “Lock/Unlock”), we hear a half dozen locks unlock. Inside he has a “conspiracy wall” that Faye believes is not only a sign that he’s crazy, but likely to murder them all. Her bitchy observations – followed by apologies to Jake – are pretty amusing.
  • All of the pre-Blackwell revelation stuff with Diana irks me: we get it, you want normalcy, but shape up beyotch! You’re the one who bound the circle and, oh yeah, there’s a group of people who want to kill you. I love the defeated casualness to which she agrees to “stay on” until the witchhunters are dealt with – it’s the same tone a regular person might use when discussing staying at a crappy retail job after giving notice.
  • Despite her generally ass-backwards attitude, I did enjoy it when – after everyone begins confirming the whereabouts of their Elder grandparents – Diana brings up her murderous grandma from ‘Darkness’. Oh, memories of a simpler time when people were only trying to bury Cassie alive!
  • The whole bit with Adam and Melissa trying to uncover which crystal is the crystal in her grandmother’s collection is nicely done. I also like that the two of them are absolutely terrible liars about why they need Diana’s help (a Geology project that they can’t get outside help with? Oh dear…)
  • Finally, Charles’ hair in his scene on the street with Blackwell: Queer as Folk inspired? Between him, Blackwell’s DILFy look and Adam’s eyebrows, I sometimes expect this show to morph into Dante’s Cove. Alas, everyone is far too serious – and clothed. If Callum is good for one thing, it is calling out the circle on their deficiencies: “Your friends don’t seem like a lot of laughs.”  Well said – now go find a deep fryer to rinse your hair in.

What did you think of the show’s return? Do you think that Blackwell has ulterior motives for wanting to collect the crystals (ie: use them against the circle, or grab the skull and run)? Were you surprised that Diana is the Blackwell daughter, not Faye? Do you want to see Adam and Melissa make boring babies together? Sound off below!

The Secret Circle airs Thursdays at 9pm EST on The CW.

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

5 thoughts on “The Secret Circle recap – 1×19: ‘Crystal’


    I wasn’t surprised at all that the secret sister was NOT Faye – that would have been far too obvious, especially since talk between Dawn and Charles earlier in the season had address her feelings for John. I had been thinking it would be Melissa who turned out to be the sister, just because that would really have been out of left field, but I wasn’t too surprised for it to be Diana.

    It should make for some interesting twists – for example, what is it about the Blackwell girls that seems to draw Adam’s attention, and will John want to kill off any chance of his reviving his feeling for Diana like he did with Adam’s feelings for Cassie? Could Ethan’s “written in the stars” prophecy actually be referring to Adam and DIANA instead of him and Cassie? How’s Faye going to take it when she learns that someone else that isn’t her now has the ability to work magic alone? Lots of possibilities! They HAVE to give us a 2nd season just to explore them all, right? 😀

    • I can equivocally say with the way the last few episodes are going that I would be more in support of The Secret Circle moving forward than Ringer. It’ll depend on how the numbers do for all their freshmen shows and the strength of their pilots (many of which sound *gulp* pretty good). I think it has a decent shot though – the Kevin Williamson factor may help it in the end.

      Agree with you that this opens all kinds of juicy narrative doors, though. Hopefully they use them well!

  2. RIP Grandma. I called it, but wished I was wrong. I don’t think Cassie will take this news well. With the doubt raised by Grandpa Exposition and the revellation of Diana the Dark, I would be truly disappointed if Cassie is naive enough to take Daddy Blackwell’s word as to what happened.

  3. I miss Grandma!! I’m sick of all these orphans running around town unsupervised!!

  4. What is up with Adams eyebrows. He looks like an elf. The guys on this shows eye brows are all skinnier than the girls. The hairs great even liked dianna’s dad new haircut, wardrobe is perfect just let those boys have their many brows back!