The Secret Circle recap – 1×20: ‘Traitor’

Courtesy of The CW

The search for the final missing crystals continues as Diana (Shelley Hennig) comes apart at the seams in the wake of last week’s revelation. As for dead grandma Jane…well, she’s old news by the time the title appears.

Let’s bitch it out…

Open at the wake for Jane. Guess it was too much to hope that we would actually get to see Cassie’s reaction to the news that her only reliable, living relative is dead (jury’s still out on Joe Lando’s Blackwell). I don’t feel that the show does a good job of indicating just how upset Cassie is – the girl barely sheds a tear before declaring she wants revenge on the witchhunters*. Seems that Blackwell told everyone – or at least everyone witchy – that the witchhunters were responsible for Jane’s death. Considering the circumstances, everyone buys it, which means that the witchhunters are in Chance Harbour and they desperately need protection.

For this they need MORE CRYSTALS. Hallulejah chorus – thank goodness we’ve got a mission to fulfill or else the show might actually need to, you know, address the fact that someone has died. Apparently in the world of The Secret Circle grieving entails wearing sexy black clothes, wallowing for half the day, then trying to have sex* and hitting up the creepy abandoned fairgrounds.

*In all fairness, people do get irrationally angry and have sex in times of grief. In the world of The Secret Circle, this translates into angry hate sex or “attacking” someone with a kiss (Oh Cassie, sweetie…what is wrong with you?)

After the wake and the discovery of the fifth crystal in Dawn’s (Natasha Henstridge)’s pill case, the action more or less splits into two storylines: Adam (Thomas Dekker) and Melissa (Sarah Parker Kennedy) investigate the location of his grandfather’s sixth crystal while Cassie, a very reluctant Diana, Jake (Chris Zylka) and Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) track a crystal stolen by the titular ‘traitor.’

Courtesy of The CW

I’ll admit that I found the traitor stuff convoluted and more than a bit difficult to follow. Ian (Richard Harmon), one of the witchhunters responsible for the nearly fatal Halloween boat massacre in 1×07 ‘Masked’, turns up to spout exposition about a witch that fellow witchhunter Isaac refused to kill. The witch in question escaped to Chance Harbour and has now stolen Jake’s family’s crystal. Ian also explains that Isaac, who we last saw in 1×13 ‘Medallion’, was subsequently killed by Eben because of these actions (Note to The Secret Circle: Stop telling and show. Visual medium – remember?).

The explicit reference that Jake’s crystal is the one that is stolen is the big hint that tipped me off to the climatic twist: Nick (Lous Hunter), who died in 1×05 ‘Slither’, is still alive. And low and behold, after the kids find a bunch of murdered witchhunters at the uber-creepy fairgrounds, Cassie and Diana catch a glimpse of Nick as he flees (why is he running? Oh crap, more amnesia? Bring. It. On!)

In truth a lot of ‘Traitor’ works really well (my disappointment in Cassie’s reactions to Jane is more related to my appreciation of what Ashley Crow brought to the show than the speed with which the characters jump into poorly thought out plans). The fairground is a great setting: filled with garish clowns, tight quarters and a spine-tingling rides filled with bodies. It’s made all the more enjoyable by Faye, Cassie and Diana constantly shrieking whenever something startles them (because that’s what actually happens at these places).

The Diana/Cassie Blackwell daughter saga is believable, but it’s a little frustrating. Cassie takes far too long to figure out that Diana is being judgmental of her dark magic because the dark haired girl is afraid of the power. But let’s be honest, in between all the whining, Diana actually makes a lot of sense when she questions whether they need to kill the witchhunters and how much they should trust Blackwell. Cassie, meanwhile, wants to kill every witchhunter she can find and do everything Blackwell asks without a moment’s hesitation. (Side Note: I love how conveniently everything that Jake’s grandfather said is overlooked because the stuff he said was “crazy”).  Oh course for every reasonable comment Diana makes, she matches that with a whiny complaint. Especially aggravating are her continued comments about how much she doesn’t want to be involved in the circle’s activities. It’s enough to make you want to smack her (you initiated this series of events, beyotch!)

Maybe these two are perfectly suited as sisters because they’re both so aggravating, with the occasional flash of coolness?

Other Observations:

  • As usual, Faye gets all the best lines. I was particularly fond of her narcissistic jealousy that Diana – who is so clearly struggling – is the other Blackwell sister (“Dark magic super twins”) and her disbelief that Diana won’t use her black magic (“Just break something!”)
  • Adam and Melissa continue their mildly flirtatious adventures as they get drunk and cloak/uncloak materials in his grandfather’s office. Although they talk mostly about Cassie (and the “attack” kiss), I can’t help but feel that the show is pushing this new romantic pairing. Also, the final crystal is at the high school (what is there a themed dance coming up or something?)
  • Much like Once Upon A Time‘s much maligned hero, Emma Swann, Charles (Gale Harold) announces his intentions to leave town with Diana to arch-nemesis John Blackwell. WHY would you tell the antagonist your plans??? And then he starts a barfight (oops, sorry – there’s only two sets and this fight is at the coffee house). Interestingly, when Dawn confronts him about his plans (at Blackwell’s behest) she takes responsibility to handing their kids to Blackwell on a silver platter for him to destroy. I’d love to think that these two could actually join forces but a) they both kinda suck and will likely be killed and b) I don’t trust either of them not to stab each other in the back
  • Finally, at the fairgrounds, Jake suggests that they “split up”. Really, Jake? Never seen a single horror movie, huh?

And that’s our show. We’re now only two episodes out from the end of the season (possibly series). Any predictions about what the remaining episodes will bring? Do you think Blackwell is evil? Will Diana grow up and accept her power, or is Cassie’s bloodlust a buzzkill that prevents her from embracing her Balcoin heritage? Sound off below.

The Secret Circle airs Thursday 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

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