thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

The Secret Circle Roundtable: Season 1, Episode 6, “The Wake”

In teen soaps on October 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm

This week finds our young witches mourning (or oddly not-mourning) the death of one of their own; reconfiguring with the appearance of a new circle member; and ducking witch-hunters. These kids can’t catch a break.

1) What do you think of Diana and Adam’s break up?

Phoebe: I am bummed about it but I also feel like we saw it coming or shouldn’t be too surprised by it all. But I am also sad that Adam’s dad said all that to Diana, but then it was interesting that she went to Cassie as she has no real friends it seems aside from Cassie. I felt like that was sort of interesting, but also that I like that, unlike often in TV, Diana didn’t blame Cassie and instead sought solace in a girlfriend.

Sarah: I feel really awful for Diana—I don’t care even if she does turn out to be evil, the position she’s in totally sucks. Just watching the guy she’s in love with fall for someone else—let alone a friend and someone who she’s bound to in the circle—is so painful. But I’m glad they’ve broken up because, as Adam’s dad says, the sooner it’s over the sooner she’ll be free. I also think that Adam has some serious apologizing to do. He can’t control his feelings, but he can control how he handles them, and he hasn’t been honest or particularly considerate to Diana. Oh, also! I get that Adam’s dad had been drinking, but how harsh was his announcement to his son’s girlfriend that his son was destined to be in love with another girl? Maybe not the best conversation topic for a teenage girl who just lost a friend to death-by-demon drowning?

2) What do you think of the witch who is also a witch hunter? aka Jake and his self-loathing positioning …

Phoebe: I am intrigued by this as it seems a metaphor for something else, like sexuality perhaps? I think we are supposed to sympathize with him but also be upset with for taking out his own or committing violence against his own. Given the history of mapping social or civil rights issues onto vampires/witches/magical beings, this seems to fall in line with that maybe. But I am curious to see how this develops, like if they other witches teach him to love himself or something?

Sarah: Yeah, I think you’re right that there are some really interesting identity implications to his self-loathing that I hope the show will emphasize in coming weeks. His avowed motivation as a witch hunter is to avenge the death of his family (his parents and now, I guess, his brother too)—but would he have been out to kill his own brother even if Nick hadn’t died? And what about the fact that the people he’s seeking to avenge were witches themselves? So he’s trying to address past wrongs done to his family by hurting people who are just like them, and himself—which is exactly the kind of muddled logic that I feel like often ends up happening when prejudices come into play.

3) What is Dawn up to? She gets scarier every week.

Phoebe: She is SO scary. I feel like I had hope for her in some ways last week, but now I am scared of her and think she might be capable of lots of evil and bad things. But I also want to understand her motivation as it is unclear as to why she is so driven and what she has planned. Again, I get wanting her powers back but she seems to be getting sketchier by the week. While Charles actually is becoming more sympathetic and interesting …

Sarah: Put the knife down and back away from Cassie’s grandma, Dawn! I also liked that Charlie’s getting more humanized—we’re really seeing the guilt he’s feeling after Nick’s death. One thing that doesn’t make sense to me, relatedly—Dawn tells Charlie that drowing the demon out is the only way to save Nick. But… how was that supposed to work? Was the idea that there would be a window of time where the demon was gone and Nick was still alive and they could save him? Or was Dawn just saying that to get Charlie to deal with the problem at hand? Also, in retrospect, the demon in Nick told Dawn that he would leave Nick if she’d offer up her own body as a vessel—which was clearly not something Dawn was willing to do. Not necessarily a judgment, because that’s a big sacrifice, but it says a lot about Dawn that she wasn’t willing to put herself at risk for the sake of a kid who she’s presumably known since he was a baby.

4) Who are the witch hunters? And why are they after our teenage circle?

Phoebe: What a great question! although, I have no clue and am a little confused about how they fit into the mystery and I am worried that they will distract from us finding out about the parents and their untimely deaths and the fire and Heather and all the things I am really curious about. But I think this week we are going to find out a lot more about them.

Sarah: Yeah, I’m not sure if they’re going to end up being connected to that backstory or if they’re a separate plotline. But I do think it makes sense that they’d be out to shut down the circle, since witches are not so popular historically speaking plus clearly can be dangerous when they have too much power or are not in control of it. (Not that I’m pro-witch hunter! Totally pro-circle. Well, possibly mostly pro-Faye, Melissa and Diana.)

5) What do you think of how all the characters are reacting to Nick’s death?

Phoebe: I think Melissa’s reaction is the most reasonable and truly heartbreaking. The moment when she goes into his house and into his room is so incredibly sad and I actually felt like her reaction was one of the better depictions of grief and loss, and the confusion that follows. Also, interestingly it seems as if her grief is helping her stand up for herself to Faye which I like. And I think Faye was not very nice last episode, in part because of her grief but also worry over Jake, but I thought Melissa’s bringing her down to earth was really great. Lastly, I thought the Cassie and Adam exchange was weird and awkward about Cassie not knowing Nick all that well, which was true, and seemed like that exchange had to happen. Oh and one more thing, Adam’s dad’s reaction seemed both appropriate given that it makes him remember the earlier loss, but also was really intense especially as it was then directed at Diana.

Sarah: I agree that Melissa’s grief was definitely the most powerful and realistic of the bunch—to me the rest of the teens seemed to be under-reacting, which is weird. (Cassie makes sense, because as you point out she hadn’t known Nick very long, but is everyone else just in denial or what?)

6) What are your predictions for how long it will take for Adam and Cassie to start dating?

Phoebe: Hmmm I don’t know … I am thinking that Cassie will hold off. I think there might be some chemistry between her and Jake. Plus I think this might be a Chuck/Blaire situation, wherein they can’t happily date as we would then perhaps lose interest. But also, what if they are not fated?! What if that is all crazy-talk. Not to mention, I don’t quite care about Cassie/Adam the way I do about B and C (who are my Gossip Girl faves).

Sarah: Yeah, I think you’re right that if Cassie and Adam are getting set up to be the endgame couple, it will be a while yet before they’re officially together. Or they’ll get together and break up in like 2 weeks. But I think you’re right that there are sparks between her and Jake, and I hope they’re real ones on Jake’s part—I’d like to see how that conflict between his emotions and his mission would play out, particularly as that could be a way of getting him to see that all witches aren’t evil.

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