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The Secret Circle Double-Header: “Beneath” and “Balcoin”

In Secret Circle, teen soaps on November 17, 2011 at 6:53 pm

This week, we take a look at dark magic and secret siblings.

What is afoot with Charles? He seems more evil than normal. And are you worried about him having the crystal? 

Phoebe: I am so worried! I feel like killing Nick has turned him evil or changed him (of course, rightly so). I was hoping it would make him more sympathetic. But seemingly it has only brought out some sort of darkness (to use the show’s word) in him. For this reason, him having the crystal seems like a lot of trouble. But also, I am sad in that it reverses the gender dynamic that was at play between him and Dawn, wherein now he is the more powerful (in terms of magic) which just switches things back to regular heteronormative understandings of straight male/female relationships. Also, I was a little confused this week when Dawn blamed Charles for not doing a good job killing Henry (Faye’s grandpa), as didn’t Dawn kill him? And then Charles just clean up the mess …

Sarah: Interesting point about the power dynamic between Dawn and Charles—I have a feeling Dawn will come out on top again, though, as she seems to be running circles around Charles in the brains department. I think Charles with the crystal is probably bad news but not as bad news as Dawn having it, as Charles seems more limited in his imagination… Read the rest of this entry »

The Secret Circle Recap, Season 1, Episodes 4 & 5 (“Heather” & “Slither”)

In Secret Circle, teen soaps on October 18, 2011 at 6:59 pm

This week we recap times two! On the agenda, Heather and demons, Nick’s untimely death, more demons, wonderful grandmothers, and so many mysteries!

How scary do you think TSC was in the Heather-demon episode, on a scale of one to ten? Is the show scarier/darker than you expected?

Phoebe: I would say it was an 8, but maybe a 10 on the Secret Circle scary chart. I thought the Heather with demon situation was scary but so intriguing and added an extra layer to the mystery, which was rather intriguing.

Sarah: I agree with Phoebe’s rating. I normally don’t expect to be scared by CW shows—Buffy’s special effects were way too ridiculous to be fearsome, and Vampire Diaries is suspenseful but rarely chilling. But seeing Heather-as-demon levitate and chase Cassie really freaked me out. I think it bodes well for the series’ range, but badly for my ability to watch the show without hiding under a blanket.

Why do you think Heather went with Cassie’s mom that night? And now we know Cassie’s mom was good, yes?

Phoebe: Now I am thinking she went because she believed in Cassie’s mom or something and that Cassie’s mom was it turns out really good and not evil, as it was perhaps suggested last week. But she bound the demon and that seems like a good and nice thing. Or, maybe Heather already had the demon in her when they went to the shipyard? Or maybe they summoned the demons in the ship yard and Heather and Cassie’s mom went there to stop it? I don’t know! I want to know more …

Sarah: I think it seems like Heather went with Cassie’s mom because she wanted to support her best friend in preventing whatever dangerous ceremony was about to take place—which means that both Heather and Cassie’s mom were good. My guess is that they arrived too late, and the demon had already been summoned and entered Heather. Cassie’s mom couldn’t get rid of the demon, but she could stop the pain/torment by effectively sedating Heather.

What do you think about this evil demon apparently summoned in the parents’ binding ceremony? Did they intentionally summon the demon? What is its story/purpose? And, does this mean that the parents were always out to practice black magic, or was black magic an unintended consequence of the quest for more power?

Phoebe: I am so curious about this issue … It seems that the binding had already happened and they were toying with their magic and got intrigued, as a teen might, with black magic. I can imagine teen witches getting curious about summoning demons and then not able to foresee the consequences and still not wanting to ask their parents for help. It seems very much like teen life but with the added power of witchcraft things. But clearly, I think the parents got into black magic, but then maybe as we saw last week did not want it around anymore. I want to know more!!

Sarah: I think you’re right, Phoebe, that the parents were experimenting but not necessarily intending real harm when they summoned the demon. It seems likely that they didn’t understand what the consequences of their actions would be but were excited by the idea of getting more power and exploring their dark sides.

How great are television grandmas?

Phoebe: I love love television grandmas and particularly Cassie’s grandma. But it reminds me of how great Hanna’s grandma is on Pretty Little Liars. So great! She is so strong and badass and amazing. And she brought so much power into the room and commanded so much attention and respect and also is so supportive of Cassie. I ❤ her so much.

Sarah: I concur. It’s so nice to see strong older female figures represented on television (not that the grandma is actually very old at all, she’s probably about 50 aka not anywhere near grandma-age in my family. But when you’ve got Cassie’s mom having a baby at roughly age 18 max I guess that makes sense). But yes, the grandma is awesome, and I’m relieved that she and Cassie are talking more openly about witchcraft now. I hope that openness doesn’t mean the bells are tolling for her!

What do you think about Nick’s untimely death?

Phoebe: I am so sad! i was loving the relationship between Melissa and Nick and how it was developing and I was sure that the grandma would bring Nick back to life in the same way that Dawn brought the school president back to life. But alas, not yet! Ugh. I was so interested in that story line. And also, what about Melissa’s possession? That was crazy! But also, I am really glad they did not kill her off as she rocks my socks, particularly as we are seeing her come into her own.

Sarah: I can’t believe Nick is really dead, and so early on in the series—it seemed like the show was really developing his character and his relationships with Melissa and Faye, so it was surprising to see him killed off. Assuming he doesn’t come back, though, I can see how his death may act as a catalyst for our other characters. Melissa will be grieving, Faye will be comforting Melissa, and Adam/Diana/Cassie will be trying to figure out a way to prevent such a death from happening again. I’m also interested to see whether Nick’s death will weaken the circle’s power—based on the dance episode, it seems as if one member’s death lessens the strength of the whole.

How do we feel about Charles and Dawn now? Post-killing Nick …

Phoebe: I feel SO conflicted. Like at once they did it to help Nick sort of, but also to protect the kids and themselves. Also, I feel like Charles is clearly interested in Dawn and so there may be some post-kill blossoming romance which seems weird. And interesting too that their crystal didn’t work and now what will they do? And I want to find out why they are so into getting their powers back I understand if you know once you were a witch and now you’re not and that that would totally suck. But, I feel like they have some super secret plan that we are not yet privy to.

Sarah: Yeah, I like that the show is deepening the complexity of those characters. Clearly they (and especially Charles) feel terrible about Nick’s death, but at the same time they’re guilty of causing it—not only because they drowned him to try to rid him of the demon, but if Dawn really wanted to be a hero she would have let the demon enter her instead of Nick. I think Dawn ultimately looks out for number one (and Faye, as an extension of number one). She’s not necessarily out to kill without discrimination, but most other people seem negligible, at least thus far. Charles, on the other hand, seems more conflicted—particularly when it comes to the kids.

When are we going to find out what happened the parents in the fire?!

Phoebe: I want to know SO badly. And I guess this is kind of covered by the other questions but I just want to know! But I also thought it was interesting that we learned that Cassie’s grandma did not know what happened with her daughter (Cassie’s mom) and so that now she seems not to be holding things back so that is interesting potentially …

Sarah: Yeah, my number one question is what happened that caused the death of one parent minimum per kid. And good point about the grandmother—it’s helpful to know that it’s as much a mystery to the elders (at least to a certain extent) as it is to the youngest generation.

The Secret Circle Recap, “Loner,” Season 1, Episode 3

In Secret Circle, teen soaps on October 5, 2011 at 8:14 am

Faye for the Win

Phoebe: Can we talk about redeeming friend moments?
Sarah: Let’s! First of all, i think Faye totally wins the friendship sweeps this week (and the awesomeness sweeps).
Phoebe: Agreed.
Sarah: For standing up for Melissa and telling Melissa to stand up for herself, and for giving Nick the what-for.
Phoebe: She was amazing! It was really cool to see girl friends stand up for each other, and to see Faye’s softer side.
Sarah: And also I loved her hilarious and affectionate delivery of the line, “See you losers tomorrow” addressed to Adam, Cassie and Diana. She is such a secret softie.
Phoebe: That was also amazing!
Sarah: And her insight into Nick hating Nick (not Nick hating Melissa) showed that she is good at reading people too. But what do you make of her expression when she sees Melissa and Nick walk away looking cozy? She kind of half-smiles to herself (which makes sense, given her actions making that come about), but then the smile drops and she looks sad. Which made me wonder:
– is she feeling lonely/left out?

– does she wish she were in a relationship?

– is she secretly in like with Melissa?

Phoebe: My gut instinct was that she was missing Melissa, but not that she wishes she was in a relationship with Nick. I didn’t get the she is into Melissa vibe, but I did get the being a teenager and feeling left out when your best friend starts dating vibe. But it is early yet! Who knows what will happen …
Sarah: Yeah, it could be just missing Melissa (or preparing herself to miss her). But I think I really want the show to have a gay character.
Phoebe: Fair enough — we will just have to wait and see.

Murders and Motives

Phoebe: What did you think of this new guy that was introduced? That went after the kids …
Sarah: Hmm well, I’m interested to see what develops re: his relationship with Heather and Amelia, and what happened with Heather at the binding ceremony
Phoebe: Indeed … From the preview it looks scary!
Sarah: But also, something that I thought was confusing was, in the initial scene with Cassie it seems like he still has fond memories of Amelia.
Phoebe: But then tried to kill Cassie
Phoebe: Indeed it was very confusing
Sarah: I get that he wanted to get someone from the circle to break it. But i would think he’d pick someone else who was NOT the daughter of his old friend
Phoebe: But I think he blames Amelia for what happened to Heather. He says at one point that Amelia sucked her in and did the worst things to her after she started hanging out with the witchy crew. BUT also, that Heather never stopped believing in Amelia—hence why she wound up in the line of witch fire
Sarah: Right. I just hope the show gives us a reasonable explanation for the Cassie-targeting, otherwise it just seems like lazy storytelling.
Phoebe: Although, I surmise it was that she was in the wrong place at the right time, slash that he is super duper resentful of Amelia, hence Cassie was a target. But I think we are going to meet Heather next week. And she looked SO scary!
Phoebe: Also, what did you make of our first glimpse of bound magic?
Sarah: I’m a bit underwhelmed, but I’m sure it will develop more — the magic stuff seems a little hazy right now. What about you?
Phoebe: Yeah I concur, although I loved that paper flying scene in part as it just looked cool and also like straight out of The Craft, and it felt guided by the girls more than the guys—which I also like
Phoebe: Similarly, I am loving (despite that I think she is a little evil) how bad ass the principal is. She just is a take no prisoners kind of witch
Sarah: Yes, I think Dawn’s pretty tough. I like that she took the time out from saving the kids to order the two making out kids back to the gym. Double-duty!
Phoebe: YES. That was perfect, and then the way she threatens the dude who tried to kill Cassie, but doesn’t kill him. And makes it clear to Diana’s dad that they can’t just go around killing people all the time.

Make It or Break It or Decorate It and Then Talk About It Incessantly

Sarah: Also, what did you think of Luke?
Phoebe: I thought his response to Cassie’s not paying attention was kind of awesome. And I sort of want her to give him another shot or rather him to give her another shot.
Sarah: Yeah I’m curious to see if he’ll be a recurring character. He is from Make It or Break It, also, which makes me think he will be back
Phoebe: Oh really? Do you think he will have a gymnastics super power on this show? I would totally support that
Sarah: I think they could totally work in some cool backflips with all that witchcraft.
Sarah: And, did you like how Cassie was acting as if helping with decorations was like a HUGE commitment?
Phoebe: Right?! Did we even see them decorate? Those decorations certainly did not catch my eye …
Sarah: No! It was like three streamers and a balloon. And yet Cassie is using it as an excuse for why not to have a date and that she’s rounding up all of her circle friends to help. Think of better excuses, Cassie!
Phoebe: I could not agree more.
Sarah: Oh and speaking of the dance and of good friendship moments, I thought it was very sneaky (in a good-friend way) of Sally to make Cassie and Adam dance together. And apparently she was psychically conspiring with the DJ to make the music switch to a slow song
Phoebe: I also kind of like Sally and would like to see more of her. But now I am worried that more bad things will happen to Sally if she stays close to Cassie … Do you think there will be any consequences of Sally being brought back to life? We haven’t seen any yet, but Jeremy sees ghosts in Vampire Diaries.
Sarah: I hope so, because that would give Sally more to do (not that she is boring or anything, I’d just like her to have more plotlines).

Social Groups and Social Graces

Sarah: Something else that I’m hoping the show will explore is how other people at the school perceive the circle hanging out together — since it seems pretty divided into two social groups (Faye/Melissa/Nick and Adam/Diana/now Cassie). The audience knows why they’re all hanging out, but I bet the other kids at school would be confused. And I think that’s interesting to think about transgressing cliques and social boundaries.
Phoebe: Good point! I wonder how they will negotiate that too … but also they spend much time all together in secret. I do like the idea of transgressing cliques, but also that it is family-bound transgressions. But also, this was seemingly true for Amelia as we found out in this episode that she was not friends with the witch crew before.
Sarah: That reminds me: so Cassie is supposed to have a loner thing going on and she says she didn’t have much of a social life at her last school (slash any social life). But I find that hard to believe! Like she could well be flinty and whatnot, but she’s still a normal, nice girl. I think she would have had at least a friend or two.
Phoebe: I imagine her having a friend or two but kind of being on the outskirts and being super close with her mom … Also, I feel like I believe it more because Luxe (from Life Unexpected) was kind of a loner/bad girl, and so I feel like my perceptions of her have transferred to Cassie
Sarah: But Luxe had Bug and her BFF!
Phoebe: True … but Bug was terrible! wasn’t he?
Sarah: I could never decide!
Phoebe: But I imagine Cassie as that kind of loner—like a few friends but not popular, and not real social.
Sarah: I can buy that, I just want the show to acknowledge that she has a past beyond her mom. I guess because otherwise her character feels not filled out, and saying that she just didn’t have friends or a life at all before her new town feels like an excuse not to fill in the past more.
Phoebe: Also, it’s understandable if her mom was super suspicious of friends as things went horribly wrong in her circle, she might have passed that on to Cassie?
Sarah: Now THAT would be an acceptable explanation
Phoebe: Well in that case, I say that IS the explanation! That was my guess at it at least or why it would make sense …
Sarah: Okay if they don’t go there, I vote you write to the show and tell them they need to say so
Phoebe: Done and done.
Sarah: In order to appease the angry Sarahs of the audience
Phoebe: That is an important demographic.