Executive producer Andrew Miller admits that it’s been tricky crafting this season of The Secret Circle.
Whereas most teen shows are happy to use parent characters as little more than occasionally-nagging props, The Secret Circle has weaved a complicated backstory in which the parents play just as big of a part in the overall mythology as the young stars of the show. And with the introduction of Cassie’s (Britt Robertson) father, John Blackwell (Joe Lando), just before the show’s recent mini-hiatus, which concludes tonight with a new episode, the challenge became even greater. “Navigating the world of teen fiction is tricky because [parents] can’t play too much of a role because the kids aren’t discovering what they need to discover on their own. They can’t be too mentoring. Yet, we want them to be this base on which we define everything else,” says Miller.
Beginning with tonight’s installment, that goal becomes even more apparent, as more revelations about Blackwell’s past with Ethan (Adam Harrington) come to light. “What’s so fun to me about the character is playing against the expectations of both the audience and the inhabitants of Chance Harbor. For Dawn, Charles and Ethan, they’ve had this idea of this guy for 16 years that’s just gotten worse and worse and worse. For Cassie, she’s had no opinion of her father for most of her life– except for the last few weeks. Now, that’s all being turned on it’s head,” he says.
Blackwell has not been shy about his past wrongdoings — however small or large they might have been — but, Miller warns,”what we’re going to find very quickly is that despite what he’s saying and despite the actions he’s taking to win Cassie over, he can’t run from his past.” “While he’s here seemingly to protect Cassie to watch over Cassie, it’s not clear if his presence is going to cause more trouble to her than she’d get otherwise, and that really messes with things,” he says.
Blackwell’s presence will also take a notable toll on Cassie’s relationship with Adam (Thomas Dekker) — as he tries to come between the two youngins, who have opposing views on Blackwell’s intentions. “Adam does not believe what he’s saying; Adam’s father (Harrington) hates John Blackwell. And Cassie wants to believe in John Blackwell. They’re sort of put in this Romeo and Juliet place — stuck between their feelings for each other, their feelings for their fathers, and the truth,” he says. And what, exactly, is that truth? Well, it’s complicated (and Miller wouldn’t tell us). But once revealed, it will throw Adam into a bit of a personal crisis, previews Miller.
“We’ve hinted that Ethan had more going on in the past than he’s led anyone to believe, including Adam. That’s something Adam’s going to have to confront in this next episode because his expectations of who his father might be different from the reality. And same with Cassie. There are a lot of secrets in Chance Harbor,” he says. “To some degree, we define ourselves based on our parents, and I think Adam has done that. He’s going to find out things about his father that he didn’t know and it throws everything [he] believe about [himself] into question. I think Cassie deals with that more than anyone. Adam’s going to get a taste of that in the next few weeks with his father.”