The Circle debates the big bind. Meanwhile, the Chamberlain ladies kill people!
Secret Circle
Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/CBS

Well that was a bewitching hour, wasn’t it? While I’m still not sold on the non-chemistry building between Cassie and Adam, I loved the generous Natasha Henstridge screen time and the quickly thickening war between the circles’ plot. Oh, and the wars within the circles! Those are getting intense. There are three generations of circles to keep up with now, and plenty of drama circulating between them. We even have two love triangles now! Squares and heptagons! Let’s dig in.

Poor Cassie. If your mother left you a posthumous letter that revealed a severely life-altering secret in the same vein as, “Hey, you’re a witch with intense powers and there are people out there who probably want to kill you,” you would hope for some detail, right? Well, Cassie only got a few cryptic paragraphs and a book with a drawing of six figures gathered around a fire. It’s like a text message breakup, only not. So Cassie decided to test her magic, and unlike Faye, she kept it safe. She stared at a candle saying “Give me light!” for a few seconds, but it didn’t work. She was about to give up when — Lumos! — the sun beamed through her windows.

Meanwhile next door, the worst sexy next door neighbor ever was getting out of bed with his latest conquest, who happened to be none other than last week’s non-entity Melissa. She wanted to stick around for a morning cuddle; he wanted to pull a Situation by sauntering around the room with his abs out and sending her on her way. He also accused her of being Faye’s lapdog. Yes, we all thought that last week, but the look on Melissa’s face made it clear that she was sick of people seeing it that way. She told him not to tell anyone about their late night escapades, to which he responded: “I’m gonna brag about you?” If we ever see Melissa in bed with Nick again, I’m calling the self-esteem police.

Thankfully, Cassie is seduced by eyeliner and flannel shirts, not ripped abdominal muscles. Nick posed shirtless in front of his window for the benefit of his next door neighbor, until she went ahead and broke said window. At school, Cassie finally met the annoying class president type whose sole purpose in television and movies is to organize cheesy events and show new students around the school. Sally Matthews did just that, until Faye pulled Cass away to talk about not binding their circle. See, wet blanket Diana was obsessed with the idea of binding the circle, which would lessen their individual powers but strengthen the group collectively. Guess who didn’t like that idea? “I don’t want someone telling me what to eat for lunch, much less what parade I can rain on, you know?” This wasn’t even the bitchiest Faye quote of the week. More to come later!

NEXT: Chemistry class is lame for witches, too! Also: sensual magic.

Chance Harbor must be a small high school, because most members of the circle were in the same chemistry class. Dangerous chemical compounds mixed with hormonally and magically powerful teenagers? Luckily sweet-talking Adam was around to convince Mr. So-and-So that the explosions Faye and Cassie created were accidental, because at my school they would have been grounds for an F.

After the explosive incident, Cassie ran into the hallway to collect herself. Adam immediately followed, and she told him that she couldn’t control her powers when she was angry. “If you let me, I can help,” he said with a lusty intense stare. She let him. They ditched school and headed over to the shack in the woods that served as their lair slash medical marijuana growing facility. (Not really, but they had some very suspicious looking herbs growing there. It’s the Pacific Northwest!)

They discussed the family history some more, and Adam explained that the only knowledge they had came from Diana’s family book. Interestingly, Cassie did not bring up the fact that she too had found her book. She was definitely starting to trust Adam, but her hesitation in showing him the book showed that she wasn’t quite ready to accept her role as a member of the circle. And who can blame her, after Adam explained again how everyone in the circle had a dead parent who was a member of the previous circle. Adam: dead mom. Diana: dead mom. Faye: dead dad. Melissa: dead mom. Nick: dead both. Cassie: dead both. See what I mean there?

Adam then provided further detail on the “accident” that caused their deaths. Fifteen years ago, six teenage couples with newborn children went to a fun party on a boat, as six teenage couples with newborn children often do. (Pregnancy pact?) The boat then caught on fire, and many of them did not escape. Apparently, everyone bought that. Diana was of the belief that they died because they didn’t bind their circle, hence her fervent desire to do so ASAP.

Adam helped Cassie realize her power again, as they performed yet another sensual spell together. This time, the two not-yet-lovebirds made a light bulb turn on until Cassie made it explode. There was many an awkward glance, and even more casual brushings of fingertips. These two actors don’t really have much chemistry together yet, but their entwined family histories and intense magical connection could make for some steamy scenes in the future if they get their act together. Maybe Britt and Thomas have bonded so much on set by now that their romantic scenes will feel less awkward in the future. Let us hope.

NEXT: See what happened at the Sea Fair!

Back at school, Diana, Melissa, and Faye argued some more about binding. No-longer-Faye’s-lapdog-Melissa was starting to join Diana’s side, but Faye still wanted to have control over her own individual power. Diana argued that harnessing their power and using it together would help serve the greater good, but Faye totally hated the greater good. “Are we going to save the turtles?” she snickered. Oh Faye. Yes, you should definitely save the turtles. What could be so bad about using your power to save an endangered species, Faye? Wouldn’t that be a cooler display of magic than causing another thunderstorm?

Next, something happened called The Sea Fair. This was a fair that seemed to take place on the sea. It featured standard sea fair things like giant fish balloons, popcorn stands, and carnival games. Cassie only went to clear her head and help Sally Student President out with ticket sales, but Diana ruined her fun by pressuring her to bind again. Diana is nothing if not persistent. Of course the cool kids were hanging out under the docks during all of this, taking magic drugs and saying nasty things about Diana. “Tell her to shove her ritual up her hoo-ha,” Faye said. Nick must love the word hoo-ha, because he was all over Faye during this scene, in front of the seriously angry eyes of Melissa.

In other love triangle news, Cassie and Adam watched a beautiful sunset on a bench while Diana stood behind and watched. “What did you tell Diana about last night?” Cassie asked. Adam had told her about the magic practicing, but not the stolen glances and the hand holding. He tried to convince Cassie to bind again, but it would take more than friendly talk for her to finally cave in. That night, there was some sort of outdoor wild teenage party with Solo cups, (the world’s number one indicator of drinking activity), rock ‘n’ roll music, and inappropriate dancing. Faye rubbed herself all over Nick before leaving him cold to talk to Melissa. “Would you hit that?” she asked. “I’d have to leave my self-esteem at the door.” Which — ouch! Faye might have known about Nick and Melissa, but there’s also the chance that she was simply stating a wise opinion. Seriously, Nick is terrible.

The Faye and Cassie showdown finally happened at the swingin’ outdoor party. At one point, a chair flew across the dance floor and nobody noticed. The town’s apparent widespread stupidity problem is the only reason that this circle is still a secret, because some of these kids are quite fond of performing obvious magic in public. Anyway, Sally Student President got in the way, and Faye used her “you go away” spell to accidentally push her off the ledge and kill her….

NEXT: Bodies, bodies everywhere.

….For about 30 seconds. Dawn came to the rescue and brought Sally back to life with a magic crystal, but more on that later. At this point, Cassie was completely sold on the whole binding thing. They all decided to meet on the beach at midnight, which they did after Diana cried to Adam because she was insecure about his relationship with Cassie. She should be, but who cares. I’m not really interested in any of these romantic debacles yet, but I am curious as to how Diana’s nice-girl leader position in the circle will change once Adam inevitably joins Team Cassie. He reaffirmed his love for her, they made out, and then we got to the anti-climactic binding ceremony on the beach. Really all it was was a bunch of kids standing around a bonfire, reciting witchy words until the flames burst into the air and lit up the Washington night sky. I was hoping for some creepy possession from the ghosts of circles past or something, but maybe that will happen later.

Meanwhile, adult problems were happening. Which, I’m sorry, are more interesting to me at this point in the series. We’ve had some fun scenes with the terrible teens figuring out their powers, but I like the malicious grown-up circle from 15 years ago. There’s some pretty solid acting in that ’90s-era circle, and some of them are willing to kill innocent children! Also, their puppet-master actions are sort of driving the plot, so there’s that. Anyway, Charles mentally water boarded Ethan after threatening to kill him last week, which is probably a difficult thing to get over. While working the early shift at The Max The Boathouse Bar and Grill, Adam confronted Ethan about his argument with Charles, and Ethan struggled to keep it together as he sort of agreed to try to keep the peace with the monstrous man who might be a future in-law.

Dawn Chamberlain had in-law issues of her own, as her deceased husband’s father, Henry, showed up for an extended stay. She played nice to his face, then called Charles to complain. “Could he be on to us?” she wondered. “I doubt that,” he replied. “We were very careful; we covered our tracks.” Is he talking about Amelia’s murder, or have these two caused even more trouble we haven’t seen yet?

Henry went to Ethan to discuss Charles’ use of magic, as Ethan was the one who gave Henry the tip-off phone call. They figured out that Charles must have found a way to get around the magic ban, because each witch from the 90’s circle had been stripped of their power after the accident. When Henry confronted Dawn about it, she brushed Ethan off as an alcoholic and denied the whole thing. “Charles, he doesn’t have any power,” she said. “None of us do. Your circle took care of that.” It’s too bad that Henry saw Faye magically cheating at ring toss over at the Sea Fair!

So this was our first introduction to the grandparents’ circle of witches, which I assume also included Cassie’s grandmother, Jane. Henry swore that he would never let what happened to Dawn’s circle happen again, so he was determined to put a stop to the practicing. Charles and Dawn had no such plans, and it was soon revealed that the source of Charles’ recent magical abilities was a magic crystal. The crystal’s power was limited, so Dawn seized it because Charles is a crazy homicidal jerk that would probably use it every day. “Let’s think of the bigger picture,” she said.

After she used the crystal to save Sally Student President’s life, Charles called her out for wasting its magic. “We don’t kill innocent children,” she said. “You have a very interesting set of rules there, Dawn,” he replied. Does this mean that they’re plotting to kill Cassie, or have they killed other innocent children in the past? I would guess the former, but wouldn’t mind seeing more of the latter. (What? It’s that kind of show!) Dawn explained that she only rescued Sally to save Faye from a lifetime of guilt, and asked him what he would have done had it been Diana. That’s sort of the golden question here, Dawn. I know we’re only two episodes in, but I’m really hoping to see some Charles/Diana scenes in the near future.

The strongest scene in the episode for me was the final showdown between Dawn and Henry, with the big reveal being that Dawn may be our main bad guy. Henry realized pretty quickly that Dawn was the mastermind behind the whole mysterious plot that we still know nothing about, but he thinks it has something to do with pushing the kids to form a circle in order to steal their powers. He also watched as Dawn saved Sally with the crystal, so you knew he was pretty much a goner at this point. “It was wrong of you to strip us of our power,” she said. “You’ve forgotten what it feels like.” “This circle is different,” he replied. “You know what can be unleashed if they bind together.” He then threatened to go see “the elders” to warn them, and I was instantly excited to meet these elders. It’s too bad that Dawn gave him a lethal heart attack before he had the chance!

What did you think of episode 2? Will Cassie and Adam find their chemistry? Is Dawn an evil genius? Wouldn’t it be great to do a ’90s flashback episode? Let us know in the comments!


Episode Recaps

The Secret Circle
16-year-old shy girl Cassie discovers she is a witch and becomes a member of the Circle of witches of New Salem
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