This review may contain spoilers
The incident with Diana's grandmother has convinced Cassie (Britt Robertson) that she needs to know all she can about her father. Adam (Thomas Dekker) suggests city record where they don't find any birth or death certificates, but do find that his residence of record was actually the kids' abandoned house hang out, 7 Briar Lane.
Cassie sifted through the junk in the basement, but had given up and is leaving when she hears a mysterious noise. Investigating, she finds a symbol carved into the basement ceiling, which Adam identifies as a mark to channel black magic. Cassie finds the symbol in her book, but the page with the descriptive text is missing. It is the page that Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) stole and took to Lee (Grey Damon).
Repeatedly told by Diana (Shelley Hennig) that they can't be together now, Adam decides to commit fully to the pursuit of Cassie. Cassie has also felt their "writ in the stars" attraction, but Diana is her good friend, and you don't pounce on your friend's ex. Adam moves to solve this issue by trapping Diana into promising to tell Cassie that they have her blessing to hook up.
Lee, the voodoo guy, has been stalking Faye and realizes who the rest of the circle is, minus Jake (Chris Zylka). The stolen spell extracts dark magic from people that he can put into Faye.
Verifying that Cassie will be unaware and otherwise unaffected, Faye wants this. At the Fire & Ice dance, when the spell is cast, Faye immediately begins using her power for frivolous reasons, and the circle starts collapsing, starting with Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy), then Diana.
When Faye makes the faux fire displays into real fires, Cassie notices the magic use and confronts Faye, who gloats. Cassie points out that she is not the one suffering for Faye's fun and goes to assist the fading Adam. Cluing in, Faye forces Lee to tell her how to break the spell and does, but the fires she made in the dance flare and set the ceiling on fire.
Faye finds Adam and Diana recovered and evacuating with the rest of the school, but notices Melissa's absence sending Cassie back into the fiery gym. She magics herself safe passage through the flames and finds Melissa on the floor of the bathroom. Near instantaneously, she collapses from smoke inhalation. The girls wake up outside on the grass and speculate about their savior.
The circle is unhappy about Faye. She didn't intend to hurt anyone; she was doing Cassie a favor by taking her dark magic, but they all blame her and not Cassie. Aggrieved, Faye storms off.
Adam finds Cassie in the Briar Hill basement contemplating whether her father was trying to remove his dark magic, whether Faye did the spell wrong and whether she can use it remove her own. Adam deems it not worth the risk as demonstrated by Faye's example. They are mid-passionate kiss when an unambiguously returned Jake interrupts.
Points Of Interest
1. Cassie is still staying at Diana's house, which means that Jane is not back yet. t doesn't look good for gramma.
2. Cassie's current top priority is finding out about her father.
3. Diana sides with Adam in that Jake is not to be trusted or believed.
4. Ethan (Adam Harrington) feels guilty over his part in Adam's breakup with Diana.
5. Diana was going to ask Goldin to the dance, but he has already returned to school.
6. Diana's book of shadows has a map of energy points, and the kids' chose their lair because it sits on the most powerful one.
7. John Blackwell did not start the fire that killed half the previous generation.
8. Lee promises to do the spell in exchange for a favor to be named later.
9. Lee has a sample of Faye's blood, stolen while casting the spell.
10. A mysterious booted figure saves Cassie and Melissa from the fire, leaving them outside on the grass unattended.
11. Both Cassie and Faye think they see Jake during the episode, but only at the end does he definitively return.
Shelley Hennig continues to give a solid and nuanced performance as Diana. Her public face is polished and relaxed, contrasting distinctly with privately expressed turmoil.
Melissa's character growth from doormat and minion to a more fully realized soul is a welcome change.
What Didn't Work
Lee's blatant amorality borders on the mustache twirling. While Faye starts the episode knowing that he's bad news, she lets her need for power draw them together. At the end, after all the pain he's caused and is demonstrably willing to continue causing, why does she seek him out?
Lee says he doesn't have much power, but the spell will work with the addition of Faye's power. Faye doesn't have individual power until the spell works, so how is she helping?
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"The Secret Circle" stars Britt Robertson, Thomas Dekker, Phoebe Tonkin, Shelley Hennig, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Adam Harrington, Grey Damon, Kerry James, Kaaren de Zilva, Lana Lonergan, Chris Zylka "Fire/Ice" was written by Holly Henderson and Don Whitehead, and was directed by Joshua Butler.
"The Secret Circle" airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW
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