This review may contain spoilers
We see more of the big picture in this episode, which is welcome. Sure, it kinda falls apart if you pick at it (which I do), but that's the nature of the beast.
The kids spend no time waffling about which of four, or sets of two grandparents they'll need to target to search for crystals. Did John (Joe Lando) brief them?
In any case, nearby and not dead are Jake's (Chris Zylka) grandfather and Melissa's (Jessica Parker Kennedy) grandparents. Diana's (Shelley Hennig) grandmother, Kate, is in hiding since trying to kill Cassie (Britt Robertson). Faye's (Phoebe Tonkin) grandfather, Henry, is dead. Presumably Dawn (Natasha Henstridge) has the crystal, but Faye found nothing at her house but her mother's journal.
Actually, Diana's father, Charles (Gale Harold), has Henry's crystal. Also, he and Dawn were using a crystal that they drained, presumably Charles' family crystal. Cassie has hers, which leaves Adam's (Thomas Dekker) family crystal unaccounted for. His grandparents live or are visiting a distant part of the country.
Melissa's grandmother has a large collection of crystals forcing Adam and Melissa to sort through them looking for the magic one. That fails, so they think that Gramma has put a spell of concealment on the right one, and with Diana's help they break that spell and find it.
Jake's grandfather (John de Lancie) believed that John had tried to corrupt the Chance Harbour circle by teaching them dark magic and also by breeding with them. Grampa has hidden his crystal in a mine and spelled the area to prevent the approach of any dark witch. Adam and Melissa retrieve it, but voodoo drug pusher Callum (Michael Graziadei) takes it from them. The rest arrive in the nick of time and stop Callum.
Meanwhile, Cassie's grandmother, Jane (Ashley Crow), and Charles enact their plan to kill John. When they have him trapped, Jane asks him about the circumstances of Cassie's mother, Amelia's, death. When John truthfully explains that he doesn't know what happened, verified by magic, Jane no longer feels justified in killing him with the cruet she has kept hidden in her cuckoo clock for 16 years. Charles has no such compunctions, but when he activates it, Jane is the one who dies. When John first arrived, Cassie was rooming with Diana; so he spent days alone in the house, found the cruet and replaced its contents. John gets the crystal and the upper hand over Charles, who he does not kill because he intends to use him.
Points Of Interest
1. A pint of witch's blood sells for high prices on the mystic (voodoo?) black market.
2. Jake's unnamed grandfather is a paranoid guy with lots of locks on his doors. He had something of a nervous breakdown after Jake's parents were killed and no one listens to the crazy old coot anymore.
3. Eighteen witch families, consisting of three circles, escaped Salem 300 years ago. Two of those circles stayed East and the kids' ancestors settled in Chance Harbor.
4. Grampa says that if the eastern circles are also corrupted and the three circles come together, the balance between good and evil will tip and the witches (or the entire world, it was unclear) will all be destroyed.
5. Cassie is currently avoiding being with Adam because it's "too hard" to be around him. Jake does not immediately attempt to take the pole position. Cockiness? Preoccupied with thinking of his family?
6. Diana must lie and jam out on her romantic day with Grant (Tim Phillipps) due to circle drama. Grant leaves first thing tomorrow morning, perhaps never to return (yeah, right).
7. The six crystals together will form a crystal skull, a powerful magical weapon.
8. A symbol called the Witch's Hammer can invisibly and without warning silence a witch's powers if they are touching something it's inscribed on.
9. Grampa's anti-dark witch spell suffocates Cassie when she tries to enter the mine tunnels ... and Diana (although when that might have happened is unclear). So, Diana is the other Balcoin, which is too bad because I was rooting for poor underused Melissa.
10. Before this interesting piece of news, Diana was planning to stop all witchy activities after the witch hunter threat had been dealt with. She wanted to live a normal life.
Expanding the world, adding more factions (or at least more circles) is good. Now, explain the difference between someone like Calvin and the circle families.
The twist with Charles unintentionally killing Jane was not much of a surprise; the smooth workings of Jane's plan up to that point was very nice though.
What Didn't Work
Grampa introduces himself by magically pinning the kids to the wall with a pool table. By himself. Without his crystal. Did his generation not bind their circle either?
Grampa went to a lot of effort to protect his crystal, then when it is actually threatened by collection by an unplanned for evil, he takes no action at all. Informs no one.
All the spells cast in this episode, except for a lock-unlock, were wordless and without ingredients except for the witch cruet. Who needs a spell book if all it takes is a little wishful thinking?
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"The Secret Circle" stars Phoebe Tonkin, Shelley Hennig, Britt Robertson, Chris Zylka, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Thomas Dekker, Joe Lando, Ashley Crow, Gale Harold, Natasha Henstridge, John de Lancie, Michael Graziadei, Tim Phillipps. "Crystal" was written by Micah Schraft, and it was directed by Omar Madha.
"The Secret Circle" airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.
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