The Secret Circle

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Lucy, the grown-up version of the girl who saw Cassie in the memory of The Night of the Fire™, kind of annoyed me from the moment she appeared, so I wasn’t too sad to see her go by the end of the hour.  But she did serve an important purpose – she helped to reunite the circle (sort of – Faye is still playing her own game and now also getting people hooked on voodoo cocaine), she unintentionally helped Cassie take control of the medallion’s power (Britt Robertson pretty much owned in that scene – she is proving to be capable of being quite the BAMF), and she confirmed that Cassie’s dad is alive so that the hunt for Blackwell can officially begin.  She also ensured that the witch hunters are more determined than ever to bring Cassie down, so excitement is happening on all sides.

Another thing that Lucy helped with is piecing together how the hierarchy of magical beings works based on who seems to work for whom (Lucy was the psychic sidekick to the parent’s circle back in the day).  Here’s what we know, based on TVD and TSC:

Hybrids > Vampires > Witches > Psychics

Klaus, President and CEO of Hybrids, had vampires do his bidding (hello, Ripper Stefan) until he created his own army, vampires ‘have’ witches, in the way that a rich dude in the 80’s would have a butler (see Bonnie, every other African American character on TVD), and now we know that witches ‘have’ psychics.  Everyone needs someone else to order around and feel superior to, but the pickings get slimmer after psychics.  Who do they ‘have’?  Fake tv infomercial psychics?  Does Lucy go home and have Miss Cleo or Dionne Warwick run errands and housesit for her (since we know they can’t do anything that would require being an actual psychic)?  Actually, what am I even talking about – I forgot about the Dog Whisperer.  He’s got to rank above fake tv psychics for sure.

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Jake's biggest weakness: reflective surfaces.

Note to self: if ever running a covert ops mission with Cassie Blake, she is definitely not allowed to name the operation, because she is terrible at it.  But you know what she isn’t terrible at? Using her DARK MAGIC to do cool shit.  Like accessing Jake’s early childhood memories of the most traumatic night of his life so that she can finally find out what happened on The Night Of The Fire™.  Finally!  You guys, it’s all happening!

First of all, let’s just be thankful that sixteen years (16 YEARS) after the fire, the boat wreckage is still completely untouched and in tact, just waiting for some teen witch sleuths to come on board and reveal the secrets of what happened.  Because if there is one thing that towns love to do, it’s to leave the morbid and definitely unsafe reminder of a town tragedy up for everyone to see for the rest of eternity.  And thankfully, Chance Harbor doesn’t seem to have fancy, big-city roadblocks like ‘investigations’ or ‘protocol’, which surely would have disturbed the remains of the fire and definitely would have prevented Cassie from finding her dad’s cool DARK MAGIC necklace that saved him from being killed.  Oh, yeah – Cassie’s dad is probably still alive, which is perfect because I’m pretty sure that Gran has just walked off the face of the earth, and let’s face it – Cassie needs adult supervision.

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I loved this episode!  Definitely my favorite since the big Truth or Dare ep in the fall, and possibly even better than that.  Guess why?  It was FUN!!  Teenagers were doing teenagery stuff!  Sex Magik!! And possibly a huge clue about the Other Child of Blackwell? You down with OCB? Ya, you know me.  This was just a genuinely good episode that I would have found completely entertaining even if I wasn’t watching and writing about the show like it was my (unpaid) job.  Plus, there were lots of visual things that made me laugh, and you know what that means…screencap snark!

Let’s start out where the episode did.  Cassie and Diana were hanging out in Diana’s room (I am LOVING Diana suddenly, btw).  They were talking about the big dance coming up and decided to do some Craft-style magic and change the color of Diana’s dress. YES!  How long have we been asking that these guys use their powers like real teenagers would for once and do stupid frivolous shit like augment their wardrobe?  This was already a great start, but then Cassie’s DARK MAGIC (omg, I have to start counting how many times this phrase gets used in an episode because holy shit) took over and the dress burst into flames.  Way to bring the Debbie Downer to Fun Magic Time, Cas.  Diana was like, ‘oh, no probs’, but inside she was all ‘Holy Fuckballs, what is the matter with you??’, as she later told Melissa.

Maybe Cassie was just trying to warm up Diana's legs?

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Let me preface this recap with the fact that I am currently high on NyQuil and about a thousand different vitamins and supplements.  Therefore if anything doesn’t make sense, is spelled incorrectly, or is not as hilarious as you’d like, please note that none of it is my fault.  Thanks!

Can you believe it’s been two months since we last had new episodes of the CW’s Thursday shows?  To put it in perspective, the mid-season finale of TSC aired the same night as Jeff and the Dean’s magical karaoke version of ‘Kiss From a Rose’ on Community.  I KNOW!  It’s been too long.  When we left off, Jake had helped Cassie escape the S.S. Witch Hunter (the fact that it was a tugboat continues to be hysterical) before leaving town in the most drawn-out, melodramatic exit ever:

God, do we have to stand here 'til he's gone?

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Welcome to the fourth and final installment of OCTV’s mid-year wrap up, where Nicole and SB go over what they’ve been watching all year and take a step back to look at the seasons (or the seasons so far) as a whole.  If you missed part one, you can find it here, part two is here, and part three is here.  Gifs are generously rounded up by hockeybychoice, and as always, Nicole’s thoughts are in purple and SB’s are in blue.  Enjoy and be sure to comment!

The Vampire Diaries

I am still loving this show (even if I’m less enthralled with Damon than I used to be).  It continues to be excellent at managing a million things at once, even if sometimes that means that we don’t get to see certain people for weeks at a time (miss ya, Jeremy!).  I love love love Ripper Stefan and the entire Klaus and Rebekah story arc, and I’m intrigued by Katherine’s place in everything.  As per usual, the love story of poor, wounded Elena is the least interesting thing to me – the second a guy gets with her he turns into someone I don’t give a shit about.  She is excellent at making people boring by association.  That’s not a knock on The Dobrev because she is the opposite with Katherine, but Elena is room temperature vanilla pudding compared to Katherine’s…something exciting that they would make on Top Chef, like flaming spicy chocolate ganache, I don’t know.  Anyway, the show continues to be a thumbs way up for me, but I’ll let SB get into it since she’s OCTV’s TVD master and I know y’all want to hear from her.

Ooooh, TVD MASTER?  Well, I don’t know about that, but I have been spending a lot of time with TVD lately, as I recently wrote a Top Three Moments of Season Three (So Far) post for vampire-diaries.net, which is seriously the best fansite I’ve ever seen for anything (no exaggeration), which can be found here.

I am LOVING this season.  I had some serious issues with season two (namely, Rose and trying to cram too much in), but I think this season has been pretty great.  They slowed the pace down a bit, gave us a better idea of the general time frame of the show (two seasons equals a year), sent the kids back to high school (!!!), and turned the show’s sweetest remorseful bunny-killing vampire into a shockingly scary sidekick to a sociopath (holy god, the alliteration!).  The show is really functioning at its best this season, because there are several stories going on at once, but they’re all overlapping each other just enough.

And you know what else is pretty incredible?  That with an already large cast with a lot going on, that the show has managed to add in the Originals without it feeling like anyone is being cheated out of story time.  That takes a deft hand.  And oh GOD, you guys, the talent levels on this show–I can’t even handle it.  I mean for REAL–just think about the crying or almost crying scenes ALONE, JUST this season!  Stefan calling Elena.  Rebekah in front of the mirror.  Caroline when Tyler left angry.  Matt letting go of Vicki.  Bonnie holding Grams’ hand as she disappeared.  Anna and Pearl’s reunion.  Klaus’ Single Perfect Man Tear™?!?!?  Geez, you guys, and that is all in like nine episodes and without Sara Canning, who was a fucking all-star crier!

Anyway, I kind of took a detour there, but all of this to say that I’ve been really happy with this season and how it’s all been working together.  I’ve enjoyed the Damon and Elena slow burn, even as I feel the Stefan pain, and Caroline and Tyler are pretty much ripping my heart out.  The ghost episode was so fun, Simon Camden bled from his eyeballs (delightfully gross, and also wonderful inspiration for my Halloween zombie makeup), and I love the new Buffyication of Elena.  It feels weird to say that a season that’s already been so fab has promise, but I feel like it really does, like everything up to this, while it’s there have been payoffs all along, is really leading up to some like massive event of awesomeness.  Of course, said massive event is probably going to ultimately end up being me having a heart attack, but that’s just how I assume every season of TVD will end, from now until eternity.

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Now that both Vampire Diaries and the Secret Circle are on winter hiatus, I’ve asked Nicole to join me for a meeting of the brain trust to discuss The Secret Circle, which, for better or worse, is nearly inseparable from Vampire Diaries at this point.  Now that we’ve reached a our first break, it seemed like a good time to step back and take a look at the show so far as a whole.  As always, SB is in blue and Nicole is in purple.

I’m going to get it out of the way first.  Secret Circle is definitely not as good as The Vampire Diaries.  And honestly, I’m not sure whether to call it disappointing, because I didn’t really have any expectations for the show–in fact, it might even be better than I would’ve initially thought.  But I don’t think that the quality comparisons are helped by the fact that commercials are always throwing the TVD/TSC producer connection in our face at every opportunity, and I REALLY don’t think that TSC benefits, comparison wise, from airing on the same night as TVD.  I’m sure it benefits ratings-wise, which is obviously important for business, but … I don’t feel like as a viewer, there’s any benefit at all.

I can completely understand this perspective, because TVD has really mastered the art of perpetual motion, where at this point every episode feels like three, given how much HAPPENS in an hour.  I think that a big part of this is the fact that TVD has built up a huge cast of characters that can be endlessly explored in different configurations.  TSC is still in it’s infancy and whether by design or due to budget constraints, has a more limited pool of people to work with.  The show just feels smaller-scale and more insular than TVD, and when the smaller show follows the bigger, more epic show, I’m sure that to some it can feel like a bit of a letdown.  

With TSC, we see the same six main characters in the same handful of settings on a weekly basis, which can start to feel a little static, even this early into the run.  I think that this is why episodes like ‘Beneath’ led to such a strong (positive) fan reaction; because the show expanded it’s physical setting and it was exciting for the audience to move beyond the abandoned house, the bar and Cassie’s Kitchen of Death.  (This episode also worked because it let the kids be teenagers and have some fun, which I’ll get to in more detail later).  So overall, I agree that following TVD with TSC is probably not the best idea, because the scale feels much smaller in comparison and therefore possibly a little anti-climactic.  I tend to watch TVD on Fridays, so this isn’t really an issue for me, However, most people probably do watch them back to back and I think even just flipping the order would work.  Of course, that would deprive TSC of the TVD lead-in, which could be a problem – does it have a strong enough following at this point to compete with everything else on Thursdays at 8?  I don’t know.  

Well, I doubt that anything on the CW can REALLY compete with everything else on at eight on Thursdays (except, apparently, Community–sad face), but I think they’re okay with that.  I feel like CW isn’t really EXPECTED to compete, so they have different standards.  

I do want to go back to your point about the scale of the show, though.  I just feel like, in a setting like the Pacific Northwest, there should be more variety in settings just by virtue of being in the great outdoors, ESPECIALLY with all the witchy nature connection shit.  And they have the restaurant, but they don’t even use that very much.  And (AND!) it cannot be that hard to find young, pretty, unknown actors who will work for cheap to get some exposure.  I mean, was it really NECESSARY to cast Lux in this part?  No.  And I hope they didn’t blow their budget on her and Thomas Dekker.  (I mean, she’s MUCH better as Cassie than Lux, but I’m obviously still not over it completely.)  I don’t know exactly what the problem is with the show, but I will say this–I don’t think it’s a problem with the acting (I especially love the adults, and the kids are fine), and I don’t think it’s a problem with premise or style.  I think this is a writing issue, and I have a couple of key points as to WHY I think that.  Ready for the bullets? Read the rest of this entry »

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SADam puts his hate to good use.

 

It’s the fall finale of TSC you guys, so we have six weeks to go before we get to spend any more time with Cassie, Faye, Diana, Melissa, Jake and SADam (this nickname is a given at this point, right?).  But at least the finale was pretty great, right? And there is much to discuss, so let’s do it. 

Thirty seconds into the episode, Jane was showing signs that Charles’ brain meddling was taking a toll on her short term memory.  Cassie was vexed, and Jane actually uttered the words, ‘don’t worry – I’m fine’.  This is when I started the countdown clock on Gran’s life, because ‘don’t worry – I’m fine’ is the equivalent of ‘I’ll be right back’; especially when you’re a witch living in Witch Town and people keep trying to kill you and your family.  Don’t say that to someone unless you’re sure that you have all of your affairs in order is what I’m saying. 

Cassie, despite SADam’s constant warnings and temper tantrums (or perhaps BECAUSE of them?), has fallen for Jake.  So much so that she brings him to the abandoned house, and I believe that this is the first time that the camera has panned all the way up to the ceiling.  Have the Circle Jerkers cast some kind of protection spell over the kitchen-sized hole in the roof?  They are in Washington State, where the weather options are basically rain or mist.  I’m just saying that half of a house might not be the best place to stash your ancient family heirlooms in that type of environment.

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Road trip!! In the wake of the Halloween nightmare last week, wherein Luke tried to kill the Circle Jerkers and Cassie summoned her dark magic to burn him alive, I think we can all agree that these guys need a little R and R.  But then, it’s THESE GUYS, so it’s a haunted road trip full of dead bodies and emotional turmoil.  But it’s also really fun!  There’s a good amount of drunken debauchery, catfighting and bad judgment before things get too serious, which I loved.  Also Charles is back in fighting form, as deliciously eeeeevvviiiiiiilllllll as ever, thank dog.

Cassie’s worried about Jane who left to see Henry and hasn’t been heard from since, so she decides to drive up to Henry’s lake house.  Everybody else wants to go too, so they pack up a couple of cars and head out of town.  Given all of the various entanglements in the group, they can’t even assign cars without drama.  Thanks to Diana’s meddling, Cassie gets Jake all to herself while Faye is stuck with Sad Keanu and his ex-girlfriend (Melissa is off on a bereavement sabbatical at her aunt’s place, officially making her TSC’s Bonnie).  Even though Adam and Diana have broken up, somehow they are still the most boring and depressing couple alive (are they alive? They don’t act like they’re alive).

You're the worst and I don't like you anymore.

 

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Halloween in Chance Harbor you guys!  Who doesn’t love a Halloween episode, especially on a show full of teen witches who take themselves ENTIRELY too seriously? I’m looking at you, Cassie, Diana, Melissa and ADAM.  For reals Adam, have a chat with Charles sometime – he manages to be a witch AND have a good time (when he’s not hating himself for drowning his daughter’s demon-possessed friend).  Aside from all of the murder-guilt, Charles is a good time, and he’s quick with a quip, which is always nice.  Maybe spend a little less time journaling and mousing your lashes, and a little more time learning how to laugh, kay?

Cassie and Faye are hanging out in the local antiquities shop, one of those stores that they always have in movies where an Asian man (I’m not being racist – these guys are ALWAYS Asian) sells a bunch of random weird shit, including at least one item that the protagonist will buy that will turn out to be cursed and usually causes some kind of wacky body-switch mayhem.  

Faye spots Luke, the guy who took Cassie to the dance only to be forgotten five minutes into it, and decides to do Cassie a solid and invite him to the gang’s Halloween party.  It’s so completely normal that they ran into him there – I can’t tell you how many times me and my friends went down to the local antiquities shop after school.  He probably just lost his monkey paw and needed a new one because he had a really important wish to make.  

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This is Jake. He is hot. Make him feel welcome.

Since TSC went ahead and killed off one of the main characters last week, this is clearly a big deal and the repercussions are being felt throughout Chance Harbor.  The episode begins with preparations for Nick’s wake, so obviously Gran is baking chocolate chip cookies, the traditional casket-side treat.  Diana is going through old photos and reminiscing with Charles about boating trips they used to take with Nick, and how Nick almost fell in once and held onto Charles’ arm for safety.  Charles, to his credit, looks like he wants to both weep and vomit at the irony.  

Cassie sees a strange guy torching Nick’s driveway, and treats the whole thing with surprising nonchalance.  She’s like ‘hmmmm, who is this handsome and mysterious pyromaniac?’, where I’d be at least mildly freaking out.  But maybe witches are just a lot cooler with fire than I am.  Very possible.  Later she’s told that Mr. Mysterious is actually Nick’s troubled and dangerous older brother, Jake (played by Chris Zylka from 10 Things I Hate About You: The Show)  Troubled and dangerous, you say?  And also hella cute?  Well, that’s teen girl catnip, right there.

Melissa, Nick’s girlfriend/emotional punching bag, is still reeling from his death and feeling pretty bleak, and Faye isn’t helping matters.  She spots Jake at the Boathouse, freaks out because apparently they used to have a thing, and immediately gets lost in planning her outfit for when she’s ready to let him see her.  Melissa is disgusted at Faye’s willingness to chase Jake when he was such a dick to her in the past, so she starts tossing verbal stones at Faye from the comfort of her big glass house.   Um, hi Melissa – remember when Nick said he would be too embarrassed to tell people that he slept with you, and then you kept doing it with him?  That was like a week ago, so get off your high horse.

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