“Be careful who you trust –even people who call themselves your friends – your power is the only thing that can keep you safe, “. Amelia Blake
Amelia Blake was a wise mother. Unable to be there for her daughter, she has left her some words of wisdom. But as a mother myself, I know that children, especially teens, rarely listen to their parents.
The irony is that in Chance Harbor, even with the power of witchcraft, parents are often powerless in the fight to keep their children safe from harm. And conflict between and among generations can be deadly.
The younger generation is self-absorbed, concerned with peer pressure, and pushes back against authority in an attempt to gain independence, and they are constantly testing their limits.
The older generation doesn’t want their children to make the mistakes they did. There appears to be an ulterior motive among certain parents in Chance Harbor as regards their children and their Circle, but it becomes clear that regardless of that motive, they love their children unreservedly.
Parents usually wind up watching – powerless – as their children fall into exactly the same holes they did. Then they must either help them climb out, or watch as they climb on their own. One way, they risk making them more dependent. The other, they risk the possibility of greater pain on all sides, as the climb is not always easy.
But harder climbs mean the lessons are more likely to be learned and not repeated.
In this episode, we also see the oldest generation. It already exists in the person of Cassie’s grandmother, Jane. But here it also shows up in Faye’s “Granddaddy”, Henry Chamberlain, who arrives in the midst of a classic conflict between mother and daughter – appropriate dress for the occasion (in this case, school).
Faye loves this man. Her greeting caused me to soften towards her. She clearly adores him, and perhaps he represents the closest thing she has ever had to a father.
But Dawn, while cordial, is not as happy to see Henry and it soon becomes clear why. Henry holds Dawn responsible for the death of his son, Tom, Dawn’s deceased husband. And because Dawn, while hospitable, does not display what Henry considers the proper amount of respect for the fact that he owns the house she is living in.
Dawn meets up with Charles later in town, and warns him to keep his eyes open. Clearly, the members of this generation are still in conflict with those of the one ahead of them!
We soon find out that it was Ethan Conant who called Henry and that’s why he’s in Chance Harbor. Ethan tells Henry that Charles used magic on him (to simulate drowning), and Henry demands to know what Ethan did to cause that. Ethan tells him that he was simply speaking to Cassie about her mother. But he asks Henry point blank “How did Charles get his power back?”
Ethan is a part of the same generation as Dawn and Charles – the one where half the circle members were killed. Apparently, as a result, they lost their powers. But Ethan is confiding in the older generation, where Dawn and Charles are still in conflict with it.
Henry takes his newfound knowledge to Dawn, and she lies right to his face. “Ethan’s not a reliable source. Charles has no power – none of us do. Your circle took care of that.”
So the oldest generation, afraid for the survivors of the accident, took away their powers in order to keep them from further harm. But perhaps that didn’t work exactly as they planned. Henry observed Faye and Melissa at the Sea Fair, and they were practicing.
Dawn reassures him. “I lost my husband – I’m not going to let anything happen to Faye.” Ah – there it is – the irony of the generations. Dawn is clearly still in conflict with the generation ahead of her, but doesn’t see the parallels between her father-in-law’s concerns for his son, and Dawn’s concern for her daughter.
It was ever thus.
Still, there is that ulterior motive. Dawn meets up with Charles again and requests “the crystal”. Here we have some witch mythology revealed. Charles tells Dawn “It’s all the power we have, If we use it up, we have nothing.” And Dawn replies “I understand – it feels good to do magic again – it’s seductive – but think of the bigger picture. We have to be smart. “
The bigger picture – whatever it is – takes a back seat in view of the next event. As a result of Cassie’s presence in Chance Harbor – and because the newest circle is not yet bound – all the powers of the circle members are magnified – and out of their control. In a conflict with Cassie, Faye shoves Sally Waltman just a little too hard, and she crashes through the pier fence onto the rocks below, where she hits her head in what appears to be a fatal fall.
Cassie arrives at her side first, but Dawn quickly follows and tells her to leave. She doesn’t want anyone to see that she is using the crystal – and an incantation – to bring Sally back to life.
But Charles does see – and he confronts Dawn. “You used the crystal – used its power.”
Dawn responds “We don’t kill children. That was Faye’s fault – the guilt would destroy her. What if it was Diana?”
And Charles knows she is right. Parents protect their children – regardless of the risk, regardless of other motives, and regardless of the big picture.
But as much as Dawn is willing to protect her child, she is still unwilling to listen to the dictates of the generation before hers. Henry lets her know that he knows she has the crystal and that she and Charles are using it. Dawn responds back with anger and resentment.
“It was wrong of you to take our powers.”
Charles responds in a way that seems to reflect an old-fashioned point of view. “There is no place for witchcraft in this world anymore. “ But he is also looking back from the perspective of age and experience – experience that Dawn hasn’t had yet.
And at this point, she sounds more like one of the current Circle than a parent. “This circle is different. Power will be unleashed if they bind together.”
Henry, in a last desperate attempt to save her – and his grandchild – from that which she can’t yet see, does what every parent does – he issues a threat!
“I’m going to the Elders. Give me the crystal.”
And Dawn does what teenagers often do – she trumps him. A mortal teen might run away from home. But Dawn is not mortal and she’s not a teen. She uses the crystal to give Henry a fatal heart attack. But at least she lets him know she genuinely loved his son before she takes his life.
Now we know why Faye doesn’t want to have her power controlled – she’s just like her Mom! The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
I have an unsettling feeling that the warning Amelia gives to Cassie – about trusting people – is based on her own experience with her own circle, and with Dawn in particular. We shall see.
When Faye returns home, there is the shadow of conflict again– Faye is scared, and as Principal of Chance Harbor High, Dawn doesn’t need trouble-maker daughter.
But Dawn really loves her daughter, and Faye loves her mother, and they take comfort in each other’s arms. (And who among you did not recognize that as a “Sheriff Forbes and Caroline” moment?)
And isn’t this the way all mothers and children wind up? Our children – when their best laid plans blow up in their faces – run home to cry on Mom’s shoulder. And all Moms know that no matter how much our kids push us; we would protect them with our lives.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” James Baldwin