Episode 1.03 TSC – “Loner”

The farther into the story of “The Secret Circle” we get with each episode, the more questions I have.

In last week’s post, I focused on the generational aspects of the Chance Harbor witches.  Henry (and Cassie’s grandmother) represents the Boomer Circle, Dawn and Charles are members of the Gen X Circle, and the current 6 members are the Gen Y Circle.

What I failed to grasp until “Loner” is one of the most significant aspects of the timing of the fire.  It occurred 16 years ago, in 1995.   The events during the Gen X coming of age make their story at least as interesting as that of the current Gen Y Circle.

Thanks to Cassie’s access to her mother’s yearbook, we know that the Gen X Circle were high school seniors in 1995.  That means that by the time they graduated from Chance Harbor High, they were already parents to the current Gen Y Circle.

And that means that 6 young women in the Chance Harbor High Class of 1995 were teen mothers!  And that includes the current Principal of Chance Harbor High, Faye’s mother, Dawn Chamberlain.

Most of the people in Chance Harbor do not appear to be aware that there is a witches coven (or two, or three) in their midst.  But surely there are citizens who remember the terrible fire that killed at least 6 young people in 1995.

And anyone who lived in Chance Harbor in 1995 and is old enough to remember the fire must also be aware that the people who died were parents of 6 little babies born that same year.

Does anyone besides me find this all very odd? I mean, sure – a fire that tragically kills 6 or 7 high school students is a terrible town calamity, but isn’t a spate of teenage pregnancies – all at around the same time – just as much of a town scandal?  And why do the Gen Y Circle kids seems to blissfully unaware of/affected by this?   Surely it can’t have escaped their notice.

It is clear from the blurb with her yearbook picture that Amelia Blake was planning to leave Chance Harbor upon graduation.   Who can blame her – she was a widowed unwed teenage mother.

But according to Grandma Jane, Cassie’s Mom left Chance Harbor because, after Cassie’s father’s death – staying there would have been too painful.

Really? With a secret club of other unwed teenage mothers for company?  I’m not buying it.

We also know from the yearbook that Amelia has a best friend – Heather – and that Heather was not part of the X Circle.  But she was also reported killed in the mysterious fire.  But according to her old boyfriend – Zachary – she’s not dead.  And Zach blames the Gen X Circle generally, and Cassie’s mom Amelia specifically.

So if Heather is alive, where is she?  Is she suffering the effects of a spell cast by Amelia – and is that why Amelia left? And was it really Amelia who did something to Heather – or one of the other Gen X Circle members?  As the next episode is entitled “Heather”, I am hoping we will get more details on all this.

And what about all those other Gen X Circle unwed parents?  We know that both Nick’s parents were killed in the fire, so we are not going to meet them.  And so far we haven’t seen Melissa’s  father.   Amelia, though now dead, seemed normal enough in the single scene in which she appeared.

But we have met Dawn, Charles, and Ethan.

Ethan’s drinking problem is completely understandable, given the events of the past that we know about.  He was a teenage Dad who became a widower.  Who wouldn’t be tempted to escape into a bottle after all that?

He was He Who else finds it hard to imagine the self-assured Dawn and Charles as unwed, teenage widow and widower – and harder still to understand how Dawn went on to achieve her current role?   Unwed teen Mom to High School Principal in 16 years.  THIS is a story I want to know more about!

I also want to understand the timing of current events.  After 16 years, why did Charles and Dawn need to bring Cassie to Chance Harbor?  Why did they need to complete the Gen Y Circle – and why now?

In this episode, we were also introduced to one of the peers of the Gen X Circle – Zachary.  And we know that his girlfriend, Heather – reported dead in the fire – didn’t die.  I’m assuming we will find out what happened to her in this week’s episode “Heather”.

But who is covering up all the true facts of the 1995 fire? And why?

The facts of the Gen X Circle inform the issues with the members of the current circle.  The title of the episode is “Loner” and although it is Cassie who is cast as the loner, each member is a loner in their own way.

As Faye indicated, they are all damaged, but Nick is “double-damaged”.   When he’s not using and insulting Melissa, he is apparently the school’s drug dealer.   Faye also tells Melissa “Nick hates Nick.”  Of the circle’s members, he is the one who I would most likely label a “loner”.  But when the circle needs him (to take on Zachary), he is there.

Melissa is the female Nick.  She appears not to hold herself in very high esteem, as Nick has made it fairly clear he’s just using her.  He asks her about this himself – “Why do you like me? I treat you like crap and you keep coming back for more. Do you like being dumped on?”  To her credit, Melissa tells him “No” and turns on her heel and leaves him to brood.

Faye also takes a stab at her, “I don’t mind being alone. Unlike you, Melissa, I like myself.”  Faye is the most interesting character in the series so far.  She is the girl who hurts you before you can get a chance to hurt her.  But she is far more interesting than a mere “mean girl”.   Although she takes a swipe at Melissa, she also has her back when she tells Nick “Treat her right.”  And when he apparently does, she smiles – but it’s a somewhat wistful smile, leaving me thinking she feels more alone than she lets on.  Her tough-girl exterior hides a soul afraid of getting hurt.

Diana, although she is in a long-standing relationship with Adam, is also alone.  And she hates it so much that she insists that the Circle members are better off collectively than individually.  And even though she is aware of the attraction between Adam and Cassie, and admits it to Cassie herself, she STILL wants to be Cassie’s friend.  This is a girl so desperate for friendship that she will befriend a rival.

Or does she have other motives?  Does she believe “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”, like Vito Corleone?

Adam is a motherless boy with no shortage of girls.  He’s been Diana’s main squeeze for 3 years (and if these kids are 16 years old, that means they have been going together since age 13!).  But he is compulsively attracted to Cassie and clearly wants to do the honorable thing with Diana but just can’t seem to help himself when Cassie is around.  I am looking forward to getting more details about this whole “written in the stars” aspect of the attraction as the series moves on, but I have a feeling the attraction has less to do with the stars – and more to do with ancient spells.

And finally – Cassie, the self-professed loner, is as drawn to Adam as he is to her.  But she genuinely likes Diana and – like Adam – wants to do the honorable thing.

This is interesting because we see in children what they have been taught by their parents.  Adam has never known his mother, and his father is an alcoholic, but he’s an alcoholic who clearly respected the members of the Boomer Circle, because he called on Henry for help. So there’s much more to Ethan than just being the town drunk.   He has principles, and he’s passed them on to his son.

Cassie never knew her father, and was very close with her mother.  She’s very self-possessed.  She makes it clear from her first day at school that she is used to being on her own, and quite fine with it.  (“I’m not feeling very delicate.”)  She has her boundaries and is not comfortable with people trying to breach them.  The only one among the circle she’s allowed to get close to her is Adam, and she is drawn to him through no will of her own  – and clearly not happy about it.  It appears to be her sense of honor that is the cause of her unhappiness.

So in the present Gen Y Circle, we have a collection of loners who are now forced to come together in order to have any power.  It appears that how well they are able to use it will depend on them individually as well as collectively.

Find the Circle – the Circle can protect you. Believe in the power of the Circle… But most of all, believe in yourself.”  Amelia Blake

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