I saw some chatter on Twitter last week that I find discouraging. It seems that some people are not inclined to stick with The Secret Circle. I’d like to offer my reasons why I think it’s a show worth watching.
First, any show that is gutsy enough to take a chance and kill off leading character 5 episodes in is worth sticking around for – especially if within those 5 episodes, the character arc was developed enough that when Nick died, you cared enough to be shocked and saddened. This kind of move makes me think “if they would do that, anything is possible.”
Second, the mythology on this show is as “compelling” as that on The Vampire Diaries.
Yes, I mentioned The Vampire Diaries. I think it’s important to note that while these are “sister” shows – if for no other reason than that the source material came from the same original author, L.J. Smith – they are different. The Secret Circle can stand on its own merits – if we give it a chance.
We have learned a lot about the mythology of with Chance Harbor witches in the 6 episodes broadcast so far. But there are more questions than answers at this point and I think waiting around for the answers is as compelling a reason to watch as some of the other aspects of the show.
Third, the story of the “Generations” of witches and the history are every bit as interesting as the mythology. Power changes, depending on who is using it, and how.
Fourth, another element The Secret Circle shares with The Vampire Diaries is “Triangles”. But the story driving the relationships on The Secret Circle is different from The Vampire Diaries story in a significant way.
And that is my primary reason for continuing to watch The Secret Circle – the “celestial Romance”.
The Mythology – What We Know and What We Don’t
- A complete Circle is comprised of one member of the original 6 families.
- Individual witch power is weaker than the collective power of the Circle members once the Circle is “bound”.
- Once “bound”, the powers of the collective are enhance, and individual powers are eliminated.
- Even if a member of the Circle dies, the Circle is still bound.
- A Circle is complicated by the personalities and attitudes of its members.
- The binding is not exclusive to the members of the Circle – it extends to their blood lines.
- Binding was designed for protection.
- Each family has a Book of Shadows. The book is passed from one generation to the next.
- Each book contains certain information – and spells – in common, but the information in each book is different in its details.
- Cassie’s lineage goes back to the beginning and is more powerful than the others.
- Cassie’s lineage bears the responsibility to lead and protect the circle.
- Jane (and Dawn and Charles) have Crystals. Jane’s was passed down from her mother, to Amelia and now to Cassie.
- The crystal is the most coveted magic there is.
- The crystal is simpler than the Circle – like a lens, it magnifies its owners power.
- The power of the crystal appears to be limited (the crystal that Dawn and Charles have has no power)
- The crescent is a symbol of conquest used to mark a Circle
- The True Believers hate witches and hunt them – and apparently use their blood
There are all kinds of question among these facts that I hope to see answered as the show moves forward.
For instance, when was the beginning? The beginning of that? Why is Cassie’s lineage the most powerful? Does the power come from Jane/Amelia’s side of the family? Is the leader of every circle since the beginning always from Cassie’s line? Why? Were all the families present at the beginning? If so, how did the Blake line become dominant?
Does each family have a crystal of its own? Were Charles and Dawn trying to break their crystal into pieces, or simply infuse it with the power of the moon (or something else)?
Will Cassie be like most young people and ignore the advice and warnings of their elders (who have history on their side), or will she be wise and listen?
And if Cassie is the natural leader of the Circle, what does it mean to the current Circle leader, Diana?
What about the True Believers who hate witches? Is this an old conflict going back all the way to Salem, or before that? Is it a basic fight between good and evil, or something more? Is it a metaphor for today’s social environment? And what does a group who hates witches need with witch blood?
Generations – Who Are These People?
We have a member of each of the 6 families in the current generation’s Circle:
- Cassie Blake
- Adam Conant
- Faye Chamberlain
- Melissa Glaser
- Diana Meade
- Nick Armstrong/Jake Armstrong
We also know quite a bit about the previous generation – the most important fact being that each of the current circle members lost at least one parent in a fire 16 years ago.
Cassie’s Mom was Amelia Blake. We don’t know anything yet about her father, except that his name was Blackthorn (thanks to Ethan and his drinking). We know she had a good friend Heather, who had a boyfriend Zach – and neither of them were witches. So what were Zach and Heather doing at the fire?
We know that Adam’s father, Ethan, was in love with Cassie’s mother, Amelia – and presumably Blackthorn came between them – Ethan married someone else, she is Adam’s mother, and she was killed in the fire. Why did Charles kill Amelia?
Faye’s mother is Dawn, and her father was Tom Chamberlain. Tom was killed in the fire. Dawn loved Tom, by her own admission to Tom’s father. Besides power, what does Dawn want?
Diana’s mother was killed in the fire. Her father, Charles Meade, killed Amelia and Nick Armstrong. We know nothing about Diana’s mother, except that – like Adam’s – she was killed in the fire. We do know that being the cause of Nick’s death is having a profound effect on Charles – in a way that killing Cassie’s mother Amelia did not! How will that play out?
At this point, the parents in the previous generation we know the least about are the Glaser’s (Melissa’s parents) and the Armstrongs (Nick and Jake’s parents). It is unclear which of Melissa’s parents is dead – her mother or her father. Why don’t we know by now?
Nick Armstrong lost both his parents in the fire. Next to discovering information about the parents who are – as yet – unseen, this is the most interesting fact about the previous generation. Why did both of the Armstrong parents die in the fire?
Nick’s brother, Jake, has returned to Chance Harbor after leaving several years ago. His stated purpose is “to rid Chance Harbor of witches.” If this is his true purpose, is it because he lost both his parents, and now his brother? Or is there something else driving him.
While there are enough unanswered questions about the parents of the present Circle to fill out all of Season 1, there is the additional element of “the Elders”. We have already seen Dawn kill Henry Chamberlain. But so far, Jane Blake is an “ally” and Jane is the source of much of the mythology. But clearly the Elders have something beyond just “juju power” – even if it is simply the power of heritage and tradition. I am sticking around to find out just what role they play in all this.
With the very first episode, we had a triangle – Diana-Adam-Cassie. With the introduction of Jake, there are two additional triangles.
It’s getting complicated – and juicy. Jake Armstrong has a history in Chance Harbor – with everyone but Cassie, of course. Cassie speaks to the circle about including Jake. Adam and Faye clearly hate him, and Melissa is offended that Cassie would be so quick to want to replace Nick. Diana seems to be the only one who will even consider it.
After the threats to the Circle (the burning crescent) and Cassie (the attempted stabbing), Cassie tries to be the voice of reason. She tells them they need to put aside all their issues, especially their past issues with Jake. Their circle has been marked and they need him. Adam and Faye just can’t trust Jake. But Diana is not so sure – she is more willing to listen to Cassie and how Cassie feels. Diana seems to understand that because Cassie has no history with Jake, she sees him differently – and perhaps more clearly than the others.
Following a physical fight between Adam and Jake, Cassie tells Jake that she sees the people in this town hate him. He claims it doesn’t bother him – but Cassie says “you ran away”. Cassie explains that her mom left too and they moved all the time, from town to town. But it never did seem to give her mother peace.
She asks how it’s working for Jake, and he says “Peace isn’t what I was looking for.” Cassie tells him that she didn’t know him in the past, but he doesn’t seem like a guy everyone should hate.
They are all bound together. Maybe Jake didn’t want that, and neither did she – but it’s not something that they can run from. Jake tries to tell her that if she knew him better, she wouldn’t want him to stay. Cassie tells him there isn’t a choice because the circle can’t do anything without him. Something bad is coming. It killed his brother Nick, it killed their parents, and they are not strong enough to do anything about it without him, so Jake says he will stick around for a while.
Is Cassie – the only one in the circle who is not prejudiced from past history with Jake – seeing the true Jake – or is she seeing what she wants to see?
In stark contrast to all the interplay among these triangles, there is Melissa, completely alone. She consoles herself at Nick’s house, in his room, in his bed, listening to his music and holding his jacket. The bed is unmade since the last time they were in it together… she cries and cries and cries. Ultimately, Faye turns out to be a true friend who cares about her and is there for her.
The Ultimate Love Story
Ethan is trying to drown his feelings with booze again and muttering about how the town just keeps burying teenagers, and it still hurts as much now as it did back then. Later Diana brings Ethan coffee and he tells her that he thinks Adam is lucky to have her.
But he also tells her more. He wishes that she were “the one” because she deserves to be happy. But it is Adam’s destiny to be with Cassie Blake – it is written in the stars – and bad things happen when you mess with fate.
Diana confronts Adam. She tells him what Ethan has told her. Adam tries to justify it – telling her it’s an old story Ethan tells himself to feel better about once having been in love with Cassie’s mother.
But Diana says – “that’s what I want – the kind of love that makes you want to believe in destiny.”
“There’s a way you look at Cassie that I could never understand – I think I get it now – its wonder. Wondering if every time you find yourselves together, it’s choice or destiny, I have been standing in silence watching it ever since she got here – I can’t do that anymore.”
Diana has broken off with Adam, and part of the reason was Adam’s reaction to the presence of Jake around Cassie.
What is this whole celestial connection between the Conants and the Blakes about? This is, for me, the most compelling aspect of the show, because I love a good romantic story, especially one with an element that involves something like “soul mates”.
Have you ever been in the presence of two people who are deeply in love with each other? I have – and I know just how Diana feels. Not jealous – I did not desire my friend’s lover. I was envious of their love – because at that point in my life, I had not been loved that way. And I wanted to be.
I am sure everyone does. Even if your love is not “written in the stars”, you want to feel as if it is. Sure, it’s silly, and it’s romantic, and that feeling doesn’t last. If you are very lucky, true love deepens and becomes something beyond that first flush of romance.
But you honestly never do forget how that first flush feels – how desperate you are to see each other again when you are apart – how when you can’t reach the other, you worry – needlessly – that something (or someone!) has happened.
That’s what Diana wants – and I can relate.
So I am planning to continue to watch The Secret Circle every week, looking for answers to all my questions, waiting to see who shows up next and how it changes the dynamics of the relationships.
But I am especially looking forward to seeing what the great “Blake Conant Celestial Romance Connection” is all about. I am sure it will be worth watching and waiting for.