The Secret Circle: “Heather”
B+

The Secret Circle: “Heather”

B+

The Secret Circle

“Heather”

Season 1, Episode 4
B+

The Secret Circle

“Heather”

Season 1, Episode 4

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“Wherever there are witches, evil follows.”

Now there’s the team behind The Vampire Diaries we all know and love. The Secret Circle nixed the parents, the school, and Cassie’s unyielding obstinacy, threw in some danger and some tiny, tiny demon snakes, and boom, things got good.

It is nigh amazing the difference that removing the Teen Mom witches and forcing Cassie to be an engaged player in the deliberations made -- the second half of this episode moved at a brisk clip, where the first few weeks had plodded.

Now, there was still a crack or two in the motivations, but let's knock that out of the way.

The bare bones logic of why Cassie wanted to chase down Heather Barnes, Teen Demon, clicked -- a rando tried to kill her last week, fair enough supposition that she’d want to Nancy Drew the situation -- but the execution felt sudden, first off. Like, we’ve spent three episodes tolerating Cassie’s distaste for the whole thing, and now she’s driving the Mystery Machine.

To compound that, while it’s obviously a better use of Faye to keep her the hell away from the Nick and Melissa, the show forced the Cassie and Faye alliance, and kind of randomly. The natural Diana-Cassie shifted more or less naturally Adam-Cassie, so, fine there. The show then shuttles in Diana at the inopportune moment and plays up the emotional angle of witness your boyfriend's Sex Magicking -- but then sticks her with a completely composed, reasonable explanation. And, is Cassie really going to whine to Faye that Diana and Adam won’t play magic games with her? After getting caught exchanging Sex Magic eyes with Adam, Cassie’s petulance feels misplaced for the character (natural response would look something more like “wry sulking”), and Robertson didn’t really sell the impulsiveness necessary. The roles should be reversed, anyway -- Faye should be the seducer of sorts, luring Cassie to reveal what she knows and daring her to go crack the Case of Heather Barnes, Teen Demon.

But it doesn’t matter! Because they get out there in the most unwieldy possible outfits to solve the Case of Heather Barnes, Teen Demon.

Because there was even the hallmark of a good Vampire Diaries episode: the audible “Oh, holy shit” for when Heather Barnes, Teen Demon, jumped the staircase, I am really willing to overlook the cheesier parts of her moment in our lives, but for posterity. Heather Barnes, Teen Demon, has been sitting in a rocking chair for sixteen years in a Restoration Hardware catalog shack. She...just sits there? She went into a coma and the hospital was just like, yeah, I mean, whatever, take her home, prop her up in a rocking chair, stretch her arms out like that, what the hell, amirite? And her brother just sits around in his little tank top, watching her?

These things can be forgiven, again, because a weeping deranged woman with super human strength who has tiny, tiny snakes crawling under her skin? Faye making fun of Adam being lamely into Cassie on the phone while she finds Cassie knocked out on the kitchen floor? That’s exactly what I’m looking for out of my CW drama. Really.

The cuts in the chase scenes were far, far improved from the hallway stand-off with Zachary last week, and the logic of the chases generally made sense this time, too (although, why did they follow her into the street?). Nice touches with that firepoker, and the stair jumping, too.It was genuinely exciting.  I stood up, even. Sure, I was kind of hoping and, frankly, expecting Heather Barnes, Teen Demon to jump right up from that car impact, and maybe kill its owner after punching a hole in the windshield with her Keds. Even without extending it into a multi-episode mystery of how to vanquish demons, though, the show served up three things of promise: the Pez Candy dispensing of little Boat Fire Mystery clues, the throaty-ominous delivery of, “Wherever there are witches, evil follows,” and the tiny, tiny demon snakes.

So long as Dawn and Charles aren’t around, the Boat Fire Mystery actually is sort of compelling now that Cassie has decided to care. What were they trying to stop? Were there sides? How many snake demons were floating around? Heather Barnes, Teen Demon, even made it sound interesting for a few minutes there, with this idea of evil finding witches. Demons following the circle? Those are stakes. Demons following the circle while they try to figure out what went wrong before? Again, stakes.

The little snakes don’t really have much to do with stakes or consequences but they were creepy as hell, crawling around her skin, and then oozing out her arm, and then slithering into Melissa’s ear -- because, really, who wants to sleep in peace tonight, anyway?

I’m just going to ignore Cassie Learning Her Lesson About Curiosity in the presence of the group like it was 7th Heaven. We saw creepiness tonight, and I will take it.

Stray observations:

  • I assume comatose Heather’s state whenever Nick and Melissa speak to each other.
  • “You having fun out there with your little chippy?” Chippy? That’s...that’s not a thing among the youth now, is it?
  • Faye, learn the combination to your locker.
  • What outfit do you wear when sneaking around an old wooden dock at night? The smallest denim mini-skirt ever and knee-high boots with a heel!
  • “Ha ha it’s totally fine with me that you and my boyfriend want to have sex with each other! Go on a long drive together alone while I attend some boring meeting! It's fine! We’re all friends! Sex Magic!”
  • But really. Diana and Adam have the most miserable relationship.
  • This show needs to adopt that BOOM shot noise with which Vampire Diaries goes into commercial.
  • People are really going to be saying "Book of Shadows" to each other with straight faces.
  • “Maybe that’s something Heather should decide.” It’s too bad Heather’s brother didn’t just punch Adam.
  • “It’s Cassie. I miss you. Come make magic with me.”

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