Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Secret Circle, Season 1, Episode 17: Curse

So we begin with Cassie and Adam (Wet Lettuce) in bed being all twee. And John Blackwell (Cassie’s dad, Evil Parent#3) arrives to find many many many dead crows around the house. Yes the teen-sexing has killed the birds – well that’s one way to try and do away with teenaged sex.

Turns out the whole “written in the stars” thing Ethan liked to go on about is actually a curse should the two families ever actually get it on. And the dead birds are a sign that the curse has been activated – a curse that Amelia (Cassie’s mother) was very very afraid of. There’s only one person who could know more – Cassie’s grandmother, Jane (who we never ever see any more).

Going to see Jane in what looks like a residential home, it’s clear that the spell the Evil parents used to block her memory has taken a severe toll. Still while she thinks Cassie is her mother – the curse will cause a member of their Circle to die.

Now to tell the rest of their Circle that one of them is due to die because they knocked boots. That’s a fun conversation. Y’know they could just keep doing it until they get to Faye, I’m just saying. Faye does have some of the best lines though – abstinence education at work. Unfortunately, Faye does just dismiss the whole thing focusing more on her loved life.

Cassie goes to check Jake to see if he is dying –m and he is hearing eerie whispers. He has a fever and his veins are turning black. Cassie and Adam get to tell Jake the good good news. John Blackwell knows an elixir that can stop the curse that Amelia found  - but it needs rare ingredients. Time to talk to Calvin Wilson who runs the antiquities shop – except Jake, in his witch hunter loving days, killed him. Though you can be forgiven for forgetting since we’ve never had any ramifications for this murder.

At the shop they find Calvin’s niece telling them Calvin has been missing for months. Naturally she has all of the ingredients except on – a root that they need to go nature rambling to find. And Jake starts hallucinating Calvin in reflections – some consequences perhaps? Jake also decides to wander after them to search for the root (that’s great for the sick guy, really, it’s not like it’ll slow them down or anything). Of course the disease/curse catches up with Jake and he starts by taunting Adam about he and Cassie together before having more hallucinations.

He continues to hallucinate more about Calvin and ends up attacking Adam causing Cassie to go all black magic  - but Adam yells at her to focus on him and he uses magic to throw Jake clear. But the secrets out, they know Jake killed Calvin.

Back to the cabin, Diana, Melissa and John are making the elixir and we discover Melissa is good at growing the magic herbs. And John talks about Melissa’s mother (we finally have confirmation about which parent Melissa lost!) who was also a herbalist. The elixir is made but the only way to destroy the curse is for Adam and Cassie to drink it. And the Lefe root will make them forget the love they have for each other. More angst and crying! But, no, worse! Adam has forgotten his love for Cassie – but Cassie is too strong. She hasn’t forgotten her love and she still loves Adam – turn the angst dial to the max.

And John gets to give Jake a pep talk about how he matters and how that pesky murdering thing is all in the past. Because, y’know “it’s in the past” and “a man can change” is such an appropriate response to murder.

On other, side plot lines:  Faye goes to see Lee (who has been zombied by Eva) and runs into witchy Eva and thinks she threw something at her (but used magic by mistake). Diana, Faye and Melissa have a meet up for Faye to figure out what happened to Lee. Yes these 3 seem to have set up their own little team and storyline.

They gather together to go search Lee’s car and police turn up. Diana does the explaining and Melissa decides to unbutton Diana for the “sexy card” yeah doesn’t work. But Eva explains things and it’s all brushed under the rug. That was pointful.

Faye goers back later and confronts Eva – and discovers Eva has her powers. Eva needs help – to save Lee, to bring him back to life after what Eva did to him. Faye doesn’t think she can help raise him from the dead – but Eva starts to lose it, forcing Faye to try and help. There is much scuffling and magic before Faye breaks the totem, stops Eva’s magic and seems to bring her back to her senses. Lee is still dead, of course. Plot line done now? I do like the three of them actually as friends, I think they work much better together than the old good vs evil groups.

In more pointless plot lines, the Evil parents Dawn and Charles meet up so Dawn can tell about John Blackwell being back. The Evil parents aren’t exactly on friendly terms, but Dawn is determined to get John on side and not finging out about Jane and Henry (the two Grandparent Circle members they took out) and threatens to tell John about Charles killing Amelia (Cassie’s mother). They both decide to go and see Jane in the hospital and Charles uses the crystal to hypnotise Jane to tell them about John Blackwell.

But Charles has his own plotting and comes back later in the evening to help Jane so they can destroy John Blackwell

And Dawn confronts John about the whole curse. She says that there was no curse, that John used magic to manipulate Jane into saying there was and it was all made by him to keep Cassie and Adam apart – because of their destiny. The same destiny that made him afraid of Amelia and Ethan together. John claims that Ethan and Amelia leaving the boat was why the Parent Circle was massacred because together they would have been strong enough to fight off the hunters

Ok, can I have another canon rant here. Any of the children can use magic if there are of them. So half the coven of the parents – 6 witches (1 parent from each witch and 2 from Jake) should have been more than powerful enough to fight the Hunters even without Ethan and Amelia. And they were massacred because they were taken by surprise because they were negotiating for peace. And what about those who stayed AWAY from the meeting – if the lack of Ethan and Amelia made the massacre happen then surely the absence of the other 4 – like Dawn, Charles and Melissa’s nameless father should have done the same?! Can they stop editing this event every 5 seconds, it’s getting annoying

Dawn says that John still has magic – John says that’s true, he can fake the curse and everything that went with it. But he can’t protect Cassie if the witch hunters come back – especially since they have magic so a witch is working with them. He pulls out a level of menace and warns Dawn about making him an enemy

I’m, beginning to feel like the writers are flailing for plot lines. It’s bad enough they destroyed their own canon, but we keep getting new plot lines without any actually advancing. We have no unifying plot – witch hunters, black magic, teen issues, growing into their magic – something, anything. We’ve gone from episode 1 to 17 leaping from topic to topic, never really settling anything and never really deciding what dominant plot line actually is. This has caused the characters to run off and do their own things rather than have a unified storyline and constant little sub-storylines (Voodoo Lee, Diana’s grandma trying to kill Cassie, the Evil Parents and their crystals, the witch hunters, Cassie’s dark magic, the medallion, the demon possession, etc etc etc) that just appear then fizzle out, not fully resolved nor being meaty enough to keep the story going.

This series needed a big bad. It needed a big story. It needed a theme. It needed to be planned. And it doesn’t feel planned – it feels ad libbed – it lacks coherence, overarching goal or direction.