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The Secret Circle: “Beneath”

Illustration for article titled iThe Secret Circle/i: “Beneath”
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Horror movie twists, sex magic, sound character moments, and Faye Chamberlain returned to prominence and carried The Secret Circle to its best episode of the season.

Before we post-game this week’s horror movie performance, let’s talk about the two scenes where you can see a real elevation in the quality from earlier this season: the ensemble scenes.


“Last time I was here, I was drugged, kidnapped, and almost killed,” Diana says in a refreshing nod toward continuity, and the ensuing argument in the Blake kitchen unfolds with the requisite unease. Concussion logic in all cases, but one (Cassie’s glaucoma over Jake’s motives) has disappeared. Adam doesn’t trust Jake because he’s jealous. Faye doesn’t Cassie for the same reason, but their suspicions aren’t off. Psychos, witch hunters, and demons breeze into town with Cassie, and now the ho is lighting dumb jocks from school on fire? The little touches sell the scene, like Diana noting that all these things only happened once the circle was bound. And the general logical flow of it suggests the show’s figuring out a way to ricochet its members off each other.

Then there was that awesome game of truth or dare. On paper, it doesn't seem like much: Diana took her shirt off (that shirt came off a lot this week), Faye had to admit she’s only banged two guys, Adam wore the eyeliner of jealousy, and Cassie kissed Jake. But it was all in the delivery (Jake’s grin when Diana took her shirt off! Diana’s jabs at Faye! Cassie’s game kissing!) and the way each character bounced off the other, without it ever being heavy-handed. It was a hell of lot of fun.


Onto Faye and Her Ghost of Drownings Past. This week’s horror movie happening was the child ghost who just wants you to help her, by scaring you out of your mind until your friend plays Lady of the Lake with your dead grandfather. Pros: We got that creepy, kind of gorgeous shot of the footsteps spiraling up to the red boots, and then Faye screaming, “Cassie saw her too! Cassie saw her too!” as the boys try to drag her back to shore. Cons: The seaweed could have looked a little grosser. (Although if you’ve ever felt seaweed, you really don’t want to feel it on your skin in the bath, so points for that.) I also don’t know if it was more effective to pull Cassie off the shore and up the dock to then discover Henry’s body slowly. Wouldn’t it have been more creepy if she’d, like, gone out to help bring Faye in, and then the little girl appears, and then the body is shown? Or if she’d just reached in the water after the girl and grabbed his sleeve or the rope? Make me jump, Secret Circle!

The general consensus via the comments on episodes past and over on Twitter is that Faye’s the most interesting character, even if the show doesn’t quite know what to do with her. Tonight, the show doubles up on the fun girl who clearly feels shoved aside in favor of Orphan Annie (a trait she shares with Diana, although it’s interesting that Diana is more fun when threatened, and Faye’s more fun when relaxed). While Phoebe Tonkin didn’t entirely sell the drowning monologue, she sold everything else, from that questioning of Cassie at the opening to her embarrassment and hurt during truth or dare to the terror in the latter half. She hustles a lot for this show, because while Faye is actually proving herself to be the most intuitively perceptive character (questioning Jake last week, linking the arrival of Cassie with misfortune), she’s also the most destructive one, and one who assumes other people’s motives must be as similarly selfish as hers. She could probably figure out Jake’s a witch hunter, if she weren’t so intent on having sex with him.


Jake’s too busy turning Cassie into a Sith lord with Sex Magic to be bothered, however. The reign of Cassie Blake, witchcraft moron, continued this week as she ignored Jake’s utter lack of plausible excuses. I don’t know if this is a conscious decision on the show’s part, if it’s Zylka (I don’t think it’s him), if it’s that we know too much about his motives, or if it's some other combination, but it’s so very clear that he is a witch hunter, and he is there to kill them. They have no reason to trust him. This is actually where the show could play up Adam’s jealousy, to make it so glaring as to make agreeing with Adam outlandish. But if we must do it this way, putting Jake right up in Cassie’s personal space is the way to do it. Sex Magic forever.

And besides, that’s one problem, inevitably solved when Jake turns good. The mysteries here, the commitment to horror, and the liveliness of the circle itself keep making Secret Circle better, and I like it more each week.


Stray observations:

  • I didn’t even discuss the creepiest parts of the episode: Charles compelling Jane, and Jane’s blank look at Cassie when presented with her scarf from Henry’s house.
  • So close to an outright A, this episode. But then we went back for more Misery Couple. Diana’s “You think?” and “That’s healthy” kind of cracked me up, but then she took that shirt back off. This would be tiresomely okay, if not for the even more tiring reasons for maintaining the breakup at the end of the episode. Just make a decision. Jesus Christ.
  • Dawn and Charles are the worst villains ever. Two-hundred acres to hide the body of a guy who appears to have had a heart attack, and you make it look like a murder? And then you leave Jane’s scarf there?
  • This is a good roll out of the many, many murders, no? The decision to reveal Henry's death in this manner (i.e. without giving away the murderer, but making it clear it was a murder) allayed some of my concerns about that.
  • I hope Diana's quilted Barbour jacket held up in the rain. That'd be a real waste of $400 for a 17-year-old.
  • Some more fine delivery from Phoebe Tonkin: “It means that even though you and Adam gave back your promise rings, you still want the competition in the other car. Convenient.” And I also enjoyed the exasperated, ”Cassie Blake is all drama all the time.” Faye would think Cassie is drama.
  • So, what did Adam, Faye, and Diana listen to on the way up to Henry’s? Did they play a game of FMK?
  • I don’t know about y’all but I’m getting pretty damn tired of hearing, “My sweet Cassie.”

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