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Throwback Thursday - The Secret Circle - Family + Series Retrospective Review


Throwback Thursday, a weekly article in which we look back
at our favourite TV episodes from over the years.

The Secret Circle premiered on The CW on September 15, 2011 to 3.05 million viewers, and was an early hit for the network based on the first half of its premiere season. I wasn't very worried about the show being renewed for a second season because it was, for a lot of its run, one of the network's highest-rated shows. The honeymoon period was quickly over by the second half of its season, falling to some ugly ratings behind the CW's then-number-one show The Vampire Diaries. The ratings appeared unacceptable and the network cancelled the show the day after the finale aired.

I actually watched the series finale after the news of its cancellation, so I came into this episode cursing and swearing with every bad word under the sun because I really did like the show. I didn't love the show, which was a shame because it was my most-anticipated new show of 2011-12, as I thought there were some problems throughout its run that I thought were sort of being fixed as the season went along. There were some big hits and misses this season, and some other episodes I loved loads too, like Slither, Masked, Valentine, Crystal and Prom, but the season finale, to me, was the best episode and promised a big bright wonderful future for the show.

Alas, a season two didn't happen. A big shame, and I still miss the show even if it didn't blow me away like I wanted it to. But the show had a great finale, which is why I chose it for my turn of Throwback Thursday.


'FAMILY' REVIEW

I remember the CW showcasing the finale as "jaw-dropping". It really wasn't, but it was extremely exciting and entertaining, from start to finish. Watching the episode again last night had everything rush back to me - that Cassie and Diana are sisters with Blackwell as their father, and that Blackwell was a bad guy, that Faye had been kidnapped and was on a creepy-ass ferry, Adam was a nice guy, Jake was just there and Melissa, well, all I really remember about her is her name. But I liked her, she just wasn't very memorable. She had a great episode here though, but I'll get talking about that in a second. The basic premise of this episode is that Faye is being held on an abandoned ferry by witch hunters, the main guy called Eben. Eben was infested with those demon things - those eel-type looking things that enter people which changes them for the bad. The others have to rescue Faye, but Cassie and Diana are forced to rely on their father, Blackwell, to make the Crystal Skull that will unbind the circle so they get their own separate powers. Can I just say, I know that together they were strong and that's why the circle was bound, but it's so much better when they have their own powers - they're way more bad-ass!

Faye was awesome in her scenes. My favourite line of the episode being between her and Eben, when Eben says "you're nothing but a little girl in a cheap dress" and Faye replies "this dress is not cheap." Her life is on the line but it is very important to establish that the clothes she may die in were not cheap. It led to Melissa and Jake coming to her rescue, not that she needed it, because Cassie and Diana, at the right moment, unbound the circle with the family crystals which gave them all their powers back. So Faye was all "I'm back" and started kicking the witch hunters asses. I wasn't sure how I felt about the Faye and Jake romance (it's been a while since I watched the whole season) but their romantic connection wasn't very needed here. And Melissa and Jake didn't really help the situation when they all became captured by the witch hunters and tied to a pole. So close yet so far.

It also meant that Faye's mother came to save her and it was awesome. She literally blew the flames away with the wave of a hand. I was looking forward for some mother-daughter bonding now that Faye knows her mother is a witch too. Just dammit. I was glad when Jake killed Eben too - he really deserved it, and that would have been good to explore too if Jake felt any repurcussions from that. And Melissa, she was a perfect friend but I don't feel like she really came into her own throughout the season. I may be wrong, and someone who knows the show better than I can correct me on this, but did she do anything the entire season that was very memorable. I felt she needed more characterisation, and with the circle having their own individual powers, I was looking forward to seeing her develop more in the future. I loved Faye's and Melissa's little scene at the end, too, where Melissa turns the radio on with her powers and they just danced together. Friendship goals.

So, to me, the best parts of the episode was the Cassie and Diana dynamic with their father. I loved the whole trust issues between them, and Cassie wanting so badly to believe that there is good in him despite every other instinct telling her otherwise. Diana was far more reserved, and for good cause. The formation of the Crystal Skull was an awesome scene, and seeing Cassie seduced by it was great to watch too. I thought that story would have went a different direction, but it was good that Cassie asked Adam to get rid of it later on instead of trusting herself with it. And speaking of Diana, I actually really liked her chemistry with Grant and I found them quite charming. I was hoping she would follow her heart and run away with him, which is exactly what she does, so now I'm picturing them both living it up somewhere in the world, away from the dangers of magic, having the most romantic time!

And the best best part of the episode? The scenes in the abandoned house. They were quite intense and wasn't sure what Blackwell was going to do. I thought his plan to rid the world of witches was a bit silly, leaving only pure Balcoin blood. It was exciting though because it meant Faye, Melissa, Jake, Adam, etc. had more excitement for themselves when they started to burn. Poor Adam, didn't really get to do anything useful as he really didn't help save Cassie and Diana, and they ended up doing it themselves. I loved the moment where it looked like Cassie turned dark and started to use her powers against Diana, but it was all just an act to get out of the circle they were locked up in. It led to a good showdown with Blackwell that ended up with Cassie and Diana working together - stronger - to overpower him.

The ending promised a season two full of possibilities. We had Diana riding off into the sunset with Grant (well not exactly sunset but you get the picture), which meant she was leaving Chance Harbour, and whether or not she got very far is unanswered. Adam takes the Crystal Skull but for a moment seems seduced by its power. Faye ditches Jake for some bonding time with Melissa, and Cassie seems heartbroken that her only family - Diana - has left. But the creme-de-la-creme was the very end when we see the four unknown Balcoin children arriving at Chance Harbour. Gah!! That was an amazing end and it would have been so exciting to see what they had in store for our characters. Kills me that we will never know.


SEASON RETROSPECTIVE

So season one wasn't perfect, but I find a lot of premiere seasons aren't quite so perfect anyway. Even The Flash, which I absolutely loved (way more than Secret Circle) had some down and out episodes (but was generally perfect in my opinion), but still, shows have to find their feet and The Secret Circle was trying to find what made the show click. It should have had a second season, definitely, to further develop the characters and the storylines we were left hanging with.

As I mentioned, I loved other episodes too. My second-favourite episode was the Halloween episode, Masked. It's been a long time since I watched the episode (I re-watched the finale last night especially for this article) but what I do remember about it, was that it was awesome and creepy and I loved it. My favourite character was Faye Chamberlain, as I found her pretty bad-ass for the season and was more watchable than some of the other characters at times. I really do wish I had of watched the whole show again recently so I had a better memory of what happened in the show.

I found the first season was very slow to build up, and got good between episodes 4-7 with Nick's death and the Halloween episode, then started to deflate. But the last several episodes really built up the potential of the show and made it pretty exciting, and it would have led into an awesome second season. I just know it would have been an awesome second season! The CW, why?! Is it too late for Netflix to pick the show up?

Still devastated this show rests in the TV Show Graveyard? What was your favourite episode of this one-season wonder? Let me know your thoughts on The Secret Circle, and the featured episode 'Family', in the comments!

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GAVIN'S TV SHOW GRAVEYARD

Want to know about all the shows I've watched that are now resting in peace in the TV Show Graveyard? Among the many shows are classics Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friends, The Secret Circle, 90210, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Fringe, Nikita, Lost, Heroes, One Tree Hill and many more!


CHECK OUT MY THROWBACK THURSDAYS

CHARMED - ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE

My first Throwback Thursday from October 2014. Check out the game-changing third season finale, All Hell Breaks Loose, that spelled the end of a Charmed One and seemingly destroyed the Charmed legacy forever. Rest in peace, Prue Halliwell. The power of three will set us free. Blessed be.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER - THE BODY

Perhaps the most beautifully written episode of television ever, The Body is hailed as a classic and is among some of the cast and crew's favourite episodes of all-time. My second Throwback Thursday and it's an episode that requires us to get the tissues out.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES - DISASTER EPISODES

My third Throwback Thursday included all five disaster episodes on the show, including Bang, Something's Coming, City On Fire, Boom Crunch and Down the Block There's a Riot. Take a walk down Wisteria Lane as we reflect on those five infamous episodes.

THE SECRET CIRCLE - FAMILY

My fourth Throwback Thursday was of the much-missed show The Secret Circle. I covered the series finale of the show, 'Family', as well as taking a look back at the first season as a whole. This wasn't a perfect show in the least but it still holds a special place in the hearts of its many fans.

GHOST WHISPERER - FREE FALL / THE ONE

My fifth Throwback Thursday was of the CBS supernatural drama Ghost Whisperer, where Melinda Gordon can see and talk to ghosts. She helps them to cross over into the light, and in my featured episodes, she deals with the biggest calamity to happen in Grandview in the double-episode season one finale.

REVENGE - PILOT

My sixth Throwback Thursday was the ABC drama Revenge, where I take a look back at the episode that started it all - the Pilot. In it, we are welcomed to the Hamptons by the narrating Emily Thorne, who plots wicked schemes to bring down the sinners who wronged her father. The show premiered with this episode in 2011, and ended in 2015.

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of 'Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned'. Gavin joined SpoilerTV in August 2014 and reviews 2 Broke Girls, Mistresses, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Salem, Scream Queens and Sleepy Hollow. Gavin will write previews for Devious Maids and Shadowhunters, and backs-up Empire, The Flash, iZombie, Once Upon a Time, Reign, Scandal and Supergirl. You can contact him at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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