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The Secret Circle Episode 1.03 ‘Loner’ Review

By on October 3, 2011
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The Secret Circle’s Loner was an episode that lived up to its title, with outsiders Cassie and Nick finding themselves drawn deeper into the Circle this week, but each in subtly different ways.

There was also Zachary Larson (Dave Baez), the deep-sea fisherman who spends so much time alone at sea growing his manly stubble he is unaware Cassie Blake has moved back to town. Apart from being ridiculously hot, Zachary is also a knife-wielding psycho. But more on that in a moment.

The episode opens with ‘doubly damaged’ and now almost permanently shirtless Nick telling Melissa off for wanting to go to the school dance together.  It’s clear Melissa has feelings for Nick, and he sees it too. “We’re not dating Melissa.  If that’s where this is going we’re done,” he tells her, in heartless and shirtless fashion.

Diana meanwhile is feeling pleased with herself this week. The Circle is bound, Adam has reassured her that it’s her he loves (Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!)  and not even Faye’s complaint about ‘having to move things with her actual hands’ can put a dampener on her spirits – until her attempts at befriending Cassie are rebuffed, that is. Cassie is doing her best this week to avoid Diana, the other circle members and above all Adam. She even reluctantly accepts the offer of a cute (but ultimately disposable) guy called Luke (Zachary Abel) to go to the dance together and tells Diana that the binding ritual doesn’t mean they all have to be friends.

However if TV has taught us anything it’s that there’s nothing like a school dance and a deranged (but hot) psycho to bring folks together. Executive producer Kevin Williamson is the man behind the writing on the Scream franchise, I know What You Did Last Summer and The Faculty so we know the teens are in safe hands.  And by safe hands we mean left to wander the empty dark corridors of the school after hours while stalked by a knife-wielding (but hot) psycho. But more on that in a moment.

Zachary Larson is a (hot – okay, you get it) deep sea fisherman who doesn’t get into town much, but when he spots Cassie in the Boathouse Bar and Grill he’s onto her at once.  Larson is one of potentially several people who know exactly who and what Cassie’s Mom Amelia was.  He also has knowledge about the Circle’s abilities and weaknesses.  He knows that if Cassie is back in town it can only mean one thing – the kids are practicing magic.

This makes me wonder though, If crazy Zachary can figure this out in a heartbeat then why can’t Handsome Ethan and Cassie’s grandmother, Jane?

Filled with rage over an incident years ago in which Amelia left her former friend, and Zachary’s girlfriend, Heather in ‘a state worse than death’ Zachary is determined to stop the newest Circle from hurting anybody else.  (It’s just as well he wasn’t around last week when Faye pushed Sally off a pier. Because that could have made him really mad.)

To achieve his goal, Zachary is perfectly willing to kill one of the teens (he doesn’t mind who) so that the Circle’s power will be broken. The full extent of this revelation about Amelia Blake will play out in episodes to come. We know this because next Thursday’s episode is called ‘Heather’ and features The Secret Circle’s creepiest promo trailer to date.  See it for yourself.  Even the voice over guy sounds unnerved.

Zachary makes an attempt to get Cassie, but Diana turns up and they both combine their powers and succeed in knocking him down and getting away.  Undaunted, Zachary then comes after Faye, who has also distanced herself from the others in an attempt to regain her individual powers. Faye also manages to escape, making Zachary the most ineffectual psycho killer on TV.

Charles and Dawn meanwhile are still scheming and smirking together and and it’s all clearly starting to have an effect on poor Charles. When he is caught sneaking out of Dawn’s office by Diana, he lies and tells his daughter that he and Principal Chamberlain are in fact doing the dirty deed.

Phew! For a moment there Diana might have imagined they were having hot smirking sessions behind closed doors. Although Diana is delighted her Dad is doing the school principal, Dawn is less than pleased and poor Charles’ little feelings are crushed. I don’t know about you but I just can’t wait to see how this one plays out later.

Hot smirking aside, Charles learns from Diana that Zachary knows too much. Charles wants to use the crystal on Zachary but Dawn is getting worried that the bodies may be starting to stack up.  (There’s only so much room in Granddad Henry’s cabin after all.) Dawn tells Charles to go handle Zachary by himself.

Charles sneaks down to the docks, confronts Zachary and does an impressive job of attacking Zachary’s fists with his face. Zachary manages to escape and makes his way to the school, where a panicked Faye has rounded up Diana, Adam, Melissa and Cassie.  The fact that Nick has also turned up, and has even donned a shirt for the occasion made me go Aww!

The scene is set for a showdown between Zachary and the Circle but not before Cassie becomes isolated from the gang and ends up fleeing for her life with the hot fisherman in pursuit. (She was probably thinking she should have stayed and danced with Luke instead. Oh well, too late now, Cassie.)

Just as Zachary pounces on Cassie, the remaining members of the Circle round the corner and I’ll admit I did experience a little tingle seeing them all coming together with purpose and determination.  With Adam leading the attack, Zachary is hoisted up into the air, bashed against the ceiling and dropped to the ground, where he lands unconscious.

Dawn arrives and both sides quickly start spinning and pretending to believe lies about Zachary being an addict who was caught several times previously breaking into the school lockers.  When the kids tell Dawn he slipped on some paper (really?) she pretends to believe them, but asks them to leave before the police get there so they won’t be implicated in events. They pretend to believe her and we all pretend together that this paper-thin resolution to Zachary’s storyline is working.

Later, we see a bound and gagged Zachary in the trunk of Charles’ car. Dawn uses the crystal to ‘mark’ Zachary, telling him, “You’ve been marked. No matter where you go or what you do, I’ll find you. If you ever even look at one of our children again I’ll literally turn your life into a living hell much worse than Heather ever knew.

Yikes!

Given how easily Dawn dispatched her meddling father in law I’m a little surprised Zachary wasn’t sleeping with the fishes by the credits.

The events of the night serve to draw the Circle members closer together.  After some telling off from Faye, Nick asks Melissa out on a no-sex date, presumably involving shirts. Cassie also apologizes to Diana and the two agree to be friends, even though Diana tells Cassie she sees how Adam looks at her. (Awkward!)

Loner goes to show just how a heartfelt psycho stalking can bring out the friendly in people.

Catch The Secret Circle on Thursdays 9/8c on the CW.