A few weeks ago, we reported that Nick Armstrong (Louis Hunter) was returning to Chance Harbor. As fans will recall, ‘Slither’ (1.05), saw the demon possessing Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy), but it was Nick who paid the ultimate price (death by drowning at the hands of Gale Harold’s Charles Meade) when the demon found a way to possess him instead. Jane (Ashley Crow) and Cassie (Britt Robertson) found Nick’s body. There was a funeral. Because he was dead, many thought Nick’s return might be in flashbacks, but that is not the case.
At the end of this week’s episode, ‘Traitor’ (1.20), Nick is revealed to be the traitor.
After Eben (Sammi Rotibi) survived being impaled on a tree, the Circle suspected a witch must be helping the witch hunters. The Circle did not suspect each other, but their limited knowledge about the past and their parents’ actions prevented the team from formulating a solid list of suspects. After Cassie entered Jake’s mind and relived his memories from 16 years ago, I suspected Ethan (Adam Harrington). Ethan lied about being on the boat, and his actions in the memory suggested that he betrayed his Circle so the witch hunters could kill Blackwell (Joe Lando). If Ethan worked for them before, then he could work for them again.
The witch working with the witch hunters had to have strong powers and extensive knowledge. So far the witch has given Eben powers, summoned demons, and stolen a crystal using magic. At the beginning of the season, it is established that the Circle does not have a lot of knowledge about witchcraft. What they know comes from Diana’s (Shelly Hennig) Book of Shadows. Cassie finds her mother’s book, but Diana had more time to study hers. Nick did not have access to his family’s book, and he was depicted as someone whose favorite activity was not studying. In life, Nick was not knowledgeable in witchcraft, but in death he is seems to have more knowledge and power than the Circle.
The explanation for Nick’s sudden growth in skill is likely tied to how he returned. The Circle did not doubt his death. His body was found and buried. The Secret Circle is a supernatural show, so there are many possible reasons for his return. I am positive that there are many ideas to explain it.
My guess: I wonder if he actually died? The demon was crafty; after all, he is the demon Dawn summoned 16 years ago, and he did find her because the demon wanted her body. Instead, Dawn got Charles to come to her rescue. The demon knew Charles was going to kill Nick. Pretending to be dead could be within the demon’s power. The trauma of possession and being attacked probably fractured Nick’s psyche, allowing the demon to take control. If correct, a demon-controlled Nick could have slipped away before the coffin went into the ground.
The demon was able to get Nick out of sight, but how did he end up with the witch hunters? If Nick was conjured or resurrected magically by the witch hunters, then how were they able to achieve such a feat without the aid of a witch? We don’t know much about the witch hunters. The glimpses we have seen suggest that the witch hunters know how witchcraft works and the abilities of witches.
I doubt the witch hunters called the demon to them because Eben needed Nick to summon all of the other demons. I wonder if the witch hunters got lucky and found a disoriented Nick and manipulated him to work for them. They were able to convince Jake that witches were to blame for his parents’ deaths, so they know how to work their way into an Armstrong’s mind. Nick’s presence with the witch hunters also gives Eben more reasons to want demons to possess him. A demon-possessed Nick is strong, so Eben probably wanted the demons to have the power to destroy the circle and subdue Nick if needed.
Although he is (possibly) possessed by a demon, Nick is still there. Jake found a picture of his parents in the traitor’s belongings (this is the moment I knew Nick was the traitor). The picture shows that Nick must remember and long for his family; these very personal feelings mean that the demon is not 100% in control. There is a sliver of hope that the demon could be exorcised from Nick. If Nick could live without the demon is an unknown, but the Circle knows that they cannot have a demon-possessed Nick running around Chance Harbor. The decision will be difficult, but if they have to risk Nick’s life in order to get rid of the demon permanently, then the circle will.
Nick’s return impacts the entire circle, but the reaction I am waiting for is the one from Charles. The only people who know Charles killed Nick is Dawn, Charles and Nick. What if Nick talks? Diana has this view of her father; she has no idea he has killed multiple people and is plotting with Dawn. The scene in the kitchen in this week’s episode showed the bond Charles and Diana have. If Diana discovers that the man she sees as her true father is as evil as her biological father, then she could break, and the dark magic lurking beneath the surface could burst forth stronger than Cassie’s did. What I am eager to see is if Charles will try to deny what he did, try to kill Nick again, or confess his multitude of sins.
These past two episodes really show the potential of this series. The tone is dark and dangerous, and the tension is building to what I am sure will be a thrilling final two episodes. The drive for power Blackwell and Dawn have is colliding with the safety of the circle. Something will have to give. The season started with death, and the upcoming battle suggest the season will end the same way.