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Secret Circle hitting all the right notes, but is it too late?

BY Jennifer Griffin

Published 10 years ago

The Secret Circle returned this week with ‘Crystal’ a tight, pacy romp with plenty of drama, romance and adventure – and even a brief guest appearance by TV veteran John de Lancie.

Unlike the characters in your average horror movie, The Secret Circle gang always seem to fare better when the group decides to split up, and this week’s separate paths gave rise to a tense and shocking story outcome for the adults, as well as a couple of unforgettable scenes for the younguns, including a rather touching moment between Jake (Chris Zylka) and his grandfather, (That eyebrow deserves an Emmy!) and some long overdue door-kicking, ledge-leaping, villain-tussling heroism from Adam (Thomas Dekker).

Credit is also surely due for the superbly creepy abandoned mine which not only prevented Cassie (Britt Robertson) and her half sister from entering, but which rendered all of the other witches’ powers useless. “What a great place to be normal,” as Adam points out to Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy).

‘Crystal’ was also the episode which dropped a double bombshell by outing Diana (Shelley Hennig) as Cassie’s secret sibling, and by killing off a character – in the form of Jane Blake (Ashley Crow). Is she really dead? Is she really really dead?

Thursday’s Secret Circle was solidly entertaining, coherent and above all, surprising. But perhaps the most surprising aspect of the episode was its poor viewing figures. TV Line reports a 36 percent fall for ‘Crystal’ resulting in a series low of 1.14 million total viewers, and a 29 percent slump in the coveted ’18-49 year olds’ demographic. So what went wrong? The hiatus certainly didn’t help. The show returned on Thursday after a two week break, which affected not only its viewing figures but that of sister show The Vampire Diaries also.

The Secret Circle has suffered from uneven story telling in previous episodes, particularly where the mechanics of the mythology of the show are concerned. In addition, Circle has struggled to make the best use of some of the large ensemble cast including Gale Harold and Adam Harrington, frustrating those who claim to ‘watch for the adults.’ However recent episodes are noticeably tighter and darker (A man exploded! What more needs to be said?) and the addition of Joe Lando as John Blackwell has served to create new story opportunities for Ethan (Harrington) and Charles (Harold) as well as raise the stakes where the younger generation are concerned.

Fans of the show are aware that Secret Circle is currently ‘on the bubble’ with its renewal status up for grabs. Much depends on the success of the remaining episodes, and the viability of a new batch of CW pilots, including the hotly tipped Arrow and The Selection.

It would be a shame to see this freshman series come to a premature end, especially now that it has found firmer footing in darker, edgier territory.

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

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