Being a devoted fan of both the (relatively) new The Vampire Diaries TV series and everything ever written by LJ Smith, I was understandably very excited when I discovered that the CW had also picked up The Secret Circle. And when I say very excited, I mean practically falling down the stairs in the New York Metro. (Yes, I am a fangirl. No, I am not ashamed.) The first two episodes have now aired, and they certainly didn’t disappoint!
At the beginning of the pilot episode we are introduced to Cassie, the main character, and her mother, the soon to be ex-character. As Cassie fixes a flat tire on a darkened road, a mysterious man stands outside her house, does a lot of freaky things with his hands, and sets fire to it with her mother inside. Nothing like starting with a bang!
Cut to Cassie arriving at her grandmother’s house, unaware that her mother’s death was anything more than a tragic accident. She settles in to her mother’s old room, and discovers that, as in all American teen TV shows, there is a cute boy across the street. Except this boy takes the phrase ‘Peeping Tom’ to a new level, magically opening the curtains when Cassie closes them (of course, we aren’t meant to know it’s magic yet, but unlike Cassie we’ve seen the promos, so forgive us for not being fooled).
The next day Cassie starts school, meeting the headmistress, who is a little too enthusiastic about her former friendship with her mother (naturally, my mind screams lesbian subtext, but we’ll ignore that for the time being), and several of the students. So far, so Sabrina the Teenage Witch. What sets The Secret Circle apart is the next scene, when Cassie arrives at a local restaurant. Raven, the owner, is a little less subtle about his prior relationship with her mother, which weirds Cassie out somewhat, but things really hot up when the school bad girl, Faye, arrives with her friend Melissa. The pair are suitably perky and fake, and waste no time in letting Cassie know who’s in charge. “Don’t let her smile fool you,” says Faye, in regard to her mother, the principal. “She can be bitchy.” Something tells me she’s not the only one.
And I’m about to be proved right, because as Cassie exits, Faye gazes ominously at her car, which immediately bursts into flames. “Come on, Cassie. Put it out,” Faye murmurs under her breath as Cassie struggles to escape from the burning vehicle, eventually being rescued by (unfortunately spoken for) resident hot guy Adam. Cue obligatory scene in which protagonist knows that something isn’t right, but no-one will tell her what’s going on. You’d think that with the amount of supernatural dramas on television these days that the kids would work it all out quicker, but no! Tension must be created.
However, Cassie’s smarter than some, because the next day she’s badgering Diana, her new best friend, for answers. Diana (having spent the previous evening vying with Faye for the position of HBIC), is happy to oblige, taking Cassie to an abandoned house,
where she kills her, thereby ending the series halfway through the pilot. What actually happens is that every teenager that Cassie has met thus far is in the house (including her voyeuristic neighbour) and they (well, Faye) explain to her that they are all witches, and that she is the final witch needed to complete the circle. Naturally, Cassie freaks out at this, and runs off through the woods, pursued by Adam. Trying to explain the situation to her, he takes her hands and together they make water droplets rise into the air in a magnificent display of CGI magic. This doesn’t last long however, as Adam realises that he’s in close proximity to a hot girl and moves in to kiss her, terrifying her for the second time that day.
“You did magic with her!” Diana (who just happens to be Adam’s girlfriend) accuses later. If only she knew. However, for now she’s just concerned with binding their powers before they get out of hand. But Faye, being Faye, decides that she doesn’t want to comply with this and that she’d rather summon a storm. A big one. One that she isn’t able to stop. Luckily, Cassie steps in at this moment, proving that if anyone is in the running for HBIC, it’s her.
Elsewhere, the adults are playing their own power games. Adam’s father, the town drunk, is convinced that his and Cassie’s families are destined for each other, and that her father was a bad man. There’s definitely one bad man in the show though, and that’s Charles, Diana’s father, who cements his reputation by killing Cassie’s mother, almost drowning Adam’s father, and plotting evilly with Faye’s mother all in one episode.
So what have we learnt from the pilot? The kids are witches, the adults are witches, and a lot of s**t is about to go down in Chance Harbor!