The Secret Circle: Father Time (PHOTO RECAP)

We did it! It finally happened! John Blackwell finally arrived in Chance Harbor! Now, it takes some straight-up audacity for a sister show of The Vampire Diaries to base its first season around the reappearance of a presumed dead character AND name that episode “Return,” but it turns out The Secret Circle is just that audacious! Obviously John Blackwell is no Katherine Pierce, and also “Return” is no “The Return,” but if you can look past that unfortunate (and unfair) comparison, this episode of The Secret Circle was pretty darn fun. Personally I thought the Blackwell character was a total blunder, but we’ll talk about that later. Averaging things out, “Return” was certainly a worthy follow-up to last week’s awesome “Valentine,” suggesting we might be on the verge of a winning streak here. Who can say? I’m not a scientist (anymore, criminal charges, long story).

We began in Diana’s bedroom where Cassie was turbo lying to everybody.

She decided to move back to Jane’s house, claiming her grandmother was returning from the hospital that night. The cool thing about that lie is that nobody will ever know it isn’t true. But in my mind I think this had to more with the fact that Cassie felt awkward accepting Diana’s hospitality while secretly dating Adam.

Charles swung by with a brand new ‘do and a chipper attitude. I loved that he brought in some college brochures for them to look at and also referred to Cassie as his second daughter. I think that kind of behavior probably comes with the territory when you murder a girl’s mother. It’s just good manners!

Back at her house, Cassie immediately noticed that the front door was ajar. I love when intruders leave doors open. That is such good intruding! I liked how Cassie wielded an umbrella for defense:

Remember when she incinerated some dudes with her brain? I kinda think she should stick to that as a defense tactic.

Anyway, false alarm:

Just kidding, un-false alarm: Jake was investigating the open front door also, plus he noticed the ring of ash that encircled the house.

Honestly, this was just more rude of the witch hunters than anything. Cassie tracked it onto the rug and everything! When Jake suggested that perhaps she needed help looking after herself (aw, Jake) she insisted she had it covered by, I guess, TAZING him bro?

Personally I think the episode title “Return” had a double meaning in that it also referred to the return of JAKE’S V-NECKS. (Not deep-Vs though, it IS the middle of winter in Vancouver and that would be irresponsible clavicle exposure.) But yeah, this was a good scene in that it was funny and both characters seemed to have distinctive personalities all the way through it. Jake usually only behaves that way with Faye, so I’m definitely getting the impression that this show is redoubling its efforts to give the love interests more spark. I likes it! Sassy Jake is the best.

Oh, this was crazy: Cassie got a job!

I’m not sure when she found the time, but ultimately it does make sense. She has no income, right? She’s basically the Matt Donovan of The Secret Circle. Anyway, it was nice when Adam tried to teach her how to waitress. Adam is impossibly square, but sometimes you really need someone like that in your life to help you figure things out, you know?

And Cassie’s new job meant good things for Faye, who now had a new hangout at which she could torment Cassie. Anyway, that’s when a certain voodouche spotted Melissa.

Faye was NOT having it, but then it was funny how she just did not care about Melissa’s well-being at all when Melissa said she was going to go party with the dude. I guess Faye had forgotten her promise to Diana that she’d have Melissa’s back?

Back at Cassie’s house (and FYI this is STILL the cold open) Cassie was just wrapping up a convo with Jane.

That’s when she heard a knock at the door.

So, John Blackwell. First thing to note is that he wears grey and NOT black. Second thing, he’s just as inappropriately attractive as the rest of the parents. Third thing: Not nearly the badass as we’d been led to believe. But for this scene he still had the benefit of mystery; we wouldn’t learn the full extent of his lameness until later. Note the misdirection when the front door flew open magically. (He did not do that.)

Cassie was definitely pretty stunned to see him (although she probably shouldn’t have been, right?) and the scene was as appropriately awkward as you’d expect. When Blackwell noticed Adam pulling up, he made her swear to keep his presence a secret.

Haha! Take that John Blackwell.

Meanwhile Diana needed to know what exactly happened to Melissa.

Faye tried to play it off like she hadn’t been a bad friend, but I mean, Melissa HAS a cell phone. If she wasn’t returning texts that’s kind of her fault right? Anyway, it was time for the ladies to pay a visit to a certain voodoo schemer.

And his comatose girlfriend:

There was a funny beat in the garage when Lee recalled his most recent interaction with High Diana.

She was predictably mum on the subject, most likely because since that time she’d fallen head over heels in love with pizza and right now there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that could keep them apart. #PIZZANA

Meanwhile Cassie had agreed to meet John Blackwell out on a dock (because that is considered a private area in Chance Harbor) and it was REALLY emotional. She basically just shouted at him for being such an awful father, and he mostly just accepted it, albeit with short explanations that he’d gone into hiding in order to protect her. Very New Moon of him!

That’s when he committed a major Abandoning Witch Dad faux pas:

Cassie felt PLAYED and boy was she was steamed!

But then UH-OH!

So then Faye and Diana arrived at the world’s most disgusting “party.” Seriously:

Just absolutely the worst! Can you even imagine what it smelled like in there? Like, I GUESS it was supposed to be a voodoo party, but it seemed more like a room full of vagrants dropping acid and playing D&D?

Anyway, that’s when Callum busted out some more of those garbage-on-a-stick totems and they buzzed each other’s pleasure centers.

And that’s when he discovered that Melissa is a witch! I guess I thought he already knew that? But whatever. He started getting that schemin’ look in his eyes.

Back at the witch house, former owner John Blackwell arrived and couldn’t have been happy with the decor.

That’s when he met Jake and they had a handsomeness stand-off.

At this point Jake pretty much knew that Cassie had been kidnapped by witch hunters, so he lied and told Blackwell she was probably at the Boat House while he rushed over to the witch hunter lair.

Jake had devised a plan by which he’d save Cassie by handing over Blackwell. It was a surprisingly solid idea!

And I loved how he didn’t even think twice about it. I guess all that compartmentalized psychology comes in handy sometimes.

Meanwhile, THIS was a nightmare:

Aaaahhh!! Awful!! They put junk in her eyes and mouth! (Fun day of work, Britt Robertson?)

Over at the Boat House, Blackwell continued his newfound hobby of revealing his presence to everybody.

Whoops, there was some bad blood between him and Ethan! Wonder what that’s about? Just kidding, no I don’t. I mean, honestly, the parents are just there to fight amongst themselves, and now they have a new person to fight with.

Then Callum locked Melissa in a storage area and started acting real creepy.

So she just threatened him with theoretical magic and walked out of there. Oh, but at least she’d learned the true purpose of those garbage totems and told Faye that Lee was probably lying to her about it.

Meanwhile out in the woods, Jake lured Blackwell out to go meet with the witch hunters.

But in a surprise twist, Eben didn’t want Blackwell at all… He wanted Jake!

And then upon letting Cassie go, she discovered she’d been mind-controlled into murdering her own father! She even made a magic wand out of ivy and everything.

Now, here’s my biggest complaint about Blackwell: He has no powers?!? Putting aside the fact that he’s probably lying (he IS a Balcoin), this was about as fatal a flaw as I can imagine. You’re telling me this character we’ve been waiting to meet is just another handsome-yet-conflicted grownup without powers? Don’t we have enough of those already? Seriously, anyone paying attention to this show must’ve envisioned a darkly sinister, unpredictable, ruthless man who gets women pregnant just by looking at them. He had quite a reputation! Plus, it would’ve been more understandable if he’d abandoned Cassie in order to go live a jet-setting warlock lifestyle, but instead he was just chillin’ in a duplex in Tacoma or whatever? Very frustrating! Even if Blackwell DOES have powers and was just lying, this episode was his INTRODUCTION. He just walked around in a cool coat and looked vaguely pained. No magic. No hero moments. No villain moments. Just rolling around wheezing in a ring of fire. Great first impression! I honestly do not understand the rationale here. But anyway, yeah. Blackwell doesn’t have powers. What a disaster. No offense, The Secret Circle, but WHAT KIND OF SHOW DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? You can’t be pullin’ junk like this so late in the season. I’m worried about you, girl.

So while the Blackwell character was, so far, a conceptual failure, it’s fortunate that there was still some pretty major awesomeness to be had. And it involved the circle!

Just when Eben was about to kill Jake, this happened:

THIS WAS THE BEST! I <3 GROUP MAGIC SO MUCH. They even did my favorite thing, which is standing in tableau while looking badass! Now THIS is the show I tune in for! Forget Blackwell, just give me more of this type of thing. So good.

But then uh-oh: Eben disappeared!

We’d already been given hints that he was a supernatural creature of some kind, but I think this might’ve confirmed it? That’s just scary and cool right there. Stakes be raisin’!

Anyway, then the circle turned their attention to Cassie, who was still a slave to whatever brainwashing Eben had exacted upon her.

Again, it was really fun seeing the circle come together like this. Ugh, so good.

It worked! Cassie did not end up murdering her own father! Take that, witch hunters with your bizarre schemes and whatnots.

Because it’s unclear what exactly Eben IS (not a witch, according to Blackwell), John Blackwell was going to stick around to keep Cassie safe. Or something. I am already sick of Blackwell, not gonna lie. He couldn’t have had a triumphant moment of magic usage? Is that so much to ask on a show ABOUT MAGIC? But look, if I were to be a silver lining type of person, the one good thing about Blackwell is he represents a much stronger link between the kids’ storyline and the adults, so hopefully we’ll get to see much more blended storytelling in the future. It’s just too bad when I have to IMAGINE things that I’ll enjoy, you know?

Then Faye came home to find Lee sneaking around her bedroom. He’d climbed up through the window, because of course he did. I guess he’d felt super guilty about that garbage totem so he was there to destroy it and, I guess, make it up to Faye.

And they kissed! But then, whoops! Look who woke up:

Then there was this hilarious scene where Jake was literally just sitting on the corner of his bed doing nothing and a grown man just walked into his bedroom.

It had something to do with Blackwell kind of admiring Jake for selling him out in order to save Cassie. That is exactly the type of person Blackwell wanted to set his daughter up with.

And the episode ended with this weird non-cliffhanger in which Cassie just nestled up on Adam and they looked out the window all sad. I have no idea what it all meant, except that maybe her dad has better taste?

This was an entertaining hour of television! But I’m not gonna lie, I’m increasingly outraged about just how badly Blackwell was introduced in this episode. He was obviously a victim of high expectations, but was it so wrong to expect that he would have powers and/or a save-the-day moment of badassery or villainy? To continue the unfair comparison that was invited by the episode title, Katherine Pierce arrived in Mystic Falls and in a span of five minutes proceeded to make out with a main character and then SLAUGHTER a villain. That’s just crowd-pleasing right there! Simply put, The Secret Circle DOES NOT need more wishy washy adult figures hanging around this town bickering about crystals. I’m truly astonished here, you guys. It’s like sometimes I don’t understand ANYTHING? One of these days I am just gonna turn off the TV and walk directly into the ocean because nothing makes sense to me anymore. Oh well.

Hey see you next month!


… Were you satisfied with John Blackwell’s introduction?

… Are you worried about Lee’s ex?

… If Eben isn’t a witch, then what is he?

… Should Cassie install better locks in her house?