The Secret Circle: Group Hex (PHOTO RECAP)

Now that the main six teenagers of Secret Circle have bound their powers together, the element of teamwork is now completely ingrained in the show’s premise. They can no longer practice magic alone and now must stick together in order to get anything done. It’s an interesting notion, but it raises concerns about the limited nature of TSC‘s magic and whether it will ever get to be as entertaining or awe-inspiring as it needs be to hook us in every week.

While Thursday’s episode “Loner” was solid overall, a major misstep it made was in resetting the kids’ powers to zero when they weren’t even very impressive to begin with. Why take the weakest creatures from The Vampire Diaries (its witches) and make them somehow even less powerful and only give them the most clicheed powers possible? It doesn’t make any sense! Anyway, hopefully TSC rights course sooner rather than later, I’d hate to start getting frustrated with what’s a pretty delightful little show otherwise.

Anyway! Let’s talk about what happened on Thursday night!

Faye was frustrated because she no long had any power on her own and realized she’d never actually learned her locker combination? Very inconvenient!

Diana claimed she didn’t realize they’d all be stripped of their individual powers, but that seemed like a pretty huge oversight to me. Anyway, she assured Faye they’d just all need to get their heads together and learn how to work as a team. Witch trust falls, things like that.

Speaking of bad teamwork, Melissa and Nick were still at it with their secret sexy times. This time Melissa wanted to go to the dance with Nick but he just made fun of her to her face. Awesome, what a cool dude!

While I’m glad to see there’s a slightly more interesting male character, was Luke sort of weird to anybody else? He basically made a bee-line to Cassie and turned a super awkward Adam into his wingman.

When Luke asked Cassie to the dance, at first she was like “THX BUT NO THX GUY”. But after an afternoon of exchanging jealous looks with Adam, she finally caved.

It was pretty charming when she walked out of the Boat House looking slightly stoked. Cassie is kind of a little vixen, isn’t she? Either that or just horny. Witches, am I right?

This creepy dude was hassling Cassie a ton about her mother, and whether Cassie intended to follow in what he clearly believed were her terrible footsteps.

And in our first taste of group magic, Diana ran over and she and Cassie mind-melded the dude into a parked car. So not the most powerful magic, but I’m sure it was enough to make him totally forget about his anti-witch grudge.

More inner turmoil within the group. At least half of the kids were pissed at Diana for tricking them into binding the circle, especially now that people were after them. Everyone knows the best defense against aggressors is setting cars on fire or lighting candles! NOW what were they supposed to do?

Anyway Cassie decided to look into the creepy dude’s allegations against her mother. First of all, we learned that Amelia graduated in 1995! That means she and five of her classmates all got knocked up their senior years of high school? This timeline is insane!

But anyway, Amelia was apparently friends with the creepy dude and some lady named Heather. Whatever happened to Heather seemed to be the main grudge creepy dude was harboring.

Melissa and Faye teamed up to move a cell phone across the floor. Cool magic! I realize a show has to build up steam and set the stage and whatnot, but seriously Secret Circle. Show us something cool! Maybe when all six finally team up? (Note: adjust your expectations.)

Faye kinda slipped into bitch mode when she ridiculed Melissa for wanting to go to the dance. Melissa’s pretty tragic so far, but the actress is so good that she’s not COMPLETELY pathetic. I like her. In fact, I don’t mean to be controversial but I even like Diana. I think the women of this show are all pretty killer.

Meanwhile at the dance, I guess the theme was AWKWARDNESS?

The bossy girl Cassie befriended (I think her name is Loose End) forced her to slow dance with Adam and the room just crackled with intensity. Haha just kidding, this matchup is impossibly boring. I have a theory that Adam would be such a better character if he were more like how Thomas Dekker seems to be in real life. You know, arty and kind of mysterious? Maybe Adam will go goth and get into cutting? Who knows!

Meanwhile, the now magic-free Queer as Folk dude tried to sort out creepy guy using old-fashioned gentlemanly debating skills.

So there we had it: The badass warlock figure from the pilot was now sobbing on the floor of some dude’s boat. This show.

At the dance, Faye lent her mom’s “master key” to the gang so they could quickly look up the creepy stalker dude’s backstory. Guess what? Inconclusive! Something definitely “happened” but I guess the writers were like, “Whoa, we gotta save something for episode 4!”

In Faye’s best moment (Faye is the best, remember) she used her powers of bitchiness for good and stood up for Melissa, essentially commanding Nick to get right.

Nick is the weirdest character. Are we sure he’s a human being and not some enormous melting creamsicle? Just so useless and unappetizing. I truly hope the writers can figure out a way to kill off members of the Circle or reconfigure it somehow so that awful characters don’t get a free pass. Like, does Nick have a charismatic cousin or long-lost sibling who can take over his corner of the hexagon? Fingers crossed!

This poor guy. Granted Cassie DID leave him hanging like every ten minutes. But she had BIGGER issues to deal with.

Like getting stalked by a knife-wielding jerk!

And then we came to the absolute highlight of the show, and more or less the reason we’re watching this show in the first place: TEAM MAGIC THROWDOWNS.

Now I’m not saying their powers were amazing–we’re still at sub-Bonnie levels of magic here–But don’t tell me you didn’t get a thrill when the three babes stood in tableau like badasses? It was like something out of The Craft! MORE PLS.

I loved when Dawn just played it off like the dude was a junkie and she’d handle it. That’s a cool mom!

Nick took Faye’s advice and actually asked Melissa out on a date.

And of course Faye looked momentarily sad for herself. Poor Faye! Faye is the best character, how many times do I have to say this?

And yeah, I’ll say it: I like Diana. I know people think she’s annoying but I think she’s tragic, maybe even moreso than Melissa. Her whole arc is a downward trajectory at this point and it was pretty poignant when she straight-up asked Cassie to please let her keep Adam.

Meanwhile Dawn and Queer as Folk dude (I’ll learn his name next time) scared the creepy stalker dude off for now. How awesome was it when Dawn busted out a switchblade, cut her palm and MARKED the guy?

Another thing I never expected to think: The parents are badasses! I realize they’re supposed to be evil and whatnot, but I love how much their scheming happens to overlap with keeping their kids safe. The shades of grey in which this show paints are its strongest selling points. I love changing my opinions about the characters from week to week. It feels like real life!

In conclusion–and not be Nikki Finke or anything–but this week The Secret Circle was the CW’s second most-watched show in the demographic that counts so I think we can expect it’ll be here awhile. I personally really dig it, but it’s still not quite meeting my expectations for what it COULD be. Maybe we all need to bind our circle and hope for the best TOGETHER!

… Are the parents heroes or villains?
… Was Cassie’s mom a secret villain?
… Who’s most tragic: Melissa, Faye or Diana?
… Book readers: Does the circle ever incorporate new members?

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