Entertainment Magazine

Review #3114: The Secret Circle 1.8: “Beneath”

Posted on the 07 November 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

After a couple of episodes with some serious plot elements, this feels like a bit of a step towards a more self-contained story. Even so, it’s not completely divorced from the previous encounter with the witch hunters, and it serves as a follow-up to the mystery of what happened with Cassie’s grandmother and Faye’s grandfather in the previous episode. And along the way, there’s the usual teenage relationship issues, especially between Cassie and Faye.

Review #3114: The Secret Circle 1.8: “Beneath”

The central mystery seems to be designed to show that Faye’s attitude may be due to a degree of instability, not just simple insecurity. It’s not really something that the writers want to establish in general; they just want her judgment and perception to be questionable so that her stunt with the game of “truth or dare” can seem out of proportion. (Though her admission that she’s only slept with two men in her life, if true, explains a lot about her reaction to Jake’s interest in Cassie.)

It made the whole revelation of the apparition a lot more interesting, though. While I had little doubt that it was real, I was convinced that it was either something Jake himself was doing to her, or something his presence was allowing the witch hunters to perpetuate. I certainly didn’t think that it was going to be some kind of message from Faye’s grandfather, leading her to his body. I have to give the writers credit for that.

But I’m less impressed with all of the relationship issues. None of the characters have the depth and gravitas of the cast members of “The Vampire Diaries”, so it comes across as a bit overwrought. I understand that Faye puts far more stock in her history with Jake than he does, but part of the allure is his “bad boy” attitude. And that’s not something that’s remotely hidden; Jake is one of the worst liars I’ve seen in a long time. (Well, since Stefan on “The Vampire Diaries”!)

So it’s all a bit odd for Cassie to be falling for someone who is so clearly problematic, especially when he’s showing up at the exact same time as the witch hunters, and she’s been far more suspicious of every other person she’s encountered in Chance Harbor (especially considering that she was pulled into this “circle” business within hours of getting to town). And given that she’s clearly interested in Jake, Diana’s issues with Adam just don’t seem to add up, especially after she was making such an effort to win his affections.

Generally, the problem is that the writers for “The Secret Circle” are falling into the trap that the writers for “The Vampire Diaries” have avoided to a large extent: making the main characters act like teenagers with more hormones than attention span. They just lost a relatively close friend, they’ve come within an inch of getting killed themselves on a few occasions, and they’re not acting like it. This episode is full of the worst excesses of that character treatment, and as such, it is a bit of a disappointment.

Two things kept this an average episode: the mystery behind the apparition, and the implication that Cassie’s grandmother had been mindwiped or otherwise subsumed by whatever or whoever killed Faye’s grandfather. A more balanced approach, giving more time to the adults, might help to mitigate some of the weaknesses in the character work for the circle that have emerged.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Rating: 7/10

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog