by Ryan Downey
Last night's mid-season finale of "The Secret Circle" put a huge emphasis on that second word in the show's title! During the final moments of "Balcoin," a MAJOR secret was uncovered that has the potential to fundamentally change much of what we learned before now.
Cassie's ability to tap into dark energy is derived from her father, John Blackwell. And she's got a "Secret Sibling!"
Who could that be? The always darkly enchanting Faye, perhaps? After all, we also learned that her mom used to have the hots for ole' Johnny. Whomever it is, it's obviously somebody we've already gotten to know. Of course we won't find out who it is exactly until after the show returns in January. But "Balcoin" gave us much to chew on throughout the exposition-heavy/mythology-building episode.
The episode kicks off with Chance Harbor getting things together for a fundraising event, which reminded Crush of all of those "Founders" events that happen in Mystic Falls over on "The Vampire Diaries": a lot of hustle and bustle for several townsfolk around a single event.
Cassie asks her grandmother some magical history type questions. But she's of no use. "I wish I recognized any of these symbols, but I don't." She says she'll check with Faye's grandfather, Henry Chamberlain. Cassie is shocked. Grandma doesn't seem to remember that Henry Chamberlain is dead. Neither of them are aware that it's because Charles killed him.
Meanwhile Melissa's cousin arrives in town just in time to become a potential love interest for Diana, who is still broken up with Adam. Faye goes to see her principal mom at school to talk about her grief over her late grandfather. Faye picks up on how little her mom seems to care about Charles passing, without realizing that she was in fact complicit in his murder. Over at the Secret Circle Clubhouse, Faye catches Jake snooping around. "What are you up to? What are you really doing here?" she asks. She confronts him about stealing something (he says it's his family stone and he just wanted it to put on his brother's grave). Cassie actually defends him. Love is blind?
Cassie says that her fire died in the same fire as everyone's parents. Her mom never really told her much about him. Her family tree reveals that the family name is "Balcoin" (hence the episode's title). With grandma's brain unexpectedly extra mushy thanks to that spell cast by Charles that keeps her in the dark about all of the evil plotted and perpetrated by him and Dawn, Cassie asks Jake to help her uncover any information about all of the deepening mysteries afoot. He's clearly crushing on her (and vice versa), which of course provides plenty of conflict because as we in the audience are well aware, he's more or less on a mission to spy on her and then, you know, kill her.
Jake checks in with evil witch hunter Isaac and tells him "Cassie's dark magic comes from Balcoin," which surprises the crap out of him. "That's not possible," he responds. "The Balcoin line was eradicated." Jake points out they simply changed their names to Blackwell. The pair discuss the fact that Balcoin is at the origin of black magic which means Cassie has more dark magic than they had realized. Isaac decides that killing Cassie is now off the table. They must consult with "the Council" to figure out what to do next. Isaac reminds Jake to stay the course with the whole witch-killing thing. "When I found you, you were full of pain and self-hatred." Quite the anti-witch pep talk!
Cassie asks Jake to go with her to the fundraiser, but he tells her he's not interested in going out with her or in her in general. "What—I'm good enough to kiss but not good enough to actually go on a date with?" She insists there's something between them. He pretends to disagree. "This is me trying to be nice. I'm not interested. What part of that don't you understand?" Cue him trashing his room afterward.
Faye pulls Adam aside and tells him, "I think you're right about Jake. He's up to something." She pointed out that he seemed "too interested" in the abandoned house and in Cassie. It's nice to see Faye and Adam plotting together. Speaking of platonic couple plotting, there's a great scene between Charles and Dawn where she tries to talk him into giving her the crystal "to hold." The power dynamic is totally shifting between them. Charles asserts a bit of control and suggests they find less murderous ways to get the rest of the crystals.
Like "The Vampire Diaries," this show has done an expert job of maintaining a balance between everyday events (like town events) and the perils of teen dating within the overall framework of the supernatural and high-stakes drama. Despite all of the life and death stuff happening, Cassie still finds time to get into a little red dress and Jake finds time to confess that he actually does feel something for her. The tension between Jake and Cassie feels stronger than what the show established between her and Adam earlier in the season.
Speaking of Adam, he's on a mission to skulk around, brood and generally shadow Jake at the fundraiser to learn more about what he's up to. He's in the shadows when Jake steps outside to talk with Isaac, who says, "The plan has changed. I spoke to the council and there's more going on than you know. We're taking Cassie with us. And we're leaving tonight." Adam isn't close enough to hear the details but he can clearly see that Jake is having a friendly chat with the witch hunter who tried to kill the Circle. Isaac goes on to explain to Jake that the council wants to use Cassie's power to fight witches, the same way they've been using Jake.
By the time Adam finds Faye and tells her all about Jake being a witch hunter, Jake has already taken off with Cassie. Diana and Melissa (still in their cocktail dresses and heels) join Adam and Faye and they all set off in search of Cassie, where Jake is busy showing her his family's Book of Shadows (again, not a euphemism). He tells her that her family is descended from the destructive, dark Balcoins. The book has all kinds of warnings about the Balcoin power and how it can transform people into evil beasts and whatnot. "Your ancestors did terrible things. Your father's lineage is from strong, dark magic. That's why you have the power you do outside the Circle."
What's interesting is that it's still hard to tell whether Jake is trying to convince Cassie to leave with him for the sake of the witch hunters' agenda or out of his own feelings for her. It's probably a combination of both. As they are having it out about his whole spying on her thing, Cassie gets a text message from Adam (hurray technology! And, er, product placement…) that says "JAKE IS A WITCH HUNTER." Isaac and his posse of thugs show up and kidnap Cassie themselves, knocking Jake out cold just as he finally decided to try and save her.
Speaking of potentially turning away from the dark side, the increasingly guilt-stricken Charles seems to feel some genuine remorse about turning Jane's brain to mush. The sort of drunk-acting Jane brings up Dawn's old crush on the "late" John Blackwell. (Remember, we here at Crush have always speculated from the beginning of the series that Cassie's dad is probably alive somewhere…)
After some tense exchanges, Adam and Faye reluctantly agree to team up with Jake to rescue Cassie. Jake explains that the boat they are taking off with Cassie aboard is magic proof—great thing they brought big knives! The gigantic mid-season cliffhanger is delivered shortly after Adam and Faye escape with Cassie as Jake struggles with Isaac on the boat. Jake insists that Cassie can fight off her dark magic impulses. Isaac tells him he's a fool before he drops this Yoda "no, there is another" like bombshell:
"Cassie Blake is not the only child of Blackwell in the Circle."
Dun, dun, dun! What did you think of last night's mid-season "Secret Circle" finale? Who do you think is Cassie's secret sibling? Do you think she should give Jake another chance? Is Diana's crush here to stay? Tell us everything in the comments and on Twitter!