Cassie Blake: Hi Diana! Thanks for letting me crash at your place, but a little birdie told me I’m going to have adult supervision again at the end of this episode!
Diana Meade: Thank God! Now I don’t have to talk to you at three AM anymore!
Cassie Blake: And I don’t have to listen to you snore!
Charles Meade: Goodbye, Cassie! You’re like the daughter I always wanted!
Diana Meade: …
Charles Meade: I’ll miss you!
Cassie Blake: That’s odd! I don’t remember leaving my door slightly ajar!
Jake Armstrong: Hi Cassie! I broke into your house because I think witch hunters broke into your house! Mostly because of this Witch Hunter Ash scattered all over the place. And this note tucked into the door that says “Dear Cassie, We’re coming to murder you and all of your family and all of your friends. -XOXO The Witch Hunters”
Cassie Blake: Awesome! I’ve been waiting for an excuse to check out my “turn your umbrella into a Taser with your brain” spell!
Jake Armstrong: What now?
Cassie Blake: “My situation is kind of frightening, so zap this boy with magic lightning!”
Jake Armstrong: You stupid bitch.
Cassie Blake: What was that?
Jake Armstrong: You’re a super witch!
Adam Conant: Hi Cassie! If I teach you how to hold a tray, will you let me into your pants?
Cassie Blake: Nope!
Adam Conant: Lame.
Faye Chamberlain: Hey Cassie! If I harass you endlessly due to your new, menial position, will you throw yourself off a bridge?
Cassie Blake: Nope!
Faye Chamberlain: Lame.
Melissa Glaser: Yes, yes you are.
Callum: Hi guys! I’m having a voodoo drug blowout at my place, wanna come catch a disease?
Faye Chamberlain: Hell no!
Melissa Glaser: Hell yes!
Faye Chamberlain: Wait, what?
Cassie Blake: Hi Grandma! Yeah, I told the Diana you were coming home tonight. Well, I didn’t want to impose any more, and it’s a hassle living out of a suitcase, and I’m pretty sure Charles put a camera in the bathroom.
John Blackwell: Hi Cassie! I have a craggy face, a sweet coat, and sixteen years of catching up to do! Let’s have tea!
Cassie Blake: I have a better idea! Why don’t I go steal another boyfriend from another girlfriend, and why don’t you go to hell?
John Blackwell: Trust me, I’m headed there! But first I need to blah blah blah, deep dark secrets, meet me in an hour, don’t tell anyone I’m here.
Cassie Blake: Okay!
Cassie Blake: Hi Adam! I just met John Blackwell!
Adam Conant: Well that’s frightening! Whatever your plan is, I preemptively disagree!
Diana Meade (on the phone): Hi Faye! I’m worried about Melissa, so could you keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn’t go over to any voodoo drug dealer’s parties or anything?
Faye Chamberlain (on the phone): Funny story, but I just got back dropping her off at Callum’s voodoo drug party!
Diana Meade (on the phone): …
Faye Chamberlain (on the phone): You’re welcome!
Lee LaBeque: Hi ladies! Did you come here to make out with me again?
Diana Meade: Make out with you why would I make out with you I never made out with you!
Faye Chamberlain: …I could get on board with that.
Team Fayana: Explodes.
Diana Meade: Anyway, we’re looking for Melissa, and since she’s on the fast track to Junkieville, we figured you’d probably be able to lead us to her.
Lee LaBeque: Hey, just because I hooked you up with one bag of unpronounceable voodoo drug doesn’t mean I know where every single rave in Chance Harbor is!
Diana Meade and Faye Chamberlain: …
Lee LaBeque: Okay, I’ll take you there.
John Blackwell: Hi Cassie! Sorry I abandoned you for sixteen years and kind of spawned you from the seed of a demon! But I think it would be a really good idea if you gave me the Magic Murder Medallion so I can protect you!
Cassie Blake: I can protect myself!
Baldy the Badass: Hi Cassie! Super witch hunter abduction powers activate!
Cassie Blake: Murphmble Mephemble!!*
*Why are you kidnapping me! I’m not Elena GIlbert!
Callum: Hey babe, wanna play with my magic stick?
Melissa Glaser: Boy do I!
Callum: Great! Grab this here evil totem and rub your hands together, and I’ll zap you with my hoodoo!
Melissa Glaser: Oh. I thought you meant … nevermind. Voodoo hexes are cool, too. I guess.
Jake Armstrong: Cassie! Cassie! Cassie Cassie Cassie Cassie Cassie!
John Blackwell: Hi Jake! I’m not dead! Now what’s wrong with Cassie?
Jake Armstrong: Well, I found ashes sprinkled around her house and she hasn’t answered my text messages in the last fifteen seconds, so I just kind of assumed she’s either dead or kidnapped. Fortunately the Witch Hunters always bring their kidnap victims to the same place!
John Blackwell: Awesome! To the Blackwell Mobile!
Jake Armstrong: You have a Blackwell Mobile? That’s awesome!
John Blackwell: Yeah. It’s a 65 Yogo.
Jake Armstrong: Oh. That’s less awesome.
John Blackwell: Say, there’s no chance you’re working with the witch hunters or planning to betray me or anything, is there?
Jake Armstrong: Hahaha! No way bro!
Jake Armstrong: Hi Baldy! I came over to betray John Blackwell in exchange for Cassie!
Baldy the Badass: Your ideas intrigue me, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
Baldy the Badass: Hi Cassie! Don’t worry, you aren’t in any danger. Just lean back, open wide, and let me pour this mind erasing voodoo gunk into your eyes!
Cassie Blake: My life has taken a turn for the worse, lately.
John Blackwell: Hi Adam! Jake is busy selling me out, so I figured I’d drop by and recruit you!
Ethan Conant: Hi John! If Charles hadn’t stolen my magic rock, I’d be kicking your ass right now!
John Blackwell: Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Now go away, Im busy contributing to the delinquency of minors.
Adam Conant: Hi Diana! What? No, no I haven’t realized the error of my ways and decided to rekindle our years-long romance. Actually, I wanted to see if you’d help me rescue the girl I left you for. You would! Great!
Callum: Okay Melissa, let’s stop pretending. We’re both young, attractive people with needs … and I need you to hook me up with the magic power you’re obviously hiding.
Melissa Glaser: Well, I could do that … or I could light your willie on fire with your brain!
Callum: Well thanks for stopping by but you should really be going nice talking to you bye bye!
Faye Chamberlain: Hi Melissa! We need to go save Cassie! Again!
Melissa Glaser: Hi Faye! Hey, I learned something cool about that totem Lee gave you! It doesn’t unbind circles at all! It just sucks out your power and gives it to comatose girlfriends!
Faye Chamberlain: I should have known! I always get in trouble when I play with a boy’s magic wand!
Jake Armstrong: Hi Baldy! I’m here to betray John, like we agreed!
John Blackwell: Facepalm.
Baldy the Badass: Hahaha! My clever plan has fooled you! You see, instead of killing the most dangerous dark magician in living memory, and his hellspawn daughter slash bringer of the apocalypse, I’ve decided to let them go and kill a high schooler that can’t read a horoscope right!
Jake Armstrong: Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
Callum: Hi Lee! Those girls are witches!
Lee LaBeque: I smash you with what I hope the audience interprets as chivalrous rage!
Cassie Blake: Hey daddy? YOu should probably know that Baldy used magic eye drops to mind-whammy me into murdering you!
John Blackwell: Ow! Ow ow ow ow ow!
Cassie Blake: But you can use you rmagic to protect yourself, right?
The Producers: Hahahahahahahaha! She thinks people on this show are allowed to do magic! Hahahahahahahaha!
Baldy the Badass: Okay Jake, time to die! Just like your father died! When I murdered him!
Adam Conant, Diana Meade and Faye Chamberlain: “A gruesome death we’d like to see, so impale that bald guy on that tree!”
Baldy the Badass: “The need to run is now quite clear, magic make me disappear!”
John Blackwell: Ow ow ow ow ow!
Cassie Blake: Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry!
Adam Conant, Diana Meade, Faye Chamberlain and Jake Armstrong: “Since this season needs a baddy, magic save Cassie’s daddy!”
John Blackwell: Ow ow ow ow ow!
The Secret Circle: “This situation is so dire, magic out out Cassie’s fire!”
John Blackwell: Oh thank god.
Faye Chamberlain: Hey… didn’t we just save the guy who murdered our parents, and is probably going to usher in the end of days?
Everyone Else: …Oh.
Cassie Blake: Hi Daddy! Sorry about the brain fire! Say, how did you lose your magic?
John Blackwell: Budget issues and questionable writing.
Lee LaBeque: Hi Faye! I came over to destroy the soul-sucking voodoo totem I was going to use to bring my girlfriend back to life!
Faye Chamberlain: Aw, that’s so sweet I’m going to drop my panties for you!
Eva the Comatose Girlfriend: Hi guys! What did I miss? Guys? Guys? Anybody?
John Blackwell: Hi Jake! So, about your plan to sell me out to Baldy…
Jake Armstrong: Crap crap crap crap crap…
John Blackwell: That’s the kind of ruthlessness I look for in a guy that’s going to look out for, and breed with, my daughter!
Jake Armstrong: Score!
Cassie Blake: Hi Adam. Wanna pretend to have some chemistry again?
Adam Conant: Sure, whatever.
The Plot: Thickens.
You know what this show needs? A character that can reliably do magic whenever they want.
Cassie can kind of pull it off, but not always, and it usually gets away from her. This leads to some awesome moments – like when she exploded her own grave with her brain, or when she force choked Adam a few times – but for the most part it leads to her standing around not doing much of anything.
Jake had dark magic, too, at least I think he does. But he never seems to do anything with it either. He just kind of stands there, rocking the deep-V and showing off his cheekbones.
And they’re nice cheekbones, but they’re not why I watch this show. I watch this show, which is about teenagers with magic powers, to see teenagers using magic powers. And time and time again, TSC tells me “no”.
The Circle can’t use magic. The Nefarious Adults can’t use magic. Grandma Jane can’t use magic. The Elders can’t use magic. The Witch Hunters can use magic, I guess, but hey prefer to use roofies and pig masks.
And then there’s John Blackwell, the Looming Menace, the Whispered Threat, the Shadowy Danger. He’s been talked up for an entire season, and in the brief glimpses we’ve had of him, he was a complete badass.
So, of course, he can’t do magic, either.
And this is just about unforgivable. You’ve been building this guy up for weeks, and we’ve all been expecting him to bust onto the scene like a boss, kicking ass, taking names, and unleashing eldritch terrors like it’s his job. Because it is his job. Everything you’ve told us about this guy points to that specific role. But instead, he’s just another has-been.
On top of that, I still don’t know what the overall season arc is supposed to be. We’re three-quarters of the way through, and I don’t know if the adults searching for the crystals is the point, or if the witch hunters are the point, or if John Blackwell is the point. I don’t know if they all tie together. And worse? I kind of don’t care.
There’s no momentum. There’s no urgency. There’s no edge-of-your-seat, god-I-have-to-know-what-happens-next. On TVD, we’re always rushing toward something, I always know what everyone wants, and I always care whether or not they get it.
And maybe that’s not a fair comparison. TVD is one of, if not the, best shows on right now. Nothing else I watch has the same tempo as TVD.
But it’s a comparison that’s going to be made. Because you come on right after TVD, and you have the same executive producer as TVD, you have the same writers as TVD, and you have the same source material as TVD.
On paper, this should be a home run. But in practice…
I’m rooting for you, TSC. I want you to succeed. But you have to give me something.