We learn more about the events that happened sixteen years ago on tonight’s episode. Also, Dawn makes a move to get the crystal from Charles.

Recap = Spoilers

There are three plots in tonight’s episode, and I am going to discuss each one separately instead of going in chronological order because the plots run parallel with each other but do not come together in the end. Each storyline has its own resolution.

Faye hangs out with Lee at his place. A person from Lee’s past pays him a visit. I don’t remember his name because the character is very forgettable. We learn that Lee was a drug dealer; he sold devil’s spirit, which is a strange combination of strange herbs that possibly gives the user power or makes the user feel powerful. Lee’s ex-girlfriend took too much, nearly destroying her. The guy threatens Lee, so Lee goes and gets some. The guy leaves with the drug, and he meets Faye later and gives her a sample of the drug. That is all that happens. Faye has nothing to do in this episode; she is a passive observer. I guess this drug storyline will deal with Faye’s obsession to have her own powers. If she is the other Blackwell, perhaps this will trigger her dark magic and reveal the truth about her heritage. Faye did lose control of her powers when she was high on Nick’s concoction, so this drug triggering her magic is a possibility.

One of the reasons I don’t want Faye to be the other Blackwell is because Melissa is not in this episode. This is the second episode Melissa is not in. After last week’s development of her friendship with Diana, I thought Melissa was going to be given a purpose. Without being the other Blackwell, I wonder what Melissa’s function in the show will be. If the writers continue to leave Melissa off the show, then I suspect she might be killed by the end of the season. I like Melissa. I hope she gets to stick around.

The second storyline is a juicy one involving Dawn, Charles and Ethan. Dawn angers Charles by asking Diana to coffee. Since Charles won’t return her calls, she used Diana to arrange a chance meeting with Charles. Dawn wants the crystal, but Charles refuses because he wants to know what her plans are. With Charles being so stubborn, Dawn goes to Ethan, who is still sober (yeah!). Ethan serves her a drink, and she weaves a tale about Charles. Dawn accuses Charles of choking her during an argument. She refuses to press charges because Charles used magic. Because Charles attacked him using magic at the beginning of the season, Ethan believes her story. He tells Dawn he will take care of the situation. Charles was a bully in the past, and Charles is still a bully, and Ethan vows to stop him this time. During this conversation, Dawn says that Ethan has always been sweet and that she envied Amelia when Ethan and Amelia dated.

Now some of Ethan’s speeches make sense. Ethan had more than a crush on Amelia; he dated her, and John Blackwell got in the way. This means Adam’s mom was Ethan’s second choice, and I think Adam’s mom knew Ethan still had a thing for Amelia.

Ethan calls Charles to tell Charles what he knows. Ethan threatens to take this information to the Elders because Charles can’t kill all of them. Later, Charles goes to the Boathouse Grill, and Ethan is ready for him. Ethan knocks Charles out. When Charles wakes up, Ethan has the crystal. Charles calls Ethan a fool for believing Dawn. Charles says that she killed Henry (true), she is using Ethan (true), and she will likely kill Ethan once she has the crystal (highly likely). Charles reminds Ethan that Dawn can “be very intoxicating” and warns him to not let history be repeated. Ethan refuses to walk away, and Ethan uses the crystal to make Charles feel like he is drowning. Ethan stops before seriously injuring Charles and tells him to leave.

Later, Dawn asks about the crystal. She wants it. She told Ethan she would have it destroyed, but Ethan will keep it safe for a night. Although he and Charles never got along, something Charles said got Ethan thinking. Perhaps he remembers how Dawn used to be, so he might not give in to Dawn easily.

I wish the writers spent more time with these three. Henstridge works with what little she was given to seduce Ethan to her side, but watching her wear Ethan down more before he gave in would have shown us just how intoxicating Charles claims she can be. This is television; showing is a lot stronger than telling. I want to see Dawn be intoxicating, not be told she is.

It is great to see Ethan sober and getting more involved. We learn something about Ethan during the main story, so I think there is more to Ethan than being “sweet.” Adam has shown flashes of his darker, possessive side, so perhaps Daddy got jealous and possessive sixteen years ago.

The main story involves Jake’s return to Chance Harbor. Immediately, Adam does not trust Jake’s motives. Jake and Adam do not get along; Jake stole from his father, and Jake does have feelings for Cassie, so Adam acts from a source of suspicion based on fact mixed with a bit of “stay away from my girl” bravado. Cassie believes Jake’s story about escaping from the witch hunters because he saved her from the fire; if Jake meant to do them harm, then he would have let Cassie and Melissa die—this is Cassie’s conclusion. However, Adam thinks Jake is still working for the witch hunters. Jake claims to have been at the boat sixteen years ago during the fire. He hid in his parents’ car and slipped onto the boat. According to him, the fire involves witch hunters because they were trying to stop the circle’s lust for power. Jake knows the witch hunters were trying to stop Blackwell, and he could have witnessed the ceremony used to kill Cassie’s father. Jake claims Cassie needs to know about this ceremony so she can protect herself from the council of the witch hunters; Adam thinks Jake will use the information to harm Cassie.

Cassie goes to Jake alone. In his room, Jake discusses how Cassie can access his memories. He has created a memory spell. With her strong magic and ability to connect with others, Jake thinks they will be successful. Since Cassie saw Faye’s memories when they were are the lake house, Cassie is confident the spell will work.

Adam voices his objections several times. He doesn’t think the spell will work, and he is worried about Cassie’s safety. Cassie doesn’t want to wait for the witch hunters to come at her “with some super special dark magic killing plan,” and she is still obsessed with learning about her father. Adam tells Diana about Jake and Cassie’s plan, and Diana agrees—with Cassie. Seeing their parents and finding out the truth is something she would do herself if she could. Diana thinks this is very important and would like the entire circle to be there when Cassie and Jake perform the spell.

The boat is still there after sixteen years. Jake needs something that was there sixteen years ago, so he collects some of the ash. (He gets the ash from the outer part of the boat, and I am surprised the ash is still there after years of rain; something from inside the boat would have been more believable.) While they are on the boat, Jake remembers hearing noises all around and following his parents inside, but he does not remember anything afterwards.

Diana tries to get a hold of Faye and Melissa, but Faye’s phone is off, and Melissa is out of town (again). Diana fears that the circle is falling apart, and Adam says that maybe finding out the truth will bring everyone back together. Adam and Diana go to the Blackwell house together.

At the Blackwell house (formerly the abandoned house in the woods, but now we know it belonged to John), Cassie and Jake perform the spell. Both enter Jake’s memories. Jake sees his parents. His parents discuss forming a truce with the witch hunters; they are there to meet with the witch hunters to promise to stop practicing magic as terms for the truce. Jake and Cassie can see and hear everyone, but the people in Jake’s memory cannot see or hear them. Jake and Cassie follow Jake’s parents, but Jake’s mind hurts. His memory is getting confused. Jake is in pain. Cassie wants to continue, but Jake senses something bad is about to happen and wants to leave. Although Jake’s memory is blocked and he is in pain, Cassie presses on. Jake exits his memory, leaving Cassie alone.

Cassie hears Jake’s parents talk about how John Blackwell does not want a truce because he does not trust the witch hunters. Dawn and Charles are there too, and they agree with John. Jake’s dad wants to lead by example; if they agree to the truce, then maybe the others will follow. Amelia is not there; she will not come around John after the way he betrayed her. Jake’s mom says she is worried the circle is falling apart, but Jake’s dad says that agreeing to the truce will make everyone safe again. She agrees; she wants to go home to their children. They kiss, and Ethan is seen coming from a different part of the boat. Ethan does not say why he is there; he just leaves.

Ethan said that he was not there. Why has he lied for sixteen years?

The fire on the boat and the demon summoning must be two different events. Heather told Cassie that Amelia tried to stop those who were summoning the demon before leaving town, so if Amelia is not there, then the two events must have happened at different times. Interesting.

The witch hunters arrive, and Jake’s dad is happy to see them until one of them slits his throat. Jake’s mom is taken to a different part of the boat. Jake’s mom and Lucy are alive; the other witches in this part of the boat have their throats slit. The truce was a setup. Since Dawn and Charles are still alive, they must have escaped before the witch hunters arrived. Ethan left before the witch hunters arrived. Did they know?

Cassie is trapped in Jake’s memory. Diana and Adam arrive. Jake is frantic.

The witch hunters bring in John Blackwell; he wears a hooded robe, so we cannot see his face. The witch hunters tie him to a post. He has been found guilty of using magic to kill someone. John thinks they can’t kill him, but they pour a circle of black material around John, the head witch hunter says some words, and he ignites the black stuff. The circle did not start the fire; the witch hunters started the fire.

Cassie screams. Lucy says that she does not belong there. Why Lucy can see and talk to Cassie is a mystery. Lucy wants Cassie to come with her, but Cassie stays. She enters the room with the fire, and the door closes, trapping her. The smoke chokes Cassie; her brain thinks the fire is real.

Adam has everyone put their hands on Cassie, and Adam chants “Breathe.” Slowly, Cassie stops choking. Adam orders Jake to go back into the memory and get her out. Adam and Diana say the spell so Jake can go back.

Cassie watches as John says a spell and uses a medallion to redirect the flames to the witch hunters. The witch hunters burn, as does the rest of the boat. John drops the medallion and walks out of the room.

Could John Blackwell be alive?

Jake finds Cassie, and he sees his mother die from smoke inhalation before leaving the memory.

Cassie tells Diana, Adam, and Jake what she saw. Cassie does not know who else was in the room with her father, but she remembers seeing Ethan. Adam is stunned to learn that his father was there.

Adam and Diana have a conversation about how it is difficult to be friends after being a couple for so long.

Cassie goes to the boat. She finds the medallion her father dropped. It has the symbol for channeling dark magic (the same symbol carved in the basement ceiling of the Blackwell house).

Jake meets Cassie on the boat. Jake came back to help Cassie, but he also came back to be with her. Cassie says things are complicated now because of the development about her father. She cannot stop thinking about her father.

Jake asks, “Why would he let people believe he’s been dead all these years?”

I don’t know about John Blackwell, but if I had a group of witch hunters wanting me dead, I would hide. Jake takes Cassie to Harbor Cemetery, and he digs up John’s grave. He opens the casket. Inside is the skeleton of an animal. It seems John Blackwell is alive.

Memory is a tricky thing. Jake was young, and the trauma he experience might have created gaps in his memory. Also, when he left, was Cassie still in Jake’s mind or did she unconsciously spin her own take on events? There is another possibility. If John is alive (and I am 99% sure he is), did he take over and share his memories with Cassie? Why did the door close? The door shut suddenly, as though someone wanted Cassie to stay and see what happened. The memory could be fake; if he is alive, he could have planted the medallion there for Cassie to find, or he could have shared the memory with the daughter he knows he has so she would find it.

John knows about Cassie. It is not clear if he knows he has another child.

While going back into Jake’s memories answered some questions and raised others, it took a while to get into Jake’s head. Having the whole circle there would have made this episode better. If the entire circle got into Jake’s head for at least part of the memory, then we would have learned which parents belong to which kids. Seeing Adam’s reaction to Ethan on the boat would have been a great moment.

Although some of the plotting could have been stronger, the development of the love square between Jake, Diana, Adam, and Cassie is becoming more complicated. Adam admits to Diana that she knows him better than anyone, and it is easy to go back to an old flame for just that reason. It’s risky starting a new relationship, especially if you have doubts about letting your ex go. Cassie is drawn to Jake because he is not afraid of her magic. In the scene when Cassie and Jake try to explain the spell to Adam, you can see Cassie and Jake connect. Adam is left out; he is completely confused by the situation. Not only do the performances reflect the division, but the camera work and editing do as well. Cassie and Jake share the frame; when it cuts to Adam, he is alone. If Adam doesn’t step up soon and start trying to understand Cassie, then he could lose her to Jake.

The storylines about the adults and about Jake’s memory almost make up for the dull plot involving Faye, which is a shame. A better story for Faye, or better yet, including Faye in the memory story and spending more time with the adults would have made this a killer episode.

‘The Secret Circle’ returns Thursday, February 2.

If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘The Secret Circle: Fire/Ice’ recap.