The CW’s The Secret Circle meets its newest member this week in “Wake.” The town mourns the death of Nick (Louis Hunter), especially Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy), who is in love with him. Nick’s older brother Jake (Chris Zylka, 10 Things I Hate About You) arrives, and Faye (Phoebe Tonkin), whose heart Jake broke, and Adam (Thomas Dekker), whose family Jake stole from, are not happy to see him. But Cassie (Britt Robertson) sure is when an evil witch hunter shows up, and Jake saves her. The circle knows that Jake can take Nick’s place in their group, but they are unaware that he has come to town for a darker reason.
It’s a bold move for a freshman series to kill off a central member of the cast in episode five, completely unexpected, even if he is quickly replaced. This alone buys The Secret Circle some respect. Too bad the actor coming in to replace the offed one seems stiff, more a pretty face than a good addition, acting-wise. Looks can be deceiving, and Jake has a fine story set up, having to choose between his destiny and the witch hunters he is working for. It will remain to be seen if Zylka is up to the challenge.
Jake’s arrival serves an important purpose in that it will remind Cassie, who is already beginning to act like a leader, that she doesn’t know everything. The other characters have history in the town, and much happens prior to Cassie’s arrival that they have trouble forgiving and forgetting. Even Jane (Ashley Crow) isn’t all that happy to see Jake. Cassie is exuding the confidence that she’s well-informed enough to make major decisions, but without being clued in on a lot of back story, she is in the dark more than the others, and more than she seems aware of being. Cassie doesn’t realize this in “Wake,” but her quick ability to trust Jake, whom the others are wary of, and whom they have good reason to be so, will likely come back to bite her.
But will Jake ultimately prove to be an enemy? Despite Faye and Adam’s reservations, it’s clear that Jake is already growing a bit fond of Cassie. He comes to town with a purpose, but after seeing everyone, including his new neighbor, it may be that his purpose will change. After all, he kills the woman that attacks Cassie. This isn’t presented as an accident, and while it may help him maintain cover, that probably isn’t all that it does. How soon before Jake lets the others in on the threat that they face? The quicker, the better, as there is a whole group of baddies lurking nearby, led by Isaac (JR Bourne, Teen Wolf).
Given that The Secret Circle is a CW series, Jake’s presence in and after “Wake” will also serve to shake up the romantic chemistry, as that is as much a focus of shows on the network as the action plots. Obviously, Faye still harbors something for Jake, even if it has turned to hate. Also, as mentioned before, Jake is taking a shine to Cassie. This complicates matters, in that Diana (Shelley Henning) breaks up with Adam so that he can fulfill his destiny and be with Cassie. So all of a sudden, the central character will have two guys who want to be with her, and are available to do so.
The whole “destiny” thing between Cassie and Adam is weird. It’s odd that Diana steps aside so readily, when Adam stays loyal, despite simmering feelings. Perhaps she is trying to be noble, but that isn’t how it comes across. Also, considering that Adam’s father, Ethan (Adam Harrington), harbors similar feelings for Cassie’s departed mother, how is that right? Cassie and Adam would be siblings if the older pair worked out! Or is the blood fate just transferred to the next generation if the previous one doesn’t fulfill it? How does one determine which generation the fate is supposed to happen in? Do different age groups have different attractions to different families? If this continues among the circle, wouldn’t this lead to much inbreeding? After all, it’s only six families involved. Luckily, they all seem to always have kids about the same age. How has this chain not been broken over time?