The Secret Circle series premiere recap: Toil and Trouble

Cassie moves to Washington and finds out she's a witch. It's too bad her new friends' parents probably want to kill her
Ep. 01 | Aired Sep 15, 2011

HEARTS AND CRAFTS Cassie (Britt Robertson) has bigger things to worry about than her burgeoning love triangle with Diana and Adam (Thomas Dekker)

Does anyone remember the '90s movie The Craft? A sweet and innocent Robin Tunney moved to Los Angeles and completed a coven of parochial school uniform-clad teenage witches until Fairuza Balk went insane with power and killed Skeet Ulrich. Eliminate the uniforms, make Ulrich a witch too, then mix in some rich family history and a sleepy Pacific Northwest setting, and you get the basic recipe for the CW's latest drama The Secret Circle. It has the teen angst and supernatural appeal of The Vampire Diaries without Ian Somerhalder's eyebrows and all of that blood.

Is this the most original show on television this fall? Definitely not. But all genre comparisons aside, last night's premiere was very good. It was well-paced and intriguing, and set the stage for a wicked overarching plot. Phoebe Tonkin's delightfully witchy, power-hungry Faye could be my favorite mean girl on TV this year. We'll see. It all depends on how many thunderstorms she starts with her eyes. Let's dig in, shall we?

The show opened with our heroine, Cassie (Britt Robertson), getting a flat tire. "My sweet Cassie," a voice-over said. "I didn't want you to have this life. But destiny is not easy to run from." A pretty blonde teenager stuck on a dimly lit road in the dead of night? In a cold open? With a destiny? Something wicked this way comes!

And something wicked did come, but Cassie's mother was the intended victim this time. A mysterious man showed up to the house while Cassie debated whether or not to call AAA, and brutally murdered her mom. If this were Clue, it would be the mysterious man, in the front yard, with the fire he started in his own mind. Mom screamed "Cassie!" in a panic before the explosion — the first hint that she may have seen this whole thing coming.

A month later, the orphaned Cassie moved to her grandmother's house in her mother's hometown of Chance Harbor, Washington. Chance Harbor is beautiful and sleepy -- like Forks from the Twilight saga, but with a much better name and fewer supernatural beings. Grandma Jane provided a bit of exposition while Cassie explored her mother's old (and her new) bedroom -- Cassie's dad died in an accident when she was just a baby, her mother took her far, far away, and they never came back. "It was hard for her here," Jane said. "I think she wanted to start over."

That night, seven minutes and 30 seconds in, we had our first look at a bare-chested, impossibly sculpted teenage boy. And so it starts! Cassie looked out the window to find her handsome blonde neighbor gawking at her from the house next door. She closed the curtains, only to find them miraculously re-opened seconds later. Cassie was not nearly as freaked out by this as I would have been. This is a good thing, because things quickly got much weirder.

NEXT: First days and flaming cars!

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