Beauty And The Beast 1.02 "Proceed With Caution" REVIEW
Writers: Sherrie Cooper, Jennifer Levin
Director: Rick Bota
THE ONE WHERE A ballerina gets chucked off a building and Catherine talks about her mum. A lot.
VERDICT The second episode of Beauty And The Beast is no improvement on the first. In fact, it‘s worse. The voiceovers are still here, and in her “good guy versus bad guy, cop versus perp” line Kristin Kreuk doesn’t sound convincing at all. We already think Kreuk doesn’t look much like a cop; the voiceovers manage to make her not sound like one either. It’s all fortune cookie philosophy which would have as much relevance in an episode of Dawson’s Creek as it does here. The voiceovers aren’t needed; we can figure out the subtext ourselves thanks. Actually having subtext would be a big step up from trying to force feed us subtext that isn’t there.
The new opening backstory blurb just adds insult to injury, especially considering how they’re made totally redundant by the number of times the first episode’s plot is discussed during this second episode.
The acting continues to be all over the place with Kreuk demonstrating “Joey Tribbiani smelling-a-fart school of acting” levels of frowning. After the frowns hit double figures before the first ad break we stopped counting. Ryan is a little less broody here and is a definite improvement on last week. The rest of the cast continues to be a mixed bag.
The real failing this week was the sheer repetitiveness of the episode. We know Catherine’s mother was shot right in front of her, we saw it last week, we were told about it last week and we saw it again in the new opening blurb this week. We know it’s Catherine’s overriding motivation in life. So, just why Catherine and Vincent have to have five separate conversations about the subject here was beyond us. We get that the episode wanted us to see her as a little obsessive but all it did was hit us over the head with the phrase, “My Mom was murdered” until it loses all meaning. By episode’s end we have had a redrawing of the lines between the two lead characters with Catherine promising to back off, be less obsessive and agreeing to start over, but at that point it felt a little too late to redeem what had gone before.
The introduction of Catherine’s sister, played by Nicole Anderson, brings very little to the table. She seems to be there just to help Catherine see how obsessive she’s being over their mother, but with Vincent and JC banging on about it, she's superfluous. And boring.
This week’s by-the-numbers police procedural story doesn’t help. It’s all so inconsequential, like a second tier plot lifted from a hundred other cops TV shows and if this is the standard of the “investigative” stuff we can expect then this aspect of the show is doomed.
There are a few interesting things going on here and there. The mention of Vincent’s army squad mates going through the same experiment opens up the possibility of others like him, and we may get some good Beast versus bad Beast action in the future. And we’re pretty sure Vincent lied to Catherine about what he found in her mother’s old documents; he knows more than he’s telling there.
JC trying to keep Catherine away from Vincent and the warehouse is good stuff; a paranoid sidekick is always a good thing to have around and we wanted to know more about what happened last time Vincent was making play lists? Is Catherine the second beauty Vincent has tried to help? What happened? Is he on a sex registry?
After removing bodies from the morgue last week, the shadowy organisation, Muirfield, is lurking in the background again. First they wipe Catherine’s computer and we’re assuming the guy who attacked her in the ally was sent by them too. It has to be said that for a police detective who knows that she’s become enmeshed in a dangerous situation, the idea of running facial recognition software on people known to be involved on her police PC seems dumb at best. There’s being incautious, and then there’s just asking for trouble. Stuff like this is just lazily thought out, and undermines the whole concept of Catherine as a competent cop.
On the whole, the constant mum angst, the partner’s seemingly out-of-nowhere “I was on a date admission”, the hot English ME flirting with Catherine and the irritating sister make this episode feels far more soapy than is needed. This could just be The CW pandering to their demographic and introducing fantastical and sci-fi elements in a slow drip-feed fashion, but it seems like the wrong tactic. They’ve done fantasy shows before, mixing the fantastical and the real is not a new concept. The show really needs to find its balance and its voice soon, because at the moment it’s a bit of a mess.
BEST FIGHT SCENE It’s all about the girl power again this week. Catherine gets to take down JT after he gets the jump on her when she breaks into the warehouse. She also holds her own for a while before Vincent swoops in to rescue her from the biker/ally mugger.
HULK OUT Catherine asks Vincent about her mother’s death for what seems the hundredth time and he gets all loud and bumpy faced and throws himself at a wall. We admire his restraint.
BEASTLY STALKER We know Vincent keeps an eye on Catherine and swoops in to rescue her, but the way he sneaks up on her and grabs her from behind while she’s standing on the edge of a roof top at a crime scene is just creepy. Couldn’t he have coughed or something?
BEAST POWER Vincent is shown to have a few new superpowers. He has super hearing, a super sense of smell and he can also run in slow motion like The Six Million Dollar Man .
MURDER DEATH KILL Dance choreographer throws a dancer off a roof over sexual assault accusations.
Catherine: "Where is everything?”
JT: "I’m assuming with him."
Catherine: “Which is where?"
JT: "I have no idea. But wherever it is it’s safer than here, where you keep showing up."
Steven Ellis @Steven Ellis
Beauty And The Beast will be shown on Watch but has no UK airdate as yet