Recap and review of Beauty and the Beast – Season 1 Episode 6 – Worth
Beauty and the Beast has been improving as a series in small increments from one week to the next. This is because it’s actually starting to take shape, finally molding itself around the traditional Beauty and the Beast premise, a familiar arc that has been lacking until the show decided to take a step in that direction last week. Last week, I said that I expected the series to tease out the Cat/Vincent pairing over the next several weeks, bringing them to the cusp of union, and then backing off. Well, this week’s “Worth” brings Cat (Kristin Kreuk) and Vincent (Jay Ryan) closer together, while simultaneously keeping them at arm’s length.
The case this week involves the murder of a painter named Nicholas, a man of singular compulsion: the dedication to his craft. The investigation leads Cat and Tess (Nina Lisandrello) into the SoHo art scene to unravel the mystery behind Nicholas’s love life, particularly his attraction to a young woman named Daphne, who pretends to hardly know the victim when approached by Cat at a gallery opening. However, Daphne is masking a deeper pain. As it turns out, she’s a call girl, and was deeply in love with Nicholas, whose love for her Vincent feels is obvious in every brush stroke of the detailed paintings in Nicholas’s studio. The killer is revealed to be Daphne’s pimp, who convinced her that Nicholas no longer loved her. The revelation sends Daphne into a fit, but Cat and Tess are luckily able to intercede before Daphne does anything rash. The case is of minor consequence to this week’s episode, other than to illustrate the larger idea of self-worth, of believing oneself is capable and worthy of love. The investigation also gives the production an excuse to put Kristin Kreuk and Nina Lisandrello in chic evening wear like we’re in an early season of Gossip Girl. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that.
In addition to all these conceits, the investigation further the potential romance between Cat and Evan (Max Brown), who’s suddenly gone from “handsome yet fuddy-duddy” sidekick to full-on Lothario. Cat insists that their kiss last week was a harmless, frivolous thing, and that they shouldn’t allow it to interfere with their work relationship. Evan, however, remains persistent in a way that would be obnoxious if he weren’t so handsome or British, boldly stating that Cat was the one who kissed him. This leads to yet another misunderstanding between Cat and Vincent, who sees her with Evan and assumes they’re heading out on a date, when Cat had just got done telling Vincent that she was busy that night with a work engagement. Much of the episode, in fact, revolves around misunderstandings between Cat and Vincent. At the start of the episode, Vincent offers up a vague story about being sick as his excuse for missing his dinner date with Cat last week. In his effort to protect Cat, he lies by omission, neglecting to tell her that his “illness” was actually a blackout beyond his control. He woke up on top of the Brooklyn Bridge, for crying out loud, with no memory of how he got there! I suppose he doesn’t want Cat to think he doesn’t have control over his “condition”, but even then, it feels contrived that he would let Cat think he stood her up, instead of simply telling her the truth. Maybe two weeks ago, it would have made sense, but Vincent has shown too much progress in his relationship with Cat since last week, even if he was heartbroken to see her kissing Evan.
J.T. (Austin Basis) theorizes that Vincent’s blackout was due to an increased heart rate brought on by jealous thoughts of Cat and Evan, and though Vincent finds the entire notion ridiculous, he never really refutes it either. He tries to explain why he’s been so awkward, and Cat surmises that he saw the kiss with Evan. This leads to Cat shaking off her attraction to Vincent, assuming that he doesn’t feel the same way, saying that she had assumed that what they had was some kind of destiny enacting itself upon them, and that she was clearly mistaken. Vincent is barely afforded an opportunity to get a word in edgewise, and he can do little else but skulk off when Cat decisively shoots him down as a romantic prospect, again following from her assumption that he could never bring himself to reciprocate her feelings. It’s a bit of a cliche to take the narrative in this direction, but Kreuk and Ryan pull it off well enough to make it work, for now. I understand that any decent romance needs obstacles, I just worry that the romance might crumble if/when they actually get together. It’s hard to sustain chemistry from the “Will they?/Won’t they?” stage through to the “Yes, they will!” stage. Should be interesting to see where this goes. By episode’s end, at least, Cat has turned the corner on Vincent, thanks to his help in the investigation causing her to realize the complexity of Vincent’s feelings for her, that he more or less thinks himself unworthy of her. The episode brings them just short of kissing, so I guess a tender touch of the cheek and a “Hey, you’re a good guy and you’re worth it” speech will have to suffice. I just hope there’s better variety in their bag of tricks in the coming weeks.
The episode also follows Cat’s doubts over her father’s new fiance, a woman half his age. Cat’s father gives her the third degree over her distrust, saying that she’ll never see any other woman as worthy, no matter what they do, and that her attitude makes it hard to have a relationship with her. Of course, it’s not like Cat doesn’t have reason to mistrust her potential stepmother, as she and Tess catch her kissing a strange man after a dress fitting. However, this turns out to have been an unwanted kiss, from her still-enamored ex-husband. After the blow-up with her father, Cat makes up with her future stepmother. This is all exactly as thrilling as it sounds, which is to say not at all. It’s really the only major misstep of the episode, if we’re judging the show against itself. However, this plot thread at least further exemplifies the theme of worth that runs throughout the episode, as Cat initially sees her father’s fiance as unworthy of him, but turns the corner at roughly the same time she starts to recognize that Vincent’s feelings of unworthiness mirror Cat’s unfair assessment of her future stepmother. God, that was a labored sentence. Sorry about that. Sometimes you just have to get needlessly wordy about a show on The CW network.
“Worth” is a fairly good episode, even though the better parts are sandwiched in between subplots of empty consequence. The show will be back in two weeks, and it will presumably follow up on this week’s big episode-closing twist, as Vincent blacks out after his tender moment with Cat, and wakes up in a dark, empty alleyway…covered in someone else’s blood. So much for self-control. And so much for this romance, if it brings Vincent, as a suspect in a potential homicide, into contact with Cat, a police detective with a chip on her shoulder. Should be interesting, at least in the sense that it could potentially move the season narrative forward in a significant way.