Recap and review for Beauty and the Beast – Season 1 Episode 9 – Midseason Finale – Bridesmaid Up!
Beauty and the Beast has ramped up the sexual tension between Cat (Kristin Kreuk) and Vincent (Jay Ryan) over the last several weeks, yet the show rarely dedicated an entire episode to the advancement of their romance before tonight’s “Bridesmaid Up!” This week, the advancement of their romance is largely catalyzed by outside forces, as Cat is continually pressured into bringing a plus-one to her father’s wedding by her future stepmother’s bridesmaids. This external pressure forces Cat and Vincent closer together, and it largely works. Kreuk and Ryan catch a lot of flack for what’s considered a general lack of chemistry, but I really feel like there’s something there with them. They aren’t really helped by the writing, which is why it’s kind of remarkable that they’re able to get as much mileage out of the “will they?/won’t they?” dynamic as they do. In many ways, it’s the only thing keeping the show afloat, as the procedural element isn’t really sophisticated enough to be compelling on its own, while the overarching mythos of the Muirfield mystery isn’t deployed consistently enough to remain interesting from week-to-week. And so the task of preventing the show from collapsing altogether falls upon Kreuk and Ryan. For the most part, I feel like they’re up to the task. Cheesy as it tends to be, “Bridesmaid Up!” is perfectly serviceable television.
The case of the week is disposed of so quickly, I had to wonder what the point was, other than to further illustrate the concept of Cat’s abiding loneliness. The purpose for the story doesn’t become apparent until the end, when it blows the story wide open, but we’ll get to that in a bit. When a good-looking, well-to-do man is murdered, the investigation leads Cat to a matchmaking service run by Sabrina Meyer (Rena Sofer), and her husband, Drake. Sabrina preys upon young, single women by reinforcing their overpowering sense of loneliness, causing them to depend on her legendary matchmaking skills to find them a mate. When the victim gets in her way, Sabrina sets him up with an ex-con named Britney McCabe, in order to divert suspicion when she murders the man herself. Sabrina, who takes herself and her profession as seriously as Mets fans take the playoffs, flips the proverbial lid when she discovers that Cat isn’t really a desperate single, but a detective. With the case wrapped up, Sabrina more or less disappears from the plot altogether, until the climactic finale.
Until then, however, Cat is busy trying to convince her fellow bridesmaids that she actually has a boyfriend, in order to avoid their misguided attempts at setting her up with someone. She proclaims she’s dating a doctor named Vincent Zalanski (the name of her kindergarten crush), and suddenly, she has to come up with an entire backstory for this date that doesn’t exist. Vincent, for his part, offers to fill the role, attempting to sell both Cat and J.T. (Austin Basis) on the idea that he’s cured of his rage blackouts. He tries to get J.T. to taze him as a test, goading him by claiming to have slept with J.T.’s high school prom date, but J.T. doesn’t take the bait. It’s an amusing bit that further develops their friendship and interplay, and is among the episode’s lighter moments, as Cat waffles back and forth on the question of Vincent, who she desperately wants to be her date to the wedding, but whom she can’t trust to keep things controlled. Vincent offers J.T. as an alternative date, but when helping J.T. prepare his Vincent Zalanski story by reading Cat’s online profile to him, he realizes that Cat is describing him. So to hell with protocol and the safety of civilians, as Vincent shows up at the wedding anyway, and only moments after Cat has confessed that there is no Vincent Zalanski (the bridesmaids are understanding, revealing that they have relationship issues of their own).
Of course, this doesn’t stop Cat and Vincent from having a perfectly nice time together, sharing dances and heartfelt talks on the veranda, standing at kissing distance the entire time. And though it does get kind of dull, there are some interesting developments, as Cat learns from her drunken sister, Heather (Nicole Anderson), that Evan (Max Brown) has received a research grant to study the DNA recovered from crime scenes throughout the city (namely, Vincent’s). Through his research, he’s discovered that the DNA is mutating, becoming more animal than human. When Cat reveals this knowledge to Vincent, the good times effectively end, and the couple goes back to their usual “We can’t do this!” routine.
This culminates in the climactic setpiece that makes the episode a success. When Cat is driving down a desolate road, trying to get a hold of Vincent, she’s run off the road by Sabrina. The car does roughly four twists in mid-air, such that Cat shouldn’t have been still living, much less capable of shooting a gun. But internal consistency isn’t really big on the list for a show about a half-man transformed into a half-beast by super-soldier experiments. As Sabrina aims her gun at Cat, vowing to ruin her happy ending, Cat draws her own gun. As we see, both women fired at the same time. Both women have the same wound, a bullet through the right side of their chest, yet the wound kills Sabrina. However, Vincent appears and gets Cat out of the car, hoping to rush her to a hospital before the wound can do the same to her. As if on cue, Heather arrives on the scene with her crush object, Evan, and as Vincent fights off his gradual transformation, Evan approaches the scene of the wreck.
And that’s the episode. It’s a hell of a cliffhanger, even though we know there’s very little chance Evan sees who the assailant is in the shadows. It’s more likely that he sees a shadow and assumes it’s responsible for hurting Cat, leading to a more personal motivation in Evan’s mission to track down the subway vigilante who saved his life. Either way, the conclusion changes the dramatic landscape of the series as it brings Evan and Heather closer to the truth, while putting Cat’s life in peril and forcing Vincent’s feelings for her to the surface. The series is taking a month off, and hopefully it can narrow its focus on such character conflicts, and less on ancillary detective cases.