‘Beauty and the Beast’ Review: ‘Beast Interrupted’ Pays Homage to Season 1 (Kind Of)
Recap and review of Beauty and the Beast – Season 4 Episode 2 – Beast Interrupted:
For what is supposed to be its final season, it makes sense that Beauty and the Beast is looking back. “Beast Interrupted” feels a lot like a Season 1 episode, with a one-off Case of the Week centering on a wealthy young heiress, an undercover sting, and a murder plot. And you know what? For as much as I didn’t like those first thirteen episodes of Season 1 at the time, I think the approach actually worked really well here. It gave the feeling of the show coming full circle, while also moving the overarching seasonal narrative forward. I preferred last week’s premiere, but “Beast Interrupted” is still a solid episode in its own right.
I suppose the big takeaway from the episode is that it plays out as a potential “What if?” for Vincent (Jay Ryan) and Cat (Kristin Kreuk). Rather than the type of Case of the Week we’d have gotten in Season 1, “Beast Interrupted” is a cautionary tale for why they really ought to be trying harder not to be exposed. They’re heroes and all, and they’re very good at what they do, but Vincent and Cat take a lot of unnecessary risks that only enhance the likelihood that Vincent’s secret will one day be exposed. Granted, you could make the argument that some of these risks are necessary, such as Vincent beasting out to prevent the bad guy’s helicopter from leaving, in a scene that feels straight out of Captain America: Civil War. But still, this episode feels like foreshadowing. It feels like the season, so far, is making the case that it’s simply not possible for Vincent to remain unexposed. Sure, he’s fine now, but it feels like his heroic instincts will ultimately be his undoing. Eventually, he’s probably going to have to make a choice between remaining unexposed or saving Cat/the city/the world. And knowing Vincent, I’m not entirely sure it’ll be a hard choice for him to make.
But back to the similarities with Season 1. We get an episode-long investigation, as the team tracks a black market buyer who’s hacked into a government database and obtained a host of files — among them, a dossier on Vincent. The team needs to retrieve that file before the hackers realize what they have, while also protecting the black market buyer’s target, a wealthy heiress named Bootsy Durbrige (Amanda Setton). No, seriously. It sounds ridiculous, but it works as a parallel to Vincent and Cat’s story: Bootsy wanted to do more with her life than to simply be a rich party girl, so she gave the FBI the funds to hide wealthy informants in the Witness Protection Program. The bad guys found out about this, and hacked into the database in order to steal the locations of the witnesses, and get a bead on Bootsy. However, once it becomes public knowledge that Bootsy was responsible for helping to hide the witnesses, her high-rolling lifestyle essentially must come to an end, since she now has to enter witness protection herself. Vincent and Cat are faced with the grim realization that this could be them, if they don’t play their cards right. And it very well could be, which is part of what makes this storyline so interesting.
Back in Season 1, you’d get a Case of the Week, and you’d have Cat and Tess (Nina Lisandrello) going undercover to investigate the crime, eventually wrapping everything up in a nice little bow by the end of the episode. And in those first thirteen episodes, the cases would only have a glancing relevance to the overarching story of the season. But here, we get a storyline that feels equal parts self-contained and integral to the broader arc of the season. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see Bootsy again, but her appearance is an enlightening influence on the team. For instance, Cat benches Vincent at the start of the investigation, believing it’s best for her hubby to keep a low profile until he’s actually needed. But it becomes apparent that Vincent can’t just stay on the sidelines. He and Cat clash at a nightclub where they inadvertently cross paths in the attempt to save Bootsy, which results in the crooks getting away with the heiress. Vincent prepares to beast out in order to track the vehicle, but there are paparazzi everywhere, an ever-present reminder that exposure is a constant danger. Vincent and Cat accept that they’re a team, and that they’ll have to work together, since they’re simply more effective as a unit than as individuals. Naturally, this isn’t to say that they aren’t individually capable, or that theirs is the only pairing on the show that works. Rather, it’s a reminder that Vincent and Cat are a whole lot more than husband and wife. Their effectiveness within the storyline extends beyond their romantic capability. Hell, I’d argue Jay Ryan and Kristin Kreuk have just as much chemistry as a crime-fighting duo as they do as a couple.
The Bootsy arc also extends to the subplots of the episode, allowing us for a bit more character development for the people on the sidelines. Tess comes to realize just how much she misses field work when Cat convinces her to go undercover as Bootsy in order to lure out the black market buyer. While she’d still rather be done with all the beast business, she admits she’s at least trying to respect J.T.’s desire to do something greater with his life. On that subject, J.T. (Austin Basis) is ultimately driven by that desire to such a degree that he actually passes up the offer of tenure from the university, something he’d been working towards for years. While he admits that he has no idea just what he wants to do yet, he knows that it needs to be something more than he’s done in the past. I don’t know if that means J.T. is going to be more involved in the action (although, to be fair, he did get involved this week — by getting knocked out by Bootsy!), but I like the idea that J.T. is essentially rudderless. He’s abandoning the life he thought he wanted in the hopes of finding something that better suits him. While he’s still committed to Tess, I think it speaks volumes that of his level of distraction this season that their relationship is largely being put on the back burner. I know there are plenty of fans who won’t mind that JTNT might be sacrificed in the name of keeping VinCat safe from exposure, but I’m not sure the narrative has to sacrifice one relationship for the other. I’d argue J.T. and Tess deserve a happily ever after just as much as Vincent and Cat, so I’m hoping the season finds a way to reconcile the two disparate arcs: J.T. wanting more out of his life, and Tess wanting normalcy. Then again, if that leads to a breakup, and the script makes that development feel natural, then I’m not sure I’d mind it as much as I would if J.T. and Tess’s relationship was a casualty of protecting their friends, because it’d be a decision that comes from a realization about the characters’ respective compatibility, and not from the difficulties of their circumstance.
The other way Bootsy enlightens the group is in how her plight brings Heather (Nicole Gale Anderson) to a realization about why it’s a bad idea to bring Kyle into the fold. Towards the beginning of the episode, Heather is angry that both Vincent and Cat are essentially forbidding her from pursuing Kyle, since they don’t know this guy, and the risk of exposure is at an all-time high. In essence, Heather feels she’s not being allowed to have a life, and worries she’ll never get to have a real life of her own, considering Vincent and Cat always seem to be in some form of trouble or another. However, in the climax, Bootsie’s love for her younger sister is what leads to her being captured by the black market buyer. This, in turn, leads to Bootsie being exposed. In one fell swoop, Heather realizes the horrible effect she could potentially have on her sister’s life if she were to compromise her own safety. Granted, I doubt this means the show is backing off of the Kyle romance, and I feel as certain as ever that there’s something shady going on with Kyle, but for now, this serves as a nice bit of character development for Heather. Much like Bootsie, Heather might seem shallow, but she’s actually got a good heart, and she’s capable of seeing the forest for the trees, so to speak. Although Heather doesn’t always take part in the action, she still feels like a big part of the ensemble, and she also serves to lighten the mood. In a way, she’s the new J.T., although I’d like to see her get involved a bit more. Hell, team her up with J.T. more frequently! Every time she and J.T. team up, I really enjoy the results, and I think they could have a nice mentor-student friendship. Either way, I’m liking what we’ve gotten so far, as each member of the ensemble is getting significant bits of character development.
All in all, I thought “Beast Interrupted” was a strong outing for the series, although I’d like to see more serialization in future episodes. Waiting until practically the end of last season to finally introduce Liam was a mistake, in my opinion, since he ended up being defeated so quickly. There was no real time to let that story arc breathe. I’m hoping the show doesn’t make the same mistake again by waiting too long to finally introduce the Big Bad of the season. That said, for now, I feel like the show is doing a good job of delivering a version of Beauty and the Beast that feels familiar but new.
But what did you think of Beauty and the Beast Season 4 Episode 2, “Beast Interrupted”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on Beauty and the Beast, read our review and analysis of last week’s divisive season premiere!TV 2016Beauty and the BeastRecapReview