‘Beauty and the Beast’ Review: ‘Beast of Times, Worst of Times’ Shocker Changes Everything
Recap and review of Beauty and the Beast – Season 4 Episode 6 – Beast of Times, Worst of Times:
Beauty and the Beast has legit crossed the craziness threshold with “Beast of Times, Worst of Times”, an episode that features a shocker that essentially changes everything. While more astute viewers probably would have seen this coming, I can admit I was genuinely surprised by what happened here.
Naturally, the big twist here is that Deputy Secretary Hill (Andrew Stewart-Jones) betrays Vincent (Jay Ryan) by essentially sending him into a trap by feeding him intel on his former commanding officer, Colonel Fuller (James McGowan). This leads Vincent into an army base and into the waiting arms of an explosive device that takes out Fuller and nearly kills Vincent. This would be bad enough, but the situation is made significantly worse by Hill’s decision to have DHS agents take Cat (Kristin Kreuk) into custody. So she’s in no position to stop Vincent when he loses control of his beast abilities. And this is where the aforementioned shocker comes in: Vincent kills Hill, and is suddenly flagged as a person of interest in his murder. After all the hard work he and his group put into bringing this beast business to an end, Vincent must now go on the run, as he and Cat are on opposite sides of the law. It’s one of the more heartbreaking moments in the show’s run, particularly when Vincent holds Cat close, desperate not to let her go. But he has no other choice, really. The tragedy is less in the fact that Vincent has to run, and more due to the fact that there were extenuating circumstances in Hill’s murder that nearly render Vincent blameless in all this.
Okay, maybe “blameless” is the wrong word, but the script makes it clear that the murder never would have happened if Hill had listened to Vincent’s warning. A quick recap: after Vincent escaped the army base, he was led right into another trap set up by Hill, as Hill knew Vincent would return to try and save Cat. Once captured, Hill has Vincent tied to a chair, with plans to shoot him up with synthetic adrenaline to force him to change into a beast. When Vincent becomes a beast, Hill will be justified in shooting him. In one fell swoop, his career will be restored and his family will be safe. Because that’s his motive in all this, naturally. It isn’t necessarily that he dislikes Vincent or Cat, but simply that he didn’t want his family to get mixed up in the beast business. When that happened a few weeks back, Hill realized he was risking his career and the lives of his family to protect people who didn’t really give a damn about the sacrifices he’s had to make for them. And so Hill put together his plan. Granted, he’s not the person behind the beast bounty, and he admits as much to Vincent. So we still have that mystery to solve. But at this point, Hill doesn’t really care who put out the bounty or hired the snipers. All we know is that it wasn’t the DHS (since Hill would have known about it) and it wasn’t Fuller (since a flashback reveals the Colonel actually sacrificing the life of another soldier so Vincent could live). Basically, the episode gives us a twist but doesn’t solve any mysteries.
And I’m okay with that, honestly, because it gives us a story development that marks a MASSIVE turning point in the series. The climax features Cat racing against time to get to Vincent and Hill before it’s too late — only to come up short by mere moments. Hill shoots Vincent full of synthetic adrenaline (enough to take out an elephant, according to J.T. later), and Vincent beasts out, no longer capable of controlling himself. Cat pleads with the transformed Vincent, but he’s more beast than man. He looks right into Cat’s eyes and then snaps Hill’s neck with a single motion of his hand. It’s one of the most savage and terrifying moments of the series, because it allows us to peer into the possibility of what an unhinged Vincent could do. In a single, tragic moment, the status quo of the series is entirely upended. Vincent is now a fugitive and, in a way, we’re right back at Season 1’s square one. And that’s both exciting and daunting, because we’re in a position to see how these characters respond to division. This has been such an ensemble show that it’s hard to think of what the series would even look like with Vincent on the run without Cat. Of course, I don’t have any doubts that the actors can carry the changing circumstances of their respective roles. Kristin Kreuk, in particular, had a great episode this week, encapsulating all of Cat’s heartbreak and terror in that single moment of watching Vincent murder Hill. With one look, you could just see the hope leak out of Cat, as she realizes that all their hard work may have just gone down the drain, along with their last chance at a happily ever after. Her reaction is what makes the moment as devastating as it is, every bit as much as Vincent turning into someone we don’t really recognize.
With that said, I think Vincent killing Hill would have had more dramatic weight had he not killed anyone else before in this season prior to killing Hill. But I suppose the story was less about the shock of Vincent taking another human life, and more about the specific life he took. This is the first life he’s taken out of the two or so goons he’s killed in Season 4 where it substantively changes the story. The death of a DHS agent means Vincent can’t just move on like he did before. And really, it’s not like Vincent was getting away scot-free with the goons he killed before, since he’s not any closer to the answers he’s seeking. In a sense, he and Cat have remained in a perpetual prison, unable to truly start living their lives outside the threat of constant danger. But outside the larger issue of what kind of meaning Vincent killing Hill has, there were other things I wish the episode had done. For instance, I liked the storyline with Colonel Fuller, and the way the script explores the relationship the two had, but felt the episode didn’t explore that relationship to the extent it could have. While Fuller isn’t exactly a good guy, he makes for an intriguing, well-rounded character when we learn that he had a bit of a soft spot for Vincent. That, even then, he saw potential in Vincent that no one else saw. Jay Ryan plays that moment of realization well, as he deduces from a flashback that Fuller is telling the truth about having spared him from the slaughter of the super-soldier subjects over ten years ago. Fuller is a character who deserved more attention than he got, I thought, particularly since his presence shed some light on the start of Vince’s life as a beast. That stuff is just interesting to me, so I feel like the show missed an opportunity there.
But there were some other developments in the episode worth exploring, such as J.T. (Austin Basis) and Tess (Nina Lisandrello) trying like hell to figure out where they stand. While it feels light in comparison to everything else in the episode, I feel like theirs is the most honest, relatable storyline, in that what they’re going through as a recently-separated couple doesn’t feel too far removed from real life. Sure, your average person isn’t being hunted by assassins. But the notion that Tess would allow her jealousy to possibly make her overly suspicious of J.T.’s new tech firm job offer, particularly when the representative they send is an attractive, fawning, twentysomething woman, feels like a natural extension of her character. By the same token, J.T. immediately dropping his guard and being taken in by the flattery and flirtations of a pretty girl feels natural as well. On the one hand, there are bigger fish to fry than whether or not J.T. and Tess get back together. But at the same time, I feel like the show needs these moments of levity to prevent the entire episode from feeling like an exercise in despair. Having said that, I’m still a bit iffy on Heather (Nicole Gale Anderson) and Kyle (Michael Rourke), but that’s mostly because I still don’t trust the guy. At the very least, it seems like we’ll soon get to wherever we’re going with that storyline, as Kyle (in a very gentle fashion) basically indicates that he’s getting kind of sick of being kept out of the loop. I don’t know if Kyle is a bad guy or not, but I hope we get some sort of concrete indication sooner rather than later. Then again, you could make the argument that Kyle makes for a good source of tension, since we don’t really know him that well. In a way, he’s kind of like the nosy reporter the gang runs up against this week, Grace Rose (Melissa Tang). It could be that neither character is bad, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still cause complications for the team. And at a time like this, complications are the last thing Vincent and Cat need.
While “Beast of Times, Worst of Times” has its faults, I still think it was a pretty exciting hour of television overall. It’s hard to believe that we’re reaching the halfway point of the season already, but it’s clear the show still has a lot of story left to tell, particularly as it regards Vincent’s new life as a fugitive, and the group’s attempts at putting the pieces back together in the aftermath of Hill’s murder. That alone should make for exciting TV. Beauty and the Beast is nearing the end, and I’m really hoping it can stick the landing.
But what did you think of Beauty and the Beast Season 4 Episode 6, “Beast of Times, Worst of Times”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on Beauty and the Beast, read my review of last week’s “It’s a Wonderful Beast”, and find out why it has officially become my favorite episode of the series ever!TV 2016Beauty and the BeastRecapReview