‘Beauty and the Beast’ Review: Hopelessness Takes Hold In Tense ‘The Getaway’
Recap and review of Beauty and the Beast – Season 4 Episode 9 – The Getaway:
By and large, Beauty and the Beast has been a hopeful show, with its mantra of clinging to the possibility of happily ever after. But “The Getaway” is the first time I’ve truly seen hopelessness take hold in the series. It’s symptomatic of the desperate nature of our heroes’ situation. The mounting stress and tension of this storyline is evident in virtually every scene tonight, as this week’s episode is played straight. No comic relief. No lighthearted moments. Just the cold, hard, desperate reality of VinCat’s plight, and how increasingly hopeless it’s become. It’s a great episode, because the stakes feel higher than they ever have before.
The episode is built around Vincent (Jay Ryan) and Cat (Kristin Kreuk) on a getaway in a nice little cabin on the outskirts of the city. The purpose is to not only hide from the press, but to also formulate a plan now that Grace Rose (Melissa Tang) is inching closer and closer to busting the real story about Agent Hill’s death wide open. While, at first, it seems as though this episode is meant to be a kind of oasis in the center of all the ongoing beast madness, “The Getaway” has the dramatic effect of a noose being tightened. There’s a lot of tension here, and even more desperation. Honestly, the hopelessness kind of comes as a surprise, as it all comes in a rush: while setting up the cabin, Vincent expresses his frustrations about having to hide in the first place, since he’s finally in deep enough with Graydal to be added to the beast-hunting team. Granted, Vincent’s fellow Graydal teammates have no idea that he’s actually the beast they’re looking for, but Vincent sees this as the perfect opportunity to get his and Cat’s lives back, which means this is the worst time to be hiding. But Cat’s optimistic attitude completely vanishes in that moment, as she snaps at Vincent, declaring that they aren’t going to get their lives back. Ever.
It’s one of Kreuk’s best scenes this season, as Cat sits Vincent down and explains to him all the ways in which it’s impossible for them to go back to the sort of lives they were leading before all this happened. The hospital won’t take Vincent back, DHS won’t want Cat for much longer, and it’s not like Tess (Nina Lisandrello) is going to be able to rehire her as an NYPD cop. Even if they aren’t on the run anymore, and even if Vincent somehow has his name cleared, they’re going to have to start their lives all over again, from scratch. It’s a shattering admission for Cat to make, but she’s brave enough to make it, and has the good sense to start planning now to mitigate the damage. It isn’t necessarily that Vincent is being portrayed as needlessly stubborn. It’s just that he still believes the slate can be wiped clean, and everything can return to normal. And that’s just not realistic anymore, considering their situation. Maybe it was possible before Vincent became a fugitive. But now? Not so much.
And you know what? I feel like that’s a pretty strong jumping-off point for the exploration of a marriage in a supernatural genre series. I mean, the divisions between Cat and Vincent, especially in earlier seasons, had to do with competing romantic entanglements. You had Gabe or Evan or Tori or whomever. Or you had them facing competing goals, such as when Vincent was brainwashed by Reynolds to become an assassin, and Cat had to save/stop him. Those were all decent stories in their time, but there’s a layer of artifice to it, because it’s a situation that, by sheer virtue of its outlandishness, can be difficult to relate to, for some viewers. But here, we still get solid marital drama without the need for any romantic challengers or brainwashing tactics. Instead, we have two spouses who are focused on the same goal, but who aren’t on the same page about how to achieve it. It feels like a more realistic depiction of what a marriage is like — at least, as realistic a depiction as you can get in a show where a band of mercenaries are hunting a half-man/half-beast in the wilds outside New York City. I know relatability can be hard to come by on a genre show, but Vincent and Catherine really do feel quite relatable in this situation.
But back to Cat’s plan, as it involves actually using Grace Rose to their advantage, since she’s already close to cracking the whole story anyway (for instance, she correctly surmises that Hill was killed in self-defense, and that it had to do with a super-soldier project gone wrong, although she doesn’t name her sources on any of it). Vincent is initially hesitant, but it’s not as though they actually have any other choice. So he goes along with it. And this is where everything goes crazy. Vincent reveals the truth about beasts to Grace by beasting out in front of her, and this is enough to get her to agree to help them tell their story. However, Vincent’s Graydal colleague Kane (Tahmoh Penikett) has tracked Vincent to the woods, leading to an assault on the cabin that results in Grace being seriously injured. This results in one of the best little bits of misdirection that the show has employed…
After Grace is injured from the blowback of the live grenade, Vincent immediately checks up on her. And his dialogue gives every indication that, if they hurry up and get her to a hospital, Grace will pull through. So Vincent comes up with a plan to lure Kane away from the cabin, in order to give Cat (who, by this point, is struggling to keep it all together) enough time to get Grace into a car and to a hospital. You would think that if Grace were going to die, they’d have just killed her off right then and there, rather than prolonging the hope that she might pull through. But there’s a strong narrative reason for doing it this way, and it only becomes evident later on. In short, Vincent lures Kane into the woods, only to get caught up in one of Kane’s traps, since the veteran hunter thought ahead. Suddenly, Vincent is shot full of tranquilizer darts, and we’re to assume that this is going to lead to him being taken away to finally meet the person who put out the bounty on him. But that isn’t what happens at all, as Cat comes to Vincent’s rescue at the last minute, stopping Kane from finishing the job, and then killing the mercenary when he tries to pull his gun on her. Only after Cat frees Vincent from the trap do we learn that Grace has died offscreen, and that’s why Cat was able to come back. Basically, the show plays on our expectations to make the climax genuinely surprising. We expect that Vincent will be captured because we know Cat has just left with Grace to go to the hospital, since the script has left us with the notion that she still has a good chance of pulling through. By not killing off Grace immediately, it gives us a reason not to expect Cat to save Vincent later, so that when she does, it’s an actual surprise. Also, because we never see Grace die, and can only go on Cat’s word that it was already too late, the more cynical viewer can then speculate whether Grace was really a lost cause, or if Cat made the decision to sacrifice Grace by leaving her at the cabin to go to Vincent’s aid. Granted, I don’t think it’s something Cat would have done, but it’s hard to ever truly be sure. And that’s what I liked about this, in addition to the excellent use of misdirection that gave us a surprising conclusion to a climax whose ending wouldn’t have been all that surprising in any other week.
With that said, even though Vincent is saved, there’s still a pervasive aura of hopelessness surrounding the ensemble. For one, Tess is positively fed up with getting roped into all this beast drama — and yet, she’s also annoyed that J.T. (Austin Basis) is trying to keep her out of it. It’s a strange line for the character to walk, but it makes sense, because Tess is just looking for her own semblance of normalcy, just like Cat. However, because she keeps helping and covering for Cat, she’s putting her own career at risk. Asking her date, a district attorney, for advice on what he’d do in her position doesn’t really help matters either, as he basically claims that a cop who chooses to enforce laws selectively no longer deserves to wear the badge. Tess briefly considers resigning and leaving law enforcement behind altogether, until J.T. talks her out of it in one of the more touching scenes of the episode. And it also creates an interesting conflict of interest, as J.T. says Tess should do whatever she feels she has to do to maintain her career and walk on the right side of the law, even if that means arresting them when their paths cross during a case. I can’t imagine they’d set this up if it didn’t result in Tess actually having to arrest a fellow member of the BATB team, and I’ll be interested to see how that all plays out, if/when it happens.
Still, even that situation isn’t going to be as fraught with conflict as Vincent and Cat’s conclusion this week, as Vincent decides he only has one move left to bring this all to an end: he willingly turns himself in to Graydal, admitting he’s the beast in front of the team tasked with hunting him down. Vincent is knocked unconscious and taken away as the episode comes to an end, and this is probably the first time I’ve genuinely been worried for the guy this season. That final goodbye kiss to Cat seemed very real and very foreboding. It’s a hopeless situation, or at least it feels like one. But then, this is a show about hope even in the face of hopelessness. If Beauty and the Beast has a mantra, it’s “There’s always a way.” And “The Getaway” shows that Vincent and Cat aren’t giving up on their happily ever after just yet because, for as long as they’re both breathing, there’s always a way.
What do you think of Beauty and the Beast Season 4 Episode 9, “The Getaway”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on Beauty and the Beast, read my review and analysis of last week’s exciting, fun episode, “Love Is a Battlefield”!TV 2016Beauty and the BeastRecapReview