‘Beauty and the Beast’ Review: ‘Point Of No Return’ Is Light on Action, But No Less Dramatic
Recap and review of Beauty and the Beast – Season 4 Episode 7 – Point of No Return:
It’s kind of strange to have an episode of Beauty and the Beast that’s this light on action. There’s no big climax, no big back-and-forth battle, and no race against time to stop a bad guy from doing something awful. But “Point of No Return” is no less dramatic for the lack of action, as this ends up being a pretty cerebral hour of television, with all the big drama coming instead from introspective questions and simple logistics. It’s certainly a bit of a departure from the expected formula for Beauty and the Beast.
With that said, I thought “Point of No Return” did a great job of delivering drama in more subtle ways, resulting in an episode that felt markedly different than most of what’s come before. Of course, with any shakeup in the formula there are going to be some risks involved. Just to recap: Vincent (Jay Ryan) is on the run from DHS after killing Hill, and Cat (Kristin Kreuk) is under serious suspicion for aiding and abetting her husband in his escape. To make matters worse, J.T. (Austin Basis) and Heather (Nicole Gale Anderson) are being hauled in for questioning, and new DHS Director Morgan refuses to believe Cat when she insists that Vincent was set up by Hill, and that the killing was in self-defense. And it’s not as though Cat can just come clean with Morgan about Vincent’s true nature, since telling DHS about beasts didn’t exactly go great for them with Hill. So Cat is faced with two choices, neither of which are all that good: she can convince DHS she’s flipped on Vincent, in order to gain access to Hill’s files and potentially prove that he set Vincent up. Or she could go the route suggested by Tess (Nina Lisandrello) and get Vincent to truly turn himself in. Both require faith: either faith that DHS will buy into Cat’s tricks or faith in the system she’s served as a cop for more than ten years. Hearing Tess explain to Cat why it might actually behoove her to trust in the justice system is a great moment for her character, as she essentially becomes the moral center in a situation that’s getting increasingly out of control. J.T. fulfills much the same function for Vincent after he takes a bounty hunter captive to torture him into revealing the identity of the person who hired him.
Although Vincent’s tactic ultimately works, thanks to sodium pentothal (i.e., truth serum) injections, it feels like Vincent has compromised part of his soul in the process. Sure, he now knows that private security firm Graydal are the ones trying to capture him (although he still has no idea who hired THEM to take him out). But he had to become a more fearsome, desperate man to get those answers, and without the excuse of being in beast mode at the time. Similarly, Cat compromises some of her moral fiber in order to discover pretty much the same thing, as it turns out Hill contracted his assassins from Graydal directly. Despite being on opposite ends of the law, Cat and Vincent both have similar goals. And yet, it feels like they’re slowly becoming different people as a result. Cat seems to recognize this better than Vincent, which brings us to the aforementioned risks involved in departing from the usual formula of a BATB episode.
It can be helpful on a show to keep certain things from the audience, to hold us in suspense. But misdirection is another thing entirely. And some people find it refreshing, while others might feel a bit gypped. I’m somewhere in the middle, however, and it all comes down to Cat’s big plan towards the end of the episode. Initially, we’re made to think she’s simply using DHS and pretending to go along with their plan to bring Vincent in because she doesn’t want him to be killed. But we later have a scene in which Cat explains to both Tess and Heather that she truly does want to help DHS bring Vincent in peacefully. The conversation is being overheard from a DHS surveillance van across the street, so it seems clear that Cat would account for this, and purposefully have this conversation with Heather and Tess in order to further sell her story that she wants to help DHS capture Vincent. That’s all well-and-good. Except, when she finally does meet with Vincent, he can immediately tell something is up because her heart is racing a mile a minute. The implication is that Cat has had a change of plans, and is truly selling Vincent out to DHS. This seems all the more certain when Morgan’s men storm the scene, causing Vincent to decry Cat for what she’s done, before using his super speed to get away. Cat later explains to J.T. and Tess that she was never going to sell Vincent out to DHS, she just needed DHS to believe she wanted to. However, she tells J.T. and Tess that, unfortunately, she never got to explain to Vincent that it was all a ruse. So Vincent truly believes Cat turned on him. Well, except that he doesn’t.
At the end of the episode, Cat finds Vincent in his underground hiding spot, and we learn that Cat DID tell Vincent about the plan and that it was all a ruse. So he was in on it all along. In fact, it was partially his plan! And this is where it goes from being a clever bit of misdirection to a needlessly complicated jumble. If Vincent was in on it all along, why did Cat allow J.T. and Tess to believe he wasn’t? If it’s about keeping them in the dark so they don’t know too much, I’m not sure this really helps, since they already know Cat is in league with Vincent, and that the DHS stunt was all a ruse. Also, having Cat go back-and-forth so many times within a single episode about the “turning Vincent in to DHS” plot made it difficult to ascertain just what she was planning. Which, to be honest, was probably the point. But it made Cat seem like an indecisive character, which I feel hurts her somewhat. Cat shouldn’t have all the answers, but she should have a firm grip on what it is she’s doing. And although we eventually learn that she did all along, this method of storytelling was far more complicated than it needed to be. With that said, I did mention how I’m more in the middle on the misdirection twist. So, with the negatives out of the way, let’s look at what I really liked about this approach to storytelling.
For one, I was a fan of the reveal at the end that Vincent had been in on it, because it shows we’re past the need for manufactured relationship drama. We can just cut to the chase of figuring out how these two are going to overcome their adversities together. Furthermore, I thought all this double-dealing and mysterious scheming shows how effective Cat and Vincent have become at finding their way out of virtually every situation. Sure, they’re still in the thick of it, and both are legit scared that they might not make it out of this one alive. But they still have moves, and they’re going to keep making moves until they run out, because they’re shown to be remarkably resilient. It makes both characters easy to root for, because you can trust there’s a good reason for just about everything they do.
Another big benefit to the misdirection is the nuance it brought out of the actors. Kristin Kreuk had to play Cat as someone on the verge of a nervous breakdown at all times. While this has kind of been the case for half the season so far, it was important for her to maintain this facade, considering the nature of the story the episode was telling. Her “confession” to Morgan was a terrific moment, since it allowed Cat to voice real concerns about Vincent’s recklessness while covering it under the guise of giving him up to DHS. She doesn’t really believe in the PTSD label Hill saddled him with, but Cat is being honest when she says Vincent will do anything to prove his innocence. Cat proclaiming “I don’t want to be a widow” is one of the most chilling lines of the episode, because we know how possible that is (hell, Vincent’s nightmare at the start of the episode outright shows us). By the same token, Jay Ryan gets to have a lot of fun with “Beast on the Run” Vincent, playing him as a smooth, almost Han Solo-like rogue. In my favorite scene of the episode, Vincent storms into Graydal to demand a job, dropping the unconscious body of one of their best bounty hunters right at their doorstep. The director of Graydal is impressed, but not enough to give him a job. But Vincent remains a cool customer throughout, arms folded, indicating that while Graydal’s job is to know things, Vincent is no slouch in the intel department either. He makes a serious case for why he’d be more effective than just about any agent Graydal employs. It’s a really intriguing direction for the character, even though we know it’s all a front so that Vincent can find proof of the identity of who put out the beast bounty. Both Cat and Vincent put on facades this week, and I thought the result was some of the most interesting portrayals from Kreuk and Ryan this season.
In a way, “Point of No Return” is a thematic examination of lies. The episode lies to us in order to surprise us down the line. Heather lies to Kyle (Michael Roarke) about why she’s been so secretive. Cat lies to J.T. and Tess about Vincent being in on the DHS raid (although that might have been in the event others were listening, to be fair). Vincent overcomes the lies of a bounty hunter by using truth serum, of all things. Basically, this was an episode about lies of all shapes and sizes, and how even though lying can cause bigger problems down the line, it certainly has its fair share of uses. In that sense, I really did think this was one of the most intriguing episodes of the season. And the fact that this was entirely accomplished without a big action setpiece is all the more remarkable. I definitely enjoyed this episode, and wouldn’t mind seeing another one like it before the end, honestly.
But what did you think of Beauty and the Beast Season 4 Episode 7, “Point of No Return”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more Beauty and the Beast, read my review of last week’s intriguing, “Beast of Times, Worst of Times”!TV 2016Beauty and the BeastRecapReview