‘Beauty and the Beast’ Review: ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ Addresses the Baby Question
Recap and review of Beauty and the Beast – Season 4 Episode 4 – Something’s Gotta Give:
So Beauty and the Beast had to address the baby question eventually, right? “Something’s Gotta Give” is an episode that felt a long time in coming, since it feels as though the possibility of children is the only topic yet to be explored in our leads’ relationship. It resulted in an episode that doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to exploring the immense responsibility of a family, and it’s a storyline that’s further propelled by what I thought was a pretty great villain twist. From both a weekly case and character exploration perspective, this is on par with the premiere, in my opinion.
But first, that near-pregnancy. I think the show took a remarkably honest approach in having Cat (Kristin Kreuk) feel so uncertain about what she wants, in terms of a family life. Too often, the default is that the woman wants a baby and the man doesn’t, for whatever reason. But here, Cat isn’t entirely sure what she wants. Hell, she spends the entire episode ducking the question of whether or not she actually is pregnant, because confronting the possibility would mean REALLY confronting it. She and Vincent (Jay Ryan) would have to take stock of what they’re willing to risk, now that a child could be brought into their relationship. The choice to have a baby raises the stakes, and the choice not to have the baby would have potentially heartbreaking consequences for their relationship, since a child would be yet another thing that their dangerous way of life has forced them to sacrifice. In just about any other episode, Cat refusing to just take the pregnancy test would feel like a copout, a cheap way of extending the drama until after the Case of the Week is resolved at episode’s end. But here, it feels like a natural extension of Cat’s character. She doesn’t want to know because she isn’t in a position to really analyze what a pregnancy would mean at this time, particularly since Vincent is so militantly against the idea of kids right now. And with good reason: sure, Vincent is shown to be a bit surly with the kids of one of their witnesses, but he’s also thinking about the bigger picture here. Both he and Cat work physically and psychologically-demanding jobs, to say nothing of the beast hunter that’s out there. Vincent and Cat’s mantra has always been that together they could do anything, but as the title of the episode states, “Something’s gotta give.”
While searching for a pencil-pusher named Albert Toland (Neil Napier), a man who may have ties to the mysterious beast hunter, Vincent takes uncharacteristic swipes at Cat, illustrating just how much the pressure is finally getting to him. He’s missing shifts at work, and the shifts he actually catches end up being doubles, so he has even less time to see his wife, or to help her in the fight against beasts. It leads to him lashing out, since he feels Cat is in a better position to both investigate the beast hunter and maintain her career, considering her new role as a DHS agent allows her to do both. Cat views this as Vincent implying that she has it easy, and it’s understandable why she’d view it as a slight against her character. Vincent doesn’t know everything that Cat is dealing with, and although they’re supposed to be a team, his comments read as insensitive. By the same token, if a marriage is supposed to be a partnership, I’m not sure why Cat wouldn’t just tell Vincent that she’s late.
The episode tries to explain this away by revealing that Cat is worried she and Vincent will drift apart if a baby is introduced into the equation, especially considering they already have a hard enough time seeing each other outside the context of hunting bad guys. It’s an interesting direction to take Cat’s character, although I’m not sure it rings true. It’s hard to imagine, for example, that she’d really have doubts about Vincent’s commitment to her after everything they’ve been through. I get that the relationship drama is a big aspect of the show, but this is a couple that should be far past the need for worry about “drifting apart”. Then again, the argument could be made that the reason why this relationship works as well as it does is because it’s constantly being tested. Vincent and Cat certainly do come out of most of their relationship quarrels as a stronger couple, and this week’s storyline is really no different. Granted, having Toland’s wife going through the same problems that Cat fears for her relationship is a bit on-the-nose, particularly since it feels like the show has gone to this well multiple times already. There’s a certain symmetry in having the subjects in each weekly case mirror Vincent and Cat in some way, but it only works if it’s not something the show does too often. And between the Tolands, Bootsy, and the cage fighter who simply wanted to be free of danger, it feels like the show has too many convenient parallels. Still, it’s a credit to the writing that these storylines still work, especially since the conclusion to the Toland arc has less to do with marital woes than with actual life-or-death danger.
In one of the best twists the show has done for a one-off case, Toland is revealed not to be a victim of the beast hunter, but an assassin sent on his behalf. This twist is why I’m really glad I didn’t watch the preview for tonight’s episode, since it completely spoiled this. I’m not familiar with Neil Napier’s work, but he really impressed me here, going from a mild-mannered accountant to a cold-blooded killer at the drop of a hat. Toland is among the few who’ve ever really had Vincent at his mercy, and I’m not sure it can be attributed to luck. Yes, he caught Vincent a bit off-guard, but Toland was quicker with his gun than Vincent was with his super-speed, which speaks volumes of the assassin’s skill. Hell, he would have easily killed Vincent if Cat had no shown up at the last moment to take him out. It’s a climax that really feels earned because it ropes in the rest of the ensemble, in an approach that I could really get used to for this show, as Tess (Nina Lisandrello) and J.T. (Austin Basis) manage to overcome the awkwardness of their breakup to once again help out a friend in need. Without their hep in locating Vincent through a combination of security footage and deductive reasoning, we’d have gotten a very different outcome than we got. For as much as the show posits that Vincent and Cat are better as a team, I’d argue the same is doubly true for the rest of the group.
While it’s never been a big overarching theme of the series, I think one of the more interesting subtextual elements of Beauty and the Beast has been exploring how rudderless each of these people tend to be without each other. Yes, people like Tess, Heather, and J.T. would be perfectly functioning adults, and even Vincent and Cat might somehow find a way to live on if the unthinkable happened. Nobody would be happy, and they’d probably be hermits for the rest of their lives, living in seclusion and away from the memory of what they lost. But they’d find a way to keep going on, to keep living, most likely. But the show goes a long way in illustrating that these people are their best selves with each other, and that they’re relatively aimless without the guidance their respective connections provide. Vincent needs J.T. almost as much as he needs Cat, and Cat needs Heather and Tess just like she needs Vincent. Heather needs her sister, and Tess needs her best friend. She also needs J.T., even admitting that while they may not be together, she’s always going to care about him. Ultimately, what we have is an ensemble that truly feels like an ensemble, because each member of the ensemble is integral to the well-being of the others. Even a lighthearted character like Heather feels essential, because we get the sense that Vincent and Cat would risk pretty much everything to save her, if something were to happen. I mean, they already have before.
The Toland climax was my personal highlight of the episode, but there was a lot to enjoy here throughout the rest of the episode. Agent Hill being taken hostage made for an exciting setpiece early in the episode, although I wish the show had delved a bit further into what it means to Vincent to take a life, since he ended up inadvertently killing the man who threatened Hill and his family. Still, the action scene helped further illustrate how in sync Cat and Vincent are as crime-fighting partners, a detail that helps set up the climax of the episode, when Cat’s the one who comes to Vincent’s aid this time. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the best parts of this week’s episode. J.T. masquerading as a DHS agent in order to scare off the bloggers, only to get kidnapped on suspicion of being the beast himself, was pretty hilarious. I’m not sure if it was necessarily intended to be, but Basis adds a perfect mixture of incredulity and fear. The fact that the bloggers choose to release J.T. for being pathetic says a lot about where he’s at in his life, and it adds an extra bit of emotional oomph to the pep talk Tess gives him at the end of the episode. Similarly, although Vincent and Cat don’t really come to a clear conclusion on the subject of kids, or what they would have done if Cat really had been pregnant, they at least resolve never to allow their relationship to decline like the Tolands. Although it feels like we get a variation of this closing scene every week, it’s a welcome addition over what felt like a relative lack of romance last season, for the most part. I think Beauty and the Beast has found a solid rhythm for the season, as it feels like Vincent and Cat are getting closer to the identity of the person hunting Vincent. Whether it’s someone we’ve met before (I STILL DON’T TRUST YOU, KYLE! I’ve got my eye on you) or an entirely new character, the drama will come from knowing this is the last hurdle to Vincent and Cat (and the others) finally being free, and finding their happily ever after.
But what did you think of Beauty and the Beast Season 4 Episode 4, “Something’s Gotta Give”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on Beauty and the Beast, read our analysis of last week’s episode, “Down For the Count”!TV 2016Beauty and the BeastRecapReview