Episode 102: “Proceed with Caution”
THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD!
[Photos: Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW]
This second episode of Beauty & the Beast series opened with a pleasant surprise: music that I liked enough to seek out. In case you’re wondering, the track was “Kaleidoscope Hearts” by the Magic Wands (their track “Teenage Love” is also good). They remind me a little of Paramore, Cocteau Twins, Book of Love and The Sundays, all rolled into one fun, psychedelic, poppy mix. I thought the use of this track was a great intro to a series that’s desperately in need of a slightly lighter tone. Why is it needed, you might ask? Because you can’t have a show that’s both completely angst-y AND lacking in substance. It just doesn’t work; nobody likes a vapid emo.
After setting up this week’s murder mystery, Cat and Vincent provide a voice-over summary of the pilot. It was a good recap of the show setup, but Cat Chandler’s voice-overs bother me. Primarily, TV writers should be following the maxim, “Show, don’t tell.” These spoken reveals into Cat’s not-that-deep but scarred little psyche are intended to share the lessons that Cat learns along the path to self-actualization. The problem is that what she learns isn’t that deep or thought-provoking.
Case in point: “Being a detective is about drawing lines. But being human is about knowing how and when to cross them together.” Or how about: “Our best chance at survival is if we save each other”? Blech. Further, these voice-overs bother me, because Kristin Kreuk’s voice bugs a little. She has just a touch of nasalized, twang that my Southern ear mistakes for the mid-West (Kristin is from Canada). The twang isn’t as noticeable when you’re actually watching Kristin, but in an interesting reverse from the normal quip, “she has a face for radio,” Kristin has a voice for TV, where we’re distracted by her Neutrogena skin and glossy hair. She actually reminds me a lot of Keanu Reeves. Please just stand there and look pretty.
This week, we meet Cat’s sister Heather, a perky PR assistant who, unlike her sister, appears to have been unphased by their mother’s murder. Heather has moved in with Cat, but she feels frustrated that Cat is continually distracted by their mother’s case, and threatens to move out. Cat asks her sister to reconsider, and Heather immediately acquiesces. Although this exchange is silly, Heather’s intended retreat forces Cat to confront how her obsession with her mother’s murder has thrown up a barrier between her and other people. I’d like to see a bit more of Heather. As long as her sunny disposition isn’t overused to the point of ridiculousness, she can help offset Cat, who has the emotional range of a teabag, and Vincent, whose only real problem obviously is he’s missing the love of a damaged woman.
Speaking of Cat and Vincent, Cat continues to pester Vincent. She pretends to want his help with her latest case, all the while wheedling for information about her mom. She ultimately absconds with a picture of Vincent and his comrades-in-arms from his military days. She runs facial recognition on the guys in the picture, further alerting Operation Muirfield bad guys to her nosiness, and ends up with a dead computer as a result and another attack on her person (three chances to guess who saves her from the attack, and the first two don’t count). You’d think if she were smart, she’d get the message. Alas, the execs at CW expect the story to continue.
All the while, Vincent keeps telling her to stay away from him and J.T., but then he shows up to see Cat multiple times. At least this week, he has the huevos to admit that he’s doing just that, and that really, the reason he keeps seeking her out is that he’s lonely after years of just J.T. to talk to.
J.T. also sees that Vincent is getting too close to Cat, and he reminds him of what happened the last time Vincent was thinking about making a playlist for someone. My assumption is that we’ll learn more about this tragic playlist incident once Cat gets Vincent to open up to her about all his pain and suffering.
Not that it matters much, but the murder mystery du semaine involves the death of a ballerina who’s fallen from the rooftop of her dance company’s building. Vincent again lends a hand to the investigation with his souped-up senses and medical background, so I assume this will be a weekly treat. Also like last week, Cat makes use of a personal epiphany to solve the not-so-mysterious mystery. And like last week, the murder mystery was fairly simplistic. I get that the cases that Cat works on are just pretexts for her to engage Vincent, and that the writers really only have fifteen to twenty minutes to devote to the case, not much time to introduce a variety of possible suspects. I still wish the cases had a bit more complexity.
Enough with complaints. This second episode of Beauty & the Beast actually had me thinking a few positive thoughts while I was watching. These included:
- “Wow, Kristin Kreuk is so pretty. I wonder how long it takes her to do her hair?”
- “I really like the boots she’s wearing. I wonder if I could find some on DSW.”
- And the aforementioned, “Hey, I like that song, I wonder who does it.”
OK, in fairness, I did spend a lot of the first episode thinking that Kristin Kreuk is really pretty, so it’s not like that is a recent development. I’m just trying to keep a positive frame of mind, given that I’m committed to reviewing the series until its cancellation. If this show were a girl, and I were a guy, I would be sitting here thinking, “You know, she’s really pretty, she’s got a bangin’ bod, and she’s nice enough; she just doesn’t do it for me. How do I break up with her without hurting her/having to deal with a lot of fallout?” In real life, since I am a girl, I’ll hold onto the hope that the series doesn’t spawn 22 episodes a season like The Vampire Diaries does, and that Kristin keeps wearing cute shoes. Now, please excuse me, I have a date with dsw.com.