Episode 201: “Who Am I?”
THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD!
[Photos: Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW]
Episode one of the second season of Beauty & The Beast begins three months later after we saw Cat’s biological father kidnapping Vincent (because nothing says fatherly love like a little abduction). In this new episode, we find most of the members of the cast have visited hair salons, including the Man of a Thousand Haircuts himself, Jay Ryan. While I’m mostly indifferent on the hairstyles of the female cast members, I deeply dig the shorter ‘dos that both Gabe and Vincent sport. Who knew there was room for improvement on either of these guys?
Cat kicks things off by waking on a pile of materials that have aided her ongoing search for Vincent. The background music in this scene is a beautiful, slowed-down rendition of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.” Cat’s pretty obviously stressed about Vincent’s disappearance (duh), as evidenced by her testy exchanges with both J.T., Tess…and Gabe!? Seems Cat decided to bring back that wily ADA in case he had information regarding Vincent’s relocated whereabouts. Alas, Gabe was about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle in that regard. And he’s no longer a beast…what what!?
We also learn that Cat’s father, i.e., the man she grew up knowing as her father, passed away about a month earlier, presumably due to injuries sustained in the car accident that Cat witnessed. Bummer; he always seemed to help center his daughters. It seems that Bishop also has departed the show, at least in the short-term, as his determination to bring his brother’s killer to justice resulted in unspecified unprofessional behavior and the loss of his job. From the sounds of it, he and Tess are no longer an item either. Is nothing sacred!?
The first few conversations between the characters catch us up on the summer’s happenings, then things really get underway when J.T.’s hack into the city’s surveillance system leads them to Vincent. Now, the writers didn’t spend nearly as much time on the mission to find Vincent as I had thought they would. It would have been a good opportunity to build tension, but hey, let’s give those guys the benefit of the doubt and assume they’ve planned out the whole season’s story line with twists and turns aplenty.
At the ship yards, a slimy Asian character gloats over Vincent’s capture. Vincent and Li Zhao (said Asian dude) swap taunts, and we learn of Zhao’s involvement in Muirfield. Seriously, how many people were involved with this project? It recalls to mind that quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.” How has Muirfield stayed a secret? Anyway, Cat shows up, takes out a coupla brute squad members, and plunges into the warehouse to reunite with her lost love.
Vincent’s reaction is surprising. Instead of throwing himself headlong into Cat’s arms, he charges her while in beast mode. Fortunately, J.T. and Gabe arrived in time to take down the newly enhanced beast with not one, not two, but three tranquilizer darts. Not only is Vincent now able to withstand three tranqs in a single bound, but he can no longer heal himself, and his facial scar is gone. Guess the special effects crew wanted to reallocate makeup budget to improve other effects (one can hope)?
Back at J.T.’s place, Vincent comes to and recognizes neither J.T. nor Cat, although he does comment that Cat is smoking hot. Cat can’t stick around due to an event honoring her late father at her father’s former law firm, and she takes off to meet Heather there, with full intentions to speak at the event. She meets a man who introduces himself as Bob Reynolds, FBI agent; Cat has no idea this man is her real father. Then, minutes after her arrival, J.T. calls her to let her know that Vincent escaped and shot J.T. with the tranq gun.
Zhao in the meantime has been calling Catherine’s bio-dad and threatening to go public with what he knows about Muirfield. After hang-up, Cat’s dad strategizes with his minion that they’ll simply wait for Vincent to do his job. Vincent makes contact with Cat’s dad, who operates under the code name “Condor”, and Condor orders him to ignore Catherine Chandler and to finish the Zhao job. Clever Cat goes back to the warehouse on a hunch that Vincent may start back there, and her hunch pays off. She follows Vincent all the way back to his target: Zhao.
In Zhao’s lab, smoke starts affecting both Zhao and Catherine, and Vincent as beast is faced with a choice: kill his target under the orders of a man he doesn’t know, or save the life of the hot chick with whom he very well might have an epic romance? Door #1? Door #2? Oh, come on, guys! Of course Vincent picks Catherine. He scoops her up and saves her just as the lab explodes into fire and brimstone. A relieved and thrilled Catherine remarks, “This is how we met, you saving me.”
Vincent and Cat end up back at Cat’s apartment where she nurses some of his boo-boos. Cat’s strong feelings for Vincent are obvious. Can you imagine what a mind job that would be for an attractive person of whom you have no recollection to radiate adoration in your direction? Must be pretty heady stuff, because Vincent apologizes for not remembering, and eventually gives her a tender kiss and agrees not to go. Looks like Cat might actually get some happiness for the briefest of moments. Oh, but wait…
Tess calls Cat early in the morning, asking where Vincent is. Cat doesn’t answer, because he ain’t in bed with her like he said he would be. Cat heads to Tess’s location, and Tess shows Cat the TV-safe mutilated body of Zhao. Maybe, just maybe Vincent is out getting coffee for his lady love? Oh no, there he is coming out from behind a tree in the same park as Zhao’s body. His face starts in awful CGI beast mode (is this how the reallocated effects budget was spent? I’m not impressed), and transforms into Vincent visage as he makes his way out the park.
Overall, I give the episode a solid ‘B’. We see Cat and Vincent back together again almost immediately, which is simultaneously gratifying and unsatisfying. The amnesia thing seems like it’s been done too many times on network TV; I’d have liked something a little more unique, but maybe it will turn out to be more complex. My fingers are crossed.
Questions for next week: How is Brooke in the wake of Cat’s father’s death? It’s so sad for such a new bride to lose her husband. I noticed that Max Brown is still listed as a member of the cast in the description of the show given by my cable provider; dare I hope? How did Lowen get de-beastified? What is Lowen’s agenda (because you know he always has one)? Will Vincent have a new set of capabilities and limitations every season? Will he ever get his scar back? Will Joe Bishop get his job back, and make things right with Tess? And most of all, how much longer before Vincent makes things right with Cat?
Next week, my friends!