I think we should thank the folks behind Beauty and the Beast for calling this issue ‘Proceed with Caution’, because that’s exactly what viewers should do. Episode two brought more of the same stuff that we saw in the pilot, albeit with a touch more angst and a random, pointless sister thrown in. The dialogue was better though, so there’s that.
The problem with Beauty and the Beast is that it’s like an amalgamation of things that are currently popular: detective shows, conspiracy theories, Twilight-esque twisted romances, and the Hulk. Okay, so maybe the Hulk isn’t at the height of his popularity right now, but you can’t tell me that beastly Vincent didn’t look like the Hulk in that very brief glimpse.
The two of those things at the fore are mystery and romance. They can go together well, and have done in many other shows, but in Beauty and the Beast it feels forced. This is only episode two, but in an episodic drama like this, the second episode is the first chance a series has to show us what the game plan is. How does Vincent fit into Cat’s life? Well, he doesn’t really. He says he doesn’t know anything about the factors contributing to her mother’s death, and if this is true, and if he doesn’t change his mind soon about actively going after the Muirfield project folk, then he’s temporarily served his purpose.
And he’s absolutely pointless in Cat’s cases. This week he knew the understudy was lying about something. Well, big woohoo there, Vincent. Cat and her partner (whose name I still haven’t managed to remember, probably because I find her completely unmemorable) are supposed to be good cops; surely they would have questioned the understudy further later on and picked up on something then.
If this was a straight up detective show, it could have potential. I’m no fan of Kristin Kreuk, but she mostly holds her own here (with the exception of those voiceovers; she’s horrible at them), there are one or two other good characters thrown in (Max Brown’s Evan may be smarmy, but he’s interesting and kind of fun), and this week’s case may not have been the most compelling, but it’s no worse than a mediocre episode of CSI.
The only thing about this show that’s really working for me so far is Vincent and Cat’s interactions. Take away her obsession with her mom’s death and his tendency to follow her around like a stalker (and isn’t it ironic that she notices the janitor is stalker material, but not Vincent), and they have great chemistry. If this was a straight up romantic drama, well, it would probably be pants, but at least their chemistry would be the main reason for the show. Here it feels like an afterthought, tossed into the main body of the show to tick a few boxes.
There’s also this little issue: “You’ve seen me when I don’t want anyone to see me, and you still haven’t run.” Inside the show, this works. Cat has seen Vincent in his beast form and she hasn’t been scared off, which means there’s potential for an amiable relationship at the very least. But we, the viewer, haven’t seen Vincent’s true beastly form, and so we can’t fully understand the impact behind his words. Granted, I said he looks like the Hulk, but that was briefly and in soft focus. Last week, in dim lighting, he looked vaguely Grinch-like for a second. But we haven’t gotten a good look at the beast, and so we can’t see exactly what there is to be scared of. Mostly we just see him as a really good looking guy who just happens to have a facial scar. This is a problem; we need to see the Beast.
I have to stick with what I said about Beauty and the Beast last week: it’s not completely terrible, but it’s not great either. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not particularly compelling fare. It might get better as the mystery progresses, or if we get a main antagonist instead of random people trying to kill Cat, but we’ll just have to wait and see, dear readers.
What did you think of ‘Proceed with Caution’? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!