Look at that moment from Beauty and the Beast. Tell me it's not missing a laugh track and a rimshot.
Spoilers below. . .
This week's episode had all the hallmarks of a sitcom plot: a holiday, an awkward family meal, secrets, miscommunications, accidental revealing of secrets, a zany scheme, and a drunken hook up. If a wacky neighbor had dropped by to rapturous applause from the studio audience, I would not have been surprised.
Plus, for some reason, the name "Bob" is comedy gold. Every time someone called Cat's FBI dad "Bob," I laughed.
If every dramatic music beat in this episode had been replaced with a sad trombone, it actually would have been more logical. At least farces are supposed to defy logic in favor of crazy coincidences. Farces also have a sense of tension and speed, which this show is completely missing.
This week, Gabe starts off by telling Tori they'd all really appreciate it if she didn't go around talking about how Vincent ripped her father's heart out and about how he's a Beast. Just as he's doing this, Cat storms in demanding to know all about Gabe's theory that Vincent's handler (her dad) is out to kill him.
wah wah wah waaaah
As they speak, Vincent's confirming Gabe's theory by being sent into a warehouse rigged to blow up. He figures it out and gets away. Gabe, Tess, Cat, and J.T. find out that the FBI wiped Gabe's computer of Muirfield files. Cat says that it's no surprise that the guy telling Vincent to kill out-of-control Beasts wants Vincent dead, because Vincent's totally out of control. Just then, Vincent walks in.
wah wah wah WAAAAH
See, all of these things are supposed to be dramatic tension, but it's just farce. The show kind of seems to get that, because it's played for chuckles. Not full on laughs, though, because this show still thinks it's an action adventure love story. And yet, the drama's so poor that everything's actually a joke.
Like, now that they know the FBI's involved, Cat thinks they should go spend Thanksgiving with her father and try to pump him for information. Meanwhile, her father's directing some new dude to make a new bomb for some Vincent-killing. With all the calls Bob's taking, I half expected him to accidentally misdirect the order to kill Vincent to Cat, and then mug into the camera.
Cat and Vincent even end up telling Bob that they're asking about Beasts "for a friend." Seriously. They also have a code word so that Vincent can tell Cat if her father's lying. It's pumpkin. He literally sits there while Cat has a tense conversation with her father and looks for reasons to say "pumpkin" or "not pumpkin." His pumpkin dilemma beats work way better than the supposed tension of Cat unknowingly speaking to the man who has been ordering her boyfriend to kill people.
wah wah WAH WAAAAH
Meanwhile, Gabe accidentally told Tori all about flatlining, and failed to notice she was way into it. This is sad, with her desire to try it and Gabe's obsession with proving that it works, they're a match made in heaven. Plus, they have way more chemistry than Gabe and Cat, which this show's still trying to make a viable alternative to Vincent and Cat.
She figured out she was Beast at the end of last episode, and she's freaked out. So she drives her car into the river in the hopes of being defibrillated and killing the Beast. The hospital calls Gabe, who offers to stay with her for Thanksgiving. But he has one stop to make first.
He's dropping files off for Cat at her father's. Her father apparently has whatever disease Tess has that makes you ship Cat and Gabe, because he's all of sudden really into Gabe staying around and taking about how great Gabe is to Cat. Gabe tries to leave, just as Tori walks in.
wah WAH WAH WAAAAH
In a scene straight out of, oh, every sitcom ever, everyone has to pretend they've just met. Bob introduces Vincent to Gabe. Gabe introduces Tori to Vincent. Tori heroically does not go "Yeah, I know him. He ripped my dad's still beating heart out of his chest a few days ago, remember?" But her Beastly presence triggers Vincent's Beast, and he attacks Bob. Who then pretends to have just figured out that "the friend" who Cat talked about earlier is actually Vincent. Because his goal is to get them to trust him so he can set Vincent up to be exploded.
There's even the standard comedy cliche of the Dad warning the boyfriend off. Only Bob tells Vincent that he'll give him his handler's name ("handler" in this case being code for "ambush") if he leaves Cat forever.
Gabe then tells Tori that they have to stay for dinner. Bob basically acts like he's a racist, and Cat brought home a dude who is every race but white. Vincent storms off and Tori flips the table like she's on the Real Housewives.
And THEN it turns out that female Beast Tori's giving out all sorts of sexy pheromones for Vincent, and she kisses him in the forest.
WAH WAH WAH WAAAAH
I swear to god, Vincent actually says, "For the record, SHE kissed ME." I don't think he started with "It's not what it looked like!" or said, "We were on a break!" but I would not have been surprised. And again, funny would have saved this from stupid.
In the B plot, Tess has ditched her family asking her why she's not dating in favor of helping J.T. figure out who Vincent's handler is. They drink a lot of beer, eat pizza, and listen to Bob's distorted voice on loop. Tess talks about how she's too intimidating to find a man, and then she and J.T. kiss. He tries to walk it back, but then she delivers a line so confounding, the sad trombone has to hand the baton to the record scratch: "If I didn't want you to kiss me, you wouldn't have, because I am intimidating."
What does that mean? You're a self-possessed woman who signals her interest in men by. . . what? Not telling them, but by. . . not being intimidating for a bit? Just. I don't. What?
They figure out from background noise that there were church bells near where the handler called Vincent. They decide he must live near a church, and this plot needs to die so who cares that it could just be that the handler happened to be near a church when the call was made.
Bob's sent Tori home with the bomb maker he was talking to earlier. Cat's upstairs crying, so Bob assumes that Vincent did as he asked and broke up with her. Well, six of one, half a dozen of the other. He tells Vincent that his handler's an ex-FBI agent who is on his way to kill Tori. Vincent races off to Tori's.
Gabe and Cat hear church bells and figure out that Bob's the handler. But it's too late, and Vincent's found Tori bound and gagged at her place and tripped the bomb.
Yeah, this is the record scratch. The sad trombone's refusing to come out. He says he's too tired. The rimshot says he'll have a go, though. Ba-dum-tsh.
This is pointless. There's no way, no matter how hard I wish, that Vincent's actually dead. Similarly, Cat actually has a moment of self-awareness where she tells Vincent that she's tired of making excuses for his behavior. We all are, but that'll disappear when she finds out about the explosion. Next episode, she'll rush to his side, suddenly totally okay with the "pheromones made me rip a guy's heart out/choke your father/kiss another woman" excuse.
There's so little connective tissue between scenes, it just seems to be just jumping around between plot points. A whole episode could have been made from the uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinner, but if you blinked, you'd miss it. And apparently the writers have confused "tension" with "pausing," because there's a lot of dead air. Ponderous silence that might be meant to be significant, but actually just kills any attempt at momentum dead. I lost count of how many times I checked my watch, only to groan because I thought at least five minutes had passed and it had only been one. Again, at least as a comedy it would have picked the pace up a little.
As a side note, what on Earth has paid for Bob's house? He mentioned all episode letting "the staff" have the day off. Is he old money? Because there is no way his government salary at the FBI paid for an estate in Montauk. And it's got to have a reasonable explanation, because if he's just being handsomely paid to murder people, he'd be hiding the money better. Well, maybe he wouldn't. That would make sense.
I really hope that explosion actually ripped a hole in the fabric of this show's reality and destroyed it. Or maybe caused it to end and restart as a better show.