And it's like this show is trying to give us bland protagonists on purpose. But we'll get to everything that's gone wrong so far this season after we discuss the yawner of a plot.
This was the midseason finale, and, boy, was it boring. Obviously, Vincent didn't die in last week's explosion. Instead, he and Tori managed to jump out the window before the bomb went off. This was possible because Tori's apparently like a Beast booster shot or something – she makes Vincent better, faster, stronger. So the drama of Cat thinking he's dead lasts only a few minutes, because she almost immediately finds Vincent and Tori hiding out in her apartment.
Meanwhile, the competent characters on this show have figured out that Cat's Bob/dad has been fast-tracking the Beast bodies left behind by Vincent for cremation. They propose grabbing one that's waiting, and using it as leverage to get Bob to confess. They're going to pretend to be the bomber and blackmail Bob so that he incriminates himself during the blackmail negotiations.
To do that, they need the bomber alive. Vincent and Tori go to track him, and Vincent goes all Beast-sensei with Tori, telling her, I so wish I was kidding, to "focus on your inner Beast senses." She gets a little too in touch with her Beast side, and kills the bomber.
Then she's all "Whatevs. Why do we want to arrest Bob anyway, when we could just make him dead?" Vincent's pretty much on the same tip, but Gabe and Cat are all "Um, justice is not murder. It's the opposite. And, you know, we're a cop and a district attorney, so we kind of can't condone killing people." Then Cat says that this is what separates good from evil and men from Beasts. Which does not sit well with Tori, who finds that a little offensive.
She's pissed because, as far as she can tell, they're the ones who have been targeted and hurt, and Cat's acting like they're the problem. Which is actually kind of fair. She says they should embrace their Beast side and bring down Reynolds.
So this is a love triangle clearly meant to echo the struggle between man and Beast. Vincent's torn between Tori, with her pheromones and her +5 Beast powers, and Cat, with her... bland humaness. I think she's supposed to be about higher thinking over instinct, but she has been so ruled by her irrational love for Vincent this season, that it doesn't work.
Also, this has the unfortunate implication of Tori not actually being a voluntary choice. He kissed her last week because of pheromones, remember? And she makes his Beast side stronger just by being around, not through any active volition. This could be a commentary on the Beast side just taking control — but it also makes Tori/Beast seem like such an obvious bad thing, it doesn't work. Plus, the show's called Beauty and the Beast, OF COURSE Vincent and Cat are the true OTP.
Gabe pretends to be the blackmailer, and says the bomber's his accomplice. He confronts Bob, who incriminates himself on tape, and Cat goes to arrest him. But then Vincent shows up and really wants to kill Bob. Cat begs him not to do it, and he pauses on choking Bob for a second, but then gets right back to it. Cat shoots Vincent, he leaves, and Cat manages to arrest Bob.
Bob's going to confess to everything except the existence of Beasts because, well, it makes the resolution to this plot easy. He also says he doesn't care what happens to him, Cat's now separated from the Beast, and that's all he cares about.
The only entertaining moment of this whole episode was when Cat and Gabe go to make the fake blackmail seem more real to Bob. Gabe's so earnest about their fake story, he's an atrocious actor. Cat's pretending to cry and need Bob's help, and she's an atrocious actor. And then Bob's pretending the handler they're looking for isn't him, and he, too is an awful actor. Everyone in the scene is mugging and chewing scenery and it's hilarious, if a out of place is an episode that's mostly just heaving under the weight of its own melodrama.
Cat literally rolls her eyes as she hugs Bob. It's hard to take her seriously.
This whole season has been a mess so far. And it's pretty much all down to the handling of Cat, Vincent, and their relationship. Cat started the season obsessed with Vincent, ditching family and work for him. Vincent was cold and murderous the whole time, never really showing any spark that made you wish for him to get his memories back and get back with Cat. And, oh god, every episode was Cat deciding that Vincent's mission or Beastness made him to dangerous to be with, and then instantly abandoning that decision.
This whole thing has been on purpose, too. This season had a new executive producer in Brad Kern, and he said:
They're meant to be together. [But] You can't put two people together right away and keep them together; there's no legs to a series if you do that. What do you play? So, the challenge this year has been how we build a show that might last five years, or longer. We can't do that by having them together, and we can't really explore their individual characters together.
He's also said that Cat and Vincent got together too soon last season.
I hate this idea, which is rampant among some storytellers, that it's impossible to tell stories with the main characters being in a stable relationship. And Kern's comment is particularly gross, because he seems to think that there's no way to be an individual while being part of a couple. It's also unbelievably frustrating, because he starts by saying that Cat and Vincent are meant to be together. Which, duh. As stated before, it's Beauty and the Beast. Obviously they're going to get together. The first season bowed to that inevitability and just put them together.
This season clearly hated that season, since the first episode reset everything. Amnesia put Cat and Vincent at square one again. Vincent's now scarless. Muirfield was taken out in the first season. Cat's sister was put on a bus to Florida. Cat got a new father in Bob, the world's least effective villain whose only role was to talk on the phone with people.
In order to split Cat and Vincent up, and keep them apart, the show made them deeply unlikable. And then just bored the pants off of viewers by repeating the same relationship beats over and over again. The rest of the characters are paradoxically better defined and more competent than the leads. They have to be, otherwise nothing would get done in an episode.
But, in the end, it's hard to be that worked up over this show. It's not actually bad enough evoke real hatred. Nor does it possess some kernel of a good idea, which would inspire a cult following. It's just. . . there. A bland placeholder of a show.