Saturday, October 20, 2012

Beauty and the Beast, Season 1, Episode 2: Proceed with Caution

We open with the crime, a woman walking down an alley looking for a party, when a body falls off the roof in front of her. At the same time Catherine’s providing a non-sequiter voice over about lines and being a detective, rules, protocol, good guys and bad guys. Don’t pay much attention, it’s not actually relevant to anything that follows.

At Catherine’s home, she’s joined with her little sister, Heather, who is living with her now. But she’s a little disturbed by the big box of “files about our mother’s death” Catherine keeps lying around – and the murder board. She wants Catherine to move on, perhaps let go, especially when she starst questioning Heather about how their mother was acting before she died. Catherine’s distracted from the “let it go speech” by one of her mother’s research documents.

To the beast warehouse, breaking through the fence, she enters the warehouse and is attacked by JT. There’s a brief altercation that JT easily loses, but he still has a rant – they’ve managed to stay off the grid for 9 years and now she keeps drawing attention to them – she needs to leave them alone. She gives him her mother’s research, says it’s about DNA but her mother was a doctor for infectious diseases, it could be related to Muirfield. She then gets a call – much to JT’s dismay that she brought a mobile phone into their hide out – about the crime scene.

To the dead body for some flirting with Evan, the pathologist after which Tess urges them to just do it already and get done with it – though Catherine doesn’t want to be another notch on Evan’s belt and mocks Tess back for her “men cleanse”. Meet up with and snark with Joe, their boss and see the victim – Gemma, a ballerina, 22 who works for the ballet company that is run out of the building she fell from. They’re interrupted by Victoria Hanson who runs in crying about Gemma – she’s a friend and an understudy for her. Since she fell of a big building Catherine and Tess have to ask her how she was feeling, any change of demeanour and Victoria says Gemma was stressed – she’s dancing as Odette in Swan Lake and was struggling with it.

Evan, meanwhile, believes Gemma has defensive injuries and she fell too far into the street – so probably not an accident. Tess and Catherine go to sweep the building, finding the theatre and a room where the music is still playing where Gemma was practicing. Catherine separates from Tess to go to the roof – with a huge number of cigarettes stubbed out – and is grabbed by Vincent who is irritated by her dropping in on his warehouse. He says her mother’s research is for curing a fever and has nothing to do with Muirfield. He tells her he only told her that the killers were tracking her mother so Catherine would stop blaming herself, not for her to go investigate them. It’s too dangerous to be involved with Muirfield. To which Catherine responds with “aha! Muirfield had something to do with my mother’s death!” Uh-huh, selective hearing at its best. Before leaving he tells her that his super-duper-senses noticed Victoria was lying.

Back to Evan (more flirting) where he finds that the cut in Gemma’s scalp matches a hair pin but not the one they found (no blood on it). They also found that while she was on the roof where people gathered to smoke, Gemma wasn’t a smoker. And there was powder on hands that could be make up. Tess and Catherine think this points to another woman and, after some research, find that understudy Victoria played Odette in last year’s production – it looks like she was demoted.

Off to the theatre where they notice Victoria is Odette again. They talk to Bertrand, the artistic director who tells them money’s far too tight for them to cancel the performance. He also rejects that Victoria and Gemma were competitive, they were like sisters – and Victoria wasn’t demoted. She left for a year with a broken toe, when she’s fully recovered, she would go back to being Odette, everyone knew that Gemma was only a temporary replacement.  They check Gemma’s locker and find it completely empty – when it’s normally over flowing. They also find fresh flowers in the bin – tess points out the only time she throws away fresh flowers is when they’re from someone she doesn’t like. Touching the flowers, they get powder on their hands – lily pollen. Which flirty Evan confirms is what’s on Gemma’s fingers – and that she has the morning after pill in her system.

Catherine’s next step is obvious to the top secret warehouse where she has been told not to go! She lurks outside until Vincent hears her and invites her in. She promises she’s here about the case not her mother. They discuss the case briefly but Vincent has nothing to add – and she quickly gets to her mother, how the obsession consumes her and how she looks at old photographs of herself and she doesn’t even recognise herself any more. JT drops in to tell Vincent how risky this is, how she puts them at risk and also how Vincent’s last relationship apparently went south. He brushes Jt off and returns to Catherine with his own photo – of him and the fellow soldiers in the Muirfield programme, and how he barely recognises them either. He discusses the men in the picture who are all dead and she decides with her police resources she can investigate, she can expose Muirfield and shut them down, she can get justice for the victims! Vincent tells her Muirfield monitors everything and would just destroy her – and as for her mother’s case, all he knows is the men who killed her were from Muirfield, now leave it alone and go.

Except she doesn’t of course.
At the police station, having stolen Vincent’s picture, she runs the faces through facial recognition software, gets their names and finds them all listed as KIA in Afghanistan. She’s interrupted by Tess who wants to gossip about breaking her man fast and talk about the actual case (imagine that). They haven’t found a boyfriend, but they do find someone on her facebook page making comments about how hot she looks in red jean, suspecting a stalker they take it to Joe, the boss. As they leave, Catherine’s computer is remotely accessed and all files are destroyed.

With Joe they do some detective work, the IP of the facebook stalker is the ballet company and the only employee whose timecards match all the postings is Julio Ramirez, the janitor. Thinking he may have confessed his feelings, been rejected and then attacked her, they go search his house and find the red jeans from Gemma’s locker. He fidns them searching and runs, and in the chase, Catherine an d tess get split up. This lets Catherine have another meeting with Vincent who really needs to get a hobby, who is really not happy with her stealing his picture. She says she’s trying to help, it’s evidence, she can solve it all. He says she’s putting them at risk, Muirfield tracks everything, she’s out of her mind and punctuates it with a roar and smashing a concrete wall in a beast-fit. This is the beast version of headdesking at blithering foolishness –he might want to stay away from Catherine, the property damage otherwise will be immense.

Tess gets Julio so Vincent disappears until their next stolen moment of mutual frustration and they gte to question Julio,. Who has an alibi, he’s a thief and he creepily crushes on Gemma, but he didn’tkill her and didn’t give hr flowers. But he did follow her, as the creepyb stalker he is, to a police station on the same day as Gemma got the morning after pill. Tess instantly leaps on there being a sexual assault anmd they pull up the police station’s video. They find she left without making any complaint, but she did have an argument with Victoria at reception. Tess goes to check with the desk clerk to see if she remembers anything

And Catherine? She goes to see Vincent again, of course! JT welcomes her in while she babbles all her security conscious attempts to try and make her constantly arriving not seem a threat, but he’s unconcerned, welcoming, even polite. When she gets inside she finds out why – Vincent has left and JT doesn’t know where he’s gone or for how long.

Back to police work where they asks Victoria about the sexual assault – which she says she didn’t mention because she didn’t know anything, she also claims she didn’t try to convince Gemma to leave, she did it by herself. And she denies knowing any “Joshua”, despite Tess having interviewed the desk Clerk who overheard them arguing about him.

At home Heather tells Catherine says wants to move back in with dad – Catherine’s obsession with their mother’s death is disturbing to her, especially since she feels she lost a sister as well as a mother over the murder. Before it can develop they’re interrupted by a call from work from the IT guiy telling Catherine that her computer has been nuked and he needs her to come in to pick what files he needs to try and save. Little sister talk on hold she drives off – and hits a man on a bike who pulls out in front of her. Getting out to check if he’s ok, he tries to shoot her, she knocks the gun aside and we have a heavily choreographed, fancy, martial arts fight between the two of them. He gets the upper hand and starts to strangle her – and Vincent intervenes, grabbing the man and throwing him against the car, hard. He’s about to follow up on him but she screams his name, says she’s alright – and he leaves in a blur of motion.

Despite that,. The attacker is dead from hitting the car so hard, and Evans is examining the body. Because having a pathologist who is flirting with and friends with the suspected killer is so ethical. She claims it was a mugging and that there were no weapons involved. Evans has trouble believing it because the force of the impact was so high, he can’t believe Catherine is that strong and questions whether she killed him. Still, when the boss Joe asks what to tell internal affairs, he just says “self-defence.” Uh-huh, that’s not sloppy at all.

Someone’s finally done more checking on Victoria so we can finally get back to the police case. Victoria didn’t break her toe and leave – she got pregnant, with a baby boy, Joshua. And the father gave her lilies just like he gave Gemma. Victoria protests that he’s a player but doesn’t force women, Catherine and Tess retort that maybe he did force Gemma – and then kill her to cover it up. Victoria was protecting him – and lying to herself – because she grew up without a father, and didn’t want that for her son.

Cut to the art director, Bertrand who they arrest him and confirm that they found the missing hairpin in a dumpster outside his apartment, with both his and Gemma’s DNA on it. Result.

Catherine goes to try and patch things up with the poor guys she’s stalking. She catches up to JT (by stalking him) and gives him Vincent’s picture and a multi-page apology/explanation and apologises for screwing things up for them.

Next stop on the “fixing the shit she messed up” is home to Heather to say, yes, leaving the murder board and boxes full of murder material out was probably a little tasteless and disturbing. She promises to put it away, wants Heather to stay and wants to rebuilding their relationship. She also gets a piece of paper with “ballet roof” written on it.

Next stop is the ballet roof, because they seem to let anyone up there. Where she finds Vincent and gets to apologise to him as well and explain that her mother’s death made her obsessive and tended to make her push people away and see them as cases. If Vincent wants to go back to the warehouse he can because she’ll stay away and she totally means it this time. But he points out he keeps stalki- err, showing up around her as well. She’s the only human except JT he’s had any real contact with in a long time – and she didn’t run away when he lost it and went all beastly. He doesn’t want to lose that

And we end with more voice over about lines and relationships.

The voice overs didn’t work for me. Sometimes they can be done really well to establish a theme, what people are thinking and give a concise – if clumsy –message. But this? Didn’t work, it wans’t maintained. She started with a voice over about lines as a detective, then we have an entire episode that, at best, only tangetally involves line (best I can see is her taking his photo is crossing a line? Was there a line with her sister? Evan fudging the evidence for her? Was there supposed to be one? Her partner? Who knows? And was crossing lines good, bad, necessary, gratuitous?) and then we end with another voice over about lines. It felt like the theme was introduced but then not developed it was just left sort of hanging.

Catherine’s actions through this were a combination of naivety, selfishness and arrogance – her deciding to push into the Muirfield investigation, that she’d be able to blow it open, that she knows best no matter what more experienced people tell her. How many times have we seen this? Yet, and wonderfully, this show says she’s wrong. We don’t get the standard “she interferes where not wanted, she takes over when she knows nothing and lo she succeeds” as we have seen in True Blood and Vampire Diaries and so many others. She moves in where she has no experience, ignores other people – and fails. And faces consequences, gets herself hurt and hurts others – and then apologises.

The acting is still shaky though.