Saturday, November 17, 2012

Beauty and the Beast: Season 1, Episode 6: Worth

 Last week, Vincent passed out. He seems to be awake this week – but he’s checking his own heart beat when Catherine arrives to check up on him after he missed their dinner. She’s worried he stood her up and worried he saw her kissing Evan. The scene is awkward in the extreme (you can even tell with the acting – hers is rather better but his is more wooden than an Ikea supply depot).

But it’s time for the crime of the week – and a woman entering an empty room which is being prepared for an art exhibition commits the terrible offence of wasting perfectly good wine. Oh, and she found a man dead as well. This does not excuse the spilling of wine.

To Tess and Catherine where Catherine, stressed, is filing. Which Tess says Catherine only does when she’s upset about a guy (what, you expect Tess to have another topic of conversation?).  Catherine begins to pour out her frustrations about complicated relationships when we have another source of drama in her life show up – her father. And he wants her to go to some dress fitting for his wedding and spend more time with Brook, his fiancée, who is young enough to be her sister. To top it off, he wants her to come to dinner with them – but thinks she should bring someone so invites Evan to be her date.

While patricide is normally a crime, no jury in the world would convict her.

Which is when the crime is called in so we leave the emotional drama. Well they talk it over on the way and Tess thinks her dad did good since he got her a date with Evan who clearly likes her (seriously? They both set up the date with Catherine there without any input from her – and this is a good thing? Tessa, think above the belt. Besides, a first date should not happen with one’s father and step-mother in tow, I’m sure Ms. Manners mentioned that somewhere).

To the body – Nicholas, 26, artist, very dead. The art opening is going ahead according to the curator, Lauren, (they have more wine, we can relax) which Tess snarks, of course. Marco, the owner, is still going ahead. There’s a fibre on the body and he was shot in the back without running away. Enough of this pesky policework, Evan and Catherine have flirting to do!

To Nicholas’s mother – Nicholas has just broken up with an unknown girl and he recently had a heated telephone argument with Marco, the gallery owner recently. Checking financials finds that Nicholas did not have a lot of money, despite selling paintings for $5k a time – suggesting he was being chested. We’re doing that pesky police thing again – time for more talk about Catherine’s non-existent love life with Tess being outraged that Catherine didn’t spill about kissing Evan in the booth. Serious breach of the friend code.

JT, meanwhile does have a love life and is setting up a coffee date with Sarah on Skype (telephones are so passé) which is interrupted by Vincent and his issues. It seems he completely forgot the night before and woke up on the top of the Brooklyn Bridge – and all the tests say he’s normal. JT decides it’s a fugue state brought on by him being jealous about Catherine and Evan. JT pushes Vincent to tell Catherine how he feels – yes, JT says this. Vincent is as surprised as we are, clearly having a date has stripped JT of his precious cynicism.

Tess and Catherine have met up with Brooke for the bridesmaid dress fitting – and it’s awful. And, shockingly, they all laugh about it. Yes, Catherine isn’t expected to hate Brooke! Words can’t express how shocked I am that they shattered this cliché (I assume the murder enquiry is on hold?). She actually seems like a nice, intelligent, aware woman. Except she leaves suddenly when she gets a text, leaving her sunglasses. They hurry after her and find her with a man – who kisses her, though she pushes him away, then gets in his car. Oh dear.

Checking up Brooke’s background they find she’s married. For 3 years. Awkward. A meeting with daddy ends with him explaining it all, she’s in the middle of a divorce – and calling her judgemental and hard to have a relationship with.

Back at the police case they check out Nicholas’s studio and find some odd things – he has several identical paintings, even titled the same which looks like he’s selling several copies of “one of a kind” paintings. And he’s been selling paintings at another gallery for hundreds of dollars rather than Marco’s thousands. And they get a list of names – including Assistant District Attorney Fred Simpson.

They finally bring Marco in for an interview. Hostile and uninformative is the way and it’s not helpful. Though Tess suspects a money laundering scheme. He wants to close the art show – but Tess lets it go ahead so they can go scope it out. But while getting ready Catherine gets another surprise visit from Vincent where they discuss the awkwardness. And Evan drops in dressed up for the cancelled dinner date for flirting – she takes Evan to the art gallery (missing business and pleasure). Time for an incredibly long display of Vincent’s angst face

After back and forth with JT about JT finally going out and having a date and JT encouraging Vincent to talk to Catherine, Vincent decides to help Catherine on her case and go scope out Nick’s home (which is also his old neighbourhood – almost being recognised by the newspaper seller).

At the art gallery a man creepily comes on to Tess repeatedly while staring at the $15,000 painting. After a few creepy comments the penny drops – the price tag isn’t for the painting, it’s for the women. Marco doesn’t sell art, he’s a pimp. There are several copies of the same painting because no-one’s buying the painting – you pay $15,000 for a painting and a woman comes home with you. They speculate whether Nick knew or not and Evan gets a call from ballistics – the gun was a ladysmith.

Time for Tess to confirm that the Lauren the curator and realise she is definitely in on the game. And Catherine to talk to one of the women, Daphne, who is cynical and bitter about love. It seems Catherine got a lucky shot and she may have been Nick’s girlfriend – and surprises her with the knowledge that Nick was renting an apartment, planning to move in with his girlfriend.

Time for Vincent to step in and whisk Catherine away (who knows what she’ll say to Evan and Tess) to Nick’s studio where he has proof of how much Nick loved Daphne by the way he painted her and the number of times he painted her. He can see the love in the brush strokes (oh dear gods I can’t believe I just typed that line). This quickly turns into a not-very-subtle-conversation about their love life – why would people push someone away when they love each other so much, Vincent knows how Daphne feels etc etc. It’s as subtle as a falling piano. Focus, guys, focus.

Talking to Tess they all put 2 and 2 together, realise Lauren is the madam and that she’s lied to Daphne about Nick, convincing her he doesn’t love her so they’d break up. Daphne has now gone to confront Lauren – with Tess and Catherine arriving during the argument: and Daphne has a gun pointed at Lauren. After much dramatic confession, the gun is put down and all is resolved (personally I think provoking her to confess all her crimes while someone points a gun at her is likely to get her shot AND make any evidence in court severely dodgy, but that’s crime dramas for you).

More flirting with Evan – and Evan saw Vincent, though Catherine dodges it quite well. She then goes to see Brooke and apologises to her. Brooke continues to be a decent and kind person and takes some of the blame for not giving her all the information. Total make up time. Moving from there to the next emotional drama – she and Vincent finally seem to be establishing that their relationship is a relationship.

But we end with Vincent having another black out – and waking with blood on his hands.

Y’know, I like how Tess and Catherine bounce off each other but they need to change the record – when they’re not talking about work, 80% of their conversation is about men. It’s amazing how the men they’re not dating can so consume two single women – can we slap a Bechdel test on this and broaden their horizons? They’re friends after all – have them go out, have margueritas, sing bad karaoke, laugh about the time Tess tried to sing Whitney Houston when wasted. Something to suggest there’s more to Tess than men and work. Or, hey, maybe there isn’t – so discuss her workaholism.

This is something that’s glaring with most of the side characters- Tess, Joe, Evans, Heather (less so with JT) – we need something to flesh them out and make them more than placeholders. Especially Tess since she’s such a big part of Catherine’s life.

Lots of relationship drama this episode. I think it’s very much a matter of taste. Personally I find the whole angst laden, love triangle “we are doooomed can’t be together” to be… tiresome.

I am stunned, however, by Brooke. Catherine’s father has married a woman young enough to be his daughter and she is – a nice, decent, intelligent, kind woman. This breaks all the rules of TV land! By TV law she must be either a grasping manipulator or completely air headed. It’s a relief to see a change from that trope.