Saturday, April 20, 2013

Beauty and the Beast Season 1 Episode 18: Heart of Darkness

 So, after another random hiatus that American television loves so much (why do these keep happening? Do they think the shows are so awesome that only the worthy may watch? You have  to prove your mettle in a little scavenger hunt to find out when they’re actually showing in order to watch?) Beauty and the Beast has returned.

If you remember, last week after deciding they need to be cautious not one episode before since their carelessness had almost ruined their lives and got Vincent killed, Vincent decided to jump down from the 6th story because he couldn’t be bothered to take the stares, and was seen by Evan.

I have to say, I was tempted to just throw up my hands and walk away from the whole damn show at that point. Rarely, if ever, have I seen such awful writing and convolutedly forced conflict. The writer should be ashamed. The actor should be ashamed for agreeing to do it. The other actors should be ashamed for not throwing rotten fruit. The director should be ashamed. The producer ashamed. The cameraman should have been shamed! The architect who designed that building ashamed! SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!!


Ok, I’m done, I’m done.  To the recap

So what does Evan do with this shameful revelation? He gets drunk and calls Muirfield, of course. I’m willing to withdraw a tiny bit of the shame because Evan looks surprisingly good drunk. He also gets a panic button from Muirfield and becomes aware of the totally-subtle guys stalking him. Uh-huh, you’re working for an evil organisation, what did you expect? And you totally threw away your chance to be free of them. Shame on you. He also punches someone else in the bar because… well I assume reasons will be apparent later.

Vincent and Catherine are being all domestic now Vincent’s house got blown up and he has to use her washing machine and shower (but is still dodging Heather). It was a huge sacrifice to make but at least they now are safe so long as they don’t do ridiculous things like JUMP OFF TALL BUILDINGS! But Catherine’s planned day with Vincent is interrupted by Tess arriving for some girl time (which, being Tess would probably involve talking about guys anyway) and the awkward tension between Tess and Vincent and hoping it won’t be weird between them after the whole shooting, holding prisoner, life saving thing. Hey, bet Ms. Manners never had a column for THAT!

To the roof, where Catherine and Tess have a talk about Tess adapting to the new reality. And Catherine warns Tess about Muirfield and basically that by being in on the secret – especially if she’s going to help – then her entire life is going to change. And on that bombshell they get a call that Evan is in the drunk tank for punching someone

This is apparently his way of getting to talk to Catherine without being watched by the Muirfield stalkers (your own damn fault man. And you even renewed their interest in you! SHAME!) and he drops his own bombshell on Catherine that he knows her secret and can’t understand why she’d choose the monster (rather than him. I’d have picked Evan.) Evan decides that Vincent is a threat and that’s why he joined the organisation of brutal murderers who experiment on people. He tells her her feelings are invalid because he says so – and that he’s currently protecting her. Which Catherine realises means Evan’s already called Muirfield

Y’know what would have avoided all this? Not jumping off a 6 storey building. SHAME!

Meanwhile JT and Vincent are moving things through the tunnels because… why? I mean, it’s JT’s stuff – why can’t he move it in a van? Or a taxi since there’s not a lot? No-one’s hunting them so why be all suspicious and cloak and dagger about it? JT leaves and, of course Muirfield shows up – a huge squad of them. Vincent manages to dodge them with super hearing and apparently climbing up a vertical tunnel, something even Muirfield thought was impossible.

Time for Catherine and Vincent to meet in the wintry park (Ok, guys undercover does not mean sitting down for a chat BACK TO BACK in a public park in the driving snow. Really. Find a damn café. A coffee shop. The back pews of a church) to explain what happened. Since she’s Catherine she starts blaming herself for not being honest sooner rather than blaming Vincent for JUMPING OFF TALL BUILDINGS! Catherine wants to convert Evan, Vincent is less forgiving of the man who sent a death squad to his door. Vincent adds that eventually Muirfield are going to stop asking Evan nicely about where he got the info and he will give up Catherine.

Catherine goes to the police station to talk to Evan (y’know they really need to work out good places to have these top secret conversations) only to find that Evan hasn’t come to work and Gabe is tearing apart the morgue which is totally not suspicious. He’s looking into the circumstances around the vigilante’s death – and searched Catherine’s desk as well. She asks if she should get her union rep involved and he gets all dramatic about there being a mole in the department (in other words, yes you should, Catherine. Please do. Please).

Vincent has a word with Evan, finding him on the tube (close space, fairly noisy – better, but also with people who have a legitimate reason to sit/stand really close and overhear. Guys you fail at clandestine, really) to tell him not to ring Catherine if he doesn’t want Muirfield to track her down through his inevitably bugged phone. Evan brings up Vincent’s murders (like the one he did to, y’know, save Evan’s life?) before adding an extra level of “silly Catherine doesn’t know what she really needs.” More masculine posturing, more of Evan deciding he knows better than Catherine about what’s good for her.

And Evan leads Vincent into an ambush where he is shot with drugged darts from a Muirfield team.

JT goes to see Catherine and Tess with the news that Vincent went after Evan and his tracker has been jammed

Evan has been waiting in Muirifield’s intimidating, migraine causing waiting room for an hour an comments on all the labs and lock down which all seems so excessive just to catch one guy (seriously? Do I even have to comment here? Really?) Stealing a keycard he goes snooping – and really, Muirfield you need to work on the décor scheme. Ice white furnishings, ceilings, floors walls – everything in every room? Do people take sunglasses to work?

In the records room Evan finds a heavily censored record under Catherine’s surname, Chandler (why is Murifield censoring its own files? A top secret organisation has a records room full of files that are redacted to the point of unreadability?). It’s Catherine’s mother’s file. He also finds a letter that is even more disturbing to him.

ZOMG, the secret murdering agency is involved in scary evil stuff and may have LIED to him?! No, who could possibly have guessed this eventuality?!

Outside the Muirfield building Tess, Catherine and JT plan how to get in the building. The electrified fence they can take out by bringing down the local transformer removing the power (Tess is shocked/impressed by JT carrying IEDs) and the voice recognition security door they can bypass using the voice of Evan’s Muirfield ex, Claire, which they have after monitoring Evan’s calls (the voice recognition only needs a voice, not for them to say a password it seems).  Inside, Catherine trips an alarm though.

And Evan finds a lab that’s a cross between the Addam’s family and Frankenstein’s workshop, complete with moving limbs sans body.

Vincent is being kept in a cage and Muirfield boss (Agent K/Kyle) goes to talk to him (standing way too close to the bars, seriously Vincent could totally kill him). The purpose of this conversation? Gloating and describing the terrible things they intend to do to Vincent for shits and giggles. This is overheard and watched by Evan (if, at this point, he needs some bad villainous gloating from Kyle to convince him Muirfield is bad then I give up all hope). With Kyle leaving to check the security breech Evan comes in to tell Vincent that Muirfield is totally evil and doing evil things of evilness! Vincent is shocked by this news. Truly. Also, Vincent is actually human and changed not grown in a petri dish! HOW COULD HE HAVE GUESSED THIS?!

Dear gods, I am not nearly drunk enough to keep watching this. Let me get a bottle before continuing.

Agent K/Kyle runs into Evan wandering through the building and they fight, Agent K winning easily of course as he asks Evan who has broken in. And Kyle shoots Evan in the stomach. Woe.

Meanwhile Catherine is infiltrating her way through the building and finds Vincent’s cage – and a woman with a big needle. We get another very brief fight only this time because Catherine releases Vincent from his cage and super-strong mutant beats woman with needle. Of course they can’t just escape because Catherine simply has to go save Evan (why?) and they find him dying slowly (seriously, Muirfield boss, a bullet to the head would kill 11 gazillion times faster. Why is everyone gutshot on TV?) Of course they have to carry him out and we find out there’s another secret about Catherine’s parents that Vincent is keeping from her. Because secrets always work well on this show.

Running they find a solid steel door and Vincent goes all manimal to try and break it down – freaking out Evan a little. Evan also decides to redeem himself by dramatically sacrificing himself which involves just… standing in the way of the advancing gang who shoot him. Uh… what was that supposed to achieve? Seriously, you delayed them by like, 10 seconds. In fact there was a reasonable chance of one of their bullets going through Evan and hitting Catherine – that’s where he decided to set up his human road block. It’s quite literally the most ridiculous self-sacrifice moment I’ve ever seen on television – and I watch the Vampire Diaries!

Catherine and Vincent escape through the steel door

At the police station Gabe has an attack of the shakes, his hand becoming unusable until he takes a bill from his big big drawer of pills. Interesting new twist. Catherine talks to him about Evan and it seems Evan used his phone to send a full confession for being the mole, saving Catherine – his more realistic self-sacrifice moment. Still doesn’t explain the dramatic arms-out death thing, but I put it down to flare for the dramatic.

Catherine and Vincent meet up and Catherine is doing the guilt thing again *sigh* blah blah I got Evan killed, blah blah, avoid me, blah – seriously? What got Evan killed was deciding to trust the evil killer company. End of. Vincent starts to build Catherine up again.

Am I supposed to go along with Evan working with a group of known murderers who experiment on people for the sake of Catherine? Really? Am I supposed to think his desperate unrequited love for her makes this remotely sensible or believable? Because I’m not seeing it. No matter how goey in love he is or whether Vincent is foaming at the mouth, he can’t believe setting a shadowy organisation that merrily kills people and PRAISED HIM for a murder they assumed he committed is in any way in her best interest. Or anyone’s best interest. For that matter, the closest interaction he has had with Vincent is him saving Evan’s life.

Evan, you’re pretty but you’re also 8 kinds of arsehole. It’s the 21st century, British actors on American television no longer have to play the villain, it is known.

What annoys me about this is the same thing that annoys me about Vincent’s 6 storey jump. It’s ridiculous. It’s foolish. It’s beyond implausible. There is no freaking way these characters could possibly think this. This isn’t stupidity, this isn’t foolishness, it’s bad writing. It’s really awful writing to try and introduce conflict by making the characters do things that NO-ONE, least of all these supposedly intelligent men, would actually do.

And this kills the episode for me. In fact it’s killing the series for me. The episode itself wasn’t bad and I certainly prefer fighting Muirfield and sinister Gabe over endless Catherine/Vincent love angst – but the very premise of this episode loses me. It breaks my suspension of disbelief beyond reasonable recovery. The main message I’m taking from this episode is less “Muirfield evil” and more “Oh dear gods, Evan and Vincent were doctors. They actually let these fools OPERATE ON PEOPLE!” because whichever hospitals let these fools near patients is far less ethical than Muirfield ever was.