Near the end of tonight’s season 3 premiere of Beauty and the Beast, Tess reflects on the crazy day she just had. The day involves helping Cat, covering up for Vincent, and tracking down beasts. “Same old, same old” she says before taking a swig of scotch. If there’s one worry heading into this season, it’s that with Muirfield out of their way, what’s left for Cat, Vincent, J.T., and Tess? Will it be more of the same old, same old?
Based on the premiere, the answer is yes and no. There’s a familiar feel to the episode; the story of a new strain of beasts wreaking havoc on the city is similar to nearly every story of the past two seasons. Still, there are hints that this is just an establishing episode and that there’s more to come. The idea of there being some sort of mystery group that’s using innocent people across the city to create super humans, to push the limits of their physical and mental capabilities, is certainly an intriguing one. Plus, there’s all that relationship stuff.
The premiere picks up two months after Cat and Vincent’s last showdown with Gabe. Everyone is doing what they can to get back to normal, but what they fail to realize is that they don’t have a “normal.” Their normal is downright absurd to most people, so any attempt to lead a normal life is fruitless.
That’s frustrating for both Cat and Vincent, especially considering that the DHS agents who kept J.T. alive at the end of last season keep trying to recruit Cat into an investigation. They’re doing what they can to track down an organization that’s mutating innocent people and giving them superhuman, beast-like powers. They’re not having any luck and they’re just human. They need a beast to handle this type of work.
Cat doesn’t want to get Vincent involved though. He’s finally going back to work at New York General and all he can talk about is the normal life they can have now. For Cat, the situation needs to be dire before she brings the case to Vincent and risks threatening his new sense of normalcy.
And it isn’t long before the situation does take a turn for the worse. The DHS agents track down a living case, a stock broker named Tyler. They question his wife, who’s concerned about her husband’s recent aggressive behavior. He’s threatened to blow up the building where he works, and she doesn’t understand how that could be the man she’s devoted to.
When the DHS agents and Cat leave the apartment Tyler swoops in on them, severely wounding one agent and killing another. Cat escapes with just a few bruises, but she has to head to the hospital with Agent Thomas. Vincent, who’s at a restaurant and preparing to propose to Cat with his mother’s engagement ring, gets a call from Cat that she’s on her way to the hospital.
He’s livid when he gets there. He doesn’t understand how Cat could put herself in that situation and risk not only her life but also the life they are building together; you know, the one without beast hunts. There are more pressing matters than their relationship drama though as Agent Thomas is quickly dying. Vincent, fresh off his disastrous first day there, steps in and finds the problem using his beast sense. It’s something he never wanted to do again, but now has to in order to save a life. That’s who Vincent is, whether he wants to admit that or not.
NEXT: Something borrowed, something blue, something beastly[pagebreak]
After Cat fills Vincent in on all the DHS details, and after Tess gives J.T. hell for not moving past Gabe’s attack on him (geez, lighten up, Tess), Vincent reluctantly agrees to help her. Or rather, he decides to check in on Thomas and sees Tyler trying to strangle him and finish the job.
Tyler bolts out the window before Vincent can get his hands on him. Vincent goes to Thomas and the agent tells him that if he doesn’t stop this, who will? He’s right. Who else has the skills to take down someone like Tyler, someone with that many unknown variables?
Vincent does eventually track down Tyler, much to the chagrin of Cat. As usual, Cat wants Vincent’s help and then is mad when he gets too beastly. I understand that she’s conflicted, but man, she’s been doing the same thing for two straight seasons. She wants Vincent to help but not sacrifice his humanity. That’s called having your cake and eating it, too.
Part of why this episode works, despite having a structure and story line that’s similar to so many Beauty and the Beast episodes, is that there’s shades of character growth and some nice parallels between the plight of Cat and Vincent as a beast fighting team and their romantic relationship.
Cat and Vincent are trying to find a way to lead a normal life. They’re trying to reconcile their individual selves with their goals as a couple. They’re weighing their responsibility to themselves with their responsibility to each other and to other people.
If that’s not the essence of committing to a long-term relationship, then I don’t know what is. Cat and Vincent trying to figure out what to do about Tyler, the DHS agents, and the continued beast hunt is a smart stand-in for the way individuals compromise to become a couple. You work to retain your individuality, the things that make you who you are, but you also sacrifice and work toward being a better team. It’s a precocious balance, but when it works, it’s beautiful.
Ultimately, after Vincent tracks down Tyler and Cat stops him from killing him, the two decide that they make a better beast fighting team than they do separate individuals. She pleads for him to keep his humanity, to keep their relationship alive.
The thing is, Cat will always be a cop at heart and Vincent will always be a beast. They’re meant to be together, and as Cat says, for more reasons than just loving each other. They’re meant to track down weird groups that experiment on innocent people. They’re meant to put their lives in danger. It’s who they are, just as it’s J.T.’s job to motivate Vincent to do the right thing and Tess’s job to kick J.T. into gear every now and then and keep Cat sane.
Ultimately, we don’t know what’s next for Cat and Vincent. We don’t know how dangerous these innocents are or how they’re being mutated. What we do know is that they’re moving forward together. At the end of the episode Vincent gets down on one knee and proposes, a little delayed but in a much more appropriate spot. (I may have yelled “you can’t propose there, you have to propose on the roof!” at my TV when he went to the restaurant earlier in the episode.) There’s no big speech, no longwinded proclamation of love. Just a “will you marry me?” and a “yes.” It’s touching and fitting. For once these two aren’t complicating things. If you let it, love can be simple.