Bob and Carol are back with a vengeance.
Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW

Early on in tonight’s episode, Vincent reminds Cat that when they were in therapy they were told that in order to be less co-dependent they would have to “break the cycle.” Basically, they would need to stop relying on one another all the time and find a way to keep their individual selves intact. Breaking the cycle turns out to not only be good advice for the couple, but also for Beauty and the Beast in general. “The Most Dangerous Beast” splits Cat and Vincent up for the first time in a long time and the result is the best episode of the season by a landslide.

At first it looks like Vincent and Cat are about to go down the same path they always do. Even Vincent thinks so, muttering “here we go again” when Cat sprints out of a café when she thinks she sees Carol on the street. Not long after that though, the show (and Vincent and Cat) shakes things up. The two plan on having a day apart from one another in order to strengthen their relationship and kill their co-dependency.

That means that Cat is back at the precinct working on a traditional, non-beast case and Vincent is headed to Upstate New York as part of the hospital’s outreach program. Tess straps Cat with a brand new partner, an eager detective named Wesley “like itch but with an A” Atchinson. Tess sends them to investigate an armed robbery, but only after she tells Cat that she can’t contact J.T. or do any beast work.

The first thing Cat does when she leaves Tess’ office? She calls J.T. and asks about Bob and Carol. Tess is quick to shut down that behavior though, texting J.T. and telling him to hang up. Tess knows Cat too well, which is a good thing. She’s been off the rails and pretty self-involved this season, so Tess laying down the law might be a nice wake-up call for her.

Cat and Wesley don’t find much at the armed robbery because Cat once again gets sidetracked when she thinks she sees Carol. She stops herself from pursuing her though, remembering her promise to Vincent and Tess to be more in control. It turns out that Carol is in fact the random pedestrian though, and she’s trying to lure Cat away so that she can kill her.

It’s all part of a plan that Bob and Carol have worked up. With Vincent and Cat separated, they’re at their weakest. That means that Carol can kill Cat, and Bob can capture Vincent, who he needs to put through a number of tests in order to see if he’s the “unique beast” that his boss is looking for.

If Bob manages to capture Vincent, him and Carol will get the antidote from their boss that stops the serum that’s inside of them. Such a reveal adds a nice layer to the story. It positions Carol and Bob as more than assassins; they’re two people in love trying to get back to some kind of normal, and that’s something Cat and Vincent certainly understand.

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Bob’s tests involve checking Vincent’s beast skills and his morality. He needs him alive so he spends the episode chasing him around the woods and testing his skills. Still, he needs Vincent to truly beast out before he can capture him, assuring that he’s truly the beast his boss is looking for. For that to happen, he needs Carol, or more specifically, he needs to tell Vincent that Carol is going to kill Cat.

With that plan in mind, Carol lures Cat and Wesley to an abandoned warehouse that used to be a meth lab. At the last minute Cat realizes it’s a trap, but not before Wesley gets shot in the shoulder. She tells him to drive back to the precinct and get backup from Tess, then goes inside to confront Carol.

Every now and then the action is a little to convenient on this show, and the few sequences with Cat and Carol in this episode are particularly iffy. For instance, if Carol is a superhuman assassin who can slow down her heart, increase her brain processing speed, and has murdered a bunch of people from afar with startling accuracy, how come she misses when shooting Cat from the window? I know Wesley moved in front, but shouldn’t Carol be able to “predict” that. That’s the whole point of her superhuman power!

Once inside the warehouse, the action is a little muddled, too. Cat shoots out the lights in order to mess with Carol’s superhuman abilities, but it doesn’t really do much. The two still end up throwing down, and Carol hardly seems fazed. Still, Cat manages to take her down because Cat is the real superhuman, unstoppable force. I’m kidding, but you wouldn’t know it from watching her take out bad guys left, right, and center.

With Carol taken care of and brought into custody, all that’s left is for Vincent to be rescued. Bob has completed all his tests and tranquilized Vincent, strapping him into the bed of his truck before driving away to meet his boss. The only hope for Vincent is J.T., who uses his newfound superpowers to search Bob and Carol’s apartment when he and Tess find a lead.

J.T. notices marking on a map and figures out where Vincent must be and comes up with a crazy plan. Before he can execute that plan though he makes a call to Tess because it’s just so crazy that he might not make it out of the woods alive. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to say for a while,” he says before saying “I love you” and hanging up the phone. It’s a genuinely touching moment and one of the first times this season I’ve felt like the show was treating its characters honestly.

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It turns out that J.T.’s plan involves stepping in front of Bob’s moving truck and getting hit, prompting Vincent to go primal. Vincent breaks his straps and kills Bob, but more importantly, manages to bring himself back from beast mode.

Managing to control his primal side is a big step forward for Vincent. J.T. helps him realize that it’s not Cat talking him down that keeps his beast side in check, but rather Cat’s love. “Cat’s love is always with you,” he says. It’s all Vincent needs to recollect his best memories with Cat, and his beast mode disappears before he hurts anyone he loves. It’s also a nice bit of thematic work, musing on how hard it can be to trust someone to love us when we’re not physically with them, but how necessary that trust is to a healthy relationship.

As lovely as that is, Vincent still killed a man, and that has devastating consequences. Carol’s in custody and going to prison for a long time, but when she sees the look on Cat’s face and understands that Bob is dead, she stops her heart permanently. She can’t live without him, their co-dependency completely inescapable.

It’s a sad moment, even if Carol was a “villain” of sorts, but it means that Cat and Vincent are now free of the assassins. There’s still the big boss out there somewhere, but for now the two can just focus on being them. Tess and J.T. can do the same. “By the way, I love you, too” she says to J.T. at the end of the episode. It’s an optimistic note to end on, which is appropriate because tonight’s episode is the first truly promising one of an otherwise inconsistent season.

By splitting up Vincent and Cat, toning down the annoying and out-of-character relationship drama, and getting back to cases and mysteries, Beauty and the Beast found itself again tonight. Here’s hoping that the momentum extends to the rest of the season.

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Beauty and the Beast (TV Series)
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