Is it possible to fall in love with a dangerous person and still live a normal life? What happens when the complications get to be too much? Is it better to give up or continue to fight for that person? That was part of the premise behind the first part of the second season of "Beauty and the Beast," which had one young couple facing endless obstacles in order to stay together. The results are somewhat familiar, but the chemistry between the two main characters make it worth sticking around for no matter how frustrating some of the plots are this season.
"Beauty and the Beast" followed Detective Catherine Chandler (Kristin Kreuk) who became a cop after her mother was murdered more than 10 years ago. She crossed paths with Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) who was once a doctor and a soldier that a corporation named Muirfield experimented on. Vincent can literally transform himself into a beast whenever he or his loved ones feel threatened. They joined forces to stop Muirfield before the company killed them with the help of their friends J.T. Forbes (Austin Basis) and Detective Tess Vargas (Nina Lisandrello). Unfortunately, Vincent was kidnapped and experimented on again for months. He came back a changed man/beast without any memory of his past or Catherine for that matter. It turned out that Catherine's biological father (Ted Whittall) was using his connection to Muirfield by turning Vincent into an assassin to clean up him his mess and killing him once he completed his final assignment. Just when Vincent was starting to get his memory back, two other suitors crossed the troubled couple's path ready and willing to pick up the pieces. Catherine and Vincent came across Tori Windsor (Amber Skye Noyes) who was born a beast that could easily get into uncontrollable rages. Tori and Vincent were attracted to each other in a way that was simply pure lust, but the sight of them kissing sent Catherine running for the hills. It also didn't help that Vincent relied on his beast side a little more than he should have. While Catherine sorted through her break-up with Vincent, former beast Gabe Lowan (Sendhil Ramamurthy) was trying to be a better man as he tried to win Catherine's heart, even though it would always be tied to Vincent. Will Catherine be able to find her true Mr. Right and still manage to stay ahead of another villain?
In terms of questions, the show posed a lot of them and there seemed to be very few answers that were truly satisfying. The first season of the show offered huge promise as the leads slowly danced their way into a dangerous romance with one common enemy that potentially be an end to the relationship after the first season finale. Sadly, this season went a little off the rails in delivering credible problems for the main characters to solve and frustrating viewers with too man rushed plots that never get fully resolved. A prime example would be Catherine and Vincent's break-up because Tori and Vincent's connection came out of nowhere without any hint for viewers to realize what was coming. It also didn't help that Ryan and Kreuk didn't really have much chemistry with either Noyes or Ramamurthy that could convince viewers that Catherine shouldn't be with anyone else but Vincent. Expectations were high that the new season would bring in even more danger, but the real surprise was that the second season's main plots weren't truly planned out because the writers seemed to be sampling different stories rather than choosing one particular one. Instead of one main villain, viewers had several to choose from and none of them were truly compelling than the faceless Muirfield that terrified Catherine and Vincent. The real twist would've been having someone close to one or both of them pulling the strings rather than Catherine's father. Let's hope that plot, or something like it, could still happen at some point, because the show could be in trouble of being cancelled if it didn't fix some of its mistakes. Fingers crossed because it was once an exciting show to watch.
As for breakout performances, Kreuk and Ryan led the pack as the show's resident star-crossed lovers who couldn't seem to get it right, but viewers still liked watching them try. Kreuk played Catherine to be the vulnerable heroine who was tough as nails on the job, but she was completely clueless when it came to matters of the heart. She designed to Catherine to be a character of strength, humor and romance as she she tried to stay alive and sane. Kreuk tried to make even some of Catherine's weaker stories more credible as her character spent weeks at a time pining for a man who was no longer the same person. The character was better served when she fought her way out of dangerous situations before submitting to her relationship insecurities. Her character's personal melodrama was often the show's weakest point, which explained why all of Catherine's family members have either moved away or died by the start of season two. Ryan, on the other hand, had the more challenging task of playing a character going through several different transformations over the course of two seasons. Vincent was once a mild mannered doctor who turned into a violent beast who killed bad guys, but another experiment turned him into a totally different animal who focused on his baser instincts. Ryan tried to make sense of Vincent's many character changes from cold assassin, revenge seeker and now accused murderer. Sometimes, he was able to succeed in making Vincent's personalities shift seem convincing, but he wasn't always so successful. Hopefully, this summer's new crop of episodes will help remedy some of those character flaws before it's too late.
"Beauty and the Beast" aired its mid-season finale on March 10th. New episodes are slated to air Mondays at 9:00 PM on the CW.
Verdict: A once promising show has gotten bogged in too many different mysteries and a romantic triangle that went nowhere fast. Hopefully, new episodes will help to steer the remainder of the season in the right direction. If not, it will likely be its last.
TV Score: 2 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)