Beauty and the Beast: Heart of Darkness and Playing with Fire

Well, we’re down a dark and winding road now, y’all. On the upside, the show was renewed last week, and we’re getting a second season!

First up, Evan fell on his sword for Cat and Vincent after setting up Vincent to be captured. So, that sucked, and I don’t think that was somewhere we needed to go in the first season, but it’s done. Also, Lucas Bryant from Haven popped by as a Muirfield agent long enough to get himself killed and tip Cat to a way to dent Muirfield.

“Heart of Darkness” was a true showcase episode for Max Brown, but sadly, since it was his last episode, it had the effect of “why haven’t you been using him like this before now??” After Evan sees Cat and Vincent together at the end of “Partners in Crime,” he meets with his Muirfield rep and tells him exactly where to find Vincent.  Half-full of whiskey (and floppy-hairred, so we know he’s far gone), he takes a swing at a guy on a neighboring barstool and lands himself in the drunk tank.

This interrupts a lazy afternoon with Vincent turned rooftop girl talk session with Tess as Cat gets the call that Evan’s in jail and goes to see him. Once there, he unspools everything that he knows about Muirfield and she deflects it a bit until it’s on the table that a) he loves her and b) he’s set up Vincent to be captured. I will give props to the writers and Brown for making Evan an ugly drunk—he tells Cat horrible things about how Vincent isn’t a man and doesn’t deserve her and it won’t end well.

Down in the tunnels, Vincent hears Muirfield coming and gets away. Then Cat stupidly tells him about Evan and his decision to confront him is what gets him captured on the second attempt when Evan triggers a panic button that brings Muirfield running.

Once Vincent is captured, Evan sits at Muirfield waiting for an audience and he keeps mouthing off (it’s very effective that they didn’t suddenly have him sober up and be “old Evan”), this time to an Agent Davis (Bryant), who conveniently leaves the room so Evan can snoop files and swipe his card key. Evan has a walkabout and finds honest-to-goodness file cabinets with paper files (on Cat’s mom) and proof that Muirfield is now making new and improved bits o’ guy. Then he finds and sort of apologizes to Vincent that he’d never thought about the possibility that he was a man first and a monster later. Vincent tells him his full name, and that he was a soldier who was the subject of a failed experiment (he leaves out that he was a doctor, which seemed odd to me).

Then they’re interrupted just Evan’s about to free him and Evan fights with the Muirfield rep, who has no trouble shooting Evan in the stomach—twice. He falls, and then Cat shows up and Vincent is freed. Vincent starts to get them out of there but she wants to go back for Evan. They find him and Vincent realizes it’s dire but they scoop him up anyway and as Cat goes on ahead to try the doors, Evan says something to Vincent about Cat’s parents and Vincent says he knows but they can’t tell her, so there’s something unsaid there about her dad, or maybe her dad isn’t her dad? We’ll find out.

They get to the tunnels and Vincent is trying to break down a door and Cat is holding Evan up against a wall while he types away on his phone. She tells him an SOS will likely go nowhere but he keeps on. He apologizes again for being wrong and he says he can make it right now. He kisses her cheek and Cat turns to look at Vincent as he finally breaches the door, and doesn’t see Evan turn away from her toward the approaching Muirfield team. He stands the full width of the tunnel to shield Cat and Vincent and faces them head on as they drop him in a hail of bullets and Cat watches him die. Vincent scoops her out of there to the other side of the door and they’re saved.

The next day, Gabe tells Cat that Evan sent him a typed confession from his phone, in which he admitted to covering for the vigilante, and he’s disappeared. Cat rides the train and mourns her friend and Vincent finds her, and she asks him how and he tells her he never stops looking for her. They have a not-argument about whether they should have or did encourage each other (and establish that it’s been a year) and how they’re dangerous for everybody, and finally they settle on Muirfield having to go down.

In “Playing with Fire,” we focus on Gabe’s back story. It turns out he was a Muirfield experiment as a child and Cat’s mom got him out. He tells Cat that story and Cat puts the pieces together about her mom.

Agent Davis comes into the precinct all shot up and yelling for Cat but he dies on the floor before he can talk with her. Tess steals a card key off him and Vincent and JT track his blood trail and find a phone with a message recorded by Davis before his death, telling Cat he was her mom’s friend and dropping the name Orchard.

They find out that’s Orchard Industries, and Cat, working with Gabe, JT, and Tess breaks in and finds out it’s a server farm. She offloads files to Gabe and an unnamed blonde (One Tree Hill‘s Shantel VanSanten) who bears her own nasty Muirfield-ish scar and then Cat panics that Vincent’s info will be transferred. She tried to delete it and can’t and then Vincent shows up to help her sabotage the servers. A fire breaks out and the building is a loss and Gabe gets nothing.

Tess tries to ease Joe’s angst about Evan by showing him that Evan sat on drug test results from Darius’s autopsy. Gabe’s unnamed friend clues him that the fire had a little help as some of the servers had been broken loose from the floor. We wrap up with Vincent asking Cat to meet him in the tunnels and then taking her to the new place he’s found for him an JT–from the looks of it, an abandoned pre-War, which is a step up from the industrial loft seized by NYPD that she suggested at the beginning of the episode.

I’m not loving that they wrote Evan out, or that as annoying as she was, Heather has just disappeared.  I think we’re getting away from the tone of the first part of the season, which I liked better than the most recent episodes, and quite frankly were what hooked me on the show.

I have no idea if Muirfield will always be the big bad, but if so, that seems to be more spy genre-ish vs. one-off helping people. We’ll see where it goes. I don’t think they broke the show by getting Vincent and Cat together this quickly, but they seem to be unsure of how to build the show around them now, and I’m not sold on their current path. I like them together, and I think it was a brave move to get them together this early.  I just want TPTB to find a way to build on that vs. making their relationship, and the concealment of it, the undoing of everyone around them.

We only have three episodes left until the season finale.  Here’s a sneak peek of tonight’s new episode, “Anniversary.”

Photo courtesy of Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW

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