December 15, 2012



The midseason finale of the purported romantic thriller BEAUTY & THE BEAST delivered almost all romance, no thrills, as it continues to have only a glancing relationship with its title.

Plotting has been this show’s weak spot from the start, so the fact that its procedural crime-solving story of the week was underdeveloped to the point of near-invisibility (until a ludicrous last-second “cliffhanger” ending) wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The episode, written by series creators Sherri Cooper and Jennifer Levin, was far more concerned with the remarriage of heroine and NY homicide detective Catherine Chandler’s (Kristin Kreuk) father, and whether Cat would have a date to the wedding.  This was supposed to tie in thematically with the week’s crime, about a murder that turned out to be committed by a celebrity matchmaker whose “perfect” marriage wasn’t so perfect, but it was clear that no one involved had much interest in that storyline, which was disposed of in a few scenes.

The episode revolved instead about whether the “beast,” Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) would come to the nuptials, despite the risk of beasting out or revealing his secret identity in public.  Vincent, of course, is a beast for about thirty seconds per episode, the rest of the time looking more like a fashion model (but for a single decorative scar), and he remained on good behavior when he turned up for a swoony dance with Cat.  There was an attempt at suspense through the fact that pathologist Evan (Max Brown), who weirdly conducts experiments on mutant DNA in his spare time, had supposedly discovered that Vincent was becoming biologically more beast than man, and the possibility that Vincent’s sidekick JT (Austin Basis) would be uncovered through his brief appearance in the lab, but this was all pretty tepid.

Beauty’s appeal, such as it is, rides mostly on the charm of Kristin Kreuk, and that’s a considerable help, even if in this episode she mostly seemed to be running through leftover Katherine Heigl rom-com paces.  She and Ryan occasionally get a decent flirty rhythm going (which is about as good as the stolid Ryan gets), and she recites her cop-cliche dialogue in the crime sequences with enthusiasm.  None of this, however, is enough to override the essential dopiness of the enterprise, and the lack of any real fantasy in this awkward piggybacking of Twilight-style forbidden love on a weekly procedural.

Beauty was given CW’s plum timeslot after The Vampire Diaries on Thursdays, and while it’s done well enough to earn a back-order, it squanders about half of its lead-in each week.  Unless it can show some signs of improvement in the second half of the season, creatively and/or in the numbers, or unless the network is awfully displeased with its development slate next spring, it’s hard to imagine the series returning for another season.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."