Another week, another superb episode of Beauty and the Beast. In fact, this one was even better than last week's fascinating "Ancestors." The strange and wonderful appeal of this show is that even as I completely disagree with many of the characters' decisions (more an issue with earlier Season 2 episodes) and can't quite get my mind around what the writers could possibly be thinking with certain angles (i.e. the entire character of Gabe), I'm constantly laughing, having my heart broken and put back together, shouting tirades at the screen, and thoroughly enjoying it. This is the mark of truly great t.v. anyway you slice it.
"Held Hostage" had some awesome twists and turns that finally brought VinCat to a more positive forward momentum. Meanwhile, the affair of the necklace and those who want it for mysterious and nefarious reasons continues to grow more intriguingly complex. Here's what went down and what I thought!
I had to give out immediate kudos to BatB for using one of my favorite songs, the fantastically angsty "Stay Away" by Charli XCX, to open this episode. It really got me thinking because while I had previously thought this song referred to a darker and more damaging relationship than VinCat, there are aspects of the lyrics that apply perfectly to the dynamic between them. It deals with overwhelming and consuming love and the desperate desire to shake that love off to survive another day on one's own terms. This does speak to the difficult yet epic origins, powerful emotions, and currently troubled nature of the VinCat connection...and when VinCat first met, he did tell her to stay away. Since their break-up this season, it's been Cat's turn to try and push her love for Vincent away...clearly, an impossible task.
"You choke my throat
With words of wonder
You make it hard to breathe
Your love's so cold
Just like an arrow
Pierced through my skin I bleed
I knew you were no angel
But god, what did I do?"*
Cat was irritated to see pictures of Vincent and Tori in the newspapers as they paraded the necklace around to attract those who may have more information on it. She met up with Gabe to plan a surprise birthday for Tess, and her boss / potential b.f. was curious about Cat's residual anger towards Vincent. Did it mean she was "unresolved" about her ex? (Yes.) Cat then went off on an explanation composed of complete lies that cracked me up: "I'm over Vincent. I can't believe I was ever with someone like that." The level of self-persuasion Cat was trying to impose on herself with these words formed a theme that continued throughout the episode.
Even though Cat claimed she was done with Vincent (her favorite topic, haha) and only wanted the necklace because of its ties to her own past, and even though she put the mega-big-eyes / lean-in-for-the-kiss moves on Gabe, he wasn't having it. It's moments like this that make Gabe's "changed man" persona and his feelings for Cat seem so genuine that he must be a total genius if he's actually been evil the whole time. I am more inclined to suspect that Gabe is a character torn between good and evil at all times, but which way is the pendulum swinging now? For almost the first time all season, "Held Hostage" raised some questions about Gabe's intentions that made the blend of sweet and suspicious in him more remarkable than ever.
We got a fabulous face-off - the first of many in this episode - when Gabe, Cat, and Tess showed up to get the necklace from Vincent and Tori. The teams were divided almost evenly (J.T., where were you this week?) but Cat ended up arresting Tori after she and Vincent wouldn't give up the necklace.
It was awesome to finally get a couple of feisty head-on confrontations between Cat and Tori this week. As annoying as Tori often is, at least she's a fun character to have around in situations like this. Cat was sassily priceless and quite correct in telling the she-beast that Vincent's taking Tori out on the town to draw out dangerous villains does not equal a date.
Tess got some great quips in as well, such as suggesting that Tori avoid ending up in a lab, "you know, like E.T. at the end of the movie?" In fact, just overall, Tess was on fire this week. She had numerous hilarious and poignant moments in the episode that underscored what a fabulous character she is.
A motley and violent crew of baddies showed up to hold everyone in the station hostage and steal the necklace. As officers circled outside to try and help, Gabe discussed the problem with Vincent, who acted as if he only cared about getting the necklace and wasn't concerned with saving the lives of the hostages. "Catherine was right," Gabe noted, "you are unrecognizable." But once Gabe indicated that Catherine was involved...
"Is she in there?" Vincent asked, practically apparating into the station at the mere suggestion of Cat's being in danger. I loved the abrupt switch from Vincent's veneer of insensitive selfishness to leaping into the fray to save Cat.
Meanwhile, Cat had to try and get Tori to beast out in order to help with the hostage situation, amusingly swapping her gentle, keep-the-peace tone to an aggressive one to help Tori get in the mood: "I hate you, and you and Vincent don't stand a chance." That was some satisfying dialogue.
Gabe didn't mince words in telling Cat that Vincent obviously still cares about her and went rushing into the building when he heard she was in trouble. But then he followed that up by telling Catherine that when the current peril was over, he wanted to be with her: "I'm in." I think the first thing you said kind of undercut the other idea, Gabe.
Cat ran into Vincent after escaping from her cell, but the two quickly began to argue, once again about "that stupid necklace." More than a plot device, the necklace has come to represent everything that's come between VinCat, which amazingly happens to also be the same everything that will always bind them inextricably together.
Vincent had an awesome line in this scene that seemed a bit like a direct message to the show's fans who have been disheartened with the changes in him this season - "You wanna know what happened to 'The Old Vincent'? He was deceived and hurt by almost everyone in your family tree." It was terrific to have an outright acknowledgement that the Season 2 Vincent is different from the one we met in Season 1, and to have him give some explanation of the pain that sent him down that dark path.
"Do you remember what I said
That first time we met
Stay away, why couldn't you stay away?
I never needed anyone
But now that you are gone
Stay away, won't you just stay away?"*
Still under gunpoint with the other hostages, Tess was having a fairly unfun birthday, also being semi-interrogated about Tori's beast-out by the rather emotionally manipulative Agent Landon. I adored the way that after listening to the profiler's cutting words about her enthusiasm for birthdays representing some kind of inferiority complex, Tess came back with some tart retorts at the end of the episode. Nobody puts Tess in the corner, even if the villains did eat her cheesecake.
Poor Tess then had a gun to her head while Catherine feverishly whispered a plea for Vincent to channel his "Old Vincent" self and rescue her best friend. Of course, Vincent later said he didn't actually hear Cat when she was "like, praying" to him, but what a beautifully intense scene and lovely performance by Kristin Kreuk.
"I climbed a wall
To touch your shadow
I hear you call for me
But you're not there
You're just an echo
Why did you fall for me?"*