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Beauty and the Beast – 1.01 – Pilot – Review: A Stroll Down Memory Lane


“A Stroll Down Memory Lane”

‘I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong. You can look at a painting for the first time, for example, and not like it at all, but after looking at it a little longer you may find it very pleasing. The first time you try Gorgonzola cheese you may find it too strong, but when you are older you may want to eat nothing but Gorgonzola cheese. Klaus, when Sunny was born, did not like her at all, but by the time she was six weeks old the two of them were thick as thieves. Your initial opinion on just about anything may change over time.’

― Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning


Preface

Beasties, we have a date and it is June 2, 2014. A little later than expected but at least we know and at least we’re actually getting the episodes aired. I took a breather from any and all things BATB related. But I’m refreshed and firmly recommitted to eating, sleeping and breathing all things BATB. I promised you guys some ‘Retro Recaps’ and I’m here with my first installment.

I may have not been a Beastie from the very beginning but I can assure I will be one until the very end. I found the pilot to be pretty solid but it just didn’t hook me right away like some of my other favorite shows. To be honest, I wasn’t completely sold on the show right up until episode 1x05: Saturn Returns; that was the episode I knew that I was in love with the show and there was no turning back.

But the pilot is still in my top 10 favorites list and I always manage to find something new to love about it each and every time I watch it. I’m still blown away by just how awesome Kristin and Jay’s chemistry was from day one.

Enough rambling, it’s time to take a stroll down memory lane…

The Recap & Review


Title: Pilot | Writer: Sherri Cooper & Jennifer Levin | Director: Gary Fleder

Episode Summary: In autumn of 2003, 19-year-old Catherine Chandler's mother Vanessa was killed by two unknown hitmen; those men chased Catherine into the woods to kill her, too, where she was saved by a mysterious humanoid beast. In 2012, Catherine, now a successful New York police detective, is still plagued by memories of that mysterious beast as well as her mother's unsolved murder. "Cat" and her detective partner Tess are investigating the murder of blonde fashion editor Ashley Webster in a hotel. During the search, she finds fingerprints of deceased doctor Vincent Keller on the corpse. She learns that Keller was only helping Webster, whose death was the result of a previous poisoning. Ashley's husband Alex had been cheating on her; one of his mistresses killed his wife. Cat runs into Vincent as he again saves her during an attack by hired killers in a subway tunnel.
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My thoughts on the writer…
Sherri & Jenny are my favorite writers on this show. This show is their baby and it shows (at least during season 1 anyway). I love how fleshed out all the characters felt right away.

My thoughts on the director…
This was Mr. Fleder’s first and only time directing an episode of Beauty and the Beast. I thought he did a really great job and got a lot out of all of the actors. I think he really set the tone for what I look for in directors on the show. It was very simple, stripped down and knew when to let a moment breathe and when to get a little frenetic.

My thoughts on the case of the week…
A fashion editor at a premiere magazine is murdered. She was poisoned. Her assistant did it because she was sleeping with her husband, got pregnant and thought the only way they could be together was to kill her because they had a pre-nuptial agreement (which the married couple actually didn’t have, it was just the scum bucket of a husband’s excuse he used).

*One of the main reasons why I hesitated to watch this show in the first place was because it was billed in the press release as and I quote, ‘a procedural with a fairy twist’. I was burnt out on the procedural genre during the 2011-2012 TV season and wasn’t interested in any new ones. I was all about sticking to my new ‘serialized dramas with heavy elements of Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy’ rule. But I really did come to like the cases during the first half of the season, especially because Cat and Tess were good at their jobs (I know it inspired me and quite a few others to write ‘Lady Cops’ fan fiction).

My thoughts on the villain…
Muirfield is introduced right from the start. They seemed like they’re going to be the series long big bad. Muirfield seems mysterious and menacing and I remember the mystery of them and the cross species DNA being the biggest draws for me.

My thoughts on the theme…
Beauty and the Beast isn’t afraid to lay it on thick when it comes to permeating an episode with a theme that it wants to explore. But this episode didn’t have just one or two themes. It had the five main themes that show revolves around:
• Discovering who you are as a person.
• Finding something to fight for.
• Determining your worth.
• Everything is connected.
• You can never be sure who the real monsters are.
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Important Incidents


• During the 9/11 attack Vincent loses his brothers in the towers. – Makes Vincent enlist in the Army.
• Cat’s mother gets killed. – Drives Cat to become a cop.
• Vincent saves Cat.
• Cat catches a case that leads her to Vincent’s existence.
• Evan detects some “corrupted” DNA that is very similar to the cross-species DNA that was found at her mother’s crime scene.
• Cat goes back to JT’s place and discovers Vincent.
• Muirfield tries to kill Cat and Vincent saves her again.
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Actor Assessments


Austin Basis – I was very familiar with Austin Basis as I’m an avid fan of Supernatural and he starred on the web series ‘Ghostfacers’. But his best role was as Math, on Life Unexpected. Never thought I’d see him again after that show was cancelled so it was a pleasant surprise.

Brian White – Well, there’s a face I never thought I’d see on a CW show. I’m a huge fan of the man and couldn’t believe I wasn’t aware that he’d been cast in a show, which meant I could see his handsome face on a weekly basis.

Jay Ryan – I wasn’t familiar with him. But he was mightily attractive and figured they would go the Stephen Amell route and have him constantly flashing his abs (I was sorely disappointed on that front).

Kristin Kreuk – I like Kristin. I just felt bad that she had to be the one to play Lana Lang in Smallville. Lana Lang was always the placeholder for Lois Lane. They really made the character of Lana annoying but somehow Kristin Kruek always shined through the mediocre material they gave the character. I really like Ms. Kreuk as person from what I know of her. I was very shocked to learn that not only was she coming back to TV (in a ‘remake’ of a cheesy 80’s TV show) that she was also dealing with The CW again. She was by far the actor I was most excited about and reason I decided to give the show a shot.

Max Brown – Another unknown that won me over with his good looks, accent, comedic timing and incredible chemistry with Kristin.

Nina Lisandrello – Nina was also another person I’d never heard of before Beauty and the Beast, which is kind of funny because she instantly became my favorite character in the pilot.
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Character Contemplations


Cat – Strong, independent, commanding, competent, funny and compassionate. She also knows how to kick a little butt. All the things I love to see in leading female’s character. Cat also has some severe baggage, so she’s not perfect, nowhere near it, which is also something that I like in a leading character. I’m glad that Cat finally gets some relief about it not being her fault that her mother was killed very early on in the series. I’m also glad she can finally be sure that she’s not crazy and she did see what she thought she saw. I really like that they wrote in the gazes that Cat does at Vincent’s pictures.

Evan – Charming, smart, impeccable dresser and an accent to boot. I knew he was going to give VinCat shippers a run for their money (and he did, didn’t he?).

Joe – The quintessential police captain. Over worked, stressed out and can never get a moment’s peace when he needs it most.

JT – Funny and loyal. Right off the bat I knew that the JT and Vincent bromance was going to be epic.

Tess – Smart, tough and no nonsense. Tess managed to become my favorite character in 42 minutes and 10 seconds. She was funny on top of that. It’s hinted that she might be from a family of cops as well as that she isn’t so great when it comes to making romantic connections. All things those are interesting and endearing. Too bad we’ll probably never get around to fully exploring the character of Tess (unless she becomes the beauty and JT becomes the beast).

Vincent – A beast with a heart of gold. I thought that it was a nice touch that he was a doctor before he enlisted into the Army. Doctors usually fit a certain profile depending on their specialty. Vincent still has a yearning to help people and that is so very loveable. I like that Vincent recognizes that he should have asked questions when they were pumping him full of the serum. I also like that in the flashback right as he is being injected, a single tear rolls down his cheeks, almost as if he knows what is to come. Vincent doesn’t feel human anymore and he’s on the verge of giving up, Cat is just what he needs and he is just what Cat needs.
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The Highlights


Memorable Moments

1. When Joe is trying to eat and they’re talking about blood and bed bugs.
2. JT freaks out when Cat walks in and says ‘hey’ to Vincent.
3. Cat gets a guy she was seeing arrested by telling security guard he has pot on him.
4. The name of the bar that Cat works at is called ‘The Legendary Salty Dawg Saloon’ and it’s an actual bar that is in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada and has also been featured on a Canadian show called ‘XIII: The Series’.
5. All of the instances where Cat feels a noticeable pull towards Vincent.


Laudable Lines

1. JT: This isn’t about that speeding ticket is it? Because I’m going to pay.
2. Tess: Is there any reason why Mr. Keller would want people to think he’s dead?
3. Cat: I believed them…until now.
4. Cat: And I have a feeling that now we’re going to have to save each other.
5. Vincent: I guess it just reminds me of who I use to be.
Cat: What, a doctor?
Vincent: Human…

Scenes I’m Smitten With

1. Vincent’s flashbacks
2. Cat and Tess talk about the Zeke debacle as they arrive to the crime scene of their latest case.
3. Tess tries to check in with Cat and to let her know that she is there for her if she wants to talk.
4. Cat interrogates her murder victim’s husband and tells him he may not have killed her but he is responsible for her death.
5. Cat discovers that Vincent is alive and well.

The Lowlights


• Vincent’s wigs were terrible. I think they might have borrowed that wig from Arrow (see island!Ollie’s wig).
• The show begins with voice overs, reminds me of the worse elements of the Vampire Diaries’ first season.
• The show starts with Cat writing in her journal, again, it reminds me of the worse elements of The Vampire Diaries’ first season.
• The visual effects for the beast are really bad.
• Tess’s accent is so thick, I nearly died from laughter during the first watch.
• The beast is way too hot to be a beast. The scar is actually a little sexy in the right light.

Awards


Character of the Night
• Cat

Best Character Interactions
• Cat & Vincent
• Cat & Tess

Most Memorable Moment
• Vincent follows Cat to her father’s engagement party and watches over her.

Line of the Night
• Cat: It wasn’t luck; you always come running when I need you.

Scene of the Night
• The fight in the subway

That Awkward Moment
• That awkward moment when your date has another date.

The ‘Ominous Foreshadowing’ Award
• Calling All Angels by Train is the song that opens the series, shortly before Vanessa Chandler is killed.
• Cat’s co-worker says: I’m totally going to call you if I ever get arrested or divorced.

The ‘That Was Scary’ Award
•When the raccoon jumps out of the dumpster. – It gets me every damn time.

Miscellaneous


Seriously?

1. We meet Mama Chandler and she dies in less than one minute of screen time. What is this Supernatural?

2. Cat drove a VW Beetle.

3. Cat actually dated someone named Zeke

Burning Questions

1. Whatever happened to the girl that Cat closed for?

My Biggest Beef

• In the fall of 2003, it is implied that Cat just graduated (or is about to) undergrad and is headed to law school, that would make her 21/22, meaning she graduated high school in 1999. Which would also make her 31/32 when our story starts. Not to mention in most eastern states in the US you have to be 21 to work in a bar. But the synopsis of the show clearly states that she was 19 (but if that is true then she would have not been studying for her LSAT’s, unless Cat is a smarter than the average bear and we are not aware of that fact).

Biggest Surprise of the Episode

James Binkley makes an appearance in this episode. That’s not really person you expect to see on The CW.

Fun Fact: Brian White was only supposed to be an occasional guest star.

Tasty Tidbit: Heather (Nicole Anderson) was supposed to be in the pilot but the episode was running long so they cut her scenes.

Style Spotlight: I absolutely love the motorcycle boots and Cat’s affinity for leather jackets. Catherine Ashton is one of the best costume designers around! Everyone has a motif and signature style for both work and personal life that adds to who the character is and never detracts from it.

Side Note – Did you know that ‘Muir’ is Scottish Gaelic?
Meanings:
1. Sea/ocean
2. Wave
3. Large billows
4. Worry, discomposure, mental suffering

Grade: A-
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Plugs & Shameless Self-Promotion

If you’re bored and you’re re-watching season 2, how about you listen to my podcast for a fresh perspective, theories or just have a listen to a couple of gals who just really love talking about Beauty and the Beast.

The DVMPE’s Beauty and the Beast Podcast
The Podcast’s Facebook Page
Podcast's Email

If you are the market for down and dirty reviews or in-depth recaps about the following shows: Arrow, Bitten, Continuum, Hannibal, Justified, Reign, Teen Wolf and/or The Originals be sure to check out my blog. I’m currently participating in the A-Z challenge, so there is fresh content daily.
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I would love for you to leave your thoughts and comments about when you first watched the pilot and some of your initial thoughts about the show below. I look forward to reading your comments.

ps: Don't forget to promote this and all positive Beauty and the Beast articles in all the social media you can. For instance be sure to click the like button, retweet this and +1 this article if you like it and appreciate this reviewer's hard work.

About the Author
Lilith Hellfire is a 27 year old female who currently resides in NYC, NY. She spends her nights either blogging, DJing or podcasting. She's a rabid fangirl of the following shows: Arrow, Beauty and The Beast, The Originals, Justified, Sons of Anarchy and Revenge. She writes about Beauty and the Beast and Reign for Spoiler TV.

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