Characters – the other women

Vincent has a relationship with two other women during the first 2 seasons of Beauty and the Beast. In season 1 his ex fiancé, Alex, shows up and “rocks the boat” for at few episodes whereas season 2 has a lot more episodes dominated but the female beast, Tori.

While I kind of got the Alex-connection to the plot, I didn’t like it much. Maybe it was the execution but i think it was more the fact that it felt wrong and cruel. Plus Alex was amazingly beautiful, even more than the Beauty herself, which is kind of odd. Kristin Kreuk is supposed to be the ultimate beauty on the show.

The Tori-plot I didn’t get at all. Sure there is a strong beast side to Vincent, but I seriously thought this show was about love conquering all. And while I have watched both seasons many, many times, I skip the Tori-episodes. They feel wrong and they look wrong. I have no doubt that the show lost viewers on the account of that relationship.

Anyway, I will go through both of them as usual, starting with Alex.

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Alex Salter is played by out-of-this-world beautiful Bridget Regan. I am serious, I didn’t even know they made humans like that.

Alex is a beautiful, kind-hearted and sweet nurse, who looks after Catherine post-accident and turns out to be Vincent’s ex fiancé. Although in season 2 it seems that Alex and Vincent actually broke up before he deployed, in enough time for him to have an affair with Gabriella.

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Despite the fact that Vincent and Catherine are on the verge of total surrender to their destined love, Vincent runs after Alex the moment she is back in his life. Alex is steady in her love although not seeing Vincent for 10 years and thinking him dead (yes that is possible) and immediately wants to rekindle their relationship and offers to give up her life for him. Something Catherine hasn’t promised yet. They almost consume their rekindling  relationship but Muirfield catches up to them and when Alex sees Vincent beast out, she recoils from him and sever their connection. Then picks it up again in hopes of curing him but eventually she goes into to hiding – or actually we do not quite know because the last we see of her is a Muirfield agent sitting behind her on the bus.

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Besides the fact that Alex does not know about Vincent’s beastly side, which a woman like her would no doubt come to terms with, she is in all aspects the perfect beauty. She is depicted exactly the way I would expect from the fairytale both in appearance and behavior. The self-sacrificing kindness, the gentleness, the unwavering love.

So in the end, I have doubts. I get the plot. The writers want us to understand that Vincent would choose Catherine over anything, even loyalty to the woman he lied himself dead to, even when she is drop dead gorgeous with an amazing personality. But it doesn’t feel like that. It feels like Vincent settles for Catherine when this amazing creature, Alex, doesn’t want him because of him beasting out and killing the Muirfield posse.

Anyway, Bridget Regan was a treat.

On to Tori.

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Tori, played by Amber Skye Noyes, is another beautiful red-head who enters the show early on in season 2. She is a beast with amplifying effects on the other beasts, including Vincent. Although this is made painfully obvious to the viewers, it escapes the otherwise super savvy characters on the show and Tori gets to run havoc through everybody’s lives for a whopping 7 episodes.

I can’t remember liking any of them but can abide the one where she finally bites the dust. I don’t get the point. I mean, I understand the plot. Vincent has to overcome his beastly side and be more human than beast. And this is transitioned very well in the way he goes about his missions etc. So why on earth does it have to be illustrated on a personal level too? This is not some cheap swedish adult movie, where the beast has many beauties. This is “Beauty and the Beast” and the plot line to let him always endanger their destined love by running after other women is cheap and contrived. There’s so much else to wrap your head around in this show. Tori, should not have been one of them.

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Amber is lovely and just buff enough to be beastly without losing her femininity. It is not her fault. She effortlessly portrays all the opposing sides in Tori and perfectly illustrates the pain of loving a man whose heart will never be yours (in the last episode or two with her). It seems Tori was damaged to begin with and had a suicidal side, which is not an easy persona to portray. I actually think that Tori would have worked very well in the story IF they had left the romance/sexual attraction out. There was a lot of material there in itself. Vincent taking over the role of her father and controlling the amplification of his beast side. Teaching Tori to live with her beast. More in a big brother kind of way. That could have worked. Threatening the main couple might only have served to drive viewers away.

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Characters – the dads

Catherine has 2 fathers. The one she grew up with, Thomas Chandler, and the genetic donor, Agent Reynolds.

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Thomas Chandler, played suavely by Canadian actor, Rob Stewart, is in the midst of his getting married to a much younger woman when we first meet him. He is concerned about Catherine, mostly about her happiness, but also in general. This seems to be an ongoing theme in the show – everybody worries constantly about Catherine. Whether she will be happy, find a man, work too much, analyse her past too much or be too much of a cop instead just being human.

Thomas delivers the famous un-fatherly comment to her: “This judgemental attitude may make you a good cop but it also makes it very difficult to have a relationship with you” (S1 E6 Worth)
Really, a loving father would say something like that?

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He keeps her mothers work for the government secret from her, when he could have relieved her of her enormous guilt over her mother’s death and he expects her to be responsible for his new wife’s welcome into the family although Catherine does her best and is clearly struggling with the whole thing.

I am not impressed with this character. Rob Stewart is wonderful though and a great actor. Very believable.

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Agent Reynolds, played by Ted Whittall, doesn’t come out untill Catherine discovers the truth herself early in season 2. He is her biological father who by her mothers wishes has stay away although clearly keeping tabs on her, showing up in the background of important events and donating to her former school.

Ted Whittall is a formidable actor. He has to switch between being quite evil and a conniving FBI agent with his own secret agenda to also being very concerned for Catherine’s wellbeing and a lot more hands on at that.

I have to quote Jane Austen to fully sum up Ted’s most appealing trait: “There is something pleasant about his mouth when he speaks”, Mrs. Gardiner of Pride and Prejudice

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He is a strange character and maybe we do not yet know the full extend of his intentions. He is oddly obsessed with keeping Catherine happy and safe, especially from beasts, so much so that his primary concern seems to be his idea of what is good for her rather than her actual happiness.

I understand how Catherine would listen to Thomas, who raised her and her sister and who she has known and trusted to be her father for 30 years. I do find it very peculiar that she trusts agent Reynolds so much though. She trusts every lead he gives her even after finding out about his hate for beast including Vincent and she choses his word over Vincent’s word on several crucial occasions. And while it might make for good television, it bothers me. If you love your man so much that you will bend the law and risk everything including your life for him, why should you lose that trust because of a genetic donor? Agent Reynolds is after all just a bit of DNA.

I think I will explore that more under Catherine’s character.

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Characters – Heather

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Okay, enough procrastination. This has got to be the most difficult one for me to write but sometimes you just have to get it over with or it will haunt you.

Heather, Catherine’s younger sister, is played by beautiful Nicole Gale Anderson, who really does her very best to make something of her.

But, I am sorry to say that I simply cannot abide with portraying 20-something women behaving as 13-year-old girls. They might exist somewhere in the real world (possibly a psych ward), but do we really have to be tortured with them on TV. We are talking about a woman who is old enough to have sex in every room of her sisters flat, yet somehow throws a temper tantrum worthy of a 3-year-old every time she is not the center of attention. It is possible to be sceptical and have trust issues without bursting out in blubber all the time.

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There was such a great opportunity to show how the sisters have been affected differently from losing their mother as young. Instead Heather is a caricature of a sister, even less of a friend and absorbed in self-centered baby talk most of the time. She is in no way redeemed by finally accepting her sister’s boyfriend after 2 years simply because he saved her life. That might be okay with the cop friend but not a sister.  What a waste.

Do you really think that 2 sisters who have lost their mother and live together would then have such a superficial relationship? That even after all their ups and downs a younger sister would dismiss her older sister confiding in her as bull? Everybody else are so real in this show yet Heather is wildly unrealistic. I don’t get it.

Again I have to commend Nicole for pulling it off. It must have been sheer agony to have to act that part.

Anyway, I read somewhere that she gets more screen time in season 3. I am worried that would kill the show. Unless they have reinvented her and the audience is forgiving of the 2 previous seasons of her.

 

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The music of the night – sounds of Beauty and the Beast

I am procrastinating.

And hence I am adding a page with the best music of the show. If nothing else it will serve as my playlist while I write.

I encourage you all to buy the music if you like it to support the artist. The songs are available as singles on iTunes where I got them.

SEASON 1:

Episode 1: Pilot:

Angel of the morning, a classic by Juice Newton

Never let me go, gorgeous tune by Brit band Florence and the machine (seriously, if you only buy one song, it should be this one)

Episode 5: Saturn returns:

Best part of me, St. Leonards

Episode 9: Bridesmaid up!:

Wherever you will go, the first dance and Catherine’s and Vincent’s song by Charlene Soraia

Episode 13: Trust no one:

Locked out of heaven, amazing song by Bruno Mars

Episode 15: Any means possible:

Heaven, awesome tune by another Brit band, Depeche Mode. I have seen them several times in concert and love their music. If you do not yet know them, do yourself a favor and give them a try. Songs like: Just can’t get enough, master and servant, stripped, a question of lust, Blasphemous rumors, Personal Jesus and many more are classics!

Episode 16: Insatiable:

Desire, by Ryan Adams. Well just because…. you know why… Close your eyes and visualize.

 Episode 20, Anniversary:

Africa, by Toto. Because it is just – epic. Always loved it.

Promise, the sweetest tune by Ben Howard

Episode 21: Date night:

Guiding light, by Foy Vance. Oh my god, what can I say? Goes straight to the pit of your stomach.

SEASON  2:

Episode 1: Who am I?:

I can’t make you love me, by Dave Thomas Junior. Sweet sweet little tune.

Episode 5: Reunion:

Hey ya, by Outkast. Who doesn’t love Outkast? Come on…

Episode 15: Catch me if you can:

Find my way back, by Cody Fry. Oh man, just an extraordinarily mellow love song

Episode 16: About last night:

Vapour, by Vancouver Sleep Clinic. Nice ambient lounge music.

Guiding light by Foy Vance is back from season 1 episode 21.

Episode 18: Cat and mouse:

Out of the scenery, by Dominique Fricot. Simply awesome. The song, the composition, the instruments.

Episode 22: Deja vu:

Latch, by Natalie Taylor. Natalie has the most amazing voice. Nice tune.

That’s my list. If you have any suggestions, please comment and broaden my horizon.

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The unbearable heaviness of being

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This is a rant. I should apologize beforehand citing deprivation of sleep, worries and stress as a cause but really it is not. It may be better tomorrow after sharing a bottle of Amerone tonight but I doubt it.

I watched Interstellar a couple of weeks ago and I have to side with plan B here. Lets exterminate the present population on earth, myself included, and send 900 embryos to start over on another planet. Seriously. I have lost all faith in mankind.

Now, as it may or may not appear, I am actually not a fan-person. Maybe that makes a difference for me, but I did go into this experience with an open mind and when you do that and research things so thoroughly they become meaningful to you. And this show has. Just to clarify. This has caused me to do a much deeper description and analysis, than I meant to, which in turn has let me to scour the internet for interesting information and maybe a clue to why this show is so close to cancellation.

On one of these nocturnal surf marathons (yes, I do not get to sleep much, might as well keep busy) I was trying to find some background info on Kreuk and Ryan. You know, about theatre, education etc. Maybe some interviews that could clear up many of my questions on how to keep alive. Preferably other interviews than the generic pre-scripted ones. One thing led to the other and I find an interview with Ryan’s partner, Dianna Fuemana.

Now I am not going to link to the actual video I saw, because I simply refuse to be an active part in spreading it. But here’s a YouTube link:

Now on the page, where I saw this interview there was a lot of comments. There’s some even on the YouTube link but less atrocious. Bottom line they all discussed whether or not Ryan was wonderfully down to earth, a better human being, less conceded than other actors or just a plain saint to have a partner like Fuemana. There was of course the fair share of “I can’t believe it” and another fair share of Fuemana being very lucky.

I don’t know whether to cry or vomit.

It says everything about the state of our world when this is the best the general masses can produce. I get it. The show is great, addictive and the characters are, for the most part, hot. But it is a TV-show! It is a testament to great acting, directing and sometimes even writing but it tells you nothing about the actual people behind the masks. So who is lucky, unlucky, friendly, bitchy etc? We don’t know and we are not meant to know. It’s the land of make-believe.

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You know, there are such awful tragedies out there in the world every day. I am not even talking global starvation, warming or overpopulation. There are boys being sent off to war, girls being circumcised before their second birthday, people who cannot afford or get to medical aid and people who rot in a cage because their minds are gone. There are people who are so lonely they kill themselves and children who are being abused because nobody sees them.

These are the real issues in life. Please spend your energy dealing with that. If you need a break from those real issues, and believe me I am all for that, then watch Beauty and the beast and lose yourself in the fantasy. Just remember that it is a fantasy and in real life, who knows what kind of relationship two people have and whether they are lucky or not? By all means worship the actors for their craft just remember when to stop.

If you really think that Jay Ryan is Vincent, then he is also Shane from The Packer, an excellent performance but rather less of that sultry heat, right?:

I guess what I am trying to say is that it possible to love something, to escape through it and still keep a focus.

If we are ever going to save the planet and ourselves, we have to care about more important things than whether or not two people are matched in looks. That interview above displays a woman who cares about the social stigmas of her society. A little more reading up on her, reveals that all of her plays have some bigger message. So who cares who is lucky in their relationship. We are lucky to have two people in the world who contribute to either educate us or distract us.

Now go out and save a life!

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Characters – Gabe

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Gabe Lowen, ADA and master of multiple personalities is brilliantly played by Sendhil Ramamurthy. He has the advantage of being vastly beautiful, which lets him get away with a bit more than the rest of the otherwise handsome men in this show. Which is something he definitely needs.

Gabe is probably the character that goes through the most changes and Sendhil masters them all from beast to human, helpful to hateful, loving to killing. What a stroke of genius to cast him. I doubt that anybody else could have juggled that so elegantly and be credible at the same time.

His story is heartbreaking having been experimented on as a young child and having no control over his beast. But he is also the poster boy for not hanging your life on your childhood. You can choose to rise above it all, which Gabe tries to but fails miserably at.

He is by far the most dangerous creature of them all and I get the pun, it is as a human this is evident. His beast is somehow unaware and hence to a degree innocent in the violence of its own nature. But the well-educated, almost painfully smart, human should know better and do better. He tries but since it is to win Catherine’s love (whether subconscious or not), it does not count. True redemption comes at the expense of yourself even if no reward is promised or expected.

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Sendhil maneuvers effortlessly in any scenario but he is my favorite when he is good, simply because kindness suits him so well. Winning smile and a glow the sun would envy. But truly he is great in any circumstance.

Despite the hands down praise I was not entirely happy with the Gabe-character. I think the writers took it a bit to far story wise and he died a caricature of his former self. But I suppose that sometimes a point has to be emphasized. I am very happy though that justice prevailed. Too many loose ends simply annoy me and turn me off an otherwise great story so excellent save there.

Oh, and before I sign off this post; Gabe is the only beast I was ever a bit scared of. I hope we see Sendhil in other productions where he gets to reach out and rattle us a bit.

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Characters – Evan

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Evan Marks is the resident medical examiner in season 1. He is played by handsome British actor, Max Brown. Luckily Evan gets to be of British origin, which means everybody gets to swoon over his accent. Not to mention his quirky smile, but I suppose that is not only a British trait.

Evan is the other man in Catherine’s life for most of season on. Where Vincent is the uncertainty, Evan is the rock and Catherine’s “go to”. He is presented as a flirt, but it is pretty obvious that he is in love with Catherine although he is at all times composed and discreet – as British men are most. Unfortunately Evan is a season 1 character only, but I for one am hoping that the writers find a way to bring him back in later seasons. After all if “they” have nano plasma, what is a few bullet holes, right?

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In a show where everything is life and death, serious relationship problems and friendship challenges, you need a guy like Evan. He is all charm and fairly easy-going but obviously a bright scientist/doctor.

Max Brown portrays him effortlessly. Honestly. Some of that playfulness of the character must come from Max taking to him like a duck to water. He gets to expand Evan quite a bit along the way going through lots of obstacles like being abducted and lied to a lot. He credibly transforms the character to implement these challenges but I do not particularly feel the final change, where he will go to extremes to save Catherine. That is Vincent’s job. However this is certainly not Max’ fault but rather a too hard push story wise. It should have been subtler which would have suited Max’ acting style better.

Evan left a void behind somehow. Not only did we lose the easy swag of him but also a substantial part of the police procedural, namely the autopsies and all the research he used to do. I know season 2 was less about police business and more about Catherine and Vincent, but I think it is lacking now. A lot was revealed in his conversations with Catherine and it could still be a valuable asset to the show.

Now that Gabe is out of the picture there is no reason the writers cannot re-enter Evan with some excuse about Gabe pinning everything on him and forcing him to disappear. Maybe even a new and improved Evan?

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