by Mieke Trudeau
“We’ve got to figure out what we are willing to do, how far we are willing to go, ’cause maybe that’s the test”
I must admit that I had been getting increasingly uncomfortable with the choices our heroes were making as the season progressed. I am all for Catherine and Vincent being wiling to burn down the world to save each other, but it seems that they were slowly losing perspective, committing deeper and deeper to plans that made them no longer feel like actual heroes. Too easily brushing aside innocent victims as collateral damage to the cause of “clearing Vincent’s name”, I felt as if they were too wrapped up in their desire for a normal life to notice how much careless damage they were causing along the way.
Then came Means to an End, a perfectly timed episode that not only provided much needed context and larger perspective so needed by both characters and viewers alike, but also informed us that the discomfort was part of the plan all along.
As Vincent is being kept prisoner and tortured at Graydal, Cat is trying to keep a zenlike game face. At this point they have fully committed to their plan and she is trying to stay confident that it is the only way back to a normal life, no matter how awkward every encounter with Tess, or how worried about Vincent she really is. This delicate delusion is shattered as soon as JT calls to say that their plan may have backfired already, DHS is raiding the Graydal headquarters and Vincent is sure to be discovered. Little do our friends know that Vincent is being kept in a hidden beast cage, where Braxton (an excellently menacing Mark Singer) is torturing Vincent to see just what he has in his clutches. It appears that testing what Vincent is capable of and how far he will go, is exactly what Braxton is after. Soon he actually lets Vincent go, but not without a leash of a sort; Braxton has tapes of Vincent beasting out and will release those to the press if Vincent doesn’t do exactly what he says. Once again, Vincent slides deeper in this hole he has been digging for himself. Every time that Vincent thinks the next step will get him closer to exoneration, he ends up getting more blackmail material piled on against him. Things go from bad to worse when Vincent gets photographed returning a gun, illegally taken by Cat from the precinct evidence locker, to a now not soon to be convicted criminal. The damning pictures are sent to DHS agent Dylan who promptly uses them to get Tess to arrest Cat.
Interestingly, this is when things really start turning around. Tess has stepped back from the team and with good reason, but it has felt like somewhat of a betrayal. We expect the members of the Scooby gang to do whatever it takes to protect each other, no matter what, and it feels as if Tess has betrayed that loyalty, even though rationally we know she is in the right for doing so. But this time, Cat finally starts turning the tide by articulating what has been missing. Not only is Vincent at risk and of course she will do whatever it takes to save him, but there is also a larger threat and bigger fish to fry. What really are the plans behind the bounty placed on Vincent’s head? Who is spending millions of dollars setting Vincent up? Hiring bounty hunters and hit men? Infiltrating DHS and setting up Agent Hill’s betrayal and death just to frame Vincent? Surely something big is afoot, a big bad is coming. This is language that Tess understands and you can see her wheels turning. Now Tess can be more than just a supportive friend, her choices no longer have to conflict with her life’s calling, being a cop. She gives Cat 48 hours to bring her that bigger fish.
Meanwhile, Vincent makes a similar decision; no longer will he let the bad guys take the lead and stay one step ahead of them. As they discover that the elusive mystery person behind the bounty on Vincent’s head is none other than Braxton himself, Vincent is determined to turn the tables and, offering himself up as bait, he leads DHS on a chase, right to Graydal where Cat has gotten Braxton on tape confessing to his plans to implicate Vincent. We also finally learn the motivation behind this very long con. Braxton fashions himself to be the good guy, having created Graydal to eliminate the bad ones in the world, no matter the means. A nice parallel to the season’s arc to be sure.
The biggest revelation comes from Braxton, once he finds himself cornered, with DHS on the way. As he claims that his motivation was only to fight bad guys, he reveals that the reason he wanted Vincent is because there is something out there that only he can beat. The whole long winded plot, the blackmail, the testing was all to have a weapon against something big and bad that only Vincent can match. Is it another beast? Vincent, Cat and the team are incredulous. How could it possibly be true that after all this time, after Muirfield’s demise and the elimination of everyone else involved in the program, that there could still be another beast out there? They simply can’t believe it, that is until Tess comes knocking on their door and takes them to the morgue, where the freshly arrested Braxton is laying on a cold slab, torn to pieces by what only can be one thing; a beast.
It now looks like the team, freshly back together, is facing a familiar, but thought to be extinct threat. Between Kyle (still don’t trust him!) discovering Heather’s secret life and this revelation, I am both excited and worried about what lies ahead for our heroes. This was a game changer of an episode for me, and with only a few more to go and these new twists and turns, I am super excited to see what comes next.
I would love to hear your thoughts, Beasties! Tell me what you think, in a comment below and on Twitter. We have another mini hiatus to get through, so let’s talk!