by Mieke Trudeau
“They were heroes, that’s all there is to it.”
This was probably the hardest review of Beauty and the Beast I have written to date. How to put a period at the end of something that has been such a large part of my time here at At Stake? I’ve talked before about how I found this show and its delightful fandom and saying goodbye to both won’t be easy. I will start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this fourth and final season and that I found the finale a worthy and satisfying end to the series.
“We want to save our happily ever after”
Let’s talk plot first. Last week we left off with our heroes finding themselves at quite literally the do or die moment in the story. Vincent and Cat have one foot out the door, but one last obstacle stands in the way of them moving on for good and that obstacle is Braxton. The season’s bad guy and last beastmaker, plots to execute an act of terrorism to eliminate his last remaining partner in crime, a Saudi Prince, and throw more suspicion at Vincent in the process. The team of friends is on their own. DHS won’t listen to Tess, no matter how much she yells at Agent Dylan to get her head out of her ass and stop focusing on Vincent. JT is lost without his computer equipment, Heather is laid up in a hospital bed recovering from a gun shot wound and Vincent and Cat are still on the run, hiding from both Braxton and the law.
“This is their path, all we can do is try and help them. We have to help them, so we can all move on”
When we rejoin them in Au Revoir, we find Vincent and Cat preparing for the end, putting their affairs in order and saying their goodbyes. It seems that they have a plan, but they are not entirely letting their friends in on it. Cat closes her bank account and signs all her possessions, including the apartment, over to Heather. Vincent sells his car in order to buy a new, state of the art computer for JT and Cat persuades Tess to back off and let her and Vincent handle their final somewhat desperate attempt at stopping Braxton from carrying our his plan. Of course what Vincent and Cat are really doing is saying goodbye, a fact not exactly lost on either Heather, JT or Tess. Stoic, true to character Tess doesn’t want to hear it. She scoffs at saying goodbye and insists she will see her best friend again, once the smoke clears. Heather tearfully runs away, not wanting to be confronted with the fact that, one way or another, she will have to carry on without her big sister, and the most emotional scene of all plays out between Vincent and JT. Brothers in every way that counts, these two have had their story linked from childhood and the idea they may never see each other again is almost to much to bear. At the end of this arc, there seems to be only goodbye, one way or another.
“We are never coming back here. No, we are never coming back”
This is where it all gets very meta and emotional of course. With every line said, it is hard to say whether the goodbyes are meant for us or for the characters. As Vincent and Cat have one last glass of wine on their, and our, favorite romantic rooftop, we are reminded that we will never visit it again either. As JT talks about how only a select few knew how much Vincent and Cat suffered and sacrificed, is he not speaking directly to us? We were there with them the whole way and we will have to move on without them as well.
Of course in the end, Vincent and Cat do save the day. Braxton plans to not only blow up the prince but take out a bridge as well, in order to throw further suspicion at Vincent and his supposed terrorist plot. Vincent manages to blur into the limo with Cat, persuading the prince to come clean about the renewed beast program and Braxton’s involvement, just before pushing him and his driver out of the car to safety. Vincent and Cat then plunge the limo into the river, holding hands Thelma and Louise style, right as the bomb goes off. A horrified JT looks on as he against hope looks for his friends to surface from their watery grave. Tess and JT, distraught and out for blood, intercept Braxton as he tries to leave from a nearby airport and in a shootout, kill him and with him the last remaining link to the super soldier beast making program, save for Vincent himself.
“At least they were together, which is all they ever wanted anyway”
There is a funeral and everything, the team convinced their beloved Vincent and Catherine are actually dead. Not that I ever really believed they were, but the scene is touching none the less. Again, probably mostly because we are saying goodbye to these characters, one way or another. JT gives a wonderfully emotional speech and Heather is sobbing on Kyle’s shoulder. As they walk away and JT laments his lack of purpose now that he doesn’t have Vincent to take care of anymore, a representative of the prestigious biotech company that not too long ago offered our professor Forbes a job, approaches with the news that the offer still stands and that a Dr. Keller told him a few days ago that he would find JT here at the cemetery. As a grieving Heather comes home to the empty apartment and finds some of Cat’s belongings gone, it finally dawns on everyone that Cat and Vincent are not dead after all, but got away for their fresh start, as planned.
“Damnit, here we go again!”
That is when we catch up with the love birds six months later. Vincent and Catherine are living it up in Paris with new names (Adam and Isabelle) and new identities. Cat just passed the french bar to become a lawyer and as we rejoin them we find Vincent picking her up in a horse drawn carriage to celebrate their one year anniversary. His special surprise brings them to a restaurant where the whole gang is waiting for them. It was never really a goodbye of course, the story is simply going on in its own universe, one where we just won’t be able to tune into it every week anymore. JT and Tess reportedly have moved in together (with a sweet little nod to their ship name JTnT), as have Heather and Kyle. By all accounts our friends have gotten the happily ever after they so desperately fought for all these years. We even get a glimpse of the fact that this story will never really be over when our heroes see a woman being robbed outside of the restaurant and against protests from their friends, rush out to right a wrong, Vincent reaching for Cat’s hand as they run after the thief. They can rename themselves all they want, but in the end Vincent and Catherine will always be heroes, putting others before themselves. And they will do it hand in hand, as they are forever better together.
I would be amiss if I didn’t give a big shout out to the cast and crew of this little show that could. From the wonderful and generous stars: Jay Ryan, Kristin Kreuk, Nina Lisandrello, Austin Basis and the numerous supporting guest performers, to the talented writers, directors, composers, music directors and crew. Most of all I would like to thank the fandom for letting me come along on this ride and enjoy such a positive experience watching, tweeting and writing about this show.
And in the words of the inimitable Tess Vargas, so brilliantly played by Nina Lisandrello : ” I’m not saying goodbye, because I’m planning on seeing you again, understand?!”