By Jessica Ritchey
Beauty and the Beast
Season 2, Episodes 9 and 10: “Brothers” and “A Gentle Rain”
Original airdates: Feb. 3 and Feb. 17, 1989
One of the defining parts of being alive is deciding who your family is going to be. Will it be the people you’re born to, the friends you find along the way, some mixture of both? And when we do find or accept those people we want for keeps can we keep our end of the bargain to have their backs? And should we always close ranks around them? Those are some of the questions considered in this pair of tales.
Devin returns in “Brothers” and he doesn’t arrive alone. And in his usual fashion his reappearance is the cause of a jam. It’s for good reasons though, he’s seeking shelter for a deformed man who had been trotted out by his brother as a sideshow attraction at a carnival Devin had been working (as the knife thrower!). It’s a nice turn for Vincent who gets to console the man, and settle scores with his e-vil brother. Vincent also realizes that as cramped as his existence can be it could’ve been much worse. And for Devin it’s finally finding a purpose in being the man’s caretaker. We are all our brother’s keeper and it’s a nice little story that doesn’t lurch into preachiness.
“A Gentle Rain” is another good clashing of Above and Below, with Catherine getting a cold case file and recognizing the man responsible for a hit and run of a child as someone who has since rebuilt his life Below and started a family. It’s a very good tug back and forth between several conflicting sets of duty, honor, and second chances. Piper Laurie plays the child’s mother, and she’s not used nearly enough in the story, but her scenes land in a way you don’t usually get with the series’ guest stars. The scene between her and the man at the end is wonderfully low key with anger and wariness changing into the beginnings of reconciliation.
The actual conflict happens below in the several tense scenes with various tunnel people deciding what to do. Some want to keep Above away and let the man stay, some think he should go not out of any genuine concern for justice but because of the trouble he may bring if he doesn’t, and Father and Vincent square off again with Vincent arguing a mother’s right to see justice done can’t be ignored by people claiming to put any kind of stock in doing right by other people. Father may say “we are all part of each other” each Winterfest, but it takes Vincent to make him actually live those words.
Next week gets new neighbors and says goodbye.
- Trek-spotting, I recognized the actor who played the hit and run driver, Scott Jaeck, as the planetary official on one of my favorite episodes of any Star Trek series, The Next Generation‘s “The Inner Light”.
- We won’t see Devin again after this and more’s the pity, as Bruce Abbott always injected a welcome note of good-natured not giving a damn the show needed to keep from being too self-serious.