Review: Beauty and the Beast, “The Watcher” and “A Distant Shore”

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By Jessica Ritchey

Beauty and the Beast
Season 2, Episodes 15 and 16 “The Watcher” and “A Distant Shore”
Original airdates: April 7, and 14, 1989

It’s Catherine and Vincent’s second anniversary, and he’s just about to finally take that fateful step off the balcony and into her apartment when the phone rings. A visibly irritated Catherine takes the call only to panic and usher Vincent away. The voice on her phone is a stalker, and he’s been watching from another building, and now she rather improbably has the problem of trying protect Vincent and herself. I say improbably because she keeps ducking Joe’s attempts to help and bring in the police to keep discovery of Vincent from happening. But again, it’ll be the word of a crazed stalker vs. a well-known assistant D.A. and talk of Lionmen should only hasten his admittance to Bellevue. Joe does some nice work with his growing exasperation at her deflections of help overtaking his concern and affection for her, and Catherine’s friend Jenny is a welcome reminder of the life she’s turning her back on as her attachment to Vincent and Below continues to grow.

But the story churns out for it’s appointed time, making me desperately wish for a Voodoo cult or a banjo plucking intruder or anything really to spice the episode up. It only livens up at the very end as Catherine nearly perishes when her attacker locks her in a car trunk and pushes the vehicle into a Central Park lake. Vincent arrives barely in the nick of time to dispatch her would be assassin and pry the trunk door off to rescue her. Meanwhile Catherine had begun to slip away from this life walking through a limbo bearing a remarkable resemblance to the Quantum Leap opening credits.

“A Distant Shore” has Catherine visiting California on business. Part of her case involves circling around a rock group but, nope, we are not getting character-has-to-protect-rock-star-from-threats-on-her-life plot because this is a cold and unfeeling universe. It’s a nice episode though, filling out what Vincent and Catherine’s preternatural bond is capable of. Letting them walk in each other’s dreams, and at the climactic finale letting Vincent telepathically warn Catherine to watch her corners. It’s another where you can see the effort of working around Hamilton’s real life pregnancy at the time, culminating in actually doing a mini clip show of sorts. As on the plane ride home she reflects on her relationship while a highlight reel of greatest smoldering glances plays, also reminding the audience that putting lyrics to TV themes that were instrumental rarely works out well.

Next week will see you in court and a suitor tries again.

Other Thoughts

  • We’ll be getting into the effects of Hamilton’s departure on the third season soon, but it’s interesting that already the writers knew they would have do something with this relationship, I imagine we would have gotten a lot more phone callus interruptus. Maybe finally getting a tasteful fade to black, “No! They totally just read poetry!” to appease the censors on the third anniversary.
  • It’s odd that with backdoor pilots being a staple of the ’80s that “A Distant Shore” wasn’t a set up for Joe to be a fish out of water in L.A. or finding the tunnels of the Los Angeles riverbed housing their own community. The limited scope of the series more often than not was a virtue but it was also nice to see the show open up it’s possibilities every so often.
  • The band briefly seen, Phoenix, is impressive in how platonic late 80s hair metal it was. My clothes turned into stonewashed denim just watching.

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