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Your lifestyle, your quirk
The story starts in 2003 – we can tell the year based on the Train song playing in the background and the fact that the heroine is driving a VW Bug. Kristen Kreuk, formerly of Smallville, plays the main character, Catherine. She’s just started working at a bar and in 10 seconds of forced dialogue with another bartender, we know she’s an Ivy League-educated law student. She closes up alone at her co-worker’s request, but her car won’t start in the creepy, deserted lot, so she calls her mom rather than AAA for a jump. Again, in the five seconds of conversation with her mom we learn a lot. Her mom seems to be a nurse or doctor, as she mentions that she was only up because she was on call. We can see they have a super-close relationship but, unfortunately, just as they’re about to get the car going, another car pulls up and two men get out and shoot Catherine’s mom several times. They begin chasing Catherine through the woods, where she falls and hits her head. Just as they’re about to kill her, a shadowy figure leaps out of the shadows and tears the men apart like a wild animal before taking off and leaving a confused and disoriented Catherine alone and unharmed.
Flash forward to the present, where Catherine is a stylish, sassy NYC detective. She’s investigating the murder of a high-profile fashion editor at a swanky hotel. At the scene, NYPD discovers the print of a man named Vincent Keller, who was supposed to have been killed in Afghanistan years prior, as well as DNA that is a mix of human and animal genetics, which they believe to be the result of faulty lab equipment.
Catherine and her partner investigate Keller and learn he was a doctor before enlisting after the deaths of his brothers in 9/11. They track down his former roommate, a quirky biochemist who lives in an apparently abandoned, super-creepy warehouse. Dude’s definitely got something to hide.
When Catherine leaves, we find out that the roommate is, in fact, hiding Vincent, who isn’t much of a beast except for a scar on his cheek. This is definitely a big departure from the original series.
The case Catherine is investigating throughout the episode is pretty dumb – turns out the woman’s husband was having an affair with half the women in New York and telling them all he would leave his wife for them if not for an iron clad prenup, which he made up. He ended up knocking up his wife’s assistant, who then slipped poison into the poor woman’s blonde hair dye. However, we learn later that Vincent smelled the poison when he tried to give the woman CPR when she collapsed, linking him to the crime scene.
Catherine returns to the warehouse and finds Vincent. He warns her to stay away and not tell anyone he’s alive. She then goes to a deserted part of the subway station to meet a new FBI agent on her mom’s case to discuss the cross-species DNA she found. After handing him the sample, the man and two other people try to kill her. Man, Catherine can really hold her own in a fight! But she’s outnumbered and finally taken down. Again, just as they’re about to kill her, the beast-like man emerges and tears her attackers to bits. She chases him down the subway tunnel, where he’s forced to save her yet again from an oncoming train. She’s really lucky to have this guy! Finally <gasp> she sees that her savior is Vincent.
She pretty much seems to immediately fall in love with him and it seems like he’s been quietly stalking and obsessing over her for years, so they should just go and get married, right? Wrong. He takes her back to his place and tells her that he was part of a government project to make super-soldiers by altering their DNA. But when the soldiers got out of control the military ordered them all killed; Vincent escaped and has been hiding out ever since, secretly trying to save people in the city whenever he can. He spends the rest of his time working on an antidote, but it doesn’t work. I’ve gotta say, given all the vampire and werewolf shows and movies out there, this story doesn’t even seem that strange or exciting.
When Catherine keeps popping up at Vincent’s secret warehouse lair to hang out and express her adoration for him, he decides he has to scare her off by revealing his “beast side.” Basically he turns in to an animated half-man, half-cheetah-looking creature and throws things around. I’ve gotta say, the special effects are pretty laughable. Catherine runs off but comes back later and the two awkwardly blush and act coy, like tweenagers in love. He reveals to her that the men who killed her mother didn’t do it randomly, and that they were actually tracking her. Could her mom have been involved in the military project that made him?
The show was better than I expected and I liked the characters enough, but I think it’s a little too safe that CW opted to make the beast a hot guy for 95% of the episode rather than a true creature like in the original. The show has some potential, but if the two are going to collaborate on cases, I hope they make Catherine’s more interesting. They’re also going to need to add some more subplots, because it seems like all the major cards are already on the table
Did you watch? What is your favorite new show this season?