"Beauty And The Beast" is getting the 2.0 treatment.
Season 2 of the CW/Showcase series works. Gone is the “procedural and crime stuff,” says series star Kristin Kreuk, while on a break on the Toronto set, and in its place is a “mythology-based show, very much steeped in the beast world.”
The show’s main beast, Jay Ryan, agrees that the break from the random crimes of the week and the transition to what the tale is really about were absolutely necessary.
“The procedural element was really good in the beginning to set up what Catherine did and who she was and lead into Vincent’s life,” says Ryan. “But this year, there's an element of procedural, but it’s really connected to the main characters. It’s part of their lives, they’re working out who their enemies are and trying to overcome what their enemies are doing to them. So it’s more of a whodunit within the present terms of who they are and what’s going on in their lives.”
When we last saw Catherine (Kreuk), she watched Vincent (Ryan) get taken away from her, and Gabe (Sendhil Ramamurthy) getting shot and presumably killed. We also learned that the only reason Cat was saved from getting killed herself was because the dude who took her beast up into that helicopter was her real father (Ted Whittall).
“For Vincent, he’s in a place in the beginning of this season where he believes he’s a soldier with a purpose,” explains Ryan. “When Catherine and JT (Austin Basis) intercept him, he has an idea that he was someone before he was created into this weapon. And for him, it comes at the perfect time because he just feels like this executioner. So she taps into the true soul of Vincent and she knocks down a lot of his bricks to bring back the Vincent fans know and love.”
So that’s the direction new showrunner and executive producer Brad Kern ("Charmed," "The Adventures of Lois & Clark") is taking the series. EPs Sherri Cooper-Landsman and Jennifer Levin are still there, just in a different capacity. It sounds like a lot of upheaval but as far as Nina Lisandrello (Tess), is concerned, “it was a smooth transition.” She adds that the stories are more complex. “To come off Season 1 where the stakes are so high, and then make the stakes even higher and have it be plausible was not easy and I think Brad is doing a beautiful, beautiful job. And Jen and Sherri, that whole team, their vision for Season 2 is crystal clear.”
Ramamurthy, who's sitting in with Lisandrello, chimes in, “When we had our read-through of the first episode, Brad was like, ‘I have the whole thing plotted out. And part of the first few episodes of Season 3, should there be one.’
“Our hours are definitely easier but we’ve seen a couple of episodes and they look bigger,” adds Lisandrello. “So you would think we were working harder, but everything’s just tighter.”
Aside from the story centring on Vincent and Catherine finding their way back to one another (“His memory’s gone, his scar’s gone, everything’s gone. He’s had a reboot,” says Kreuk), it isn’t all about them. It’s clear that Tess and Gabe mix it up quite a bit this season because during the interview, their portrayers were finishing off one another’s sentences.
“I didn’t have a ton to do with Tess last season, [but] Gabe and Tess’ relationship has changed since Episode 1 of this season,” says Ramamurthy. Chimes in Lisandrello, “So when we start to work with each other, it’s like, ‘What do we mean to each other and in Season 2?’ He replaces Joe, so he means something very specific to Tess. The whole season, for me, is just about the evolution, of course primarily of Vincent and Catherine’s relationship, but you’re going to see every relationship evolve.
“The actors knowing their characters way more and being more solid and us as a group, we’re just more connected,” concludes Lisandrello.
“Brad came in and said this whole season, the mantra is, ‘Who am I?’ (which is perfect, as that’s the title of the season premiere) and that’s for every character,” gushes Ryan. “So it’s about finding themselves within the show’s context. Season 1 was very much about bringing Catherine and Vincent together very quickly. And now they have to go on their own journeys — separately, in a way — and find out who they are before they can come back together.”
So when will the romance be back? Inquiring superfans want to know. Not too soon; they have to work on getting Vincent’s memory back first. It will colour the first part of the season, at least, but all it does is give Vincent and Cat a chance to fall in love all over again. Because, let’s be serious. It’s "Beauty And The Beast" — we all know they're destined to be together. We just have to be patient.
Beauty and the Beast premieres Sunday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Showcase, Monday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.