Hopefully you’ve already seen our contest for your opportunity to win some awesome stuff from The Beast, and a few other Swayze goodies – if you haven’t, get on the ball! If that contest has got you eager to find out about A&E’s new FBI drama, then you’re in luck because we got an early look at the first two episodes of the season.
Episode 1 – Pilot
Thursday, January 15, 10pm
The episode introduces us to an FBI Veteran named Charles Barker (Swayze), who plays fast and loose with the rules as he takes on a green partner in Ellis Dove (Fimmel). In their first outing, Barker tries to teach Dove the ropes of going deep undercover by putting him on the spot. After risking their safety in an attempt to ensnare a big time weapons dealer, Dove realizes that living a normal life is going to be impossible and that Barker may be a bit more wild than he first thought. All of this is compounded when an Internal Affairs team tries to turn Dove against Barker.
The pilot episode doesn’t quite nail things down, the Swayze is a pretty cool badass. He’s not given an amazing amount to work with, spouting off the normal rhetoric about screwing regulations and the like. Fimmel always looks a little teary eyed for some reason and stammers a lot, blurring between a supposed charmer and one of his undercover identities. The twist is expected from the start, but they never tried to hide it. The supporting cast seems cool and Barker seems like the kind of agent that’d be worth watching. There is some fun to do around rocket launchers and an explosion, so hey, that’s cool.
All in all, the pilot did just enough for me to continue to episode 2, which is sort of the point.
Episode 2- Two Choices
Thursday, January 22, 10pm
In the second episode, Barker and Ellis catch wind of a major drug deal about to go down. Their plan to infiltrate the drug world takes a sour turn when they hear the intended recipient of the drugs has been arrested by the Chicago Police Department – but there’s a big problem. Jimmy Casserly is missing, but there is no record that the CPD ever picked him up.
I liked the second episode a good bit better than the pilot. There is a bit more tension throughout and a good plot, as well as some strippers. Dove is given a DVD containing evidence that Barker may be a bad guy after all, something that compounds his concern after one of his own troubling observations. Kevin J. O’Connor (There Will Be Blood) appears again as Conrad, a trusted compatriot of Barker – I like this guy and I’m glad to see him in the show. This episode gives us more insight into just what Barker is willing to do – previously we’re just told he’s a pretty shady character, but now we get to see an example of how he works and thinks. All in all a strong finish in the second episode makes this series one to consider.
All in all, the first two episodes feel like a tease of what’s to come. Swayze looks the part of a badass and can easily dominate the screen and looks like he’s ready to have a lot of fun playing his undercover characters, though there is a serious side to the show. When I hear the plot, I think of The Shield, which is a good thing if it heads that direction. The first episode didn’t secure my confidence, but the second definitely had a harder and darker edge to it, which is the way this show needs to go to be successful.
The highpoint of the show is definitely a darker Swayze than what some are used to. Ghost fans might be confused, but anyone who remembers him ripping out throats in Road House will realize this is just a natural progression for him. Beyond Swayze, the show has a good supporting cast, namely O’Connor and Larry Gilliard Jr. (The Wire). While I’m not sold on Fimmel, the way Swayze bosses him around and dominates the screen when he’s there make it fun to watch, if only in the way it’s fun to watch a bully dangle a nerd upside by his ankles to shake his change free.
If The Beast continues along the trajectory it establishes in the first two episodes, it should prove to be a gritty and dark FBI drama, where the leads never hesitate to whip out their guns. There are definitely worse programs you could be watching and if you’re a fan of either Swayze or crime dramas, give The Beast a chance. Heck, it’s worth a watch just to see Swayze go all bad ass.
Do you plan on watching The Beast? What attracts you to it?