'Beauty and the Beast' mid-season finale post mortem: EP Brad Kern on Cat shooting Vincent, the end of Muirfield, and a new, deeper mythology

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The mid-season finale of "Beauty and the Beast" ended with a bang and a breakup as Vincent refused let Catherine's father live, and his decision to attack forced Catherine to shoot Vincent. With Catherine's father in jail, Vincent wounded, and Catherine essentially done with Vincent, what's coming next for The CW's supernatural drama?

Zap2it got the chance to pick the brain of executive producer Brad Kern after a special screening of "Man or Beast" at The CW last week, and he revealed that Cat shooting Vincent was the "northern light" for the first eight episodes of the season and will fundamentally change their relationship going forward. "It's huge. We try to make a very big point in this episode that she's tying the relationship into his decision," Kern says. "As a poker player, Catherine was all in saving Vincent, coming at a pretty big expense to her. The question she's had to ask herself over the course of these eight episodes is, 'How much do you keep trying before you're sacrificing too much of yourself?' Shooting him really is his choice as far as we're concerned. How it will affect them is fundamental. His inner battle was, 'Am I man or beast?' and he's chosen to go beast. We'll explore that for a while and we'll explore how Cat and Vincent deal with each other after she shoots him."

Even though fans should view both Catherine's and Vincent's actions as a breakup, Kern assures fans that VinCat will never be truly over. "They have to earn their relationship. They got together so quickly last year and it's an epic love. They're meant to be together," Kern says. "Our design this season was to ask the audience to come along on the ride as we explore what happens to a relationship when it forms too quickly, too fast, and you lose yourself inside the relationship. Separating them for all these very emotional and very practical and moral reasons will help them in the next several episodes."

Now that Catherine and Vincent are separated, Kern says that will allow the audience to learn more about them outside of their relationship. "We'll learn more about who they are separately. The plan is for that to make them stronger as individuals so they can find their way back to each other stronger than ever," Kern says. "But it is Cat and Vincent, so even when they're separated they're not really apart. The universe wants them to be together. The fun of the next several episodes is watching all the different ways they get together, which is a sign for them. The gods want them together and I think the audience does too."

What does that mean, exactly? "We've had fun putting them on opposites sides of cases," Kern reveals. "They keep running into each other and it becomes a little Mr. and Mrs. Smith which is romantic. Romance exists even when couples are apart."

Since Catherine is essentially a single woman now, and Gabe has made his feelings for her clear, should fans expect to see a Cat/Gabe romance start to bloom? "It's fair to say that their relationship will grow. How far it will grow and how fast it will grow is hard to say right now," Kern teases. "He's really reformed as a character. He had a second chance and he took a noble path after he was saved by Cat. Plus he's a handsome guy, he's an ADA, he's got money, he's willing to sacrifice himself -- he's a catch. That's hard for Cat not to notice. It's something that Catherine organically should and could explore."

As for the other man in Catherine's life, now that the head of Muirfield/her father is in jail, Catherine might find herself being able to forgive some of the things he's done in the name of being a good father. He did agree to confess, after all. "He's a father first and foremost. If he was successful at separating Cat and a beast, it was what he wanted all along," Kern says. "He does not want his daughter to suffer the rest of her life with beasts in her life. It's hard to hate him too much when he's just being a loving father. He will be in some other episodes in jail."

With Muirfield officially disbanded and all of its loose ends taken care of, Kern is excited to take the show in a new direction when "BATB" returns in early 2014. "Obviously with this mid-season finale we're shaking things up on purpose. The surprises continue," Kern says. "We have a very fun four or five episode arc coming up. Vincent, now separated from Cat, has to make a choice. Does he remain hiding in the shadows or does he move out into the public? It will surprise everybody the choices he will make."

And with Muirfield out of the way, there is room for the series to explore a new mythology. "[Vincent and Cat] will find out there is more than just love that binds them," Kern reveals. "They're destined to be together for more than one reason. There is a mythological reason that we will discover, too. With Muirfield in our rear view mirror now, we're opening the door to a deeper mythology. Muifield turned out to be more of a conspiracy than mythology. You've got a beast, so there's a mythology inherent baked in the DNA."

And since Tori is still alive and a new kind of beast -- Kern calls her a "progeny beast" as she was born, not made -- that will "bleed mythology" as well. Plus, Kern says Tori "will be a factor for a while" and will continue to "mess things up" for Vincent and Cat.

With Muirfield in the past, and a new mythology in the future, Kern says that Vincent is done trying to regain all his memories back and will be living with what he's got. "Rightly or wrongly, we're playing the memory recovery as over. It feels like we played that out," Kern says. "We kind of assume that he's gotten most of his memories back. Story wise, we're done trying to recover memories."

Bonus scoop: VinCat fans never have to worry about saying goodbye to either of the two leads. "You'll never see Vincent or Cat die," Kern says with a laugh. "There's no show called 'Beauty' or 'Beast.'"

"Beauty and the Beast" returns in early 2014 on The CW.

Photo/Video credit: The CW