CIPC #339: Beauty and the beast S1 E1, Once upon a time in the city of New York

“Huh?” I hear you think “S1E1? Surely there’s no seasons or episodes in Beauty and the beast; it’s a film!” But no. First of all, it’s two movies now, as there was a remake in 2017. But it was also an American television series of the late eighties, in which a New York socialite and a mythical man-beast team up to fight crime in the Big Apple. Because every other premise for a crime series had already been used, I guess.

Close to the end of the episode, Beauty predictably gets in serious trouble.1 For reasons that remain obscure, Beast senses that she is in danger. And during their short time together, she has apparently made such a strong impression on him that he even leaves his chess game, just to go save her life. Love makes people do crazy things.

Or perhaps there is a different explanation. Maybe his position is so depressingly bad that he’ll take any excuse to get away from it. In order to test this theory, I had a closer look and a new explanation came to light: the board is set up wrongly. Beast has probably been trying in vain to ignore his annoyance at this grievous mistake, gritting his teeth and attempting politeness for the sake of peace. But once the opportunity arises, he jumps up and leaves this position, in which he has black:2

I’m quite confident about the positions but not so much so about the identities of the pieces. The pawns and the knights, sure, but those white bishops may well be rooks.3 Whatever the case, things look very bleak for the Beast, so perhaps my original theory was correct after all.

The Beast runs off and is, in old film tradition, just in time to save Beauty from a bunch bad guys, tearing them apart with the lion part of his morphology. Still, he was taking a huge risk here. Not only could he have been shot, but he could even have lost on time. Why did he do this?! Maybe there is something to this ‘love’ thing after all.

Realism: 3/5 I more or less believe this. Black probably should have resigned long ago and the sustained immobility of black’s e pawn is a bit strange, but there’s nothing majorly wrong.

Probable winner: When you say someone has the bishop pair, the implication is usually that the opponent has either two knights of bishop and knight. But here, white really just has the bishop pair extra. That’ll do.

1. [The same thing happened at the beginning of the twentieth century in architecture.]
2. [I used this beauty of a diagram editor.]
3. [On the other hand, this is set in New York, so it is unlikely that the two towers are still there.]