Winterfest logo

Beauty and The Beast (TV)

Season 2, Episode 4

Dead of Winter


Commented by Agnès

To the French version


The opening speech for the Tunnels' Winterfest celebration is best understood when we keep in mind that Winterfest was created as a means to boost the Tunnel community's spirits after Paracelsus was banned. The light has all the more meaning when confronted with the darkness. This explains why the first part of the episode dwells a lot on this darkness, through Paracelsus' many (articulate) words.


Their world is mine by rights. I made them. I taught them. But... they have lessons yet to learn.


What kind of lessons?

Poetry lessons...

(begins to recite from "Dover Beach")

That this world, which seems

To lie before us like a land of dreams,

So various, so beautiful, so new

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;

And we are here as on a darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Later on, he talks with Narcissa, for whom there is no darkness, for she is clairvoyant.

Paracelsus (as himself)

There are no friends in the darkness, old woman. In the dark, all men are enemies.


Catherine's first entrance into the Great Hall at Winterfest appears as a ritual. Vincent is a symbol of light, not only to Catherine who is in love with him, but also to the whole community who knit together around him (see the episode "Remember Love" that occurs not long before this one in the show's timeline); we are told he was just a baby at the time of the first Winterfest celebration. His next words might as well be spoken to any new guest about to join the circle.



Can I lead you through the dark?


There is no darkness, Vincent... when you’re with me.


The celebration begins, candles are slowly lit one by one. The ritual words are spoken by three symbolic characters: Father, Mary, and the Son...



The world above us is cold and gray, summer a distant memory. Our world, too, has known its winters, so each year we begin this feast in darkness, as our world began in darkness.


Long before the city above us raised its towers to the sky, men sought shelter in these caverns.


In those days, these tunnels were dark places, and those who dwelt here dwelt in fear and isolation.


This was a land of lost hope... of twisted dreams, a land of despair... where the sounds of footsteps coming down a tunnel were the sounds of terror... where men reached for knives and rocks and worse at the sound of other men’s voices.


But at last a few people learned to put aside their fear.


And we began to trust each other... to help each other.


And each of us grew stronger... those who took the help, and those who gave it.


We are all part of one another... one family... one community. Sometimes we forget this, and so we meet here each year to give thanks to those who have helped us... and to remember... even the greatest darkness is nothing, so long as we share the light.


Later, doubt and suspicion set in. Who is the traitor? We hear how the celebration is meant to endure: as a regularly renewed alliance between its members. Now Paracelsus' role may be seen less as accidental than as an indispensable mimodrama to remind everyone of the celebration's deeper meaning. It reminds me of the Mummer's plays played at Christmas by English villagers (and that I was privileged to see in Dorset) where the fight between darkness and light also rages amid the clowning around, political hints, and brawl.



Winterfest is a time for brotherhood, for joy, and trust. Now, if we forget that, if we allow this day, of all days, to be tainted with fear... then Paracelsus will truly have won!


The drama is over. Now it is time to celebrate the victory of light and to acknowledge its meaning. Words are not enough. The unity that exists between  the Tunnel community and its Helpers is enacted through the human chain into which a new link can be inserted.



To Catherine:

Come, complete the circle.

To all:

The darkness almost engulfed us this year, but our unity gave us strength. Our shared light showed us the truth. As we part for another year, let us remember that darkness is only the absence of light... and all winters end.


This episode's whole transcript can be found at The Beauty and the Beast Scripts and Transcription Project

Comments translated by Claire "with a little help from my friends"