What Does 'The Catch' Painting Mean? Christopher Left A Parting Gift For Alice

Ending an engagement can never be easy, but private investigator Alice Vaughan may have won the prize for most brutal breakup ever in The Catch's pilot episode. Not only does her fiancé (Peter Krause) skip town with all her money, but she realizes that their entire relationship was an elaborate con and she doesn't even know his real name. While most of us would want at least a day or two to wallow, Alice has zero time for that and is determined to beat Benjamin Jones at his own game. She has a team of experts at her disposal, but Ben may have deliberately left a clue for her — and the painting on The Catch could be key to show's central mystery.

The symbolic work of art makes its first appearance in the show's opening scene when Alice is on the job at a swanky gallery opening. Before she apprehends him for attempting to steal the painting in question, Alice and a con artist flirtatiously discuss its meaning. The painting's theme? Love, of course. It depicts a couple — the woman's face is clearly shown, but she's not looking at the observer. Her lover's face is turned against her neck, making his facial features impossible to discern. Alice observes that the painting is sad because "being in love" is sad. (She doesn't seem like a hopeless romantic.)

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Blissfully unaware that he's minutes away from being taken down by the police, the con artist waxes nostalgic about how just because love doesn't last, doesn't mean it's not love. (I sense some foreshadowing here.) As he's hauled off by the police, Alice gleefully tells him this is the fun part of her job. Presumably the less fun part of her job is being conned by a guy who wants access to her clients, but I'll get to that in a second. It seems that Alice herself was quite taken with the painting — by the next day, it's the desktop image on her laptop and she shows it to her fiancé. 

Once Ben Jones (who Alice knew as Christopher Hall) takes her money and peaces out, art is presumably the last thing on her mind. Alice and her team work tirelessly to catch him, but no such luck — however, she's fortunate enough to have a lawyer on her team who successfully drains all of Ben's accounts. How, you ask? She used to work for Anonymous — I'm fairly certain that's not how Anonymous works, but that's neither here nor there.

In a move that's straight out of The Thomas Crown Affair, Ben sneaks into the gallery and steals the painting. Alice returns home to find it hanging on her wall and, reading it as a dare, she says: "Okay, you wanna play? Let's play." Game on. 

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There were more than a few clues that Ben developed feelings for Alice during their time together, so perhaps he left it as a sign of love. The trouble is, he's also been in a relationship with his boss this entire time — and she's seriously chagrined to learn that all their funds have been drained. Perhaps if Ben hadn't been busy stealing that painting for Alice, he would have been able to stay one step ahead of her. It seems like his feelings for Alice will be his downfall this season. Of course, something tells me that when Alice tracks him down she'll be more interested in sending him away for life than accepting an apology. It looks like Ben fell in love with and messed with the wrong private investigator. 

Image: Richard Cartwright/ABC

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