Tuesday, October 30, 2012

666 Park Avenue, Season 1, Episode 5: A Crowd of Demons

31st October 1929
It’s the time of the Wall Street Crash and, at the Drake, Peter Kramer and his associate are travelling in the lift. They have done a ritual for incredible wealth and now they have blood on their hands and, as Peter says, they have let evil into their homes.

Peter goes to his apartment to his wife and daughter. He tells his wife that the firm has closed down – but he has found a way out. He eye starts shaking and he tells his wife “in heaven you will be truly happy” then attacks her with a hammer. In the bedroom the girl hides under the bed and her mother staggers in, bleeding. She gestures her to be quiet and pulls the necklace from her neck, telling her she needs to keep it safe and keep it in the family.

In the present day, Olivia is preparing for the Drake’s annual Hallowe’en party with lots of decorations. Jane rushes past to tell her about Henry’s TV interview – after his heroics last episode he is in high demand – and Olivia hopes he will turn it into more – and out of the lift steps Peter. Yes, 1929 Peter.

Henry has his interview, in which he is repeatedly modest – and the reporter describes him, among other things, as available since he has no ring on his finger. He quickly corrects her after the interview was over and babbles endearingly to Jane. His babble is cut off by the introduction of Laurel, a media consultant, who is already planning on how he can use his 15 minutes of fame as a lever into higher office, perhaps even becoming the mayor. He says he has no such ambitions but she gives him her card.

Olivia and  Gavin are walking down the street making their plans for the party and discussing Henry’s success and how Gavin knows how to pick them. They separate and Gavin gets a text message saying “you’re going to pay for everything you’ve done”, followed quickly by a huge car with blacked out windows nearly splattering Olivia across the pavement. As he rushes to check on her he gets two more text messages “just thought I’d introduce myself” and “next time I won’t miss, see you tonight.” How rare to see Gavin as the victim.

Time for us to drop in on the pointless ones – Brian and Louise. These 2 either need to add to the plot or stop taking up screen time, they really do. Brian comes home to find Louise with her shirt off being massaged by Scott, a doctor in apartment 4G. He’s rather perturbed at the intimate setting but Louise assures him that he’s just examining her because her ribs are sore. Before he leaves she asks him if he has any medication for a strained muscle before the party and he jokes “tequila”. He leaves and Louise tells Brian that Alexis is coming to the party – which Brian is hardly thrilled about. Louise goes into the bathroom – and takes several pills.

For the party Alexis arrives in a sexy nurse’s costume and Brian snarks at her for actually knocking this time. She apologises and makes it a full one – for kissing him and for pushing, she thought there was a connection and she was wrong. She promises to back off in future. She also talks about Scott, saying he’s examined Louise 2 or 3 times – and they haven’t just met as she thought. In the bathroom, Louise finds her pill bottle empty and is clearly bothered by it.

Henry and Jane rush for the party but find that, again, the Dorans have already provided their costumes, which Henry comments is like having a fairy godmother – Jane adds a slightly wry “who lets themselves in whenever she wants” (finally, at last some resistance to the controlling and invasive nature of the Dorans towards Henry and Jane). Henry gets to dress as a Sherriff (and looks more like Woody from Toy Story) and Jane gets to dress as Tippi Hedren from the Birds, complete with giant black birds stuck all over her. Nice. They go down the lift to the party – and they get to share it with the ultra-creepy Peter, who fixates on Jane’s necklace while the music plays ominiously.

They leave the lift but Peter goes down to the basement where he opens a grill and pulls out a photo of him, his wife and daughter. Though upset, he says “I have to finish this” and takes out an axe

Gavin talks to Tony about the attack, how the police couldn’t trace the cell phone and how they have to be prepared. Tony has a gun, though Gavin doesn’t have much faith in him – and tells him to stick with Olivia at all times since she’s the most valuable thing in the world to him. he puts something in his safe and we see that in there is a big spooky box.

It’s party time – a very very crowded party time.

Jane gets jostled and spills her drink down her dress. Seeing it as a good excuse to change out of the costume that was forced on her, she goes back up to her flat. She changes her outfit but the spooky little girl ghost is there, waiting. She asks the ghost what she wants and she says “he got out” when she asks who she says “daddy”. It’s then she notices the girl is looking at the old suitcase that is now under the bed. She gets it out and opens it – it’s empty. When she looks up the girl has disappeared again. She checks the lining of the suitcase and finds a newspaper article about Peter Kramer killing his wife – and, naturally, recognises Peter from the photograph. Which is when we see him lurking behind her.

At the party, Laurel hangs around Henry pushing the “this is what you have to say to be mayor” thing. I’d have asked her what you need to say to get rid of a stalker, but that’s just me. She also goes on about Henry and Jane being boyfriend/girlfriend rather than fiancés and he needs to get married before New York drives them apart. At this point I’d also raise the “how do you get a stalker to leave you alone” to “and how do you get her to mind her own damn business”.

Alexis and Dr. Scott go in for major flirting that turns into making out and her stealing his phone in the process. Brian is still jealous and Alexis is there to fan the flames of his jealousy (wow Brian, you never thought, not once, that Alexis may, just may, have an ulterior motive here?) Louise, meanwhile, rushes to Dr. Scott with a very very blatantly faked injury, begging him for pain killers. He agrees to take her upstairs and examine her.

Olivia takes 2 guests to Peter Kramer’s old apartment, tells them the story for spooky Hallowe’en fun and bets them to spend 5 minutes alone inside – one bails and one is happy to take her up on the offer. In classic misdirection, just as we’re waiting for her to be chopped into little pieces, a man in a gas mask appears behind her and sprays her with knock out gas – she collapses.

Jane, having a party invite and all, decides that she simply HAS to google Peter Kramer right now. While she does this, she hears creaking behind her. After a few moments of brushing it off, she grabs a pair of scissors and goes investigating – and Kramer grabs her.

This is when the man in a gas mask cuts the power to the building.

In the dark, Jane smacks Peter with a lamp and goes running. Outside the flat she runs into a man in a devil costume and begs for his phone. She calls 911 and quickly explains she was attacked by a man who broke into her apartment – the devil man asks if she’s ok and gets an axe in his back. Jane sets off running again while Peter is busy chopping down the extras.

Peter chases Jane to the basement (she ran down, she couldn’t get to the main party floor – in the lobby of the building) where there is no exit except a dumb waiter. She climbs in and begins to hike herself up, unfortunately making enough noise that Peter finds her. He cuts the rope to make the waiter falls, but she manages to leap out onto an upper floor. She runs again – to Peter’s old apartment.

Meanwhile, Henry has been getting worried about Jane, especially with the lights out and he has his stalker, Laurel, go up to his apartment to check on her. They find the broken lamp and Jane manages to call him, asking for help and telling him where she is.

Peter bursts into the flat and gives her the “you’ll be happy in heaven” line before attacking with an axe. Jane ducks and the axe smashes a hole in the wall – through which hundreds of starlings pour, overwhelming Peter while Jane runs outside, into Henry’s arms.

While this is happening, Gavin gets a call from a man saying he has his wife. He doesn’t want money – but since Gavin  has spent so long playing games he wants him to see what it’s like on the other side. Gavin threatens them and the voice says whether Olivia is hurt or not depends on whether Gavin finds her in time. He looks around and sends Tony to the Penthouse in case she shows up there.

In the Penthouse, the gasmasked man opens Gavin’s safe and Tony enters carefully with his gun drawn. Gavin comes up to find Tony hanging from a noose in the ceiling and quickly helps him down before he comes to any harm. His safe has been opened and his spooky box is missing. Tony asks if he wants the police to be called but Gavin, seeing Olivia on the terrace, says no and goes to check on her. Olivia wakes up and is fine and doesn’t remember what happened – and Gavin doesn’t tell her anything.

Back to the pointless storyline. Brian saw Louise leave with Scott in the middle of the party and asks Alexis why. She makes hollow excuses while using Scott’s phone to send Louise a message “want you now”. Brian goes upstairs to check on Louise, finds her phone and, of course, the message.

Stuck in the life because of the power outage, Scott talks Louise down from a panic attack. Scott also tells Louise he knows what her problem is – he knows there’s nothing wrong with her and she’s just after the pills. Louise tells him her story – she was a club kid addicted to speed and she’d been off the pills for some time, but has relapsed since she was attacked by the Drake’s elevator. Scott offers to be someone she can talk to and asks if there’s something else wrong with her life driving her to the pills – he mentions her relationship with Brian and makes a pass at her. She shuts him down and recoils and he backs off, saying he got the wrong signals.

When the power is restored and the lift moves back to the lobby, Brian punches Scott and storms off in a huff.

Jane talks to the police but says she never saw her attacker’s face. She’s sure they’ll find the devil-costumed man’s body though. Except the Drake starts absorbing the evidence – the axe sinks into the floor, the hole the starlings poured through patches over and the body is absorbed by the carpet.

Gavin gets a phone call from the gasmask man and tells him that he doesn’t know what he’s stolen and needs to return it before it’s too late for both of them. Gasmask man says no and Gavin warns him he’s coming for him.

So much happened this episode. I’m supposed to be excited and happy the plot is moving and there’s action and definite supernatural elements and…

I’m not. I don’t know if it’s because it’s taken so long to get going or because we’ve focused too much on side characters or because Brian and Louise are just so pointless or that Henry and Jane are just so bland and Jane’s decisions are just so ridiculous. I honestly can’t put my finger on why I don’t like this programme but I don’t. I just don’t care about the Drake and its inhabitants, the protagonists don’t interest me, the building doesn’t interest me, I’m not interested in the whys or the history or… well anything about it. Objectively I can’t point to one thing about this show that’s so awful but subjectively it scores a great big “meh” from me.