Tuesday, November 27, 2012

666 Park Avenue: Season 1, Episode 8: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

 Jane is now missing after last episode when Jane went spelunking in the middle of the night (as you do). Henry is wandering around with missing fliers and his best kicked-puppy dog expression. The Dorans are, of course a pillar of strength

Jane is in New York, sort of – a silent empty New York, then one with silent people who tell her she shouldn’t have come telepathic New York then normal, busy New York (it’s this one that freaks her out).

She is found and taken to a psych hospital where she’s silent until Henry arrives (Henry is not a big fan of the police detective after he was so doubtful about Jane’s hallowe’en attack).  The doctor says she’s had a disassociative episode – she’s blocking out a trauma and to heal it she has to remember. The doctor insists she be kept in a hospital for 2 days.

Henry explains this to Jane – and also asks if she told them about her grandmother who had a mental illness. Jane doesn’t find this reassuring since she’s trying to convince everyone she isn’t mentally ill and even Henry doesn’t believe her.

When the nurse tries to put a blood pressure cuff on her, Jane flashbacks to being pinned to a table. She panics and lashes out at the nurse, needing to be restrained and sedated. Henry, watching through the window, is not reassured by Jane’s sanity. While Jane is half unconscious from the sedative, we hear the nurse talk about a man who was the same with the cuff – and he spoke about a spiral staircase. His name was Julian Waters

Jane talks to the police detective and tells her about Julian – in the high security ward. He passes on a package from Nona, Jane’s necklace and a picture of herself at the Drake. She tells the detective she doesn’t know what they mean. After being forced to take her pills, Jane staggers to the secure ward for violent patients. While there we get treated to what almost sounds like the sound track from a zoo (really 666 Park Avenue I think I heard monkeys) until she finds Julian’s cell. She asks him if he went down the stairs, he says no, he came up them.

She returns to her cell, remembering a little more about going down the spiral stairs, but when she returns to Julian’s secure cell (seriously? This place needs to redefine the word “secure”) she finds blood stains forming patterns on the wall – and Julian hanging from a bedsheet noose (this is the SECURE cell in a psych ward? Damn this place fails). But being dead doesn’t stop his eyes opening and him telling Jane “you shouldn’t have come here” along with the rest of her little flashbacks.

Henry continues to dodge her coming home – and it’s the detective who finally gets her out. The only one who believes her.

Louise (one of the pointless characters) returns from parts unknown greeting Alexis (who has moved into the building) and Gavin – and the implication that he’s pulled strings to get her into a rehab clinic of some kind. She returns to their flat and tells Brian about her addiction.

They plan a big reunion dinner but Alexis is there, crying on Louise’s shoulder. She’s involved with a married man, she tells Louise, and his wife is terrible for him and they’re meant to be together. Uh-huh.

Brian confronts her afterwards and tells her to leave him alone, get out of his life, he doesn’t want her. She returns with them being fate and destiny and, as a parting shot, points out Brian recovered from his writers block right after they slept together. He scoffs at her, goes home to his happy wife Louise and finds his computer won’t record what he types. And his pens won’t write. And his pencil breaks.

He goes to see Alexis, asks what’s happening. She claims the universe wants them to be together – and strips. And they kiss.

Meanwhile, Gavin has Kandinski ask Victor Shaw some questions about his missing box. He’s quite forceful in his requests. Gavin does some digging and finds out Victor is using his mother’s maiden name and his father’s surname was Lucan. Jospeh Lucan was a defector from East Germany. He lashes back by talking about Sasha, Gavin’s daughter, and telling him it was a suicide.

Distressed, Gavin asks Olivia about it – and she tells him about the suicide note she found and burned. He grabs her and says he doesn’t need protecting. Olivia gets him back on track and tells him that since Victor has hit him with the one thing he couldn’t bear, Gavin should return the favour

So he responds with the father who abandoned Vincent to get him to tell Gavin exactly where the box is. Oops. Turns out daddy was an illusion created by Gavin. From here Gavin goes to the church where Vincent has stashed the box. The priest was clinging to the hope that Gavin couldn’t enter a church – very wrong it seems

While Gavin is gone, Olivia confronts Vincent on how he knew about Sasha. He claims Sasha is alive – and Olivia smacks him around good and proper. He says she’ll always wonder if she kills him – and if she lets him go he’ll take her to Sasha. Don’t fall for it Olivia! Alas, it seems she does since Vincent disappears when Kandinski goes to kill him.

Gavin puts his box back in the safe (I’d use a different safe space, personally) and he has a meeting with Alexis who is feeling guilty about what she’s doing to Brian. Yes she owes Gavin a debt and he’s holding it over her.

Jane returns home, sees the wilted flowers – and finds the engagement ring. Time for joyous reunions with Henry and with Nona – who also knows someone who can help Jane remember, called Maris. She rings the bell… and the episode ends.

I’ve pretty much given up on liking 666 Park Avenue. Not only are the protagonists bland and spunky but it’s so unfocused in terms of theme and plot. Is this about the Dorans and their box and history? Is it about Jane and her battling madness and reality? Is it about faustian bargains (though these bargains are pretty shoddy to say the least since they don’t even involve agreements). We had a series of random “made a bargain with Gavin and now suffers for it” episodes that never came up again – in fact the focus changed to people just getting random magical curses on them just for expressing a vague wish in Gavin’s presence. Seriously, an ice cream truck goes by and you say “I’d love one of them” and Gavin hears you? That’s it – your soul is his. And we always have Brian and Louise hanging around being so very pointless.  Is Henry still entertaining political ambitions? Is this detective more important or is he just random?

There just seems to be a lot of events without a very coherent storyline – or too many storylines and the focus of the show changes too much. And I'm frustrated that every time we get close to some concrete answers, we get more questions and mystery