Sunday, September 30, 2012

666 Park Avenue (Pilot)

666 Park Avenue
"Pilot" (101)
Air Date: Sept 30, 2012

"Henry and Jane take a new job as resident managers at an Upper Side apartment building."

We begin our tale with the symphony. The focus on is a violinist, first chair it appears who is disturbed to see that his fingers have actually begun to bleed as he is playing. He continues on, his eyes turned up towards the seats where an older gentleman and his wife (late 40s to 50s, very upscale) are watching.

The violinist returns home where he furiously packs a suitcase before smashing his violin into pieces. He races downstairs only to see the doors of the empty building lobby slam shut on their own, barring his path. An old style telephone begins to ring and the violinist picks it up. On the other end of the call is the older Gentleman (Terry O'Quinn) who informs the violinist that his contract is up. The violinist smashes his way outside and for a moment thinks he is safe. Only to be literally sucked back inside the building by an unseen force. The lightning of the rain store flashes on the building's sign 999 Park Avenue, only the shadow that appears actually reads 666 Park Avenue (creepy much)

Morning, a day or perhaps several later, a young middle class couple arrives at the building for a job interview. They cross paths with a young woman who knows they are at the building for a job interview (building gossip or something else?). Gavin Doran (O'Quinn) originally refuses them the job as live in managers only to be persuaded by Jane's spunk. Or was he? It quickly becomes clear that his refusal was a con and they are exactly who he wanted, the only question being why.

Jane and Henry (Taylor and Annable) settle in and Jane begins work as well as satisfying her curiosity about the building's history. We also meet several of the residents including Brian, a playwright who seems to spend more time spying on the woman in the building next door than writing. His wife, Louise, a rather self centered and high strung photographer on the verge of her big break. There's also John, who is seen furiously attempting to wash blood off his hands Lady Macbeth style, having apparently killed someone in a devil's deal to bring back his dead wife. And Nona, the girl from the lobby, who warns Jane that someone is stealing small items from apartments.

While doing a walk through of the building, Jane finds an old mosaic in the floor in the basement which she goes to research. Her research reveals references to an old 'brotherhood' and a door that has been since cemented over but so far little else.

Jane and Henry are invited to an upper class party by Gavin and his wife Olivia (Williams). Olivia even insists on taking Jane shopping for a dress (a very expensive dress). Gavin takes Henry to the putting range where they encounter the owner of a building Gavin is determined to buy. After the man refuses, Gavin tricks John into killing the man to keep his wife alive. But he can't do it and Mary jumps to her death again (an act witnessed by Jane but she thinks it was just a dream). John has his own sucked into the building moment. Louise has a freak elevator accident just days before her big shoot.

Despite her night of weird dreams, Jane and Henry sign their work contracts and lease and Jane accepts a request by Gavin to consult on remodel plans to update the building without destroying the original history (Jane's thing is historical building preservation). Even as they celebrate, Nona, having stolen Jane's favorite necklace, picks it up and has a vision of Jane being chased down a dark hallway before being attacked by someone with an ax.

A little soapy and over the top perhaps but well shot in a technical sense and while I'm not totally sold on the middle class innocence of Jane and Henry, or the allure of Olivia, Gavin gave me the creeps from the first moment. Whether he was being a charmer or a figure of darkness (devil incarnate or just high priest???), I felt an overwhelming need to wash everything after every scene. Terry O'Quinn was perfectly cast in this role. I'll keep watching as long as he keeps giving me the chills no matter how clique or soapy this could become.

Trivia fun: The series is based on a not yet finished book series by Gabriella Pierce, who helped create the tv show.

Official Site

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