666 Park Avenue (ABC) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review
‘666 Park Avenue’ premiered September 30th, and stars Dave Annable (‘Brothers and Sisters’), Rachael Taylor (‘Transformers’), Vanessa Williams (‘Ugly Betty’) and Terry O'Quinn (‘Lost’). It revolves around a couple taking on a job in an apartment building as managers. Something seems to be wrong with this apartment building though, or is it just the owner? ‘666 Park Avenue’ airs on ABC in the 10/9 timeslot.
The episode starts with a musician, his hand bleeding, who rushes home and packs up his things. He throws his passport in his suitcase and smashes his violin. He runs towards the door of his apartment building, but it slams shut. The elevator doors close behind him as well, and a phone rings. The man on the other end of the line tells him his ten years are over. The musician begs him for another year, but the man tells him he signed a binding contract, and time’s up. The musician throws down the phone, bolts out the door, and thanks God for making it outside. His joy doesn’t last however. He hears a noise and turns around, only to get sucked back in the building and disappear. As the camera turns, we can see the address of the building, 999 Park Avenue, getting hit by the lights of the city. As the light hits the numbers, something strange happens: the shadow gets partially flipped over. It now reads 666 Park Avenue. 666; the number of the beast.
We see a young couple walking in to the building. Their names are Jane Van Veen (Taylor) and Henry Martin (Annable) and they have an interview with Gavin Doran (O’Quinn) for a resident manager position in the building. First, they meet Olivia Doran (Williams), Gavin’s charismatic wife. Gavin Doran turns out to be the one who was on the phone with the musician earlier. He blows them off, thinking that Jane and Henry aren’t right for the job. Jane then impresses him with her knowledge of the building, and Gavin decides they are the right people after all.
As Jane and Henry get a tour, we learn that the Dorans have a penthouse on the thirteenth floor of the building. It’s striking that the building would have thirteen floors, as most buildings that have more than thirteen floors don’t even label one of the floors with the number thirteen out of superstition. When Jane and Henry ask what happened to the previous manager, the doorman, Tony (Erik Palladino, ‘ER’), tells them that mister Hartwell moved “someplace warmer”. He quickly adds “Arizona, I think”, but given the ‘666’ and the talk of ‘deals’ Gavin Doran has made, the seed of doubt has been planted in the viewers’ minds.
As Jane and Henry unload their stuff and Henry goes up with the elevator while Jane closes up, a man called John comes to her. She introduces herself and wants to shake his hand, but it’s covered in blood. He says he cut his hand, but he looks nervous about it. John walks away quickly, leaving Jane confused. In his apartment, John washes his hands, revealing a clean, uncut palm. As he dries off his hands, he looks up into the mirror for a second. As soon as he looks down, his hand is covered in blood again. He then asks for forgiveness, as he scrubs his hand clean once more.
Jane, looking for things that need to be fixed, is walking around in the basement. In the basement, which is classic horror movie scary, Jane is trying to fix a light bulb, when a woman suddenly shows up behind her. As the light flickers, the woman comes closer. When she’s close, it’s apparent this woman is either dead, or a big fan of Halloween. Jane fixes the light, and the woman is gone. She then discovers a half-hidden mosaic in the floor, which looks like a dragon. Jane does some research on the mosaic and discovers a picture, showing that there was a door in that room once, which is now sealed up.
John is on the phone with Gavin, and it becomes clear John killed a judge because Gavin wanted him to. He proceeds to ask for his prize: his dead wife back. Gavin tells him to check the bedroom, and there, on the bed, is the woman we saw earlier in the basement, alive and kicking. However, after a day in the city, she’s starting to die again. Someone else will have to die for her to stay alive. Or as Gavin calls it; a payment will have to be made. Unable to kill again, John will have to watch his wife die once again.
Gavin comes to him in the night, telling him it’s time to settle up. The walls of Johns room start to rumble, and hands are clawing at him from behind the wallpaper. Voices are calling his name, and heads are appearing behind the wallpaper. John is smashed against the wall, and sinks in to it. As his screams die out, the wall closes, and one last ripple later things look as if nothing ever happened.
While Henry and Jane are at a musical play with the Dorans, two tenants, Brian (Robert Buckley, ‘One Tree Hill’) and Louise (Mercedes Masohn, ‘Chuck’), are taking the elevator down back in the apartment building. As Louise is exiting the elevator, it closes quickly, slamming into her. She falls down, and the door keeps slamming into her. The elevator starts to rise, as Brian tries to hold the door open. Fortunately for Louise, the elevator goes down again, and she can be brought to the hospital.
At night, Jane follows a vague figure to the basement, where she finds the mosaic to be completely visible and clear. The door that was sealed up is also visible now. Jane opens the door, and sees a rooftop and John’s wife, Mary, walking to the edge. Mary turns around and tells Jane she shouldn’t have come there, and that they’re never going to let her go. She then throws herself of the building, and Jane wakes up in her bed. However, the dirty bottoms of her feet reveal that she has been walking around.
The episode ends with Jane and Henry signing the contracts for the function of resident manager, as a young female resident has a premonition about a running and screaming Jane and someone wielding an ax.
‘666 Park Avenue’ got me on the edge of my seat a few times, though it gave me less scares than I expected. Honestly, I expected it to be a little more like ‘American Horror Story’. However, after watching the first episode, it seems the series revolves around the mysterious things Gavin Doran can do, which sometimes happen to be a little scary. It didn’t put me off, but I had to adjust my initial idea about the series. Watching this series with this in mind, I was pleasantly surprised.
I would have liked to see some more of Vanessa Williams and Terry O'Quinn, but I have no doubt they will be in the picture some more as the story develops. Obviously, they had to introduce the Henry and Jane characters first. However, they seem somewhat empty. For now, it seems these characters have no depth whatsoever. With all the time they spent on putting them in the picture, I would expect to have learned more about them. Luckily, there were a lot of other storylines to keep me interested. And of course the one main question: what is Gavin Doran and what is he capable of?
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