Monday, October 1, 2012

'666 Park Avenue' recap: Pilot

courtesy ABC
BY LARISSA MRYKALO

The anticipated premiere of ABC's new horror-drama 666 Park Avenue kicked off the Halloween season in style. New York City's historic Drake hotel serves as the setting and the potential portal to the underworld. We get to meet an interesting cast of characters and plot lines are quickly set up.

Symphony for the Devil

The pilot episode began at the symphony, with the owners of the Drake, Olivia (Vanessa Williams) and Gavin Doran (Terry O'Quinn), enjoying the violin performance of one of their own tenants, Mr. Hardwell. Strangely though, he ends up fiddling his heart out until his fingers are a bloody mess. What is it with violinists and Satan? Paging Charlie Daniels! We glean from the following scene(s) that Mr. Hardwell was the resident manager of the Drake for the past 10 years. He rushes back to his apartment and tries his "damned"est to escape. When Gavin Dorn calls him on the lobby phone, we learn that a contract has been signed ... and broken. Hmmm ... a contract? Hardwell manages to make it outside but the door comes to life and sucks him back inside to someplace ... "warmer."

Jane and Henry

You just know when you're introduced to a smiling and beautiful young couple in one of these shows, they're in for trouble. Meet Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable), a struggling, unmarried couple looking to take up residence at the Drake as the new building managers. Jane recognizes the building because of her strong background in architecture and knowledge of historic preservation, which luckily, impresses Gavin after their lackluster interview. Henry is from Queens and is a lawyer and Chief of Staff for the Mayor.

Their lives are entwined with the the other residents we get to meet, but Jane and Henry have their own issues to deal with ... beyond some maintenance and repairs. While in the laundry room/basement, Jane discovers a dragon mosaic. After researching it more at the library, she learns that in 1927, a brotherhood organization called the "Order of the Dragon" used to hold their meetings there and she notices that a door that once existed, was now behind a wall of concrete. This building is reminiscent of the one in Rosemary's Baby. Don't you agree?

Henry and Jane enjoy some quality time with Olivia and Gavin. Henry goes to the driving range with Gavin. While playing, they run into Daniel Stone (Victor Slezak), an apparent land enemy of Gavin's whom Henry is not supposed to have any contact with because of his position in the Mayor's office. It's probably not a good idea to be on Gavin's shit list and now we know that Gavin has an ulterior motive in hiring Henry.

Olivia invites Jane and Henry to a fancy schmancy symphony event after another couple cancels. Olivia insists on taking Jane dress shopping. A gorgeous, red, $4,000 McQueen dress is spied and Olivia reveals that the color red reminds her of her daughter, Sasha, who died in a car accident. Jane cannot accept the dress but on the night of the event, she receives it from Olivia Pretty Woman style with a note saying that she cannot take no for an answer. She looks amazing in it and stuns at the event! What happens at the event and subsequently ... well ....

Brian and Louise Leonard

During Jane and Henry's building tour by the Drake's "bell boy" Tony Demeo (Erik Palladino), the newly hired and super happy couple run into one of the artsy types who reside there. Brian Leonard (Robert Buckley) is a playwright who is married to Louise (Mercedes Masohn). We get the impression that she is a fashion photographer who is in need of a new assistant. Uh oh ... these artsy types are just the kind of folks who want more out of their career and makes "pacts" in order to do it! Look up noted blues musician Robert Johnson and you'll understand this a little better!

Brian is also a peeping tom and has an obsession with Alexis Blume (Helena Mattsson), the beautiful young woman who lives across the way from Brian and Louise's apartment window. Alexis turns out to be quite the temptress and eventually becomes Louise's assistant due to a recommendation from a colleague at Elle magazine. It's a shame that afterwards, on their way to a dinner date, Louise gets crushed violently in the malfunctioning elevator doors and lands in the hospital in serious condition. Such a price to pay! Hey Jane, get to work on that "to-do" list that Gavin started you out with when you got hired!

John and Mary Barlow

A less than normal meeting between Jane and bloody-handed resident, John Barlow (James Waterston), leaves her a bit shaken but Henry calms her nerves. It looks like Mr. Barlow has a really nasty cut though and gets all Lady MacBeth when he can't wash his hands clean.

After a newspaper headline that reads "Judge Slain Killer on the Loose" and a phone conversation with Gavin, it is revealed that Barlow killed for Gavin in order to get his deceased wife, Mary (Lucy Walters) to return to him. Mary committed suicide by jumping off the ledge of the Drake. Why? Mary looks pretty good at first when she is sitting on their bed and she and her hubby even take a walk down memory lane. However, she starts to deteriorate and Gavin wants more from John to keep her pretty ... in the form of another murder.

John is ordered to kill Gavin's nemesis we met at the driving range, Daniel Stone. When it comes down to it, John just can't, and loses Mary once again. Gavin gets all pissy and Satan-like and oh yeah, John gets horribly sucked into Hell via his bedroom wall. Bye bye John!

Nona Clark

Who is this mysterious, laundry-doing young lady that Jane runs into early on in the episode? That's just Nona (Samantha Logan) and she warns Jane that there's a petty thief running amok. She also likes Jane's necklace quite a bit. So much so that while Jane is out at the symphony event, she breaks in to her apartment and steals it! Oh she is the thief?

Final Terror

While Jane and Henry are with Olivia and Gavin and enjoying the music at the symphony, Gavin surreptitiously breathes onto Jane's neck. Jane senses a change and starts to worry but Henry dismisses it as her being drunk and stressed. She also ends up having terrible nightmares and even encounters the ghost of John Barlow's dead wife, Mary, who proclaims "They're never gonna let you go." Are theses nightmares? Jane's feet are covered in dirt so, Nope!

Jane and Henry then have an all-important meeting with Gavin and they sign away their lives ... uh, the contracts. Gavin also wants Jane's input in restoring the Drake to its original glory instead of making modernized changes. She's honored and he grins an evil grin.

In the final scene, Nona is fingering the stolen jewelry and has a psychic vision of Jane running in her lovely new red dress, an ax and a terrible scream. Well this doesn't look good! Nona is bound to be an important character in the upcoming episodes.

What are your opinions on this new show? Did it fulfill your expectations? Was it original or did you see pieces of other horror classics and if so, which ones?

If you plan on keeping up with the murder and mayhem at the Drake, tune in next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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