Wednesday, November 14, 2012

666 Park Avenue

666 Park Avenue
Episode 7: Downward Spiral
By: Carlos Uribe

666 Park Avenue is about the resident managers of a supernatural apartment.

Spoilers Ahoy!

Jane wants to leave New York City. She doesn't feel like she's safe in the Drake and that she doesn't belong in the city. She wants to flee to Indiana. It's perfectly rationale. She's been attacked by a ghost from the fifties. It makes perfect sense that this would cause her to think that it's probably a good idea to get out of Dodge. Henry doesn't want to leave because he's been having a great time in the city. His career is kicking off, he's getting an award from the mayor, and he wasn't attacked by a ghost. He has no reason to leave the city and every reason to stay. Henry doesn't want Jane to leave because he loves her and she doesn't want to leave without him for the same reason. Henry decides that the best way to get Jane to stay is that he'll propose. He buys an expensive ring and tries his best to build up the courage to get on one knee. When he gets to his apartment at the end of the episode, Olivia had made it perfectly romantic. Only Jane doesn't come and he's left all alone. He's getting antsy wondering where his girlfriend is. What he doesn't know is that because another character decided that Jane needed to stay that Jane is now missing below the Drake. That's getting ahead of ourselves. This plot is okay except it kind of seemed to completely and utterly forget that the last episode had ended with them being in a major fight. When Henry acts like everything is alright with their relationship and wonders why Jane is acting all weird, it makes him the crazy one. Maybe she's not happy with you because you think she's insane? That the plot simply ignores that big fight sequence and has Henry acting like they're back to the original status quo simply makes little narrative sense. We get that he wants to marry her but he's definably right when he questions whether this is the right time. When you think your girlfriend is having a mental breakdown, it's probably best to wait until after she's been treated before popping the question.

Let's get back to that other person who wanted to keep Jane in the Drake. That person is Nona. Her grandmother is largely catonic but she's given a line this episode. This line is a simple command to her granddaughter: don't allow Jane to leave. Nona decides that she'll do this by trying to connect Jane to the building. She goes into Jane's dreams to tell her that Jane is a child of the Drake. When Jane wakes up and confronts Nona, Nona decides to clarify. Nona presents Jane a picture of Jane as a kid. The mystery is that Jane never left Indiana until after high school. The question becomes how was this picture taken when she couldn't have been there. Nona is hoping that this mystery of the picture will be enough to keep Jane from moving. It isn't because Jane is still afraid from her destiny. Nona's catonic grandmother decides to do what her daughter couldn't do and really trap Jane in the building. Grandma goes missing which causes Nona and Jane to look for her. They find her in the basement where Jane is alerted that her necklace is secretly a part of the mosaic. She puts the eye in the mosaic which opens up the floor into the round stair that was used in the promotional posters. She starts to go down the stairs but then the floor closes above her with terrible CGI. Jane can't leave anymore because she's now literally trapped under the building. This plot simply gets viewers to ask a lot more questions. What is up with that photograph? Where does the staircase lead? What exactly are the powers that allow Nona and her grandmother to act like they do? The plot at least answered the question of why the necklace is important although why did this piece of the mosaic become a necklace in the first place? The mystery of the Drake seems to be all questions and no real answers. This is fine for drumming up interest but there have to be answers in order for viewers to trust the show in the long-term.

Gavin and Olivia are still dealing with Shaw but he doesn't really do much this episode. He tries to once again get Olivia to betray Gavin and he has no success. There's a moment in the episode that tries to convince the viewer that she might actually take Shaw's side and backstab Gavin but I didn't fall for it. We might not know how much Olivia knows about Gavin's powers and deeds but we do know that she loves him and is dedicated to him. It's not like Shaw has an actual lie from Gavin that he could expose to Olivia. Olivia does pretend that she's going to betray her husband by lacing her lips with some kind of poison. She proceeds to kiss Shaw which causes him to collapse and the mobster boss takes him to the Drake while the doctor struggles to keep him alive. Shaw had been established as a credibly and competent threat in the previous episode but he's easily taken down in this episode. It's as if the writers got the notes of what they were supposed to do in this episode without paying attention to the previous. Considering just how serialized the show has now become, this creates a sort of dissonance between the episodes and therefore it seperates the viewer from the actua course of action. There's nothing wrong with them taking down Shaw this episode but it should have taken more than it did.

There's some development in the love triangle story after it was ignored last week and it's really one of the two parts that didn't feel discontinous based on what happened before. The other part is the whole Nona story which did fit in nicely with the rest of season so far. The love triangle picks up a bit after Brian punched Scott and left the Drake. The series reveals that he's been staying away and staying with a friend on Brooklyn. He's dealing with the ramifications of thinking that his wife cheated on him. While he's back at the Drake, he runs into Alexis and the two eventually sleep together. After this, Brian finally figures out that Alexis had tricked him into thinking that Scott and his wife were making love. Considering how long this series has been building up to the point where Brian sleeps with Alexis, it's a bit odd we didn't get more of their sex scene. It's like referenced that it happened but that's it. The build-up has been one of the most important side-elements of the show and it doesn't even get the proper pay-off. It is nice to see Brian figure out the truth after the fact. The love triangle plot is able to surprisngly advance quite a bit.

666 Park Avenue had a pretty good episode even if it felt completely disjointed from the previous episode. Henry and Jane act like the fight never happened and now they're going back to loving each other? Shaw is no longer a major opponent to Gavin? The episode covers a lot of plot in the episode but it fails to do one thing: get us from the previous episode plot points to the plot points of this episode. That's simply lazy and rushed writing.

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