666 Park Avenue
Episode 9: Hypnos
By: Carlos Uribe
666 Park Avenue is about the resident managers of a supernatural apartment.
Hypnos is acting as the winter finale before this series comes back in the new year with it's last batch of episodes. After watching it, I'm not entirely convinced that it was supposed to be a finale. It had a pretty good cliff-hanger but it felt more like the build-up to a finale. Take the Jane story. The series utilizes Whoopi Goldberg to uncover Jane's memories from when she went down the spiral staircase. She reveals that Jane didn't travel to a location but rather to the past. This is actually all a neat way for the series to do what is pretty close to a flashback episode. It's executed nicely from the moment that Jane gets hyponotized by Goldberg's character. Jane goes all the way back to the nineties. It's October and she's following the last moments of the person named Libby. Libby is a character who had created a strong bond with Jane's grandmother when she had saved her from being a blood sacrifice to a ritual that her great-grandfather was a part of. This plot is being executed well even if it only adds bits to the little that we already know. We knew that Jane's great-grandfather had been involved in some kind of ritual that gave him and his friends some kind of power. All this episode does is reveal the cost of that power and the ritual itself. The power that they got or why they are peforming the ritual remains a mystery. For the most part, we really haven't learned that much about the past nor on why we should care. It's true that I'm predicting that Gavin is a part of that group and that might explain the source of his power but the series has yet to establish that. Now that Jane knows what happened to her when she went down the spiral staircase, she has to figure out what to do next. Her clue? The Libby character is haunting her through mirrors.
Whoopi Goldberg does a fine job in the episode but that's to be expected. She is after all an Academy Award nominee. She plays a character who got her phD as a therapist but that's not why she can help Jane. She happens to have some connection to the supernatural. She's able to not only hypnotize Jane, with the help of tea, but the signal at her door keeps Gavin from entering her apartment. This is an action that's supposed to signify that her symbols are actually good and that her character is therefore on the side of good. This doesn't stop her from making a deal with him. She'll tell him when Jane went after going down the stairs in return for being able to safely leave the Drake. She's tired of being cooped up in her apartment for the last twenty-seven years. She honors the deal and she's allowed to step out of the building. She looks up at the sky and promptly turns into a whole bunch of doves. This is supposed to symbolize that she's good but this does bring up a couple of problems. For one thing, she did sell out her patient. For another thing, it also calls into question exactly what she is. Everything before then had pointed to a psychic but now I'm thinking witch. Of course, it would be nice if we knew what kind of magic was at play here. Whatever the case, it does lead to my summary of the episode: a whole bunch of white birds come together to make Whoopi Goldberg so that she can hypnotize Jane into finding out that she had time-traveled. That's ridiculous and awesome at the same time.
While this is all going on, we also get to deal with Olivia's search for her daughter, Sasha. This largely involves her taking Shaw to a construction project with the help of her doorman. I kind of forgot that Tony existed until this episode. Anyways, most of the episode is largely an effort to stall until the very end. There is literally a scene where Olivia completely forgets everything that Shaw told her and he's forced to go through the entire reason he's there with her. That scene literally confused the heck out of me. Not only did it happen half-way through the episode after we've seen him call Sasha but the emotional beat that Olivia took (from reserved to acting like this is the first time she's heard her daughter is alive) was sudden and abrut. I understand Shaw having to prove that he had called Sasha or wasn't lying but that doesn't mean that the episode has to cover the exact points he's already made. Olivia does find Sasha's apartment only to find it abandoned and Shaw is quickly killed by the mobster. We do find out who Sasha is.
This is done through Henry's plot. He wants to run for city council and he sets up a meeting with a political consultant. He's shocked the discover that his wife's recent visit to the psych ward can be used against him but he decides to resort to blackmail to get the consultant on his side. This is really all a huge move by the writers to have Gavin realize that Henry's public relations manager is the one who had told the consultant about Jane's mental stability. At first I thought that she just wanted Henry all to herself but she might have been trying to undermine Gavin. Why? This is because the public relations manager isn't named Laurel but Sasha. This was a legitimate twist that I didn't see coming and it helped to provide the episode with a good cliff-hanger. It was also a clever way to use Henry's plot to advance the Sasha plot.
Hypnos is acting as the mid-season finale but let's think about what we learned: Laurel is Sasha and Jane is now being haunted by Libby. The first is a major move but the second is standard development. When I think of a fall finale, I think of an episode that threatens to at least change the status quo. A good example is the Grimm show: it's fall finale really shook things up. Hypnos felt like an ordinary episode of 666 Park Avenue. This is fine and all and the cliff-hanger carries some narrative momentum, but I'm not exactly dying to see the show come back in January.