Most New Yorkers would sell their souls for a great apartment — especially if there’s always a parking place right in front of the building when you need it. But there’s more to the new supernatural ABC drama 666 Park Avenue. A quick recap: In the premiere, we learned that Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annable) are an unwed couple who came to New York City because Henry got a job working in the mayor’s city planning office and Jane was supposed to start at an architectural firm but the position fell through. Looking for a new apartment, they stumbled onto a job listing for resident manager of The Drake (actual address, 999 Park Avenue), a beautiful building built in 1923. Because of Jane’s degrees in architecture and historical preservation (and their ambition), they are hired by the building’s mysterious owner, Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn). Gavin’s married to Olivia (Vanessa Williams), who seems to be fully aware that her husband brokers deals for people’s souls but also appears to have a bit of her own intact. (She looked genuinely sad when she told Jane she had a daughter who died in a car crash a long time ago).
The building’s other residents did include the former resident manager, a violinist whose 10-year contract making him the best in the biz just expired (he tried to run and the building sucked him back in), and a man who agreed to kill a judge in return for the resurrection of his recently deceased wife. To keep her though, the man would have to kill again (this time a businessman who wouldn’t sell property to Gavin), but he couldn’t. He lost his wife a second time, and the man was sucked into the wall of the building. Now, we’re left with Brian (Robert Buckley), a young playwright with writer’s block, and his fashion photographer wife, Louise (Mercedes Masöhn). Louise had to hire a new assistant after hers quit before a Vogue cover shoot, and she happened to pick Alexis (Helena Mattsson), a neighbor who doesn’t believe in curtains and likes to disrobe in front of her window for Brian to watch. Awkward! Last we saw Louise, she was being crushed by the building’s elevator doors, which decided to close on her. She’s recovering in the hospital. (Has Alexis struck a deal with Gavin?) And then there’s Nona (Samantha Logan), a young klepto who may be stealing objects from her neighbors because she’s a psychic who can see their futures while holding them. She saw Jane tied to a chair and gagged while wearing the red dress Olivia bought her for a black-tie symphony event.
We know Gavin runs this show and preys on the ambitious, but I assume he’s actually the middle man. Maybe he and Olivia owe someone (the devil?) a debt going back to their daughter’s death. Perhaps to keep her out of hell, they have to send other souls there. While walking through and jotting down all that’s wrong in the building, Jane found herself in the spooky basement and discovered a mosaic on the floor of a dragon (which is what Drake means). Library research showed it was there in the 1920s, when the Order of the Dragon, a fraternal brotherhood, met there. There was a door back then, now it’s been sealed off. Was that the door to hell? Is that why people are now sucked through the walls instead?
Jane senses something is off: Gavin made her uncomfortable at the symphony, and the memory ruined what could have been a totally hot hallway sex scene when she and Henry got home that night. She was drunk, but also dazed. “Henry, are we gonna be okay here?” she asked. That night, she followed the ghost woman into the basement and through a door, and then watched her jump to her death again after warning Jane, “You shouldn’t have come here. They’re never gonna let you go.” Jane thought it was just a dream, but we saw that her feet were dirty. Still, they signed a one-year contract for the resident manager job and a lease for the apartment without even reading them. That make anyone else nervous? Gavin had distracted them by asking Jane to look over the new plans for the Drake’s remodel to see if she could find other ways to preserve more of the original design. Blind ambition.
What’s your theory about Gavin and Olivia? And do you find the show sexy and scary enough? The candlelit couple’s bath for Jane and Henry was nice. Having to kiss your costar’s toe in the pilot — you deserve that pickup to series. People getting sucked into the building isn’t as chilling as the dead woman appearing behind Jane as Jane was on that ladder fixing the light in the basement. More of that would be good. I think it’s more eerie when we see the craziness and Jane and Henry don’t. Jane having weird “dreams” and not realizing how dirty her feet are in the shower will grow tedious.
Also, I’m gonna need more Vanessa Williams.