Entertainment Magazine

Review #3765: 666 Park Avenue 1.4: “Hero Complex”

Posted on the 26 October 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain
Directed by John Behring

About midway through this episode, I was beginning to wonder what this show wants to be. Does it want to be a spooky horror story set in one place, a la “American Horror Story”? The scares seem too mild to go that route. Does it become a soap opera-style drama with some supernatural elements? I think it’s slowly going in that direction, and I’m not sure it’s the most entertaining way to go here. The look of the series is elegant, but step back and look at it in-depth and the style of the series lacks any real substance.

Review #3765: 666 Park Avenue 1.4: “Hero Complex”

The episode throws in all the usual “scary” cliches, like the psychic visions of a murderer, a catatonic relative of one of the main characters, a mysterious man who is partly black smoke, etc. All of this just sits there, being a large part of the episode, and in between, we get some possibly shady dealings that involve city land deals, mobsters, and political maneuverings. I think it’s supposed to elicit some kind of response while I’m watching, but it’s not developed very well so that didn’t really occur.

There is little indication as to what kind of character Henry is right now. It may be the actor, it may be the writing, or it may be a combination of both, but I find him bland. I don’t see what Gavin sees in him. To me, it looks like Gavin enjoys yanking the guy around as he goes from lucrative land deal to land deal. Here, Henry’s association with Gavin gets him into hot water with the Assistant District Attorney. The scene where Henry is presented with photos showing his newfound friendship with Gavin could have been something explosive if it had something else to it. Photos don’t necessarily prove anything insidious is going on so it feels like the ADA implies guilt by association, which is really weak with the evidence that she has. The whole plotline builds on what we already know from the pilot episode on: Henry is not a guy who is going to sacrifice his morality to get ahead.

So why does Gavin really want to take him under his wing? Is it a case of turning him from a good man to an amoral one? I can’t really tell because the actor playing Henry betrays nothing in his face. He has a brush with death here so it might not be the best idea to be so involved with Gavin. The audience knows this. The character does not, and there’s drama to be mined from that. Land development deals aren’t usually a key part of the fabric of a show like this, though. Perhaps that’s why it feels so dry to me.

In order to liven things up, the show keeps Annie’s little plotline about fictional assassins and spies from last episode going through this one. Once again, there’s little substance to this because while the threat of Kandinsky is visceral enough, the danger comes and goes. It’s going to sound like harsh judgment, but I thought Annie was not a very smart character for a writer. She makes an interesting choice under duress of selling out her editor and friend — thus costing him his life — and her punishment for that was taking a bullet to the head at the end. Well, that ending was actually a result of Gavin using her to sic Kandinsky on Councilman Pike at the party, and when Annie realizes she’s been duped, she tries in vain to stop the assassination attempt. Kandinsky could have been more interesting if he were given more than some cursory development. The fear factor is taken out of the equation when he acts on the whim of one writer.

What I don’t understand is the fact that she knows that what she writes comes true and yet, she writes it anyway. Maybe that’s the subconscious method underlying Gavin’s influence on the subjects living in the Drake. The souls are doomed to repeat their previous actions, and so are unable to stop any of it no matter what they try to do. This can also be applied to Nona, who gets more development in her storyline here. We learn she has a catatonic grandmother who is hidden away from everyone who comes to visit her apartment. She’s revealed by Jane as the Drake’s thief. Plus, she has yet another psychic vision that serves as a warning. It’s not particularly original or surprising, but I guess it has to be necessary part of Nona’s story this early in the series’ run.

It’s slightly better than everything involving the man who starts out as a large plume of black smoke (which only served to remind me of “Lost”, and I know that’s not the show’s intent, even if both are from the same network) imprisoned in a suitcase. The backstory of this nameless man will be unraveled in future episodes (if the show gets that far), but in this episode, there isn’t much to say about him at this point. The questionable nature of the man, as well as many other elements on this show, speaks to its current aimless direction. It’s crucial that some direction be found as the show continues to air, or it will lose steam along with viewers.

Score: 6/10

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