Oh, “666 Park Avenue,” you lover of wasted opportunities. Halloween seems tailor made for you to find your groove, and yet all you did was let Jane survive peril, render Vanessa Williams unconscious for most of the episode, and find new ways for Gavin to glower. You put Robert Buckley in a gladiator costume but let him keep his glasses? Thanks.
The episode opens with a flashback to 1929. Men in suits are discussing their brotherhood, before one of them peels off to kill his wife with a hatchet. She’s not terribly wounded, it seems, since she manages to walk into her daughter’s bedroom, crouch down to where the little girl—the same little girl whose ghost keeps chitchatting with Jane—to give her a necklace and tell her to keep it in the family.
Present day! Vanessa Williams is decorating the lobby for the Halloween party, and asks Jane to help. You know, the building’s manager? But Jane’s can’t help, because Henry has a television interview and she wants to support him. Vanessa Williams seems oddly unsurprised by this, but that might be because she has already chosen costumes for the Midwestern couple: Tippi Hedren in “The Birds” and a cowboy sheriff. Too on the nose, Vanessa!
At the studio, Henry and Jane meet Laurel, a fast-talking PR executive who wants to guide Henry to greatness. She’s as mystified by his aw-shucks attitude as we all are, and advises him to get over it if he wants to succeed. Jane is too busy pretending to be perkily amused by the interviewer’s on-air declaration of Henry as an eligible bachelor to care much.
To dispense with Robert Buckley’s wife Louise, she has an addiction to pain pills and flirts with a doctor resident of the Drake in the hopes of getting some. Pills, that is, though her devilish assistant convinces Robert Buckley that Lu is after the good doctor’s stethoscope, too. You are now caught up on a good 15 (dull) minutes of the episode.
The recipient of anonymous texts from someone threatening Vanessa Williams, Gavin enlists the aide of the doorman, who is carrying heat. Not that it does Vanessa Williams any good; escorting a friend into the apartment of the 1929 hatchet murder, Vanessa Williams is gassed by a mysterious man in a scary gas mask and whisked away. Oh no!
Jane, meanwhile, is so distracted by that dead girl that she takes time out of the swinging party to do some online research about the hatchet man…who’s in the apartment! With a hatchet! Alas, she is repeatedly rescued in the nick of time, possibly because the dead move slowly. She doesn’t do much to help herself, after all, since she comes to a dead halt as soon as she’s put a few yards between them. Maybe she keeps thinking the ghost will just teleport to her planned destination?
After dragging in an unidentified reveler as collateral damage and dragging herself up five flights in a dumbwaiter, Jane ends up in the hatchet apartment…where the dead man hacks a hole in the wall and is attacked by a murmur of starlings. I don’t recall any such help for poor Tippi, do you?
As for Vanessa Williams, she’s found tucked away and slumbering peacefully on her own terrace, just feet away from where the doorman was being hanged by the mysterious gas mask man. Gavin saves him, then orders him back to work. He didn’t die, right? Unfortunately, Gavin discovers that a large wooden box has been taken from his safe, replaced by the gas mask! What can it mean?
Of course, Jane doesn’t know about any of that. Nor does she have any inclination to tell Henry about all of the ghosts chasing her around their new apartment. Why should she? What would Henry do, suggest they move? In this real estate market? Better by far to just stay quick on her feet and rely on the kindness of strangers.
Follow Mark Peikert on Twitter @MarkPeikert.