666 Park Avenue: Hero Complex

In “Hero Complex”, Henry finally stopped la-de-da-ing around with Gavin and started to suspect that his generous benefactor might not be on the up and up. It only took 3 episodes of invites to swanky parties and being showered with expensive gifts and endless compliments for him to clue in. For someone with political ambitions, shouldn’t Henry be a little smarter? Oh wait … no, that sounds about right.

Henry’s boss (the city planning commissioner) and the ADA call him in for a meeting and accuse him of leaking inside information to Gavin. It’s just a little too convenient that Gavin bought a toxic land site and sold it in less than 24 for a profit … before news of the contamination broke. Henry maintains his innocence, but they don’t really care whether he’s actually guilty. With all the photos of him hobnobbing around town with Gavin they can easily ruin his career – unless he agrees to spy for them and steal files that could shed light on his shady business dealings.

Henry confronts Gavin about the accusations against him, but Gavin points the figure at the commissioner instead. He claims that Henry’s boss has been taking bribes for years. Henry, angry and confused, storms out. He later sneaks back into the penthouse with a USB key and copies files from Gavin’s computer – one about the Greenpoint project and another mysterious file labeled “Henry and Jane”. But being the genius he is, Henry absent-mindedly leaves the USB key cover behind on Gavin’s desk.

Meanwhile, poor Annie the journalist is trying to escape her villainous creation come-to-life, Kandinsky. He wants to know how a newbie upstart writer discovered his identity … and doesn’t buy her tearful confession that she made him up. After he threatens to cut out her eyeball (ICK!) Annie blurts out that her editor Ned was her source. Kandinsky rushes off to teach Ned a lesson, while Annie successfully frees herself and flees The Drake. She’s horrified when she discovers the bloody remains of Ned dumped in an alley beside his apartment. Well, what the hell did you expect you infuriatingly stupid girl???

Desperate, Annie turns to Gavin for help, because apparently it’s totally normal for everyone in The Drake to assume their landlord will solve all of their problems – exactly the opposite of what happens in the real world! Gavin promises to make Kandinsky disappear if Annie writes one final article for him – an exposé on the City Planning Commissioner’s dirty dealings and ties to the mob. He promises that her typing will not hurt anyone else. ‘Okay sure,’ she says! Um … excuse moi? No follow-up questions, sweetie? Like, “Hey, how do you have the power to make Kandinsky disappear? Are you going to kill him or will you make him go poof or something?” or “Aren’t you the least bit surprised that a crazy Russian villain I invented in my head appeared out of thin air to terrorize people?” Oooh, or maybe “Hey dude, why do you want me to make up fake stories about he government?” God damn these people and their completely oblivious behaviour!

Speaking of stupid behaviour, Jane is still playing with the creepy locked suitcase that she removed from the basement in the middle of the night – because the best thing to do when a demon suitcase wakes you up with it’s incessant bell ringing is to cart it up to your bedroom and keep it three feet from where you sleep. SIGH. She’s also being repeatedly visited by the little girl ghost who warns her not to ‘let him out’ and casts frightened glances at the suitcase. It freaks Jane out enough to throw the suitcase on a shelf in her closet, but not enough that she – oh, I don’t know – GETS RID OF IT! It’s also frustrating that Jane is spooked when the little girl ghost appears, but then just dismisses it as soon as she’s gone. It’s like she’s saving her fear for the next visit or something. That does not happen. When a freakin’ ghost appears, you are not just creeped out while you’re chatting with it. You are balls out terrified until you are sure that a) you’re just going crazy and it never happened or b) a Ghostbuster has whipped out a proton pack and trapped that sucker!

While Jane plays dumb, the suitcase has decided it would be easier to just unlock itself and the combination numbers start to turn veerrrry slowly. Okay a) if the suitcase could unlock itself at anytime, what did it need Jane for? And b) it’s really helpful of said suitcase to move at a snail’s pace for the sake of dramatic tension.

Tony the bellhop is walking by Jane’s apartment with a stack of packages when he hears the suitcase’s mysterious dinging. Naturally he unlocks the door and starts to snoop around. He finds the suitcase in the closet (finally unlocked at this point), sets it down on the bed and opens it up. Out pops the Smoke monster! No seriously, a giant patch of black smoke rises out of the suitcase and stares Tony down with the vaguest shape of a face. The next second Tony is back outside the apartment door with his packages as if nothing ever happened. He SHRUGS, picks up his packages and moves on. Wha??? Did that actually happen? Was it just a vision? What the hell? Again, I hate to harp on the lack of fear around The Drake, but you don’t stare down an evil cloud of smoke and then whistle on your way! I’m thinking maybe Tony somehow ended up back outside with no memory of what happened, but the writers needed to make that clear to us somehow, because to me it just looked like he went, ‘Smoke monster? Meh,’ and walked away. Errrr …

In between her encounters with the supernatural, Jane is also trying to track down The Drake thief at Olivia’s insistence. She doesn’t have to look too far when she catches Nona wearing her shrink’s expensive sunglasses after they were reported missing. Jane confronts Nona, who returns all the missing stuff … except for Jane’s necklace which she lies about stealing. But Jane visits Nona’s shrink and learns that both Nona’s parents were recently killed in an accident and she’s been screwed up since. Jane decides not to expose Nona as the thief and anonymously returns the stolen belongings to the lost-and-found box. We later discover that Nona’s grandmother (who she keeps pretending is away when people drop by) is basically catatonic and in a wheelchair. Nona tells her Grandmother that she trusts Jane and believes she might be the one to help her … hmmm. Nona decides to return Jane’s necklace after all, hanging it outside her apartment door.

The climax of the episode was at a party for the mayor where Gavin confronts Henry on his file stealing and Olivia scolds him for his betrayal. Jane is on edge because of a cryptic warning from Nona about a man with a compass tattoo who is going to try to hurt Henry.

As everyone is sipping their fancy drinks, they simultaneously receive Annie’s article on their phone – exposing the commissioner as a crook. Umm, I know I’m not the most technologically savvy person in the world but why would that happen? Did they all just happen to have their phone’s set to update them on breaking news? Did someone pull everyone’s email from the guest list and send out a mass text? Or can Gavin use his demon powers to send electronic messages? Annie shows up at the party in a panic because she’s figured out that the mob might use Kandinsky to assassinate the commissioner and doesn’t want anyone else dying. Kandinsky is indeed at the party, disguised as a waiter, and Jane starts in alarm when he walks by her … with a compass tattoo on his arm. He pulls out a gun just as Jane yells Henry’s name to warn him. Henry jumps in front of the commissioner to save him from Kandinsky and somehow Annie ends up with a bullet in her head.

I’m really not clear on what happened, because Gavin and Olivia were talking as though they might have to ‘get rid’ of Henry and Nona had a vision that he was in danger, but Kandinsky seemed to be aiming for the commissioner, just as Annie had worried. If Kandinsky is an evil creation of Annie’s – somehow spurred on by Gavin – is he doing Gavin’s bidding as an assassin? Ugh. I just found it totally convoluted. Also, Kandinsky got arrested after the shooting. Really??? Shouldn’t he have disappeared in a puff of smoke or something … seeing as he’s NOT REAL.

Just when I thought Henry had a real shot at recovering from ‘dumb clueless syndrome’ he re-declares his devotion to Gavin and apologizes for doubting him. He throws his USB key in the fire. Oh come on!!! Only on TV shows do people still throw things in the fire to get rid of them … slowly watching them burn with a conflicted expression that reads ‘Am I really doing the right thing?’ He totally could have just deleted the damn file without wasting a USB drive. Or if that didn’t feel destructive enough he could have snapped it in half or jumped on it or something!

The Bad:

In this episode? Pretty much all of it! I complained in my last review that I was frustrated that the rules of ‘evil’ weren’t clear enough. They got even more convoluted in “Hero Complex”.

– This is either a world where evil forces crawl out of magical suitcases or it’s a world where they get arrested and hauled into the slammer. It really can’t be both. All good supernatural shows have a set of rules that we understand. We know that vampires turns to dust in Buffy, that demons can be exorcised or killed with a special knife on Supernatural. Shows always introduce new elements and break their own rules, but the audience re-learns the rules as the characters do. In this show, I just feel completely lost.

– I still don’t understand Gavin’s convoluted methods of getting what he wants. Surely there was a simpler way to attack the commissioner than getting a journalist to invent a psychotic Russian hit man and point him in the right direction?

– Why does Vanessa Williams still have literally NOTHING to do? She complained about her missing brooch in this episode and then chastised Henry. She has yet to have a real plotline that focuses on her character. She just flitters around commenting on everyone else’s lives.

And to reiterate, I really need to see more cause and effect reactions when it comes to horrifying experiences. Truthfully, Jane should be cowering in a corner somewhere or at least demanding that they move the hell out of the building!

Photo Courtesy of ABC

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