666 Park Avenue "Murmurations" Review/Recap [Spoilers]

Christopher John Falcioni ’16 & Kristina Carroll ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

Dave Annable, Rachael Taylor, Vanessa Williams and Terry O’Quinn in Episode 2 “Murmurations” of “666 Park Avenue.” Photo courtesy of ABC Television Network.
“Murmurations” had us hiding behind pillows, running to turn our bedroom lights on, and screaming profusely…and it’s only the second episode of the season.  In last week’s episode, things got a little weird:  a guy got sucked into a wall, zombies appeared out of nowhere, and elevators were possessed.  It can’t get much creepier than this, right?
Well, thanks to Terry O’Quinn’s character, Gavin Doran, and his “lovely” wife Olivia (Vanessa Williams), things got much, much creepier.  First of all, there were birds.  Not just one or two cute little birds, but an entire flock of starlings. Jane Van Veen (Rachael Taylor) is first introduced to these tiny but deadly creatures when she goes into the room that used to belong to Mr. Barlow, who according to Gavin, recently “moved out”.  (Last time I checked, getting sucked into a wall is not really the equivalent of moving out…but I’ll go with it…)  As she’s inspecting the room, she hears a strange noise coming from inside the wall.  And for some reason, she decides that it would be a good idea to peel off the wallpaper. All of a sudden, “the birds” make their first appearance.  And it was not a very friendly introduction, either.  If you did not scream out loud during this part of the episode, then I sincerely admire your bravery. Jane, clearly traumatized, decides to hire an exterminator but is told by the mysterious resident Nona (Samantha Logan) that this is a bad idea. Was it? Of course, the exterminator is attacked by the murmuration of starlings and promptly hit by a cab. And while this all seems irrelevant, it’s important to know that Nona, who steals the exterminator’s lucky rabbit’s foot, PREDICTS his death and, conceivably, knows the futures of each of the residents of 666… which could be useful later on in confronting Gavin…
Let’s talk about Brian (Robert Buckley) and Louise (Mercedes Masöhn). We learn that Louise has in fact survived the traumatic elevator accident.  She begins the episode still in the hospital, suffering from a concussion and a collapsed lung.  Brian, being the “good husband” that he is, goes to visit his wife in the hospital.  However, he is not Louise’s only visitor.  Remember Alexis (Helena Mattsson), the creepy girl who likes to undress across from Brian’s window?  She has clearly gotten much closer with Louise, and we find out that Louise even gave her the keys to her and Brian’s apartment. Brian, along with the rest of America, knows that this is a bad idea. And it is. Later on in the episode Alexis uses her new keys to make her way into the apartment, in which Brian is in the shower.  It’s not that difficult to imagine what happens next, but to make a long story short, Brian gives in to Alexis’s ways.  Alexis continues to haunt Brian throughout the episode, and no matter how many times he closes his curtains, they always seem to find a way to open again.
Now for the most important part of the episode: Jane continues to have extremely realistic dreams (or some would say nightmares…), and the most recent one features a dead man lying on the floor, who suddenly opens his eyes and turns his head (another major screaming point in this episode…for us at least).   After waking up, she interrogates Gavin and the bellhop Tony (Erik Palladino) about any possible murders that could have occurred in the Drake, but they both assure her that nothing of the sort ever happened.  However, soon after she has these conversations she finds an old newspaper in front of her door (most likely placed there by Nona), the cover story of which is an article about the murder of a man named Edward Paxton (Karl Jacob).
We later learn that Edward Paxton’s apartment is now occupied by a lonely woman named Danielle (Mili Avital).  Gavin is determined to set Danielle up with somebody, and eventually does.  So, who’s the lucky guy, you ask?  His name is Frank Alpern (Mike Doyle), and it just so happens that he owns the land that Gavin wants to build his new building on.  What a coincidence!  Things are clearly taking a turn for the worse, and when Danielle brings Frank back to her apartment, we’re not exactly jumping for joy.  Just as we suspected, things start to get bad.  And when I say bad, I mean really bad.  Danielle learns that Frank is married, and decides to take her anger out on him by killing him.  Then who makes an appearance?  It is none other than Gavin himself, who has come to console Danielle in her time of hysteria.  He then reminds her that this is not the first time that this has happened.  And this is the shocker of the episode:  Danielle was once married to Edward Paxton, but was forced by Gavin to kill him too.  He then wiped her memory, and she has gone through the same exact situation over and over again, with every time ending the same as the last.  And in another scream moment, Danielle looks into the mirror, but her reflection is one of an old woman.  Clearly, Gavin has kept her busy over the years.
Alpern’s death is not completely futile, though, at least for Gavin. He now owns the land to build his new “Hotel Hell” on. He lets our other lead, Henry (Dave Annable), get involved with the case, and when Henry realizes that the land planned for use on this new building is poisoned with all kinds of chemicals, Henry does the wrong thing by allowing the deal to go through. While Gavin sells the plot of land before his stock goes down, he is surprisingly not angry at Henry. Apparently, Gavin thinks that his lies are a good foundation… but perhaps not as a partner and more as a prisoner…
The episode mainly re-introduces and strengthens the plot points made in the premiere episode: Brian’s lust, Jane’s dreams, Henry’s struggles; but we also get to see Nona’s ESP, the birds, and Danielle’s status as one of Gavin’s prisoners. Is it possible that Henry or Brian are going to sin enough to gain status as a prisoner? Or maybe both of them will have to suffer… and why do the Doran’s want Henry and Jane to marry? The final scene of the episode poses what might be the most intense question of all: What’s behind the newly unearthed basement door?  When Jane goes inside of it, we see it close up behind her, the final scream of the night… but what’s inside may very well be part of the Drake’s most guarded secrets of all… We’ll be keeping the lights on for the next few episodes…

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