There’s something weird (and maybe supernatural?) going on inside the Greybourne building at the center of Freeform’s new drama The Watchful Eye.
The series premiered on Monday with two episodes, but let’s focus on Episode 1, which begins with a woman, Alice Greybourne Ward, writing a note to her family before she jumps off her balcony at the Greybourne apartment building. Six months later, Elena Santos (played by Promised Land‘s Mariel Molino) is interviewing with Alice’s widowed husband Matthew (Chicago Fire‘s Warren Christie) to be a live-in nanny for their son Jasper (The Bold and the Beautiful‘s Henry Joseph Samiri). Matthew’s uptight sister-in-law Tory (Person of Interest‘s Amy Acker), who lives down the hall, takes over the interview and tells Elena she’s not the right fit for the job.
Elena also lost her mom when she was young, so she feels for Jacob. Her boyfriend Scott (Chicago Fire‘s Jon Ecker), however, urges her not to feel sorry for these people and to keep her eye on the prize: finding the ruby that will set them up for life.
Despite getting off on the wrong foot with Tory, Elena gets the nanny gig thanks to her connection with Jasper. As she settles into the Greybourne, she’s introduced to the other residents, which include Tory’s drunk husband and her stepdaughters, and upper-crust lifelong dweller Mrs. Ivey (Gilmore Girls‘ Kelly Bishop, sharp-tongued as always) who instructs the doorman to make sure Elena takes the freight elevator.
Elena is relegated to living upstairs in a room no bigger than a closet, where she meets Elliot (All That‘s Lex Lumpkin), a teen from the building who says there are a lot of mysterious deaths in this place, as well as rumors of a malevolent presence in the basement. But Elena has more immediate concerns, like the fact that Matthew finds out that she lied about being a Boston College grad. He decides not to fire her after Elena explains that she needed a job and the agency was only accepting college grads.
When Jasper runs off into the busy street, Mrs. Ivey comes to Elena’s defense with Tory. But Mrs. Ivey’s not buying Elena’s innocent act and wants something in return for keeping her secret. So she demands that Elena be her eyes and ears around the Greybourne, especially around Matthew. The architect is too good to be true, Mrs. Ivey argues. She believes that her niece was pushed off the ledge, physically or psychologically, and only one person came into money as a result.
Now, back to the weirdness within the Greybourne: Elena hears noises in her tiny bedroom. Jocelyn, an Irish nanny in the building, warns Elena that she can’t trust “them.” Then Elena decides to scope out the basement in hopes of finding the ruby. The space feels more like an abandoned apartment than a basement, complete with creepy wallpaper that seems to watch Elena. When she freaks out and starts to run, she finds the doorman dead at the bottom of the stairs. Elena is questioned by a detective… who is her boyfriend Scott!
The episode’s closing montage then reveals a very old picture of the Greybourne’s founder Alistair on Mrs. Ivey’s desk. (Exactly how long has she lived here?) Meanwhile, one of Tory’s stepdaughters has Alice’s stationary, while Tory looks at a photo of her sister and Matthew —is she in love with her brother-in-law? — and Matthew tears Alice’s clothes from their hangers.
Finally, if you thought there was something odd about Jocelyn, you would be right: Ginny (The Walking Dead: World Beyond‘s Aliyah Royale), yet another nanny at the Greybourne, tells Elena she’s never even heard of her.
What did you think of The Watchful Eye‘s debut? Grade it below, then hit the comments!