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 H O M  E :: p:tl episode guide :: season one :: episode description

04. The Tenement

Season: 1
First Air Date: 10 May 1996 (Showtime)
Alternate Title(s): Haus der Verdammnis (German)
MGM/Showtime Photos: see Season One photos page
A ticked-off Alex helps put a slumlord in jail. After getting him sentenced to be locked up in his own dilapidated building, she gets sent by Derek to investigate when something paranormal happens.
Derek de Lint

"Dr. Derek Rayne, Ph D"

Helen Shaver "Rachel Corrigan, MD"
Martin Cummins "Nick Boyle"
Robbi Chong "Alexandra (Alex) Moreau"
Guest Actors  
Fiona Hutchinson "The Lady of (Endless) Night"
David Cubitt "Kyle Vance"
Lori Triolo -
Benjamin Ratner -
Gloria Crichlow

"Mrs. Wilkenson"

John Taylor "Karl Vance"
Scott Swanson "Judge Druckner"
Alex Green "Adolphus Vance"
David Longworth "Joseph Vance"
Babe Dolan "Lena Vance"
David Longworth "Joseph Vance"
Doug Abrahams "Dix"
Tami de Schutter & Murdered couple
Thomas de Schutter


Co-Executive Producer -
Producer -
Writer Fred Rappaport
Director Jerry Ciccoritti
This description by: Tasha (1996)


Alex is on a mission to right a social injustice, and it appears that she's winning. As the story opens she is outside an old tenement building with her colleague, Connie, helping to move out the tenants. The conditions are so bad that the people who live there are being re-housed and the owner forced into repairing the place. As with all moves, there is someone missing: Mrs Wilkinson isn't where she's supposed to be. Shortly, however, the two women find her, she's late because she'd been looking for her cat, Eda. The feline is off hunting and so Alex goes to find her.

Once inside the building she hears crying coming from upstairs, and abandoning the search for the cat, she goes to find it's source. Eventually she reaches apartment 3D and opens the door. There in the mirror is the figure of a woman, surrounded by fire. As Alex steps into the room the apparition vanishes, and she is brought to her senses by the appearance of Connie, carrying Eda.

In the court room, Alex has taken the stand against Mr Kyle Vance, the owner of the property. Vance inherited the building four months previously and has done nothing to rectify the sub-standard living conditions. Miss Moreau is asked how she would like to see this situation rectified, and she has a flashback to the woman in the mirror. With almost righteous fervour she suggest that Vance be confined under house arrest in the tenement until all the repairs are complete. Surprisingly, Judge Druckner agrees.

Outside the court we find out why Alex is so passionate about this project: her aunt lived in similar squalor for twenty years, and she does not want anyone to have to suffer like that. Vance claims he is just a club owner, and that he had no choice in keeping the building.

Later, Vance is escorted into the tenement and takes up residence in an apartment which has been fitted out with his possessions. He is wearing a bracelet which will set off an alarm if he strays more than fifty feet from the building. Almost as soon as he moves in he sees the mysterious woman from Alex's vision, standing on the stairs surrounded by smoke. She vanishes.

Nick, Derek and Alex are supposed to be going on an archaeological dig, for which the young woman has been working for four years. At the last minute Derek tells her to stay behind. He tells her she has started something, and it is her responsibility to finish it. Alex is one unhappy bunny, but she knows her Precept is correct.

Vance is trying to convince a young lady by the name of Tia to come over and see him when suddenly, all the lights go out and his phone begins to act up. About the only thing that seems to work is a flashlight, which he takes with him on a hunt for the fuse box. While looking he finds a cupboard, but on opening it discovers that it is full of rats. Recoiling from the rodents he comes face to face with the strange woman, who claims she lives in the building. As Kyle is pointing out that everyone has been moved out, he hears a scream, and against the woman's insistance runs to find out what's going on.

Upstairs he runs into a room and finds a grizzly sight. The bodies of a murdered couple lay on the bed and over them stands a man in a top hat, wielding a blunt instrument. The man yells at Kyle and flees, quickly pursued by the young club owner. As he runs from the building, the alarm goes off.

The police return Vance to the tenement, not particularly nicely, and he takes them to the room, convinced that there has been a murder. Alex follows them into the building, and the two are left in the now empty room as the two officers leave, disgusted by the attempt to escape. On the bed there is a blood stain, and as Alex looks at it the liquid spreads. Now she is sure something is happening. Vance is not particularly happy to see her, however, they both know it's her fault he's in the middle of this and they have an argument. This results in the Legacy member being locked out of the building.

Alex cannot let this rest, she knows that something is happening, so she turns to the Legacy data network for answers. She finds a report of a murder that happened in 1926. A chorus girl and her lover were murdered at 2913 Manson street: the tenement, and the prime suspect was Vance's great grandfather. It seems that seventy years of tragedy has dogged the entire building. Alex has called Connie to try and have the sentence rescinded, but after her work in the court room there is no hope.

At the dig, Nick prepares to return to help Alex, but Derek stops him. He says that one day Alex will be covering Nick's back, and he wants to make sure that they will both come back alive.

Meanwhile, Vance is having no luck with his stay and in frustration he breaks his phone. As he is wrecking his only means of communication, Alex is breaking in through a window.

There are more screams coming from outside his room, and Kyle can do nothing but investigate. He emerges into the corridor to see the spirit of his grandfather beating his wife. As he stands there the old woman climbs off the floor and disappears. Vance hears a thud and goes charging upstairs to find an open door, and the apparition of his grandmother's body hanging where she killed herself. Alex arrives, and knowing there is something horrible about the room, asks what happened. They talk and the Legacy operative tells Vance that the spirits must be reconstructing the past for his benefit. Kyle is not quite sure what to believe.

Back in his room Kyle explains the history of the building. His great grandfather can over from Lithuania, with little money but big dreams. One minute he was small fry, and the next he'd built a huge real-estate empire from the one building. Vance only kept the tenement because it was stipulated in his great grandfather's will that the heir must maintain the building, or their trust fund is forfeit.

As he is talking, Alex has a vision of a woman putting something in a wall, and she is overcome by the desire to find out what it was. She leaves Vance in his room and goes to investigate. Upstairs she enters another apartment and asks the spirits to show her what they want. The apparition of the grandmother appears in front of the fireplace.

Vance has fallen asleep, and he wakes to find the mysterious woman in his room. She promises him strength and success, to erase his fears and self doubt, but he is dubious. Then she touches him and tries to seduce him. She uses his father's inadequacy as a parent to goad him to her, and he slowly falls under her spell. He hears his father's voice as is calls to him to break the chain, but he ignores it. Only as Alex bursts in does the woman disappear.

This time both companions go to the room upstairs and after pulling bricks from the fireplace Alex finds a box. Inside this ornate casket is a book: it's in Lithuanian.

In Vance's apartment they use a laptop to translate the document, which turns out to be his grandmother's diary. The words we see on the screen are:

Even in the old country, my husband's father wanted wealth more than life itself, and so he made the covenant with the evil one, without thought for the souls of his own flesh and blood, or the souls of descendants to come. He became a stranger to me.

Alex goes on to tell Vance that his grandmother became so desperate that she even tried to kill the woman who was her father-in-law's lover. In turn the woman became Vance's grandfather's lover and his father's lover. As they read the spirit of his father appears and so does the woman. With a look from her eyes, the diary goes up in flames. With that distraction both apparitions disappear.

The pair talk about Vance's father for a while. It was when he took over the corporation that he suddenly became a stranger to his kin. Kyle admits that they were a normal family before that, he was even an alter boy. As their conversation comes to a close, the laptop announces that it has found the information on the entity causing all the problems. In Lithuanian legend she is known as

Nak(~)tion D,avisia or Mistress of the (endless) night. It was said that nobles entered a pact with her, giving their souls in return for wealth and power.

The entity is not happy with this, she blows up the laptop and orders Alex to leave. The young woman refuses and the demon begins to torture her. Vance is shut out of the room and runs towards the front door to get help. As he approaches it, it slams and locks, trapping him inside.

The demon is gone from where Alex is and she slowly climbs to her feet. Without warning, all the shutters close: she is trapped as well.

Vance it terrified as the creature chases him down a corridor, and eventually he falls and cannot run away. She glides towards him with soft words and an out reached hand. He touches her and he is under her spell, so she leads him towards the upper room.

The door of Vance's room, which has been firmly shut against Alex's attempts to open it, suddenly swing to, and cautiously she walks into the corridor. Yet the entity is not finished with her and as she leaves the room the hallway starts to spin, and torment her. Kyle's father appears on the stairs and the distortions stop. He beckons to her and Alex knows she has to get upstairs.

The mistress of the night is continuing to seduce Vance, and he kisses her even as he hears Alex's calls from outside the door. It is locked firmly, and in desperation the young researcher had to beat off the door handle. She breaks in to find that Kyle is very close to completing the covenant, and Alex pleads with him not to do it. She uses his father as a weapon, reminding him of what he became, and now the demon turns really nasty. The creature tortures Alex and continues to promise Kyle everything he could possibly want. Alex's cries and her pleas for him to reject the entity finally get through to Vance, and as he begins to think again the woman shows her true face. She is as hideous as any demon can be, and with all his strength, Kyle rejects her:

"By father, son, and holy ghost, I reject you with all my heart and soul. I reject the covenant and I send you back to hell."

The demon screams and turn to dust, all seems to be quiet. Then suddenly the tenement begins to distort, and the companions know that they have to get out fast. Struggling in each other's arms they run from the building, into the safety of the street.

Derek and Nick are returning from their excavation: the water table was too high, they have no new information. Alex is waiting for them in the library and she demands to see her Precept, alone. She is not happy, and she accuses Derek of knowing what was waiting for her in the tenement. Here we see Rayne's harder side as he refuses to admit whether he did or not. He makes Alex see that her staying behind was the right thing to do. She leaves him there with one word: "maybe."

Description last revised: 10 December 1996