Saturday, September 14, 2013

Haven: Where a Barn isn't just a Barn

This is me, right here, telling anyone who hasn’t watched last nights episode of Haven, the season four opener titled ‘Fallout’, that plans on watching it or the series spoiler free to back away from this blog now until you’re caught up. Because believe me when I say this post will not be spoiler free. I repeat NOT SPOILER FREE!

Alright, now that that disclaimer is out of the way, let’s jump into the recap of where we left off at the end of last season. This will be a broad strokes summary because I haven’t watched the season three finale since it ended last year, and my memory isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but here goes.

We finally learned that the Colorado Kid, the title of the short story written by Stephen King that Haven is based off and the main mystery surrounding the series, was both not dead, and just so happened to be Audrey’s son James from a past incarnation. What we didn’t know, or at least Audrey didn’t, until near the end of the season was that he was also the son of Nathan when Duke was sent back into the past and Nathan went back to set things right and save Duke, and in turn slept with Audrey’s previous incarnation Sarah.

The skin-walker turned out to be the James’ wife, who lost her skin when the Troubles came around last time and was collecting skin pieces to put herself back to the way she’d looked when he’d gone missing. She ends up dying when the barn shows her true face to her husband and she tries to kill Audrey because she blames her. Nathan ends up shot, meteors are destroying the town, both Audrey and her son end up back in the barn, and Duke jumps in after her when the Troubles don’t go away and the barn implodes after Nathan kills Agent Howard – who seems to be a lot like the handler to Audrey’s doll like in Joss Whedon’s short-lived series Dollhouse – because Nathan is unable to due to his wound.

I think that’s as broad and well remembered of a recap that I can do, now let’s jump into the review portion of the evening.

Throwing myself into the thick of things, I have to start off by saying that I like this whole idea of the barn being destroyed spits Audrey out with these new memories as Lexie, unless she’s still somehow trapped in the barn which I can’t help but keep in the back of my mind, and spitting Duke out in Boston. A few questions, though. Why Boston for Duke, and why wherever Audrey is for her? Why six months? And, if Boston being the distance it is from Haven, Maine shows how far the Troubles can reach, does that mean if the Troubles aren’t ended for some period of time, or for good, that they will spill out into the rest of the world?

Okay, onto our three new characters of the season. First up is Jennifer, I have to say I like her so far, she has these expressive mannerisms to her face and hands, and she reminds me of Katee Sackhoff. I have this feeling that the showrunners are going to push her into a romantic relationship with Duke, but I hope not because I’m not getting a romantic vibe between the two of them. She seems to me to be more of a kid sister relationship, but who knows how that’ll go? Anyways, then we’ve got the mysterious William (and I can’t bring him into this without asking the question, did anyone else get the feeling that wasn’t his real name?). I’m not sure about his character yet. The actor’s certainly good, but I’m feeling like this guy will turn out to be evil, and that his character now won’t fit into that switch. But I could be wrong, And lastly we have Duke’s brother, just briefly brought into things by the end of the episode. Did anyone know Duke had a brother? Also, is that the guy that played Rudy on Dexter? Am I missing something here? If he was never mentioned before in the series, I don’t like this idea of bringing him in now, it doesn’t quite fit together well. But if I’m just forgetting, then it’s not bad writing to at least mention, or imply that Duke has siblings.

And then we get around to the characters that have been around since the beginning, or close to it. As always Dave and Vince, who I swear had more friction between their two characters since the last season, were wonderful, the very embodiment of their characters. I’m still really curious as to what Vince’s Trouble is, and if Dave has one. Dwight I’m not so fond of, he doesn’t really feel like a fully formed character. And I know the reason they gave for him becoming the chief of police, but it just seems ludicrous to me, and not very well developed. Oh, just dah de dah de dah. Then we come to Jordan, whose hair looks as terribly unnatural for her complexion as always – I mean is she trying to be a thirty-year-old Goth wannabe? As always with her, I’m left wanting more for the character, the actor doesn’t completely seem to feel comfortable being this person.

Now we get around to our three core characters. Duke, who has ended up in a fish tank, progresses about as much as Duke ever does in an episode, which is to say not all that much. He’s funny, and has a sense of depth, but we so rarely get to see it with any meaning. And Nathan, looking like a homeless man with that beard, is as quiet and intense as ever. I mean the man has to be on a list of favourite brooding heroes. He seems almost defeated though, like he’s done finding away around not dying and will sacrifice himself knowing that will kill Audrey to even think about killing him. Then there’s Audrey, under the incarnation of Lexie, a barmaid in some town likely not too far away from Maine. I have to say, if that hair is a wig, it’s much better than the Sarah wig. I pose an interesting question about her, if Audrey’s memories of being Audrey come back, does Lexie cease to exist? Or does she just become a compilation of all these people? Why does she always have new memories? Because in the barn she forgets love? If she becomes a compilation of her lives, isn’t that just another connection this series has to Dollhouse?

 So Audrey ends up in this bar with the William character, and Duke and Nathan end up back in Haven, using Jennifer to try and find Audrey so the Troubles can be stopped, all the while trying to help the town with their affliction. I think I’m more interested in Audrey’s storyline, without her Nathan trying to help people – even though he’s just trying to find Audrey – isn’t quite so genuine and fulfilling as it was when she was around. It feels like we’re just going to never find Audrey, and just fix all the mistakes destroying the barn brought. Also, the storyline with Audrey as Lexie has her in a new environment, enveloping a new character, that’s fresh to us as an audience, instead of a rehashed, downgraded version of a story we’ve seen dozens of times already. Give me something more to satisfy my hunger.

Overall it wasn’t a terrible episode, but it wasn’t as exciting and memorable as it could have been. There are several questions I have that I’m not sure if they’ll be answered, but I hope at least some of them are. Not as great an opener as there have been before.

My rating: 6 out of 10.

I leave you with two of my favourite lines from the episode:

“Don’t make me say it.  (Pause) Two words: Oprah Winfrey.” – Duke, with masterful execution.

“Jordan McKee. Her and Nathan used to have a thing, but then he dumped her and I shot her, and the whole thing got weird.” – Duke, ever the elaborator.

Tune in Sunday night to catch my review of the third last episode of Dexter’s last season.

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