This season has been a challenging one for Haven. As the show has progressed, it has done so not without its fair share of growing pains. The team behind Haven has taken a big risk from one season to another, gradually pulling away from the safety and security of the procedural structure and trying for something much more complicated and involved.
When this doesn’t work (in my opinion, the body-swapping back-to-back episodes are a good example of this) it really doesn’t work. It provides us with something clunky at best and truly dissonant at worst. That said, when the show pulls off the incremental evolutionary steps, they do so in a way that just sings. This week’s episode was a veritable choir of angels, to keep the whole singing metaphor going.
Kudos to Haven for answering my biggest concern about where the show would go now that Audrey and Mara are two separate entities right from go. I swear, we were, what? 30 seconds in when Nathan laid it all out there: The extent to which Mara and Audrey are connected can’t be known at this point. Thus, turning over Mara to furious (and often clueless) guard—especially in Dwight’s absence—is a terrible, terrible idea.
An aside regarding Dwight’s absence: The show’s cast has gotten out of hand. When you think Haven you don’t think ensemble drama. At this stage in the game you go to the primary triad of Audrey, Nathan, and Duke. The show doesn’t seem to understand that, or if they do, they don’t accept that. They foist other players on us from week to week. But if you’ve got to remove characters from an episode in order to move your storytelling forward, your actual ensemble is making itself known whether you want them to or not.
I’ve said previously that the show is at its best when the season’s arc is supported by the weekly encounters with a Trouble. This week nailed that. A trouble that disconnects people from the land of the living, one that Nathan falls victim to right when he gets Audrey back and discovers that he can no longer feel her? That’s insightful and smart. It was a good way of separating the two of them, not just physically but emotionally.
Any concern I had about where the season would go now that Audrey was back? Gone. Deftly and believably handled in a one-two shot: Nathan’s absence and Duke’s contentious relationship with Mara were a natural progression that I could kick myself for not seeing coming a million miles away.
My only real issue with this week’s episode was the complete overlooking of Duke’s exhausted state. Previously he’s had to drain a Trouble every week in order to keep from imploding – that’s a consistency issue that ought to be addressed, unless they’re saving this up for another reveal or we’re meant to assume that the reincarnation Trouble was powerful enough to take the edge off for longer than usual.