This Haven review contains spoilers.
When I received word (thanks to, you know, commercials) that this week’s installment of Haven would prominently feature a body-switching Trouble, I was delighted. That’s because be it on a screen little or large, a body-switching storyline is usually one of my favorite things in the entire known universe. Sadly, this Trouble took a backseat to Vince’s (and then Dave’s) hunt for answers in North Carolina. We were meant to be hanging on this goofy body-switched duo’s every word so that by the episode’s end their discovery of an open thinny in the back of the house where records indicate Dave was born would be a truly jaw-dropping moment. At least, that’s how it was framed.
But that wasn’t the case, there was no gasp-worthy moment at the episode’s end, and how could there be? We were too busy being distracted by the hilarity of Gloria and Dwight switching places with each other and with Mara figuring out that she might be able to get her own way if she pretends to be Audrey — it took her long enough! Interestingly, it only occurs to me now that the show has been a body-changing one since this season started with Mara and Audrey battling it over Parker’s body.
If Mara is pretending to be Audrey, as Duke is so convinced is the case, it only underlines Emily Rose’s inability to play two characters. It’s a strange choice, to have major ensembles characters switch bodies, it’s going to absolutely call attention to what I shall from here out refer to solely as “The Emily Rose Problem.” With Vince and Dave switching or even Nathan and Duke, her limited range is not so noticeable. But with Gloria and Dwight crushing the swap so thoroughly in performance, it makes you wish one of them was Mara — you get the sense that they’d totally pull it off.
Last week’s integration of the Trouble of the week was almost seamless. It managed to set the pace of the episode nicely while still sharing an emotional undercurrent with the main ensemble. This week, in turn (more body-switching) felt clunky and like a bit too much — that’s probably why we left the episode unfinished. There’s so much more to figure out. You almost can’t fault the writers for dropping their pens and walking away to get coffee and have nice long think. We learn that the Trouble falls between two people who have a secret, we learn that the mysterious icy blond in North Carolina has a relative in the Freddy, we learn that apparently traveling between Maine and North Carolina is not remotely a big deal.
The episode wasn’t weak, it was just far too focused on setting up some cards to play out as the rest of the season unfolds. Which is fine, in fact, it’s good to see the show chugging along. But it’s disheartening to see them take body-switching (and innate crowd pleaser) and neither give it the time that it deserves, or the actors who can best handle it.