My intention was to write about these episodes as I watch them, preferably close to when they air, but I got sidetracked and three weeks happened. Oh well. We’ll just call this the least conventionally scheduled television column ever.
Post contains plot set-ups, but not spoilers for the endings, except in the case of one subplot, which I’ve set aside in a spoilery section at the bottom.
After my previous post about Haven, I got enough people interested in it that I hoped it would get better and show my cautious optimism was not in vain. And I’m happy to say that with the past three episodes, the show is starting to address the issues I had with it. Episode 1×07: “Sketchy” is easily the best of the season so far, and gives me great hope that the show is hitting its stride for real now. The characters are starting to become more interesting in and of themselves, and patterns are starting to emerge in the seemingly random weird events. The talk of the Troubles is getting more pervasive, suggesting that they are building toward a strong season finale.
In “Fur”, a man is torn to pieces in his car by something that appears to be a wolf – of course, this being Haven, our thoughts as well as those of Audrey and Nathan jump straight to werewolves, but, this being Haven, that answer is probably too easy. Could it be just a giant wolf that the hunters can take care of on their own? Could it be a hex by Jess Minion, a so-called witch living on the outskirts of town who is heavily disliked by the local hunters for her animal-friendly stance? Or is it something even more sinister and unusual? Well, this is Haven.
The doctor Eleanor is starting to become a more central character, which is good for a number of reasons – she’s interesting and funny and she knows about the Troubles, which is helping to ground the show. She’s being set up as a wise confidant for Audrey, a role that is needed and has been largely missing up to this point. I also really like Jess Minion and her addition to the show is definitely helping Nathan come into himself. Plus, yeah, okay. I like her Quebecois accent.
Nathan’s innate inability to relate to people becomes explicit and a source of humor in “Sketchy,” as Jess tries to make up excuses to see him and he, much to Audrey’s amusement, is a total dunce about the whole thing. The monster of the week, too, is really good. People are being killed in really bizarre ways, from crushed and twisted in unnatural ways to having their faces suddenly go blank. The way this one plays out had me fully enthralled, and it may be the one time on the show so far that main plot and subplots have all worked so well.
I’m not sure “Ain’t No Sunshine” was quite as strong an episode as “Sketchy,” but I’m fairly invested now and definitely ready to see the show through the finale. In this one, a couple of stabbing murders lead back to a hospital, where grieving family members are convinced their loved ones were killed by a “Dark Man.” The effects and tension were quite well done here, and aside from a slightly too-easy resolution, I can’t really fault the main story. And I liked what they did with the Nathan-Jess subplot during this episode, but the way they left it and set up the rest of the season in terms of romance subplots? Not so much. I’ll have some spoilers about that in a second. The Audrey-doesn’t-have-friends running gag ran a little too long.
So far, what ties all of the monsters of the week together is that they’re unintentional monsters – nobody who has these strange abilities can control them, and often they don’t even know they have them until Audrey and Nathan figure it out. Also, most of the powers, though not quite all, seem to be triggered by anger or fear, so perhaps heightened emotions are involved in some way. So, are these strange abilities themselves The Troubles, or are The Troubles something else entirely that merely cause these abilities to manifest? What happened last time they were here, why doesn’t anyone speak about them (except for Eleanor), and what does Audrey’s mother have to do with it? These aren’t really new questions since my post three episodes back, but I care about the answers now more than I did then.
*SPOILERS for the end of Ain’t No Sunshine, romance subplot, after the screencap*
Giving Nathan a love interest OTHER than Audrey was smart, and they gave him a pretty interesting one, too. The end of this episode hints that they’re going to go the more conventional Nathan/Audrey ship, which….no. Boring. Done. The only bright spot is that the way Jess framed her leaving seems ripe for her to return. She doesn’t seem the type that would just run away to protect herself at others’ expense, so I can only guess that she actually has something to do with the Troubles and will eventually have to return by the finale. I do hope so.