Haven: Countdown Review

haven-logoWell, that escalated quickly. I was settling in for a week of Nathan being bitter that Lexi was Lexi rather than Audrey and Jordan slowly seducing Wade to get him to do her dirty work and instead the rug was pulled right out from under me. While I like surprises, I’m not exactly sold that shifting Haven from about third gear straight into seventh is a great idea.

Spoiler Alert: So many spoilers in this review. So many spoilers.

The episode starts with a random Havenite stiffening up and falling over stiff as a board. One minute, he’s looking at his cell phone (and playing in that fake TV sort of way that makes you wonder if this guy’s ever used a cell phone since they were bricks). The next, he stiffens up, goes pale and falls over dead. He’s not alone. One of the Haven PD is the next victim as he rigor mortises (is that a verb?) to death as he tries to leave the scene.

Nathan and Duke are on the case this week. Dwight’s on assignment (probably spearing someone and hitting them with a chair) and Duke wants to keep Audrey away from Nathan so he doesn’t clue in that she’s not Lexi. So Nuke (yes, I’m use that short form) reckon that the two received text messages that caused them to stiffen up and die because the first guy was looking at his cell phone and the cop was looking at the police info screen on his motorcycle. Basically, it’s Haven’s first modern tech trouble.

Anyway, the boys trace the first dead guy back to a new school being set up in town for anyone who doesn’t have a Trouble in their family. This may have something to do with it because one of the parents trying to start up the school is the next victim. Except he’s not getting weird text messages but seeing a countdown on every electronic device. When it hit zero, his time was up. Quite literally.

After the local junior high’s tennis coach was put on the 15-minute clock and had time expire, Nathan was up next. It’s at this point that Lexi is drawn into matters and tries to help solve the Trouble. She deduces that the local electronics shop clerk who was held up and told to count to 1,000 before calling police and is getting no help from anyone about the hold up must be behind it since 1,000 seconds is close to the 15-minute death clock. So the three super best friends are off to see him.

Well, before they venture off, Nathan is able to figure out what was going on with Lexi. Not just because of her referring to the dead officer from the start of the episode by his nickname but by how quickly she was able figure out who was Troubled. She was far too familiar with how the Troubles to be just a simple bartender who was new to the Troubles. It’s far more believable than how Duke figured out that Lexi was Audrey.

So Audrey and Nathan have their little make up moment. I wish they held off on this for at least one more episode. It would have been fun to see Nathan dealing with the woman he loves not being the woman he loves and Audrey trying not to be Audrey to protect Nathan from The Guard. It would have made the reunion that much better if they made us wait a bit for the payoff to the story.

Before we jet off to the electronics store, let’s catch up on the B-plot for the episode. Last week, we saw Jordan hatch her plan to get Wade to kill Lexi to end the Troubles. This week, we follow-up with The Seduction of Wade Crocker. Jordan is promising Wade that she can activate the Crocker family Trouble in him and in doing so help end the Troubles. Given Wade’s jealousy of Duke and the fact that every guy is a sucker for a pretty lady (especially one so sensitive to touch [even with a rubber glove]), Wade was willing to buy in and go along with Jordan’s plan.

Her plan called for Wade to bug the Haven police station with camera pens. What purpose this served, I don’t know. However, this does clue the pair into two things. One, they find out that the electronics guy is this week’s Trouble of the Week before the super best friends and are able to get the jump on them. And two: They were listening when Audrey told Nathan that she was really Audrey.

While Wade is playing his part of the plan, Jordan is dealing with Vince. He’s trying to stop her from using Wade to kill Audrey to end the Troubles. And Jordan doesn’t his objections so she touches him, knocks him out and ties him up. This is when Vince fills her in on some of his backstory including how he activated Simon Crocker’s Trouble to kill his father-in-law and end the terrible Trouble in his wife’s family. When she left him, he felt like a monster for activating the Crocker Trouble and using it, even if he thought he was doing the right thing.

This struck a cord with Jordan who had second thoughts about using the Crocker family Trouble to end the Troubles. This doesn’t make her think twice about trying to get Audrey to shoot Nathan when everyone met at the electronics store (which quite clearly was a redressed auto parts store because they mustn’t have actual electronics stores in Nova Scotia). Audrey doesn’t do that and gets the Trouble solved by figuring out that the electronics store guy’s Trouble is rooted in being friend zoned by his lady friend. I’m being serious. It’s a Trouble caused largely by sexual frustration. Anyway, Audrey solves the guy’s Trouble and all is well.

That is until Wade happens into the scene. See, Jordan told Wade that to activate his Trouble, he must get some Troubled blood on him. So he decides that the best way to do that is to stab the poor electronics store clerk in the stomach which gets his blood on Wade. And that activates his Trouble. Jordan decides that the bloodshed is a bit much for her so she tells Vince that she needs to get away from it all and get a fresh start elsewhere.

Now, when you think about it, it makes sense. After all, The Guard talks a lot about killing Nathan and Duke but we’ve never actually seen them spill blood. I guess that when push comes to shove, Jordan isn’t as heartless as she seems when she’s on about turning Nathan into Swiss cheese.

The episode ends with Jordan telling Wade that she’s leaving town. What she doesn’t tell him is how to end the Troubles. But Wade is willing to share how good absorbing Troubled blood feels which is something Duke mentioned back in episode three. So you can quickly see where this is going. Wade pulls out his trusty knife and slices Jordan across the leg to get some more blood. Not content with that, he knifes her in the chest and kills her for more blood. And so we now have our big bad for the season.

My biggest problem with this episode is that it relied on all of the usual Haven writing trick. Women on this show tend not to be long-lived and neither was Jordan. Sure, she lasted a season and a half but she’s not the only woman not played by Emily Rose to have a short stay on the show. Besides Jordan, Eleanor in Season 1, Evi in Season 2 and Claire in Season 3 all met an early end having lasted less than a season.

The other trick that they like is making new characters do a heel turn. Okay, it’s not as standard as having someone new come in to be the villain. However, it’s a trick that they pulled in Season 2 with Evi pulling a heel turn on Duke and with Tommy & Claire taking turns as the Skinwalker in Season 3. Using Wade as this season’s villain after a heel turn feels a bit played out. Maybe I’m just saying that because the season now seems to lack direction. What happens now? Audrey’s back, Jordan’s gone and everything as it was at the end of Season 2 except for Duke homicidal brother. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. Normally, that would be a good thing but I don’t mean this in an unpredictable sort of way.

Apart from reaching back into their old bag of tricks, I really liked this episode. Sure, Christian Camargo isn’t doing much for me apart from seeming kinda naturally creepy but that would be my biggest issue with the episode. Okay, that and my earlier mentioned issue with pulling the trigger on Nathan and Audrey. But as I’ve been saying for the last few weeks, if you give Jordan something to do, Kate Kelton makes it work. She did just a fantastic job of making you buy into Jordan’s ending redemption. It’s certainly better than watching her do the usual “Argh! I hate Nathan!” which got tired fast.

Long story short about this week’s episode, it was a fantastic self-contained adventure. I’m not sure how the rest of the season plays out which worries me. It’s place among Haven episodes will be largely determined by what happens in the next seven episodes. If we get bored to death over the stretch run, we probably won’t look back fondly on this episode. Basically, the season hinges on what happens with Wade and what happens to the Troubles. Okay, we know the Troubles won’t end… Unless the door comes back into play to undo any plans to end the Troubles.

Other random points of note:

  • With Dr. Lucassi going AWOL after snapping because of the fun with dealing with the Troubles  (and who wouldn’t), the town’s temporary new ME Gloria is going to be a welcome addition to the cast. Assuming that she sticks around for a while. Her brief first act appearance might have been the highlight of the episode. And there definitely were a few highlights this week.
  • This week, I learned something new. If you want to be on Haven, you should probably marry one of the show’s stars. Officer Rafferty, who has been making numerous appearances this season as the always around member of Haven PD who isn’t Stan, is played by Lucas Bryant’s wife. The more you know.
  • Well, I thought the whole love triangle thing was sorted with Jennifer on the show. Give her a week off and we threaten to push reset on the love triangle. Come on.

Next week, people’s nightmares come to life. In the preview, we saw Nathan’s nightmare of being naked in school… And then gets punished by hot school teacher Mrs. Audrey Parker. Well, that’s something for both men and women next week. People’s nightmares coming to life looks to be a perfect way to end Haven’s contribution to SyFy’s 31 Days of Halloween. You knew that I had to give that an ironic shout out somewhere in the review.

About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on October 21, 2013, in TV/Movie Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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