Haven: Welcome to Haven Review
Well, I promised that I would go back and review old episodes of Haven and here we are. I figured that there was no better place to start going through 39 episodes of Haven that I haven’t reviewed than where it all started. At least until I review The Colorado Kid. Then you almost wonder how we get from there to here.
The episode starts at the townhouse of FBI Special Agent Audrey Parker who is awoken by a surprise visit from her boss Agent Howard. The scene establishes Audrey as an outside-of-the-box thinker which might be to her detriment at the bureau. Little do we know that this will come in handy before the first quarter-hour is over.
She’s tasked with tracking down escaped federal convict Jonas Lester who we immediately meet after a cut away. He’s chasing someone through a forest before he gets blown off a cliff and to his death. We see the man (but not his face) looking down the cliff before running away before we hit the title card.
Back to Audrey who is driving into Haven, Maine, Lester’s hometown and where the FBI think he’s headed. This leads to the only real scene that seems completely out of place for Audrey when the road spontaneously gets a foot-wide crack in front of her car and she nearly goes off a cliff to avoid it. The uncontrolled panic seems completely unusual for her usually calm and controlled federal agent demeanor that we get four years of. Early days for the character then.
When local detective Nathan Wournos shows up to help Audrey from her car, we get some early hints at their relationship and the playful, quick banter that will become a staple of the show. After a not at all tense showdown with guns and badges, the two are off to investigate what happened to Lester and come to catch up on exactly what we know… Well, except for the supernatural blowing off cliffs.
They follow-up on the only lead they have by tracking down Conrad Brauer who doesn’t seem to be particularly comfortable with Audrey’s questions or willingness to get into his personal space. Then, a thick, blinding fog suddenly rolls in which causes the pair to walk into the road and causes Nathan to nearly get hit by a transport conveniently speeding through the centre of a small fishing village. We find out from that incident that Nathan has idiopathic neuropathy. Technically speaking, that’s nerve damage that seemingly has no cause and, in Nathan’s case, prevents sensory nerve signals from reaching his brain.
Their next lead is Duke Crocker… Never heard of him before. Anyway, he’s not at his boat until right when a freak lightning storm propels Audrey off the pier where Duke’s boat is moored and requires some during the commercial break rescuing by Duke. When Audrey comes to (without clothes), she’s on Duke’s boat and meets the man himself. As always, Duke comes off as a pleasant man but you just aren’t sure if you can completely trust him. Some things don’t always change.
Nathan wants to investigate Duke further while Audrey thinks the evidence still points to Brauer. When she goes to confront him, he blows her back about into her car with a gust of wind and then confesses to killing Lester. But that’s not where the story ends. Local newspaper writers Vince and Dave Teagues go through the archives with Audrey and find that strange weather follows Brauer’s friend Marion Caldwell. And Nathan’s lead implicates Marion’s boyfriend in a scheme with Lester to steal her money.
When Audrey tells Marion about her suspicions, she storms off (literally) to confront her boyfriend. After Nathan arrests him, Audrey talks down Marion from being Storm to being just Marion. It’s the first time that we’ll see an episode end like this but certainly not the last.
After re-watching the show’s pilot, I can understand how it didn’t come storming out of the gate with a lot of buzz. Welcome to Haven is a nice self-contained episode. It doesn’t really blow anyone out of the water with epic writing nor does it provide much of a hook to come back for the next episode. If memory serves, next week does a better job to explain that Haven isn’t just a normal fishing village with the occasional freak weather storm. The writers just have to take us there.
Other random points of note:
- It’s interesting to hear the end credits music being used as a sort of musical crush during this episode. A trademark of many TV pilots is a very small music budget so the end credits music is leaned on hard here. For reference, go back and watch ST:TNG’s premiere and listed to how heavily they lean on the theme song in its proper form and as a leitmotif.
- Re-watching the pilot does make me wonder if the producers had dreams of marketing Emily Rose as a sort of geek sex symbol. They didn’t make her too overtly sexual but the show opens with her in a low-cut tank top (with perfect hair and makeup). You also had the scene on Duke’s boat where she’s only wearing a men’s dress shirt and getting dressed on camera in nothing but a bra. As far as I can recall, any plans to sexualize Audrey didn’t last long but I forgot that they went in this direction at first.
- If you didn’t know that Marion Caldwell was Nicole de Boer, you’d never know that Ezri Dax ten years earlier.
- Speaking of low-budget, the post-production re-voicing of lines was done in a not totally soundproof booth. There’s a noticeable hint of reverb to ADR lines. Yeah, this is me getting hyper-technical.
Next week, no one ever suspects the butterfly. Well, Audrey Parker does when the butterfly seems to be the harbinger of disaster in Haven. It sounds like just another week in the life of small town Maine.