Haven: The Old Switcheroo Part 2 Review

haven-bannerI’m starting to wonder how hard it is to write episodes in pairs. The first six episodes of this season of Haven have been presented in two-episode pairs and each pairing has had one episode that was quite clearly better than the other. The Old Switcheroo Part One was funny but it also explored the relationships between the characters from a different perspective.

This week, whether the novelty was gone after one week or the writers were done with the novelty, ended up being much more straight forward. It was all about Troubles and Mara.

While there wasn’t as much focus on the acting work as other characters, it was still fun watching Lucas Bryant and Eric Balfour do their best impressions of each other. They spend enough time with each other that they could probably do their impressions of each other in their sleep but the actors and writers were probably dying for a chance to let them loose and have a little fun with it. They didn’t get as much of a chance to show it off this week as last week but it was fun to watch Lucas Bryant do his best Eric Balfour. It was frighteningly good.

The reason they didn’t get a chance was because the pair were trying to fool Mara into thinking they were still them in order to buy time to get Audrey out of Mara. It works until they try executing the plan of unleashing one of Duke’s Troubles that is supposed to bring someone’s past incarnations to the surface which is awful convenient when you haven’t established that the whole town is Buddhist prior to this episode. Anyway, it backfires and the episode continues for another half-hour.

Sadly, Vince and Dave don’t get any credit in this episode. All the real interesting plot points are with those two. They start getting to the bottom of the Trouble of the Week. While they don’t tie it to the Troubled person first, they are able to figure out the family history of Troubles, they figure out a way to fix the Trouble, they even found an open Thinny and they even tied Roanoke to Haven through Agent Howard. There was a lot of movement on the progress of the lore of Haven made in this episode.

But the episode was really about undoing all the switcheroos encountered, not just in Part 1 but in the whole season. When we got to the payoff of the episode in the final scene, the title made the most sense. We had all the switcheroos during Part 1 and Part 2 but it was the last switcheroo that the whole season has been building to.

And even though we have Audrey back, we didn’t get that far too quick blow-off of the season’s main storyline to change focus midseason as we did last season. Season Four was also a bring Audrey back story but it also did the Duke’s brother is a serial killer story in an episode-and-a-half. This time, the first six episodes of the season aren’t being used to blow through a story seemingly overnight. The story changes (after getting a bit stale) but the progress from the first half of the season isn’t thrown away either.

If there was a big problem with the episode, it was the supposed tension and drama sprinkled through the episode. While the idea that if one half of a switched pair dies, they both die is a good dramatic device, the problem is that it doesn’t work on the main characters of a show. Haven is built around five characters, Audrey, Nathan, Duke and the Brothers Teagues. If one of those characters were to be killed off, it would have a massive impact on the show.

In this episode, the dramatic hook of not one but two character dying made it impossible to believe that two main characters would die. Duke exploding from the inside is believable enough but taking Nathan with him seems so completely unlikely that I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to entertain the possibility.

That being said, the possibility of offing both Dwight and Gloria was the only one that had even a little bit of drama to it. As much as I like the both of them, they’re relatively minor characters so it wasn’t outside the realm of the possibility that both could get killed off. After all, Haven has a nasty habit of killing off minor characters. If there was a new character for Season Five (or even Jennifer) and he or she was swapped with a major character, Haven’s history would have ratcheted up the tension to a point where you wouldn’t take everyone’s safety for granted. It was the pairings that made you take everyone’s safety as a certainty and killed the tension for me this week.

I guess if I’m giving out about this episode, the hug it out solution to the Trouble of the Week was a bit easy considering that the secret that switched the brothers was about one of them being in love with the other’s wife and the swapped out husband being locked in Haven’s mental institution. That’s not exactly an issue that a hug will fix instantly. I can understand wanting to keep it simple to keep the focus on the finish but it felt like there was no effort in solving the Trouble.

Overall, I didn’t think that this episode was bad but I thought it was a step down from last week’s episode. It’s all well and good to be super serial every now and then but this show is about hereditary supernatural powers brought on my emotional distress. Last week’s episode didn’t take itself too seriously and it was great as a result.

Still, it got through the important matters of the season (Audrey and Mara) far better than I was expecting. Rather than getting Audrey back and that’s it, we’ve got Emily Rose working double. The poor girl better be getting paid double because she’s going to be in more scenes now that she’s two people rather than one with two personalities. Hopefully we get Audrey back to normal instead of the very one-note being smothered and weepy Audrey that we’ve gotten for the last couple of episodes.

Other random points of note:

  • Hey, we’re going to kill off a character you’ve never heard of off-screen and expect you to care… Can you go along with that? No! How am I supposed to care about Dwight’s dead sister if I didn’t know he had a sister in the first place? Lazy, lazy writing.
  • A funny bit of writing was Duke’s kinky roleplay with Officer Rafferty which was only revealed when he was in Nathan’s body. That was some meta-Inception stuff there because Kirsty Hinchcliffe, who plays Rafferty, is married to Lucas Bryant, who plays Nathan, but while the actors are married and their characters talking to each other, it wasn’t their characters who were sleeping together. Did I just blow your mind?
  • Why is Audrey able to come to the surface but not Lucy or Sarah? Actually, if Duke’s Trouble could have released any past incarnation of a person, how did he know that it would be Audrey that came out?

Next week, Audrey and Nathan might be back together but that doesn’t mean that they will stay together. That would be just a bit too easy. Haven now has to deal with two MAudreys running around town. The Scooby gang have Mara tied up while Audrey is out being Audrey. Well, that is until evil intervenes.

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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, 2014, in TV/Movie Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The Troubles have always been the weakest part of the show. One may require a simple hug it out solution while others are so uncontrollable they necessitate the killing of the Troubled person. The reincarnation thing didn’t even make sense, and the Dwight thing was annoying. The writing has been the worst this season.
    Agree about the double episodes, they don’t seem to have enough content to fill 26 episodes so are just stretching things and it’s not really working that well.


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