Haven: Nowhere Man Review
As we cross the halfway point of the first half of the fifth season, I think it’s safe to come to the conclusion that the writers took the 26-episode season order a bit too literally. The season increasingly feels like everyone is taking scripts that weren’t trimmed down to 42 minutes and padded them out to fit two hours of TV time.
This week was our first episode with Audrey back but it might have been to the episode’s detriment with the focus on Naudrey. Is it just me or is that the anchor that might drag this show down before hot shotting the timeslots?
This episode… This episode… I don’t know what to say. I’m just a bit disappointed. This used to be a supernatural mystery show and it was fun. Now, it’s spent the last two seasons as a generic romance show where the supernatural and mystery elements are a backdrop to the love story.
After the last episode, we finally got Audrey back and we got the payoff from six episodes of Nathan moping and pining over Audrey. Unfortunately, that payoff lasted through the first 15 or 20 minutes before Nathan gets “killed” by an atomic incineration Trouble. And I put that in quotes because everyone thinks he’s dead for three-quarters of the episode.
For the last two seasons, we’ve really been in a holding pattern where Nathan and Audrey tell each other how they feel but are constantly pulled apart by something. We’ve had the Bar/n, Lexi, William, Mara and now the incineration Trouble. It would have been nice to let Audrey get reestablished as a person in Haven for an episode (or two, given how stories are being played out this season) before breaking them up.
Instead, we’re put back into that same rut that we have been for a year-and-a-half. It’s right back to will Audrey and Nathan be together. What happened to stopping the Troubles or helping people? We seem to be stuck in this constant cycle of them getting a moment of happiness and then pulling them back apart. There’s a lot of build but never a payoff. After three seasons of solving interesting mysteries and Troubles, the writers seem to have forgotten that’s part of their show and are putting together a generic dramatic romance. Getting away from that helps the episodes. But is this a Syfy thing? That’s the only plausible explanation I’m coming to.
And the non-Audrey Audrey is killing me too. Audrey seemed so helpless as a part of Mara and she’s really not herself as Audrey. The personality merger and split didn’t really work evenly. Mara is immune to the Troubles despite not being last week while Audrey isn’t immune for some reason. She’s also doing haphazard detective work which you could chalk up to being distracted by Nathan dying but that might just be me giving the writers credit. The way Audrey and Nathan have been written so far, I’m not sure they deserve it.
The one good dynamic in this episode that worked was Mara, Duke and Ghost Nathan. Duke threatening to go to a dark place to force Mara’s secrets out of her and Mara goading him into doing it was the closest thing to character development we’ve gotten out of Duke this year. Getting over Jen in a 45-second montage and about to explode from Troubles in him does not count as development. Seeing that he’ll go to a very dark and sadistic place that we haven’t seen from him in order to help protect his friends is character development. And Mara laughing at and tormenting people brings me joy. It looks like it brought Emily Rose joy to act it too.
One thing that really, really bugged me about this episode was how it seemed as though the special effects and extras spending meant that most of the cast were cut from this week’s episode. With a bunch of extras at the farmers market and all the Nathan walking through people and objects moments (which did include an awesome “whoosh” sound effect), everyone was conspicuous by their absence. Dwight was mentioned as being out of town which allows The Guard to do their villainous act but could they at least explain why he’s out of town. And then you have Gloria and the Brothers Teagues taking time off. Did they spend this week hanging out on a Nova Scotian beach and missed the call to set?
And that leads to another flawed plot point from this episode. If the Crocker family journal includes all of the curses that the Crocker family has ended over the course of their family’s history, why would it include the atomic incineration Trouble? Clearly a Crocker has never killed anyone with that Trouble because it wouldn’t be happening to random people if Duke was doing it. Troubles tend to have some rhyme and reason to who they affect. It was logical that Duke had nothing to do with it. Here’s where you bring the Teagues in because they’ll likely have this Trouble documented in the Herald’s archives.
I usually wrap up the episode with a summary of my thought but I’m just not into this week’s episode. This episode could be a creative low point. Nathan’s ending was okay (if I don’t put any deep thought into it) but it felt like a little bit of pacing could have resolved this whole Trouble in one episode. Alternatively, they could have made Nathan disappear and freshen up the Audrey and Nathan not being together story by making Nathan the one locked away from Audrey and her thinking he’s gone with him dropping hints from the afterlife until she brings him back. That actually sounds alright. Is it too late to hire me to help write Season 5B?
Other random points of note:
- Nathan’s shadow looked kind of like how he was posed when the flash went off but that scary dude that looks like (as Jay Hunter of OSW Review would put it) “Quarter Past Ten” Mike Knox wasn’t posed the same way. Someone screwed up and it’s definitely not the props department because they would have had the cellar door finished long before that scene was shot.
- Can you tell that I’m just a bit frustrated with how this season’s going? Same general plot points with a different Trouble wrapped up in it. I think I could have run an old review here and no one would have noticed.
Next week, the Darkside Seekers are back. I didn’t think that I’d want the ghost hunters back but we need something to inject a spark into this season. I’ve read that we’re going to get some more Dwight-centric stories but if he’s out of town, we’ll need something in the interim. Unfortunately, the one I’m really looking to isn’t until the end of November. Anyway, they’ve been called in to help find Nathan since he’s a ghost now… Well, a troubled ghost but these guys have experience in that too.
On the plus side, these pairs of episodes have had one good episode and one bad episode. Since I thought that this week’s episode was poor, that means that we’ll have a barnburner next week. Good news! We have something to look forward to.