Haven: Chemistry Review
We’re reaching the end of the first half of the fifth season of Haven. Just when you thought that it looked like you had all the answers to where Haven was going to build to for the mid-season finale, the writers used Chemistry to change the questions. I’m all for unpredictability but, to borrow a wrestling analogy, for a show that allegedly has a plot outline written years in advance, Vince Russo thinks that the writing on this thing is being rushed.
Before getting into this review, I went back to look at last week’s review. We had a Trouble of the Week that was focused on Dr. Charlotte character development. Vince was trying to undermine Dr. Charlotte. Duke was off cavorting with Mara who looked to be making a face turn. Things were starting to be interesting in the build to the 2014 finale.
This week, we had no Troubles of the Week. Instead, the vast majority of the episode was dedicated to Dr. Charlotte.
Vince was still trying to figure out the real story of Dr. Charlotte Cross and dragging Audrey into the investigation. Trying to find out who Dr. Charlotte really is was beautifully juxtaposed with the blossoming romance between Charlotte and Dwight. I’m going to take a lot of shots at the writing this week but pairing Dwight falling in love with other central characters turning on Charlotte because they don’t trust her was a fantastic piece of storytelling. It’s not particularly original but it worked damn well this week.
Unfortunately, the payoff to the secret of Dr. Charlotte Cross made absolutely no sense. So it turns out that Charlotte is Audrey’s mother. Well, maybe she’s really Mara’s mother and Audrey is an incarnation thereof so Charlotte is also her mother.
There are three questions that have to be answered for me to accept this. First, if Audrey and past incarnations have no idea who they are apart from the identities forced upon them, how does Charlotte have the knowledge and memories of a CDC expert and still know about her true identity and the Troubles? (See, I told you that her knowing about the aether was suspicious.) Secondly, how didn’t Mara recognize her (assuming they saw each other at some point)? And finally, what difference does it make if Charlotte is Mara/Audrey’s mother, sister, childhood best friend or some other random person from the other side? It just seems like a swerve for the sake of shock value and even Vince Russo sees through that?
Long story short, I’m not sold on the twist to Dr. Charlotte’s story in the final 30 seconds of this episode. Throwing in a twist for the sake of one isn’t going to get me to tune in next week if this was the first time I’m watching Haven, something I suspect Syfy was hoping for with the Edge and Christian reunion. This cliffhanger just doesn’t have any real punch for me. It has to have weight. Riker unleashing a Borg-destroying weapon on Picard’s Cube? That had emotional weight. This sounded like an Empire Strikes Back parody.
The B-plot was about Duke and Mara again. As seems to be annoyingly frequent this season, the B-story isn’t insignificant to the overall story arc but the writers are trying their damnedest to not tie the two together. The closest we came was when Nathan and Duke were looking for the same Guard guy with the suffocation Trouble that we met a couple of weeks ago.
The Duke story this week was all about Duke not being able to have a successful relationship. He’s the third wheel in one relationship. His first proper girlfriend ups and dies because she’d rather spend her time in Australia than Nova Scotia. And his latest flame is a bit of a hit it and quit it girl.
And Mara pulled an elaborate heel turn on Duke… for reasons, I assume. She has the Guard dude steal the aether from the police station and then stages a kidnapping after manipulating Duke’s feelings for her to do something. It’s all a bit nonsensical, really.
Mara has the aether but she drives Duke emotionally over the edge so he can turn into a walking aether dispenser? Then why did she need Guard guy to steal the aether and why would he go through that whole production to work for her when the Guard has basically sworn to torture her to cure the Troubles?
I don’t mind evil Mara. I actually stated that evil Mara has been one of my favourite characters this season (with Gloria and Dwight occupying the top two spots). However, swerving Mara’s character alignment from Chaotic Evil to Chaotic Good and back again in the span of two weeks is just too much for me to handle.
Last season, it felt like they were trying to give us more stories, more plot development, more more each week. This season has been sort of the opposite. We’ve been getting less story, less character and plot development so that 13 episodes could be made up of some eight or nine episodes of actual content. Over these last few weeks, we’ve gone back to more. I just wish the writers could learn a bit about pacing out these episodes and seasons because the writing and pacing has killed the momentum that this show had built up after three or four seasons.
And the much ballyhooed Edge and Christian reunion wasn’t really much. Dwight was looking for dating advice from his bartender. His bartender that we’ve never met before and has never been mentioned before (Christian’s McHugh nor the other bar in town) despite both being members of The Guard but his bartender nonetheless. Nothing came of Christian’s cameo except to cross-promote with SmackDown. At the very least, the folks at Haven creative had more for Christian to do than WWE’s creative has.
This week’s episode just felt completely lost. Mara and Duke’s plot was shoved to the side despite the fact that the whole season has been built around Mara and should have been the focus of this episode. It probably felt worse than it did because of how little sense the whole B-plot made and that dragged the whole episode down. Then again, it probably wasn’t helped by the face that the Dr. Charlotte story was kept running around in circles until that final reveal that doesn’t make any sense when you think about it. Maybe the writers can do something with it. Yeah, I’m trying not to laugh either.
Other random points of note:
- I don’t know if this would be considered a spoiler or not but William Shatner has been signed to appear in four episodes in the 2015 half of the season. People are speculating a lot of things about his role. I’d mention what people are guessing but they also thought Dr. Charlotte was the new Agent Howard so no sense getting anyone’s hopes up.
- Speaking of future guest stars, Christian is supposed to be back for a couple of episodes in Season 5B. Hopefully, they give him something more to do than the WWE is.
Next week, it’s the duel of the fates, the battle of the heroes or maybe I should just call it the battle for the aether. Audrey and Mara get into a scrap to end the first half of Season Five to determine the fate of Haven. Well, that is until the Croatoan shows up which we seem to have forgotten about since the Brothers Teagues left North Carolina or wherever they were.