Haven Season 4 Chat: It’s Report Card Time

Haven Season 4 Episode 7 Lay Me Down (5)

In honor of Nathan’s school-themed, x-rated dream sequence in “Lay Me Down” that revealed he may have read 50 Shades of Grey, I decided it was time to give Haven a good old fashioned report card for what has been the most eventful, serialized season to date. (Sadly, spanking Nathan is off the table in my PG-rated scenario, I’ll save that for my future best-selling, totally not Haven fan fic Hot and Troubled.) Of course, serialization doesn’t automatically equal quality. Let’s take a closer look at season four and see if it’s really making the grade.

Romantic Relationships
 

Haven Season 4 Episode 8 Crush (4)

Grade: A-

In the past, the most frustrating aspect of Haven has been the central Nathan/Audrey/Duke triangle with all of its extraneous parts. Audrey/Duke, Audrey/Nathan, Nathan/Duke, Nathan/Rando Girl of the Season, Duke/Rando Girl of the Season, Audrey/Freaking 90210 Guy…it never seemed to end. The question wasn’t will they or won’t they, it was will the writers ever make it stop. This season they did.

They’ve petty firmly settled on Audrey/Nathan at this point, and the duo has had a series of moments that were heartbreaking (the capper to “Crash” took my breath away), candid (Audrey confronting Nathan about Sarah), sweet (Audrey as “Lexie” teasing Nathan about them knocking boots) and bittersweet (I am still not over their initial reunion). Meanwhile, Duke and Audrey’s one-on-one moments have been limited, but they’ve subtly reinforced the complicated relationship they share while not bogging us down in the back and forth storytelling we’ve been subjected to in the past. They’re still on the table as a potential future couple, but for the moment their unresolved sexual tension has been backburnered for the sake of a streamlined approach to romantic storytelling.

Even better it’s paved the way for Jennifer and Duke to happen. Is it a case of Pair the Spares? Maybe, but they go above and beyond the call of cuteness. In fact, I’m enjoying them even more than the star-crossed duo of Nathan/Audrey.

However, a couple of points are being deducted for the sudden introduction of William as real!Audrey’s beau of choice and the possibility that Jennifer will fall victim to the Haven curse where perfectly lovely female characters who are new to town turn evil, die and/or disappear without a trace by the season’s end leading us right back to the Duke/Audrey/Nathan merry go round.

The Character Work
 

Haven Season 4 Episode 5 The New Girl (1)

Grade: A

I am digging the character work this season. I would gladly hand out the “A” for Duke and Nathan’s renewed friendship alone, but the series gets bonus points for the introduction of Jennifer, the balancing act Audrey is pulling off between her two personas, the strategic use of Dwight and the overall strength of the history between our main trio.

This has truly been the Year of Duke though and he gets the bulk of the credit here for accepting his role as a rogue with a heart of gold. The interactions between Duke and Wade were wonderfully done, even though Wade’s turn to evil felt forced. The pay-off to the storyline was rich and gave Eric Balfour a chance to dig into some meaty material.

Even Jordan’s characterization was pulled out of the nosedive it had been in all season…right before she was murdered, but still. Then we have Vince and Dave getting creepier by the day, while still being strangely lovable at the same time. It’s a hat trick, but Haven is doing a commendable job of giving everyone a meaningful role to play this season, while digging into their own inner fears, hopes and demons as well.

The Troubles of the Week
 

Haven Season 4 Episode 7 Lay Me Down (4)

Grade: C+

Eh. The Troubles aren’t impressing me this season. Flying alien goop that turns the group against one another? Troubled divers? Rigamortis via countdown clock? I’m not feeling this season’s troubles of the week. A couple have been genuinely creepy (the blood that moved around on its own volition and the Douens from “Lost & Found” were the best of the bunch). Mostly it seems the more talk there is about stopping The Troubles the less interesting and more preposterous they become.

The Mythology
 

Haven Season 4 Episode 2 Survivors (1)

Grade: B-

On the one hand, we’ve gotten a ton of mythology dropped in our laps. We got to go inside the barn, it seems Audrey is most likely extraterrestrial in origin (or from the future– she’s superior, okay), Vince and Dave broke out a doomsday book, Jennifer is connected to the town via Agent Howard and the Crocker curse is off the table. In other words, a lot is happening.

However, some of it is underwhelming. Namely, Audrey’s origin story. As is the case with most sci-fi/fantasy reveals, her backstory is proving to be more meh than mind blowing. This whole William and his henchmen thing is bizarre to say the least. Was Agent Howard an intergalactic Man in Black? Are they doomed because Audrey didn’t kill William before she figured out he was her original version’s true love? Is she going to be evil now? So many questions that I don’t actually want answers too.

Still, I’m sticking with the writers for the moment, so I’m giving them a B- until I see how this story plays out.

Dexter Homages
 

Haven Season 4 Episode 3 Bad Blood (5)

Grade: A+

When I heard Christian Camargo (AKA Brian Moser, Dexter Morgan’s brother on Showtime’s Dexter) was coming on board as Duke’s brother Wade this season, I had no idea he would end up becoming a serial killer who wrapped his victims in plastic and dumped them into the ocean. The whole scenario was such an obvious homage right down to Camargo being offed by his on-screen brother. It’s the small things in life that make me happy.

 

Overall, I would give season four a solid B+ so far. The mythology has gone wonky, but I’m in it for the characters. Therefore my forgiveness threshold for lunacy is fairly high. What grade would you give season four so far?

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