Haven/Season Five, Part One (2014)
It had to eventually happen. I was destined eventually to get back on this wobbly horse of a show to finish the frustrating ride. Along with kinda, sorta, wanting to know how the whole story, with its narrative ever-shifting into panic-ridden hysteria (‘we have to kill Mara to save the town!’, ‘no, wait, now we have to protect her to save the town!’, ‘Duke has gone bad!’, ‘Wait, Duke is good!’), along with its gag-inducing do-gooder characters, was gonna all finally play out, there was also my nagging obsessive-compulsive side that was not enjoying the fact that this uncompleted series was hanging over my head (as incentive, I’ve even told myself in finger-wagging fashion that, ‘Self, you’re not allowed to move onto the final season of Miami Vice, which we all know you’re really excited about getting to, unless you finish up with Haven first!’).
I would like to mention also that, if it was an option, I would for sure be logging an official complaint at the complete tomfoolery of referring to these last 26 episodes as a single season (what are we back in the 90’s with all those episodes!?). Considering that the first 13 episodes (exactly half, mind you), played from Sept 2014 – Dec 2014, and even concludes on a cliffhanger, with “town bad-boy” (more on that later) Duke (Eric Balfour) unexpectedly unleashing every single one of the deadly Troubles his family for decades has been absorbing within themselves as part of their curse directly onto the unsuspecting townsfolk… while the final 13 episodes started up a good nine months later, running from Oct 2015 to Dec 2015. How are these not considered two entirely different seasons (ie, Seasons 5 & 6)?!
Imagine my chagrin when I was thinking I’d finally reached the last season… only to discover that there were actually two seasons of episodes left, jammed into one… like two tons of shit squeezed into a one pound bag. Okay, I admit, I’m being a bit unfair with that analogy… I mean, yes, there has been the occasional brilliant episode in Seasons Past (exactly two, by my quick count, with each wrapped around a specific well-executed Trouble – namely, the cleverly-constructed time travel ep and the wonderfully “Buffy”-style tongue-in-cheek Christmas special done deliberately in July), and there has always been that promise, as unrealized as it all is, of both the setting (a Lovecraftian New England coastal town haunted by old mythologies) and the overall conceit of the show (the “X-Files”-reminiscent plot construct of solving near-weekly Monster-of-the-week Troubles against a backdrop of a larger, more mysterious and byzantine over-arching ‘black oil’-like narrative regarding the creation of the Troubles and the various inter-dimensional forces involved) but, come on, how much can a man tolerate of all this faux angst-ridden, adolescent emoting the show simply spills over with each week (and I’m talking with literal emo-core style music constantly reinforcing it up on the soundtrack)?
This season (or half-season, or whatever) it’s ex-WWE champ The Edge’s turn to go all goo-goo ga-ga, in his recurring role as Dwight, the now-Police Chief of the town as well as leader of the shady guard of troubled folks known as, fittingly enough, I guess, the Guard, with him falling immediately into head-over-heals undying desire and good ol’ gosh darn love for the latest new cast member to show up, Charlotte Cross (Laura Mennell, the most sickly skinny female arrival yet, with one of the other characters on the show even mentioning just how uncomfortably stick figure like she is, I guess as a way for the showrunners to have their cake and eat it too), that you just know is fated to go south by the end of the season, in this case with Cross’ claims of being there as a helpful CDC doctor ending up being – of course – false, with far more devious intentions in mind (with a number of our characters having immediately distrusted her, with love-stricken puppy dog Dwight going to her defense each time, leading to some more of the growing dissent amongst the group that is the ongoing theme of these 13 eps). Honestly.. I just wish that — either Dwight, or the forlorn romantic Nathan, or pretend tough-guy Duke — would just once, upon being questioned about their latest object of total devotion, say ‘Love? Hell, how would I know? We’ve barely met… but it sure is fun getting it on with her’… or, if maybe a less crude choice would be required, how about instead of immediately risking his life to save his newly beloved damsel-in-distress, stop and realize ‘Wait a minute… I barely know this girl… sorry, but… next!’ (c’mon, town bad boy Duke, you should be just the man to do it!).
Alas, don’t expect that kinda attitude (or level of reality) from the puritanical Hallmark Card perspective of this show (it’s a Canadian series after all… and an Anglo one at that… set in New England no less, where the Puritans first came upon us, spreading their complete lack of good cheer and any sense of fun).
These 13 eps have foregone a lot of the Monster-of-the-Week storylines of the previous seasons, going with a generally more time-intense “24”-style plotting, with the entries now pretty much sticking to the overarching storyline of solving multi-episode lingering Troubles, with the season jumping off-point being the mysterious return of our characters having been somehow magically transported out of the town lighthouse that imploded into the inter-dimensional black void at the end of the previous season, with our Officer Parker (Emily Rose) left now struggling for possession of her body with her evil incarnation Mara (also played by Rose, an actress not capable of doing much exciting with the dual role).
As in previous seasons, the head-scratching irresponsible character decisions still occur with frequency – such as doe-eyed police officer Nathan (Lucas Bryant) yet again protecting his great love (Parker) to the detriment of the safety of literally everyone else in the town (and I’m still not even sure why as the complete lack of sexual chemistry between Nathan and Parker hasn’t changed a bit… man, if what they have between them is love? I’d rather have hate.). And the switch of allegiance this season of poor Duke, feeling so isolated and alone he decides to join with the evil Mara, is entirely contrived.
While none of the eps approach anywhere near the brilliance of those two aforementioned outlayer episodes of the previous seasons, there was a multi-parter that had some really amusing repartee between two victims of a body-swapping Trouble, namely the town’s long-time aging local newspaper editors, Dave (the late John Dunsworth, with his greatest claim to fame his laugh-out-loud hilarious portrayal of alcoholic trailer park supervisor Jim Lahey on Trailer Park Boys and Vince (Richard Donat) Teagues — who we once thought were brothers, as they certainly share the same bumbling quality, but later events have revealed one of them, Dave, likely born in some other dimension and transported here – as they slowly uncover little things the other has been hiding from his very own ‘dear brother’.
Eh. Even with that, I’m half-interested at this point. And, to think, I used to vaguely announce this one as a guilty pleasure (though I’m not sure I ever quite committed to that idea, as I was never really sure if the things I disliked about the show ever really balanced out against the potential I saw stewing within it). Well, for what it’s worth, that consideration is long gone. While I still appreciate the occasional wet and grizzly murder they spice the proceedings up with every now and then, it’s nowhere near enough. At this point, I can’t wait to get this over with so I can move on to that last season of Miami Vice.