Genre: Sci-Fi | Action | Drama
Creators: Sam Ernst & Jim Dunn
Air Date/Time: September 11, 2014, 8/7c
Season 5 picks up immediately after the whirlwind events of the Season 4 cliffhanger, in which Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant), Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour) and Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) finally succeeded in banishing the destrutive Troublemaker William (Colin Ferguson) from their lives.
In the premiere episode, titled “See No Evil,” they learn that the victory is fleeting. Duke is now a ticking time bomb, at death’s door and fighting to contain all the Troubles within him, while Nathan faces his greatest fear: that Audrey — the woman he’s fought so desperately to save – may be gone forever. Making matters worse, Haven is hit by a strange new Trouble that’s supernaturally silencing town denizens.
Oh Haven, how I love to have you in my eyes again.
There is something so special about this show, something I’ve attempted to cogently identify for four seasons now. I think that, with the fifth season, I can say that it’s the whole package; that without most of the key elements in place, it wouldn’t be special. And it is so special.
Those key elements are the beautiful small town eastern seaboard setting, the main cast, their chemistry, a writers’ room that knows how to write for them, and the basic, Stephen King creepy premise. This show, as you know if you’ve read my earlier Haven reviews, is on my very short, current-show “A” list. Other shows on the list include American Horror Story, The Strain, Da Vinci’s Demons, The Walking Dead, and Sleepy Hollow. Although all of them share excellent writing and nearly tangible cast chemistry, only Sleepy Hollow has a similar insulated, atmospheric feel that lends a very different quality to these shows than we get from those other, very intense series. It isn’t a “family show,” per se, but the characters feel like family.
Well, except for one, in this new season. Yes, unfortunately, Audrey Parker has been subsumed by the very evil, original owner of that look, Mara. Emily Rose is clearly having a good time playing her, as she seems to have had a good time playing all of the various incarnations in the last couple of seasons, and she’s a treat to watch.
What I’m especially pleased about, however, is the way that Nathan’s character is played by Lucas Bryant. Poor Nathan hasn’t caught much of a break over the past season or two, and it can’t be good news to see the love of your life possessed by someone who is basically evil incarnate. But rather than being mopey or puppy-eyed in this season opener, he is strong. He believes that his Audrey is still in there, somewhere, and he will not be deterred. Thank you, thank you, Lucas (I’ve met him, so I get to call him that), writers, directors, and anyone else who had a hand in making this decision. Haven has never been whiny; Havenites are people of action. YAY.
As in seasons two through four, the fifth starts out with something/someone relatively new, namely Mara, as I mentioned, and all the consequences of having her in Haven and having Audrey Parker, for all intents and purposes, not in Haven. Duke (Eric Balfour), dying in the Season 4 finale, has other things to deal with besides his various somewhat shady dealings, and is focused and driven, while the newspaper publishing brothers (Richard Donat, John Dunsworth) have some mysteries to solve, and sheriff (and literal bullet magnet) Dwight (Adam Copeland, finally allowed to lose his “Edge” wrestling name) does his best to manage the cover stories for all the unusual goings-on in the town.
But there is something else very new going on in the new season. Remember that Season 5 is a double season, with 26 episodes instead of the usual 13. Rather than treating it like an opportunity to tell twice the number of stories, however, the brilliant people behind Haven have decided to treat it as an opportunity to take twice as long to tell each story.
Like many serialized shows, in previous seasons Haven has featured a “Monster of the Week” story every week along with developing a longer, often season-long (or longer) story arc. With twice the amount of time to work with, in Season 5 that “Monster of the Week” story becomes a “Monster of the Every Two Weeks” story.
That means more development, more twists and turns, a deeper and richer look into every aspect of the story, and, for better or worse, depending on your appreciation of such things… more delayed resolution. That’s right, kids; cliffhangers. Every alternate week. So strap yourself in when you watch this absolutely terrific series. Because with roughly half the episodes, you’re going to be yelling “NOOO! YOU CAN’T END IT THERE!” at the end of the hour. You have been warned.
This is as good a reason as any, if you needed one, to start watching my beloved Haven every week, if you haven’t been watching already. You’ll catch up soon enough, and if you’re smart, you’ll also be catching up on previous seasons as soon as possible. Just do it. And keep doing it. With any luck you’ll soon be seeing what I’ve been seeing for the past four seasons. A dark, fun, twisty, weird, magnetic, quietly charismatic cast, town, and series.
And veteran Haven lovers, hopefully you’ll be getting that “happy to be back in Haven” feeling that I get, every time I watch this season premiere. It’s a setup episode, understandably, because it’s a sorta “part one,” which makes it hard to rate. Because I love this series so much, and I know the heights it can reach, I have to give it room to develop, so…
I give Haven, Season 5 Episode 1, “See No Evil,” Four Out of Five Stars.