‘Haven’ Series Finale Recap: “Do You Like Pancakes?”

After six seasons on the air (don’t buy into the network’s games labeling this last run of episodes as “Season 5 Part 2”), Syfy’s supernatural mystery ‘Haven’ finally drew to a close last week. Sadly, the show ran out of steam a couple years ago and sticking with it to the bitter end has been something of a slog.

‘Haven’ used to be really fun and creative in its early seasons, especially when the show still bothered pretending that it was based on a Stephen King story and put a lot of effort into working in King references on a regular basis. Unfortunately, all that got dropped quite a while back. In recent times, especially throughout this final season, most episodes have consisted of countless static scenes of characters standing around spouting out exposition about the increasingly nonsensical mythology involving “aether” and The Void and an unseen master villain named Croatoan who, it turns out, is lead heroine Audrey Parker’s father. More accurately, he’s the father of evil extra-dimensional being Mara, onto whose body the Audrey personality was imprinted until Mara’s mother killed her and made Audrey real.

Yeah, like I said, the show’s plot turned into pretty much nonsense after a while.

Things picked up marginally a couple weeks ago with the on-screen reveal of Croatoan as William Shatner, of all people. This is a truly bizarre bit of stunt-casting. Croatoan had been built up as a great Lovecraftian elder god of evil, and when we finally see him, he’s Denny Crane. (Sure, I could reference Captain Kirk here, but that’s not the direction Shatner takes his performance.) He’s a lot of bluster in a lovable curmudeony kind of way, and never seems the slightest bit threatening.

In the two-part finale, Croatoan turns Duke Crocker evil and sends him around town murdering people to collect their Troubles. If you thought Eric Balfour was a bad actor before (and make no mistake, he certainly is), holy shitballs is he terrible when he tries to go dark. Watching his scenes, I felt embarrassed for the rest of the cast having to share the screen with him.

Meanwhile, Audrey, Nathan, Dwight and their various friends plot to build a new Barn to imprison Croatoan. Unfortunately, Duke destroys the aether core gizmo necessary to create the Barn. All hope seems lost. Eventually, however, Audrey gets through to the real Duke and helps him break free of Croatoan’s control. At that point, all is forgiven and they decide to brush off the fact that he murdered a whole bunch of people, including some of their friends. When Croatoan realizes that he’s lost Duke, he starts sucking the Troubles out of him. As little black blobs of goo fly out of his body through the air, Duke begs Nathan to kill him, which will stop Croatoan from getting any more Troubles. Nathan suffocates his friend to death, and he and Audrey have a good cry over that.

Croatoan later meets with Nathan and offers him a deal. He insists that he’s in town to help people and give them what they want, not hurt them. He says he can teleport Nathan out of town along with an exact copy of Audrey, and he’ll wipe his memories so that he can’t tell the difference between the copy and the original. Nathan can live a happy, fulfilling life with the woman he loves. All he has to do is leave the original Audrey to complete her destiny with her father. Nathan of course refuses, but Croatoan zaps him out of town anyway and tells Audrey that he took the deal.

In the second half of the finale, Nathan and Fake Audrey find themselves in a restaurant unsure of where they are or where they came from. They seem happy together, but Nathan has a nagging feeling that something isn’t right.

Dwight tells Audrey that he believes they can build a new Barn after all using a magic crystal thingamajig. They lure Croatoan to the town’s old armory building and – Presto! Chango! – the Barn is up. Croatoan’s powers don’t work inside it. They got him! Except that… uh oh… Croatoan informs them that the Barn only works if the prisoner surrenders voluntarily, which he didn’t. That’s a pretty stupid rule, if you ask me. Nevertheless, boom, the Barn is gone again. Croatoan forms a giant black cloud that rains aether down onto the town.

To stop him, Audrey agrees to go with Croatoan. She tells him to put all the Troubles and aether into her, and she’ll control them as he wants. When Dwight protests, Croatoan transports him to the shore on the edge of town, where he finds Duke, who’s somehow alive again. Or maybe he’s a ghost. Either way, shit, I thought we were done with him.

Nathan is drawn back to Haven. As they get to the town line, Fake Audrey realizes that she’s fake and sacrifices herself to help Nathan cross the threshold. As soon as he does, all of Nathan’s memories come back, which provides a very convenient excuse to work in a highlight reel montage of clips pertaining to his great love affair with Audrey.

Dwight finds Nathan. Together, they go back to the armory to talk Audrey out of her plan. Croatoan is displeased by the interruption and chucks a spear made out of aether at Nathan, which possibly kills him. Audrey has a big fight with her father. He freezes her in place and then heals Nathan. From seemingly out of nowhere, he says that he gives up. He’ll leave town and go into the Barn if that’s what Audrey really wants. Well, that’s convenient.

There’s just one problem. The Barn requires a “catalyst” of love to power it, and Audrey is that catalyst. She has to go into the Barn with her father and leave Haven behind. Doing so will save the town and end the Troubles forever, but she’ll never see Nathan again.

(No, none of this makes a damn bit of sense.)

Nathan and Audrey have a heart-to-heart and he agrees to let her go. As she leaves with her father, all the Troubles are sucked out of everyone in town and the fog barrier encircling Haven lifts. Even former residents who left town – including a cameo by Jason Priestley without a single line of dialogue – are freed of their burdens. The armory building vanishes in a giant blast of light.

Epilogue

Some undisclosed amount of time later, the town of Haven has returned to a semblance of normalcy. As Nathan tells Dwight, the worst troubles they have now are “cats in trees.”

As Nathan is driving through town, he spots a car broken down on the side of the road. Inside is Audrey! But she’s a brunette now. She says her name is Paige. She has a baby in the back seat. She has no idea of their history together. Nathan pretends to try to fix her car but doesn’t actually do anything. To thank him for his effort, Audrey/Paige asks if she can buy him breakfast.

Off in the Barn, Croatoan is chilling with newspaper reporter Vince, who got turned into a magic hologram a few episodes back for reasons too dumb to explain. They sent Audrey back to town with a new life, knowing that she and Nathan would fall in love again.

The end.

Episode Verdict

First off, let me say that I actually do appreciate that the show has a real ending (not a lame cliffhanger) and attempts to offer genuine closure for the characters. That’s nice. I’m glad to see that. I wish it were better, but I feel like I can close the book on this story now.

That said… oy. The finale isn’t very good. It’s just as dull and slackly paced as the rest of the season has been. The fact that the conflict is resolved because Croatoan just gives up without much motivation for doing so is really lame. (Yeah yeah, he’s a father who loves his daughter and wants to see her happy… but why are we forgetting that he’s also supposed to be super evil?)

The epilogue makes my brain hurt. If it’s OK for Audrey to leave the Barn now, was she not needed to power it after all? What was the point of her sacrifice? And if her father wants her to be happy with the man she loves, why make her go back in a new identity without any of her memories? The show made a big stink this season about the “imprint” Audrey becoming a real person, but now she’s just another imprint again, and Nathan is fine with that? One is as good as another to him? Maybe he should have just stayed with Fake Audrey in the restaurant.

Not to mention that this “Paige” identity has a baby. Who’s that child’s father? Is she married? If so, should she be flirting with a cop she just met? This baby situation needlessly complicates the plan to make Audrey and Nathan fall in love again. What’s the point of it?

Honestly, this isn’t worth getting worked up over. The show should have ended a couple seasons ago. At this point, it just needs to be over, and now it is, so we can all move on.

28 comments

  1. Bryan

    Like you, I stuck with this show until the end. I’ll definitely agree that it started going completely off the rails a couple of seasons ago and was more-or-less nonsense by the end. (I actually was embarrassed for the actors every time they had to utter the phrase “mind palace” this season). As for your comments about Audrey needing to stay in the barn, I think she was just needed to start the process (again, as you said – a catalyst) Once it was up and running, it still needed Croatoan to power it, but she was able to leave. At least that makes a little sense to me …

    It was nice to see them all get some sense of closure though – especially Nathan and Audrey (a.k.a. “Paige”) I wouldn’t have minded seeing another scene or two with Nathan’s father at some point, but I guess they wrapped up all of their issues in that episode that took place back in the 70’s or 80’s … and Dwight even got to keep his real/fake daughter.

  2. vicki

    i think you do not know what you’re talking about, quite frankly! Haven was a very good show and Eric Balfour is an extremely talented actor……you need to get a day job and stop your stupid reviews……have a nice day!

  3. michelle

    ok ill admit at times in the last season things went to show. yet you the author are wrong eric balfour is not a terrible actor. he is a wonderful actor. he made his part very believable

  4. Troublemaker

    I don’t care for Balfour’s “acting” either. But, I thought everything ended kind of as it should have. We definetly could have used more of the “why’s” answered, but you get what you get. As far as Paige is concerned, the writers have explained one of the rules of the Barn is that she must get a new personality each time. Audrey, who thought she’d never see Nathan again, would have jumped at the chance, knowing all overlays end up being drawn to him. They all knew she’d fall in love again. Nathan also knew he’d get HIS Audrey back, because he always did.

    SIde note from writers and showrunners: Brian Miilikin said that if they were to have continued, it would have picked up with Paige beginning to remember. With all the eveidence to show her of her former life (pics on Nathan’s desk and at his home, case file with pics and info on other personas, everyone in town knowing her, etc.) it wouldn’t take much to convince her. Also, Matt McGuiness said that the baby was their James, their son, so a DNA test would prove that.

    Audrey is now the base, core or “candy” as Mara had called it. That core is deeply in love with Nathan, she is very intuitive and will know all this to be true and then will remember, like she always does. Nathan came back to her too, when he was tossed out of town, so they are so bonded, they “always” find each other. I think that was a pretty good stopping point.

  5. Delia

    I burst out laughing with your comments about Eric Balfour. Boy he sucks as an actor! I felt embarrassed too for those who had to share scenes with him. I also think show lost its way two seasons ago, too much focus on Duke and filler nonsense and not enough focus on the things that made the show work the first three seasons. I kept watching until the end because I was very fond of Nathan and Audrey but yeah Eric Balfour man why on earth do they keep giving him roles?

  6. I watched the last two episodes of Haven with a bit of a heavy heart, probably for different reasons than most. Back before this series started, I read Stephen King’s small crime novel “The Colorado Kid.” I loved it because it was so different from most anything else of King’s that I’d read. I’m a huge fan of his other works of horror and sci-fi and how you can almost always find some kind of link to the “Dark Tower” series. But this little paperback novel was different. It had conversation. It had mystery. It had humor. It had death. But it didn’t have King’s usual brand of outer worldly stuff. Since this series began, I thought it was funny that his most “normal” novel got turned into a TV series filled to the brim with King weirdness cliches. What I truly wish they had done is take Haven back to the source material for the finale. All the weird black tar and “troubles” we’re gone. All that was left is a normal little town in Maine. It was the perfect chance to go back and say thanks for the original awesome crime novel that was Haven’s true origins. But they didn’t. And aside from any criticism of the rambling storyline or specific actors, that’s my one big regret about the series finale. Yes they gave an ending, and I’m grateful for that. But they truly missed out on an opportunity to end it with respect to “The Colorado Kid.”

  7. Tammie

    When duke turned evil, I couldn’t take that character .. His slow talking was annoying.. I thought the finale was great.. Wrapped up with a bow.. Great series

  8. Jade

    The baby is James, Nathan is the father. That is the whole reason why he’d be fine with it. Everything else you said I totally agree with. He might as well had stayed in the restaurant with fake Audrey but they wanted to show how strong his love for her was, that he’d be drawn back to Haven because fake real fake real Audrey is there. I started losing faith in Haven when the whole Mara’a coming to the surface crap started. They only even split her into 2 personalities so that we could get a Duke/fake Audrey (Mara) sex scene without tarnishing Audrey’s reputation as a penis hopper. Actually, no.. I started losing faith in Haven when it was clear that at every turn, Audrey was willing to use Duke but then would always turn around and jump down his back over it only for her to turn around again to beg for another favor she just berated him for if it was to save Nathan. Fated love is great but in this case, it really seems like the only reason Nathan fell for Audrey was because he could feel her which turns out was basically only because she was immune to the troubles, which seems to make it so that even once she lost her immunity, he could still feel her without any explanation as to why. Also yeah, Croatoan giving up at the end was lame but they’d dragged it out long enough that it pretty much didn’t matter whether he gave up or got his way. Dwight’s daughter staying around is never explained either, despite the troubles and aether being gone, it’s not supposed to matter to the audience because “warm and fuzzy feels”. They tried to wrap everything up in a neat bow, even if there was no explanation and that’s what they did. So yeah, the ending was nice and complete but at the same time, it was lame.

    • Troublemaker

      You got one part wrong. They had Nathan tell Audrey, upon her return, that he could no longer feel her. He said it didn’t matter to him though. The writers told us in an interview that it proved beyond a doubt that Nathan and Audrey were a “love of the ages” and their “love transcended his ability to feel her.” He couldn’t feel her all of season 5a, until the last 5 minutes when she’s been recombined with Mara.

      It was never about feeling her. He could feel her in S1 and S2, but didn’t interfere with her dating Chris. They fell in love naturally. It was obvious it was never just because he could feel her, at least to me and many others I know.

  9. James

    So…is Eric Balfour a bad actor? I really can’t tell, haven’t seen him in much else. I really liked the character the first two, maybe three seasons – and I think in order that to be true required both good writing and at least a decent actor. Starting late season 3 early season 4, somebody – maybe Balfour – decided he wasn’t allowed to speak in his own natural voice any more and he started doing the constant rasp thing, like he was trying to artificially lower his voice (which is naturally a little higher), and just failed to get it down there. Which is too bad – Balfour’s voice is decent.

    Again agree that it was pretty insufferable watching him play the Evil Duke, but still can’t decide on blaming the writers, or Balfour, or both. I will say that I thought Duke’s death was handled badly. After 6 seasons of having the crap kicked out of him by his life/circumstances yet staying true to himself and fighting to keep his trouble from defining him, they kill him off…for what reason? To keep Croatoan from getting his troubles? I mean, Croatoan has enough troubles and this seemingly endless amount of aether, so killing Duke didn’t accomplish anything (other than possibly satisfying the writers that they stuck to the prophecy they put in season 1, which if that’s the reason shows a serious lack of creativity).

    Liked the show. Glad they had a chance to end it, even if I didn’t like everything about it. As for Balfour, I found him interesting enough for enough of the time that I’ll try to see him in other roles.

  10. Heather

    What I don’t agree with is you insulting Eric Balfour’s acting. I enjoyed his portrayal of Duke and think Eric Balfour is a great actor. Duke was a multi-faceted character – a criminal/drifter who was also caring and a town protector and Eric Balfour portrayed him as someone that you knew was a bad boy but were so charmed by that it didn’t matter. I didn’t like dark Duke when he was controlled by Croatoan but I thought it was more the writing of it that seemed rushed than anything else. We could have used more of a scene with Croatoan doing something to Duke to turn him evil then just the surveillance camera bit – I think that would have helped a lot. I also didn’t like that the writers killed Duke off – I agree with the commenter who wrote that Croatoan had so many troubles already and could just make more that the ones Duke had collected wouldn’t have made much of a difference. And to have Nathan kill Duke and Audrey stand by was terrible – after the trio would do anything to save each other this was to out of character to fit. I would have appreciated an ending where in the flash forward Duke had gone back to being a bar owner and sailor/smuggler or I would have appreciated if the writers had had Dwight go dark and have Duke struggle with trading the crystal if Croatoan had brought back Jennifer (basically just have Duke and Dwight’s storylines switched and tweaked to fit the character).

    The baby in the backseat was the Colorado Kid (Nathan’s son with the 50’s version of Audrey who was named Sara). I think about a month had passed – I think Gloria mentioned it when she was talking about the DNA markers. I agree that it was lame that after rejecting fake Audrey that Nathan would readily accept Paige but I think the writers wanted to illustrate that Nathan knew the actual Audrey wasn’t coming back and that this was the real one with a new imprint. I also think he realized James was his son when Paige called him James and he saw the baby. Also, Vincent and Croatoan sitting in the barn mentioned that she couldn’t have been sent back as Audrey – I remember the mythology was that every time she left the barn she had a new imprint.

  11. Josh Zyber- from what I remember, the baby is James Cogan, aka The Colorado Kid, who Nathan fathers with Sarah (an earlier incarnation of Audrey) when he goes back in time. He went into the barn I think and so it reincarnated him as it did Audrey.

  12. Emma

    What’s the point? She’s not Audrey anymore, she lost all her memories. Regardless of them falling in love again, it still ends suckily.

  13. Seraphim

    I think your review really articulates how bad this show had become by the end.

    Agree that the plot became really nonsensical by the end. Don’t think they really had a coherent plan after season 3 which IMO is where it should have ended (with an explanation of Mara to Audrey by Howard).

    I hated that all the little questions and mysteries from the early seasons were not satisfactorily answered. That’s the main reason I watched the show. The storytelling really just fell apart. The mystery was gone,

    I think the acting in general deteriorated for all the actors, especially in the final season. Pretty awful by all of them. But the writing was also atrocious so…

  14. amber

    I wanted to thank you for this review.

    I could not take any more of the series after about halfway into the second season.

    It was getting painful to watch

    I cringed every time that hack Eric Ballsfor had a scene. The only decent characters were Nathan and Dwight. Audrey was bearable.

    However, I get so curious and wanted to know how the crap ended and was dreading to have to sit thru it even with fastforwarding and skimming.

    You saved me. Thank you.

    The end sounds truly dreadful and I am so glad I did not have to watch.

    Just another series finale which blows chunks.

    • amber

      Sorry, I meant about halfway (maybe third way) of the third season.

      It was getting more and more painful and I had to throw in the towel.

  15. Anne Floyd

    You sort of lost all credibility with me when you said that Eric Balfour was a bad actor. I’m not really sure what you think his problem is but I thought he did a great job of playing the Jack of all trades lost little boy in a man’s body. Not sure what you were hoping for but whatever. Anyway moving on my point is this I don’t think they should have put another Audrey Parker or whatever her name was and a baby of Nathan’s in the show at the ending let everybody get on with their lives there would be so many questions first of all my question would be are the troubles back considering this new version of Audrey. And then of course there would be the big more leading question is she here to do bad or good and then of course the Heartbreak to Nathan who can never tell her who he really is or how they really met so in essence what’s to say that they’ll ever hook up only because they have a child together but this woman knows nothing about that it’s really ham-handed just to make us happy happy ending but the point is it would cause more grief than happiness. Thank you that is my two cents.

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