While I was checking out the Syfy Channel’s new series ‘Alphas‘, I decided to give returning supernatural drama ‘Haven’ a shot as well. I missed the show’s entire first season when it aired, but the network was kind enough to run a marathon before Friday’s second season premiere. I recorded a few of those episodes and tried to dive in.
The episodes I watched were the original pilot, the first season finale, and the new season premiere. I’m obviously missing huge gaps of the story, but I think this was sufficient to get the gist of it. For the most part, this is a case-of-the-week procedural drama, with one ongoing mystery that ties the whole thing together.
The show is loosely based on the Stephen King novella ‘The Colorado Kid’. The few episodes I watched also threw in references to other King works. For example, the last season finale involved a character just released from Shawshank Prison. The second season premiere has a scene practically straight out of ‘IT’.
Emily Rose (‘John from Cincinnati’, ‘Jericho’) stars as Audrey Parker, a young FBI agent initially sent to the small Maine town of Haven to track down an escaped felon. She winds up sticking around to join local law enforcement, including a cop named Nathan (Lucas Bryant) with whom there’s some romantic tension. They investigate a series of bizarre supernatural occurrences credited to people called “Troubled,” who can do things like control the weather or cause earthquakes. Most of the Troubled don’t know what they are or understand what they can do, and typically discover their powers only inadvertently during times of distress.
The first season ended with the death of the Chief of Police (Nathan’s father), who turned to stone and exploded. He was apparently harboring some of the town’s deepest, darkest secrets. In the cliffhanger, a new woman arrives in town also claiming to be FBI Agent Audrey Parker. Her introduction strangely mirrors that of the original Audrey in the pilot episode.
‘A Tale of Two Audreys’ picks up right from that point. Nathan and the original Audrey arrest the new Audrey, who they assume to be Troubled. The woman seems to have many of Audrey’s memories, including childhood secrets she never told anyone. Audrey I calls her boss at the FBI, Special Agent Howard, who tells her to keep Audrey II under lock and key until he can get there.
In the meantime, the town is being afflicted with a series of plagues straight out of the Bible, such as frogs falling from the sky, water turning to blood, swarms of gnats and flies, etc. At first, Audrey and Nathan assume that these are tied to the arrival of Audrey II, but later (with Audrey II’s help) learn that a Troubled man named T.J. is at fault. He has the power of making things he reads turn to reality, and he started reading the Bible after his wife died in childbirth. They manage to stop him just before the final plague – the death of firstborn sons – can kill countless men in town, including Nathan. Audrey distracts T.J.’s attention by convincing him to read ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ to his new baby instead.
In the final scene, the FBI cavalry comes to town to take the fake Audrey into custody – except that the man claiming to be Special Agent Howard isn’t the man Audrey knows at all. It appears that Audrey II is the real Audrey Parker, and Audrey I is the Troubled girl with fake memories. Audrey II covers for her by telling Agent Howard that the imposter got away. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the show, but this doesn’t seem like too much of a surprise. The original Audrey’s identity and backstory were already in some doubt.
The series is a little cheesy. It plays like a low-rent ‘X-Files’. I’m also not a fan of smarmy actor Eric Balfour, who’s supposed to play a charming smuggler named Duke. Everything about his character strikes a false note. However, I like the lead actress, and her interactions with the townsfolk are often entertaining. The mystery stuff is decent enough. I’ll probably tune in again.