‘Haven’ 2.05 Recap: “Worst Date Ever”

Evil trees? Was this past Friday’s episode of ‘Haven’ written by M. Night Shyamalan or something? Geez!

OK, it’s not quite that bad… Not quite.

It appears that Jason Priestley will be hanging around as a regular. The show is even trying to build up a love story between him and Audrey. As we learned in the last episode, his character Chris is “Troubled” with the curse that everyone loves him. That might not sound so bad, but he’s a bit of a misanthrope and doesn’t like the attention. Since Audrey is immune, and thus the only person in town who doesn’t immediately fall in love with him, he’s drawn to her. I guess he likes the challenge. She’s not putting up too much resistance to his advances, however.

In ‘Roots’, two of the town’s richest families who have feuded for decades are coming together for the marriage of one’s son to the other’s daughter. The groom is a total douchebag who’s only marrying the girl as a ploy to get the big plot of land owned by her aunt, the family matriarch. The girl’s father hates the boy and tries to scuttle the wedding, which is set to take place on that very land in contention. Not at all coincidentally, the father is soon murdered, his body dragged out to the woods and torn to pieces with what appears to be inhuman force.

Audrey and Chris are supposed to be going on their first date. They only stop by the wedding site to drop off a marriage license. Of course, they get caught up in investigating the murder(s). When tree roots reach out from the forest and snatch the caterer, we now have a cause of death for the bride’s father.

Audrey, Chris, Duke, Evi and the entire wedding party wind up trapped in a barn as tree roots engulf the place. This turns into something of a locked-room parlor mystery, as Audrey tries to figure out which one of the wedding party is Troubled and is causing this disaster. Audrey of course immediately suspects the groom, who had the most motive to want the father dead.

Well, it turns out that the whole lot of them are Troubled. The land feeds off the two families’ hatred for each other. The angrier they get at one another, the more violently the trees close in. How can they ever escape this predicament? Naturally, Audrey deduces that, “Love is the answer.” When she manages to rekindle an old, long-soured romance between the aunt and someone in the groom’s family, the roots start to retract. Further lovey-doviness between the bride and groom (who all of a sudden are totally reconciled even though the bride was furious at the groom just minutes earlier for conning her into marrying him), between Duke and Evi, and between Audrey and Chris all allow them to slip through the roots and leave the barn.

This is not a great episode. The evil tree visual effects are pretty cheesy, and (more importantly) the writing is dicey. I just don’t buy all of the character relationships. The main plot also strangely wraps up early and leaves about ten minutes of anticlimactic d√©nouement. This gives us enough time to learn that Audrey puts out on the first date while Nathan sits alone in the sheriff’s office pining for her. The poor guy has apparently missed his shot.

Oh, we also find out that Evi has a secret agenda in trying to win back Duke’s affections. But honestly, who cares about this storyline? I don’t understand how crescent-faced actor Eric Balfour continues to get work. Do women honestly find him hunky or something? It boggles my mind.

3 comments

  1. Bryan

    Yeah … definitely not the best of episodes for Haven. I love this show, but even I was cringing a few times. I understand it’s a TV budget (and basic cable TV at that) but the roots/trees were not very believable. Usually they do a pretty decent job with the effects, so it surprised me a bit, but my guess is they just bit off more than they could chew with the effects for this episode.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      I can forgive some dodgy VFX, but the idea was pretty dumb all around. How do the tree roots grow that fast? I’d be more likely to buy into it if the trees’ existing roots popped out of the ground and grabbed people. But the way they just magically got longer and longer was too much for my suspension of disbelief.

      Also, we were told that these roots were able to tear a man to pieces with incredible force. It seemed to me that the amount of roots covering that wooden barn ought to have crushed the place like it was a paper bag. It was awfully silly the way that the barn managed to protect everyone.

      And what was the point of Nathan heroically forging his way through all the trees to get to the barn? As soon as he got there, they’d figured it out and were ready to leave. That storyline served no purpose at all.

      Sadly, this was just a lazily written episode in all respects.

  2. Bob

    Not the brightest episode (but maybe not the worst considering). I like the show because it’s filmed in Nova Scotia (primarily in the Lunenburg area) which I once visited. Once in a while you get a bit of Canadian humor (tongue in cheek since the plot is supposed to be in Maine) Although their story lines are way over the top, it’s hooked me a bit like Fringe which makes great use of writers license to do the impossible. The series lost some of its talent and with this episode, it leaves me wondering if it’s in “trouble”???

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