The Syfy network’s supernatural thriller series ‘Haven’ has been having a hit-or-miss second season. Unfortunately, this past Friday’s episode falls more on the “miss” side.
‘The Tides that Bind’ does begin strongly, however. A group of young boys stand on a dock, chanting a mysterious and ominous song, seemingly to something beneath the water. Suddenly, most of the boys grab one of their member and toss him, kicking and screaming, into the water. This isn’t some game or a prank. They’ve tied him to a cinder block and watch him sink beneath the surface, struggling and begging for his life. A moment later, an adult man (who we will later learn is the victim’s father) comes out and tells the rest of the boys to go inside. He looks down and sees his son’s body under the water. Rather than jump in to save him, the man just looks kind of disappointed. This is a phenomenally creepy (and very Stephen King-ian) moment.
The next morning, Nathan and Audrey investigate a report of a dead body that has washed up on shore. We expect that it will be the boy, but instead it’s his father, a man named Leith Glendower. The body has a suicide note, but something about the story doesn’t add up. A post-mortem exam reveals that the man didn’t drown. He was dead before entering the water.
Nathan knows the Glendowers as a weird, cult-like family that mostly stays confined to a compound on the outskirts of town. When he and Audrey report Leith’s death to his estranged wife, she tells them that her son Daniel is missing. She believes that Leith last brought him to the compound to visit his parents (Daniel’s grandparents), Cole and Gwen.
At this point, we naturally assume that Daniel is dead. After receiving resistance from the Glendowers, Audrey and Nathan go snooping on the compound at night and find the boy’s body in a bathtub filled with water. Somehow, he’s still alive. As Nathan tries to pull him out of the tub, the boy gasps in the air. Cole discovers them and makes Nathan push the boy back under the water.
The Glendowers are of course Troubled. After a certain age, all the males in the family turn into amphibian seal-men or something. (Yes, seals are mammals, not amphibians, but whatever. We’ll go with it.) They need to spend a certain percentage of their time breathing underwater or they will die. This is why the family keeps to itself on the compound away from town. Daniel and all the other boys his age need to stay submerged during “the change” (i.e. the seal people equivalent of puberty).
Daniel’s mother doesn’t want her son to be cursed like the rest of the family. She enlists the help of the ambiguously-evil Reverend Driscoll to kidnap her son back, along with all the other boys, and “cure” them. Driscoll has a particular hatred for the Glendowers, because he believes that Cole murdered his wife Penny years earlier.
Well, that’s not how it really went down. In fact, Penny is now Gwen. She faked her death to run off with Cole. Oh, and Leith? Cole killed him because he was blackmailing his parents by threatening to reveal Gwen’s identity to the Rev, which might have started a war in the town. When she learns the truth, Gwen seems remarkably unperturbed to find out that her husband murdered her son. What a great mom she must have been.
This all leads to a big stand-off at a barn, where Penny/Gwen has to reveal herself to her ex and convince him to return the boys, so that all the males in the family can have a strange religious ceremony and migrate out to sea. Nathan knows that sending Cole to prison would be a death sentence, so he basically lets the man off the hook for murdering his son, so long as he promises not to return to town. Nice.
In the midst of all this, Duke learns that the Glendower men all have the same maze tattoo that has been foretold will be on the man who eventually kills him. He also discovers that the Glendowers murdered his father. Cole will not explain this, except to say something along the lines that Duke needs to stay on the right path and not follow his father’s footsteps. Also, we find out that Evi (who we already know is scamming Duke) is secretly working with the Rev. He’s part of the conspiracy against Duke.
As I said earlier, this episode starts out pretty well, but unfortunately peters out by the end. One scene in particular, where elderly seal-man Cole leaps out of the water to snarl a warning at the Rev, is just laughably cheesy. I hope that this show can get back on track for the last few episodes of the season.