Haven’s Tourist Brochure: Come for the first rate seafood, stay for a lethal blow to the back of the head.
Haven looks like a beautiful town. And if it weren’t for the wild dog people, dead residents found with their body parts harvested through their mouths, and an unknown assailant killing people with a homemade bolt gun, I’d love to live there myself. Haven: The Complete Third Season is full of surprises, and we even get answers to long sought after questions in a season that continually surprises as well as entertains.
Audrey (Emily Rose, Jericho), Nathan (Lucas Bryant, The Vow), and Duke (Eric Balfour, Skyline) are back, and Season Three picks up right where last season left off, with Audrey held captive by a stranger who knows more about her life than she does and is demanding she tell the whereabouts of The Colorado Kid. Audrey’s problems don’t lessen once she escapes, she finds out that she has very little time left in Haven, and in that short window she must try and catch the killer who abducted her — dubbed the Skin Walker because he is also killing Haven’s citizens and removing their skin before torching the bodies. (Ouch!) If that isn’t enough, Audrey has to try and save Haven from a meteor storm that could completely destroy the town and everyone in it. It’s just your average day in Haven.
This time around Haven still has the weekly ‘troubles’ Audrey and Nathan must solve, but in addition there’s a central overarching story arc that permeates the entire season. It involves Audrey’s mandatory pilgrimage into a mysterious barn-like structure that preserves her and spews her out again every 27 years. When she returns, she has a new name and no memory of the last time she was in the quaint little town.
The Barn is like an amplifier for Audrey, when she’s in it she is energy that keeps the troubles away. But after 27 years, the energy starts to run out and the troubles come back to Haven again. She has to come out and recharge by helping the troubled, so she can go back into the barn and stop the troubles all over again.
This has happened twice before: once in 1955 when she was Sarah, a nurse who came to Haven to care for a WWII vet, whose troubles could wish people into another time. Then in 1983 she arrived as Lucy, a woman who had a special connection to the Colorado Kid, and was at the center of his murder investigation. Now, as Audrey Parker she’s made a home in Haven and has fallen for her partner Nathan, and along with Duke, they try to find a way Audrey can stay in town. The Colorado Kid mystery intensifies when his coffin is exhumed and there’s no body inside. This means he may be alive (you never know in Haven), and explains why the Skin Walker is looking for him.
The onscreen chemistry between the stars of Haven, continues to shine, aided by writing that is anything but predictable. Two of my favorite episodes are:
Each season Haven has a holiday episode; this year they chose to honor Halloween. The gang gets trapped in The Holloway house, and even by Haven standards it’s considered a scary place. Many years before, the Holloway family — Roland (played by Iain Glen of Game of Thrones fame), his wife and two children — went missing and were never seen again. Now the house is alive, and is holding Audrey and company hostage, shifting and moving and disorienting everyone so they can’t find their way out. Not only this, but Audrey is starting to have flashbacks from her other life in Haven and remembers that she was in the Holloway house before — as Lucy.
This is my favorite episode — maybe from all three seasons. It is a sweet and funny tale where the whole town of Haven has fallen into a coma. (I know, doesn’t sound sweet and funny, but trust me it is.) The only ones conscious are Audrey — -of course — and a mysterious man whose trouble is the reason everyone is comatose. Audrey must find out how to reverse things or everyone will die. What makes this episode so special is the chemistry between Rose and the troubled man named Will Brady, played by Nolan North (Star Trek Into Darkness). They have a witty rapport and are very comfortable on screen together, and in the special features we find out why. Rose and North have worked together for six years doing voice-over work on the video game “Uncharted,” and that familiarity is evident in their performance. These two make a great pair, I could see them on some quirky sitcom as husband and wife, that’s the kind of chemistry and comedic timing they have. This episode also contains my all-time favorite line from a television show — ever. It comes from Will after Audrey explains to him that his trouble has caused the whole town to fall asleep. Will is stunned by this bit of news and replies, “Naptime is not a superpower.” It made me laugh out loud, mainly due to North’s great delivery. It’s a bitter-sweet story where Will makes a tremendous sacrifice to save the inhabitants of Haven.
The writers have hit their stride with Season Three, instead of remaining in a typical ‘trouble’ of the week format, they’ve taken the show to a level that sets it apart from the previous two seasons. They’ve created a mythology around Haven and its characters that exceeds anything that even King thought they could accomplish from his 2005 short story.
This 13 episode Blu-ray collection of the Syfy Channel’s paranormal series answers many of the questions that have been on our minds since Audrey came to Haven, and as is to be expected, it also leaves us with many more.
The Blu-ray is shot in 1080p HD, with a 1.78:1 presentation that highlights the beautiful Nova Scotia peninsula. The fictional Haven is a town in Maine, but this Canadian province is an exceptional substitute. The sharp colors as a backdrop against the muted clothing of the characters is a striking contrast and the night scenes are crisp and clear, making it easy to see each shot. This isn’t a big budget television show, but you can’t tell from the final product. In a show where long snake like creatures suck body parts through the mouths of Havenites and creatures morph from a human form into a dog, the effects have to be spot on — and they are because they are well placed and judiciously used. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is perfect for Shawn Pierce’s score, which is both intense when it needs to be and softer during the more tender moments in the series.
Extras include “The Haunting Truth About Haven,” a behind the scenes documentary of the episode entitled “Real Estate.” It is 45 minutes, but definitely worth your time. “Escape to Haven” is a webisode series. Also included are deleted and alternate scenes, audio commentaries with the show’s writers, interviews with the cast and a few of the guest stars, a panel Q&A at the New York Comic Con with the cast and the writers, a behind the scenes retrospective, and a blooper real. Haven is a fantastic show that took a fairly mediocre book, by Stephen King standards, and turned it into a wonderfully creative and inventive show.
Haven doesn’t get the attention of some other, more critically acclaimed cable television programs, but it’s just as deserving. It was hard to imagine how far they could take a story involving a woman who vanishes than reappears every 27 years, but with wonderful writing and acting, Haven: The Complete Third Season makes me hopeful that the possibilities of this series are endless.
This show is oh so Havenly. Not Guilty.
Haven: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray) 2013, E1, 572 minutes, NR (2013)
VIDEO: 1.78:1 (1080 p) AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English)
SUBTITLES: English SDH EXTRAS: Featurettes, Commentaries, Deleted Scenes, Documentary, Interviews, Webisodes ACCOMPLICES: IMDB