Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Haven 5.01: "See No Evil"

The new season of Haven began last Thursday night, and while the idea of reviewing the episodes weekly appeals to me, I'm not sure I can actually pull it off.  See, the thing is this: I work every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, which means that bloggin' time is at a minimum for me during the few days after the episodes are premiering.  I didn't even find time to watch the season-opener until early Tuesday morning.
  
What I'm getting at is that blogging about Haven, in terms of the way the schedule falls, is not conducive to me not feeling as if it's something hanging over my head rather than something enjoyable to which to look forward.
  
So, will there be weekly reviews?  Ehhh . . . don't know for sure yet, but I'm leaning toward no.
  
A few words about the season premiere seemed in order, though, so here they come in the form of screencaps with random thoughts attached to them:
  
  
This is Molly Dunsworth, who plays Vickie, the coroner's intern.  She's been in a few episodes of the series, and I'll be honest with you (as almost always): I'd never have known this if not for IMDb.  But I'll also say this: she's a good actress, and she's the daughter of John "Dave Teagues" Dunsworth, and she seems as if she ought to have a solid career in front of her.
  
  
The episode opens with Vickie and Gloria (the coroner, played by the redoubtable Jayne Eastwood) sitting in a gazebo, while the latter tries to comfort the baby she was left by the events of the previous season.  Before long, the lighthouse collapses in a fairly good use of television CGI.  The various characters who were present in the lighthouse at the end of last season find themselves mysteriously dispersed: Dwight and Duke on rocks near the shore, Vince and Dave in the woods, Nathan and Audrey Mara in a different spot in the woods, and Jennifer . . . well, Jennifer is nowhere to be found.  More on that in a bit.
  
Pretty soon, Nathan finds out that Audrey isn't Audrey anymore.
  
  
According to Mara, Audrey is totally gone; sure, Mara has her memories -- and those of all the other incarnations, including Sarah -- but apart from that, Audrey is not inside her at all.  Nathan is not convinced by this, and neither am I; although it would be kind of cool if the show ran the rest of its life having its main character be a villain rather than a hero.  Not sure too many other series have ever done that.  But I suspect that won't happen here, not the least because finding story material for Mara for an entire season seems like a task Haven is not up to meeting.  Emily Rose is very good as Mara, though, so we'll see how much the producers do with her in that capacity.
  
  
This guy is minding his own business when suddenly his eyes become sewn shut.  Everyone assumes that this is a new Trouble cooked up by Mara, but it turns out that that is not the case: instead, it seems that Duke is somehow releasing old Troubles long ago thought eliminated by him or one of his ancestors.  So I suppose that will be the Trouble angle for this season, and that's pretty cool, in theory.
  
  
Duke spends much of the episode trying to find the decidedly M.I.A. Jennifer, and while I hate to be that guy, I have to spoil something: there ain't gonna be no Jennifer.  The actress who plays her, Emma Lahana, is not returning for the fifth season; not sure yet how the writers are going to deal with that, but if I were Duke, I'd prepare to make a lot more sad-faces.  (I might make a few, too, because I thought Lahana was really good on the show last season.)
  
  
That, fellow King fans, is a thinny.  A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the mini-comic Haven: In the Beginning, which was included with the home-video release of the fourth season.  The word "thinny" was mentioned in that comic, and my jaw dropped a bit; this, it seemed, was going beyond mere allusion to Stephen-Kingy type things and stepping into the realm of actual for-plot-purposes appropriation.  In this case, of an idea integral to The Dark Tower.  I wondered if that was a one-time thing or if the concept would appear in the series.  It does, initially referred to as a "thin spot," but eventually named by Mara as a thinny.
  
  
Now, in my mind there's a question as to whether the people making Haven even have the legal right to include the word "thinny" in their quasi-adaptation of The Colorado Kid.  There has been some speculation that the solution to the mystery in that novel is that the nameless Colorado Kid somehow stepped from one world into another -- maybe willingly, maybe accidentally -- through a thinny, and that it killed him.  But so far as I know, King has not stated that this is the case, and the word "thinny" certainly never appears in The Colorado Kid.  Not from what I remember, at least; if I'm wrong, correct me with a page number.
  
So part of me wonders: is it okay for Haven to be doing this?  Having a wink-wink reference to The Shawshank Redemption or It or whatever is one thing; incorporating something like a thinny strikes me as being outright theft.  Maybe King sanctioned it; but given that he himself does not currently own the film rights to The Dark Tower, I'm not sure I thik he would have the legal right to do so.  I'd love to know what Ron Howard thinks about it.
  
Issues of that nature aside, it's pretty cool for a piece of King lore like this to make a major appearance on television.  I'm not sure the use of the thinny here fits completely with the way the concept is used in, say, Wizard and Glass; but, still, cool.
  
  
Mara is in a pothead's store, which is where she's looking for the thinny.  The stoner thinks she is Audrey, and he says she's acting really weird, then refuses to give her his car keys when she demands them.  So Mara pulls out a gun and just straight-up executes the guy: bullet in the forehead, BLAM!  I was downright shocked by this.  Haven has always had a high body-count, but the violence tends to be fairly restrained in its way, and rarely is a death the result of something as cold and non-supernatural as a bullet to the brain.  This is compounded by the fact that Mara is -- and isn't, but also kind of is -- the show's main protagonist.  Haven has rarely been quite THIS serious, and while I can imagine some fans objecting, I found it to be a great playing-for-keeps moment.
  
  
There's a really cool scene where Dwight -- who, you might remember, is a literal bullet-magnet (i.e., a bullet fired in his vicinity will literally change directions and head for him) -- is trying to sneak up on Mara from behind.  She senses him coming, pulls out here gun and fires it haphazardly, knowing the bullets will find their way toward him regardless of how she aims.  "How much do I love your Trouble?" she says with great amusement.  Fear not, Dwight fans: he was wearing his trusty bulletproof vest.
  
  
Later, Mara runs into Nathan, and he does his best to try and talk Audrey into coming out of her.  He professes his love, and all that stuff, but Mara . . . man, she is stone-cold, as you can see.  She shoots him in the chest, and more or less leaves him for dead.  Will he die?  Nah, of course not.  Emily Rose is great in this scene; she allows the merest little flickers of Audrey to play across Mara's face, just enough to make you wonder if the only thing keeping Mara from performing another high-speed exploration of the brain was Audrey's influence.
  
  
There's probably more to say than that, but I'm good calling it quits here.
  
As was the case more or less consistently throughout the fourth season, I'm very pleased with the direction Haven has taken.  Apart from the three lead actors (Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, and Eric Balfour), I liked very little about the first two seasons; so the fact that this has turned into a perfectly decent series is a cool thing in my book.  Based on this first episode, the fifth season will continue that trajectory.
  
Combine that with possibly-unsanctioned explorations of the wider Stephen King multiverse, and you have a recipe for a series that is worth the time of The Truth Inside The Lie.
  
Whether its author can consistently find that time remains to be seen.
  
  
  
  
Mara seems to indicate that she will be displeased if I don't, so that makes a mark in the "yea" column for sure.

3 comments:

  1. I need to start referring to headshots as "high speed explorations of the brain."

    Definitely sounds like this show has come quite a long way. That's cool stuff about the thinny. Could the Tick-Tock Man be next?

    Wouldn't it be wild if we saw something like the fall of Gilead or Roland's revenge on Rhea or Adventures of the Tet Co. or other untold tales of the Dark Towerverse on Haven?

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