Syfy, Fridays, 9/10 PM
“Friend or Faux?”
Written by Sam Ernst
Directed by Stephen Reynolds
“This guy dies, and another one shows up in his place?” – Duke
Sometimes you gotta love the throwaway lines on this show. This episode has plenty of them, as well as action, philosophy, insight and bad dancing. What more could you ask for? Guest star Christian de la Fuente (The Nine Lives of Chloe King) plays Cornell Stanton, a man beside himself. He’s an unassuming, straight-arrow banker who is plagued by random copies of himself who keep coming back no matter how many times he kills them. He has to kill them, because they’re trying to assassinate a young runaway boy named Henry (Connor Price, What’s Up Warthogs). Fortunately for Henry, he’s taken refuge with Duke Crocker. Even more fortunately, Duke keeps a gun behind the bar, so when Cornell the Copy comes gunning for Henry, Duke guns him right back. I loved the Shootout at the Grey Gull, with Deadeye Duke blasting away at his opponent, as cool as they come.
“Do you ever wonder if you’re real?” — Audrey
I quickly lost track of who was who in this episode, but that’s okay. That was the point. Is the Cornell that Nathan and Audrey meet the real one? What about the one Duke runs into – is he “real”? And what does “real” even mean in this context? Who’s to say the copy is less “real” than the “original”? Questions of identity circle like bats in this episode, and afford us a much-needed glimpse into the mind of Audrey Parker. In a quiet and heartfelt conversation with one of the copies, she confesses that she has something in common with him: she is a person with someone else’s memories. Does this make her less “real” than the person whose memories she holds? Or does she make herself who she is? It’s a question any of us might ponder: how much of our “self” consists only of memory, and if that’s not trustworthy, who are we? I thought this bit was well integrated into the story, especially as it later proved to be the key with which Audrey solved the case and saved Nathan’s life.
“No backup. Too many witnesses.” – Nathan
In no time, Duke, Nathan and Audrey have cornered the runaway copy in a half-built hotel (The Shining, anyone?), where most of the rest of the hour takes place. Lost in a concrete maze of corridors and catwalks, the team splits, reforms, splits again, trying to find the guy they ran in after. But how many of them are there? As soon as one dies, another one reappears. And why are they after a runaway kid? It’s actually a pretty simple plot, based on a crime that spiralled out of control, which resolves into another gun battle and a standoff. (I think we saw more gunshots in this hour than we have all season.) We got some good, spooky chase scenes through the dark, some loud action, a quiet confessional moment from Audrey. We also got Nathan making stupid decisions (like not asking for backup, as if the entire Haven police department doesn’t know about the Troubles) and getting conked when he turns his back on a suspect. The denouement depended on a first-class performance from our guest star, who played against himself so believably it was hard to tell there weren’t two guys in that role.
“I saw something that I wasn’t supposed to see.” – Henry
I saw something I liked: the softer side of Duke Crocker. His early life of abandonment and neglect could easily have made him the kind of cynic to shrug off a young runaway. Instead, he treats Henry with respect, understands him, protects him. And finally, returns him to the father who misses him. Duke’s view of fatherhood is more than skewed, but he is man enough to realize that his experience does not mirror everyone’s. Henry may think he’s abused and victimized, but Duke knows what real victimization is. From his perspective, Henry’s got a better deal than he knows, so in the end Duke “betrays” Henry back into the arms of the father who loves him. And he does it without fanfare or long speeches that would be out of character for Duke. This was well done.
“Sometimes, editing the Troubles out of our reports feels like half my job.” – Nathan
I’ve been wondering why the world’s journalist community is not camped out in Haven; if half of what goes on in that town were to hit the Internet or the press, the entire community could retire on the tourist trade. We got a hint a few weeks ago about how Nathan and the other Troubled keep the town’s odd occurrences under wraps. We were introduced to Dwight (played by WWE star “Edge”, aka Adam Copeland), the “cleaner” who worked for Chief Wournos. Now we learn that Nathan and Audrey have been keeping two sets of reports – the official ones and the real ones. I wondered at first why they would even make reports that incriminated them by their very existence, and then remembered the many times Nathan had consulted his father’s file. Presumably, the keeper of the peace in Haven also keeps the unofficial but vital records of the real Troubles, so that future cops will have some kind of reference or database. This would be a very valuable contribution, and to have it compromised by removing Nathan from the office of chief adds another notch in the tension this episode racks up.
“Things are going to get a little rough for your kind.” – Selectman
What? Nathan kicked out of the chief’s office? While at first this might seem like a dream come true, for Nathan it spells not only professional disaster but personal peril as well. Railroaded by the Board of Selectmen, who are but the pawns of the Reverend Driscoll, Nathan is booted out of his father’s job. While he never seemed to do much but complain about the paperwork, Nathan had and has a real need for that job: it’s his connection to sanity, to purpose, to his father. Without it, he finds himself adrift. In fact, he winds up getting sloshed at the Grey Gull, dancing very badly (a hilarious moment, especially in view of Lucas Bryant’s past work as a song-and-dance man), and generally acting like a mope. Duke and Audrey mock him and take a picture of his bad dancing. What else are friends for?
“It’s not a party until something gets broken.” — Duke
Haven dropped a tenth of a point in the ratings, to a 0.4 for adults 18-49. This works out to around 1.5 million viewers. This means that Edge is slumming, since WWE Friday Night Smackdown came in at 1.66 million viewers. Maybe we need to see Nathan and Audrey in tights, tag-teaming the Reverend Driscoll and his minions.