Shaken, Not Stirred
Syfy, Fridays, 9/10 PM
Written by Charles Ardai
Directed by Mike Rohl
“You’re sped up. That’s why we can’t see you.” —Audrey
Well, now we know why Nathan can feel Audrey’s touch. Apparently she has the gift once known as “laying on of hands”, and I don’t mean massage therapy. When she touches Nathan, his Trouble is temporarily canceled, and he can feel her. Now we learn that people whose Trouble is much worse than neuropathy can be, at least temporarily, healed by her touch. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
“I’m glad you’re staying.” —Nathan
The fishing boat Fisherman’s Honor set out from Haven on a routine run a year ago, with James Garrick and Andy Weaver on board. It was never seen again—until it washes ashore after a storm. Hank (Lee J. Campbell,The Conclave) investigates and finds a skeleton. Indulging herself in a few pirate jokes, Audrey accompanies Nathan in the investigation. Having quit the FBI last week, she is now a full member of the Haven Police Department. While she pursues this investigation, Nathan gets sidetracked by Duke, who has troubles of his own—a former client is threatening to kill him, believing Duke stole something he was paid to transport. We learn something about the long-standing feud between the two men, and we learn something even more significant about Audrey.
Audrey and Nathan split up during this episode, with each taking an independent course during their investigation. Nathan is looking into the cause of the shipwreck, while Audrey takes on the victims. Audrey visits the home of Tracy Garrick (Angela Vint, Flashpoint) widow of boat owner James. Odd things keep happening in her house—people are tossed around, keys fly through the air, papers whirl around in a mad dance. Tracy is fed up with the town blaming her husband for the shipwreck, and plans to leave town. She even puts the house up for sale and shows potential buyers through. Audrey thinks there’s a poltergeist at work, and according to her research, she should be looking at adolescents. She looks first at Brooke (Holly Deveaux, Baxter), who utters the usual war cry of teenagers terrified that an adult might understand them.
“You think you know me? You don’t know me!” —Brooke Garrick
Younger son Michael (Jacob Robertson, Darwin’s Darkest Hour) seems to be suffering from odd seizures in which he vibrates, becoming a blur. When Audrey questions Michael about this, objects start moving on their own as he says only his mother’s touch kept him from “flying apart”. She realizes in mid-word that the poltergeist she’s looking for may be in the room. She feels her way through the room, and lays hands on an invisible man. When she touches him, he becomes visible—it’s James Garrick (Tom Barnett,Warehouse 13). Far from being dead, he’s suffering from a Trouble that accelerates him. He’s moving so fast he is invisible, and anything he touches is accelerated, so it flies across the room. No one can hear, see, or feel him, except Audrey. Audrey does not yet know that Nathan can feel her, so for her this example of her touch affecting a Troubled person is new and intriguing. James gasps out that he suffered the seizure that accelerated him right before Weaver took off in the boat, and so could not warn him.
“That’s not epilepsy.” —Sal Fortuna
The Fisherman’s Honor shows signs of corrosion far beyond what Nathan would expect to find in a boat only a year old, so he naturally suspects Duke of having a hand in it. I get the impression that Nathan would blame Duke for lightning strikes and meteor showers. Duke hints that he knows something useful, but the information comes at a price: Nathan’s cooperation. This takes the form of a simple sting designed to flush out a counterfeiter who has set Duke up. Nathan grudgingly agrees, the sting goes down so transparently it’s laughable, and Duke tells Nathan what he needs to know—a couple named Sal and Nancy Fortuna has been selling dud parts to James Garrick without his knowledge. Of course, Duke claims no moral responsibility at all for knowing this and keeping silent. Nathan warns Audrey, who is in James’ study going through his papers. She takes no precautions whatsoever to protect the family, so naturally they get taken hostage by Sal and Nancy Fortuna (Brian Downey, Just Buried, and Elizabeth Richardson, Lexx)—they are the home buyers we saw earlier. Audrey realizes James is in the room, and touches him long enough for him to slow down. When he punches the Fortunas, they get accelerated right into the wall. Later, Audrey touches him again, just long enough for him to say a sobbing farewell to his family. Almost his last word is to thank Audrey for saving him—again. Seems that Lucy, whom Audrey believes to be her mother, helped James with his first seizure. But at that time, James broke some glass which cut Lucy’s foot. Later, when she’s alone, Audrey removes her shoes and socks, and we see a scar on the sole of her left foot.
“I never touched him. I never felt him. How come you can?” —Tracy Garrick
This was a pretty lackluster episode, marred by mediocre acting and some truly awful expository scenes. Not one single scene involving the Garrick family rang true; the lines given Brooke were particularly atrocious. Frankly, the information about Duke and Nathan is mostly filler. The one element that shone through was the now habitual practice of Haven writers of misdirection. In this case, we were teased with the idea of a poltergeist at work in Haven, only to learn that the “ghost” in question was very much alive. That was a refreshing twist, and carries through the tendency of this show to hint at one well-known, even cliched paranormal phenomenon, only to have it turn out to be something even more weird than we thought. The revelation about Audrey’s “touch” and her foot scar further reinforce the show’s hinting that Audrey is Lucy—but given the writers’ predilection for misdirection, I’m not putting money on that bet.
“So your plan is to use me.” —Nathan
The Duke storyline felt (you should pardon the expression) tacked on. It could have been stuck into almost any episode this season. Nathan is buying information from Duke by playing along with a scheme. Before that can happen, we have to have a buddy bonding argument that shows us how far this feud goes—all the way back to third grade. And, as I suspected, it had to do with a girl. Our Nathan had a crush on Carla Rose, and Duke and his buddies exploited this. Slapping Nathan on the back in friendly camaraderie, they urged him to go talk to her. When he did, Nathan says the girl screamed because there was blood running down his back—Duke and his friends had been slapping his back only in order to stick tacks into it, just to see how many they could manage (sixteen, as it turns out). While I can appreciate the traumatic effect this event would have on a young boy, my mind was hung up on Carla’s reaction. Since Nathan was facing her, how could she have seen blood on his back? What did this story tell us that we didn’t already know? Duke tormented young Nathan—we knew that. Nathan lost the ability to feel at a young age—we knew that. Nathan has no game with women, now or ever—we knew that. Like I said—filler.
I’m not sure who or what Audrey Parker is at this point. I think we’re being led to believe that she is some kind of “Trouble whisperer”, that her very presence negates some Troubles. Her ability to touch Nathan and be felt, her survival of the deadly chameleon, and other incidents hint that she is something more than just an ex-FBI agent. But given that nothing is what it seems to be on this show, the real story may be something very different. Is it possible that Audrey herself is the source of the Troubles? That she appeared many years ago as Lucy, brought the Troubles to Haven, and ended them only when she disappeared? Now she is back, the Troubles are back, and Audrey/Lucy will have to disappear again? We will see.
The worst aspect of this episode, for me, was the separation of Audrey and Nathan throughout most of the story. These characters are a very good partnership, in which the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Maybe the writers were trying to show that each of them is strong enough to carry an investigation on their own—if so, that was a case of answering a question not being asked. I was never in any doubt that Audrey or Nathan, alone, could function as a competent investigator. What I like in this show is the snarking back and forth, followed by ideas sparking off one another, followed by an in-tandem investigation. They don’t have to be joined at the hip, but I prefer Audrey and Nathan together. I really saw this near the end, when Audrey and Nathan were both leaning up against his truck, arms crossed, wearing identical expressions. I hope we can get more of that soon.
At least I hope we will. Next week is the final episode of this series, and there is still no word on renewal. Haven stabilized last week at a little over 1.4 million viewers. Its ratings overall are marginally better than Stargate Universe, whose second season begins this Tuesday. If those ratings can get SGU renewed, possibly the same will be true for Haven. However, SGUhas a huge audience base to draw from, while Haven is starting from scratch (Stephen King fans notwithstanding). Syfy may have more faith in a spinoff show than an original. I suspect the decision about renewal will come down to how Haven performs internationally.