Yâ€™all know that Haven is near and dear to me. Iâ€™m usually the first person to flail madly when TPTB on a show switch up something that isnâ€™t broken, and this season, Haven did that but I didnâ€™t flail. Nathan and Audrey were the core of the first two seasons, nearly driving Lucas Bryant and Emily Rose into the ground in the process. So, this season, they added a few new characters to round out the workload, and Duke moved more front and center, especially as an ally to Audrey when plot developments kept her away from Nathan. In doing so, TPTB finally took the reins off Eric Balfour and let everybody see how awesome he is.
Iâ€™ve been a fan of Balfour since the Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot, way back there in 1997. Unfortunately, Balfour wasnâ€™t a regular, but the upside is that he did get to go off and build an impressive range of pretty fearless film and TV work and I was so happy for him when he landed at Haven. While Duke wasnâ€™t written for him, heâ€™s made the character wholly his own, and in real life, heâ€™s a super chill friend to the fans, taking to Twitter to live-Tweet episodes and holding video chats. Heâ€™s also an avid marine life activist, publicizing efforts to save dolphins in Japan. Win-win-win as far as being an actual human being goes.
But back to Duke. Iâ€™ve had the good fortune to sit in on two press calls with Balfour and heâ€™s been charming and goofy and funny and genuine in his love for Haven and Duke. Heâ€™s found things out about the show and the character as we did. Thereâ€™s been no bible of past events, and every reveal has been just as refreshing for him as for us. And Balfour is game for all of it.
In â€œBurned,â€ we found out Duke has a daughter out in the world, something weâ€™d never previously had reference to. Last season, his wife turned up. And biggest of all, we found out that Duke could absorb a Trouble and wipe it out entirely for a family line, making him a powerful weapon or savior. Balfour has played all these nuances as if theyâ€™d just always been so. And he still plays Duke as human–bewildered by the town of Haven and rolling with it at the same time.
The first two seasons had Duke as a bit of the comic relief when things got heavy, and this season, heâ€™s had as much emotional toil as the rest of the crew. Duke had the key reveal at the beginning of this season in “Stay,” when he had to tell Audrey she had a clock on her. It was a delicate, weighty moment, and it was a piece of information that was going to affect her, him, and Nathan, so he knew it was a loaded conversation before it ever started, but he told her quietly and without any smartass overtones, and he wanted to fight to change it.
One of the most powerful scenes for Balfour this season came in â€œThe Farmer,â€ when Audrey ambushed Duke into killing a Troubled man who was harvesting organs from his bloodline. He was horrified at the request, refused to do it, and then walked away, but we saw in a flashback later that he went back and killed the man after Audrey left. At the end of the episode, Duke, halfway through a bottle of scotch, tells this to Audrey wordlessly, with the grief and rage and sorrow about what heâ€™s now become all over his face as he weeps. It was an amazing, amazing scene and Balfour was perfect.
When Duke went back in time in â€œSarahâ€ and met his grandfather, and then unwittingly orchestrated his death, Balfour played disbelief and happiness and loss in 44 minutes. And he was the voice of reason to try to warn Nathan off getting involved with Sarah. At the opposite end of the spectrum, in â€œMagic Hour, Part 1,â€ Audrey took Duke to Colorado to search for the Colorado Kid and a flirty chat over beers turned romantic for a moment until Audrey dialed it down.
Duke didnâ€™t weird out on or turn against her. He laughed it off with her as a near-miss between friends. No harm, no foul. And Balfour sold it with his smile and his eyes and the easiness in his shoulders. He made Duke genuinely OK with it. Itâ€™s apparent that Duke has feelings for Audrey but heâ€™s not going to step on Nathan, withÂ whom he’s finally realized a truce,Â or his friendship with Audrey, to act on them.
This is why Eric Balfour is so goodâ€”why heâ€™s a 2012 TV Goodness All-Star. Iâ€™m so glad weâ€™re getting a fourth season of him playing Duke.
Haven returns with a two-hour season finale on Friday, January 17th, at 9 pm/8 c.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…