[WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the series finale.]
This is the last thing I’m going to write about Haven so it’s going to be a little wordy.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the series finale.
It’s an emotional thing to say goodbye to a show you have loved, and I have genuinely loved Haven. I respect that there was once a version of me who was very seriously invested in the well-being of these characters and eagerly awaited each renewal. But I still surprised myself that I teared up toward the end of the second hour as the decision was made and we started the final act. I lay that squarely at the feet of Lucas Bryant, who will never not break my heart into a million pieces when his voice catches and he cries. Done. Done. Done.
And that’s not to take anything away from the equally decimating scene in “Now” when Duke offers up his life to save his town and Nathan takes it. I wasn’t wholly sure it wasn’t reversible/temporary so I sort of watched it with an attitude of “we’ll see,” and then realized it was real, and permanent, and devastating and then I got upset about that, too. That damn tattoo had taunted and haunted us, and the truth bore out about Duke’s fate as Nathan suffocated him while he and Audrey told him everything he meant to them, but it was his decision.
In hour two, “Forever,” Croatoan’s heart grows two sizes and he surrenders to the power of the love his daughter–or a figment of his daughter–feels for a man who is not him when Nathan breaks his control and races back to Audrey. It’s a bracing realization for Croatoan that he cannot win against Nathan, that he can’t summon up the desire to trade his life for hers when Nathan would do it on a dime. He accepts defeat and tells Audrey he will leave. He offers to power the barn and take the Troubles with him until Vince pops up with a “not so fast” warning that hate alone can’t power the barn; it has to be balanced by love. Audrey has to go, too, for it to work. In the end, it would seem Nathan’s return and Duke’s death were maybe for nothing.
Audrey hears Vince out and decides again that the town (and now the world in peril) is worth more than she is, more than her relationship with Nathan is. She agrees to goes back into the barn to save Haven and the world. And Nathan says it’s OK. “I never felt anything until I met you. You saved me. You made me real. I love you, Audrey. I will always love you.” She makes him promise that he’ll be OK and he’ll find someone again who makes him happy. She asks him to move on.
“Move on. How can I ever do that? I’ll think about you every minute of every hour of every day, and that’s why I’ll be OK…You’ll be with me every time I feel something. You’ll be with me in all the people whose pain you’ve taken away. With all the people in this town who are free to live and love and grow without fear. You will always be with me…I will always love you.”
It’s at this point that I’m pretty sure that the folks who hadn’t raged at Duke’s demise started to yell at their televisions. Because this is where we didn’t want these characters–with an inevitable choice that separates them forever. He walks down the steps and she goes back inside, and she, Vince, and dear old Dad kickstart the new barn and Nathan stands outside, below, and very, very small in the shadow of the armory as it fills with light and collapses.
We jump a month forward, and the crime wave has been dialed down to “cats in trees” at the police station. Nathan leaves the precinct in Laverne’s and Stan’s hands and heads out to go fishing with Dwight (who can’t hook worms), McHugh, and Lizzie, who gets to stay behind as a token of good will since a Trouble killed her, I guess. He stops by the Gull to see Gloria and she tells him the Trouble marker really is gone. Everyone is OK. Audrey will not return. He’s OK with that. She also admits she was the most like Duke, so if he wants to talk to Duke, talk to her.
Then he starts down the road, and there off to the side is a red car. We know before he does. He gets out, and approaches the passenger side, startling a frustrated young woman who can’t get her car started. Audrey, with red hair. “Parker?” She responds that she was trying to “park her.” She says she’s got to get home because James will be cranky, and there in the back is a baby in a car seat. Nathan offers to start the car and pops the hood and then catches his breath before he puts it back down and offers her a ride. Her name is Paige. She checks herself in the mirror and is hopeful. She slams his fingers in the door and he feels it. She offers to buy him breakfast as an apology/thank you. “Do you like pancakes?”
Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” is on the radio as they all load into the Bronco and drive away. In the barn, Croatoan asks why she couldn’t go back as Audrey, and Vince says it wasn’t possible, but she knew if she went back as someone else, they could fall in love again.
So, that last part of rebooting her is the part I can’t reconcile with, and I had the same reaction to What Dreams May Come [SPOILER AHEAD]. In it, the story’s hero literally scrounges through Hell to save his wife after her suicide, and he does, bringing her back into Heaven. At which point, they’re offered the chance to be reborn and she says yes, let them do it all again, and find each other again. And even though he’d rather stay with her there, at peace with their family after extraordinary sadness and pain, he goes back because it’s her wish. I’ve been pissed off about that for 17 years.
In the case of Haven, I don’t accept that Audrey couldn’t come back through as herself. Regardless of the massive chemistry of every incarnation of Emily Rose with Lucas Bryant, Audrey and Nathan are the OTP (forgive me, that’s the term I find most relevant here). They’re given a chance at a happy, peaceful, unTroubled life, but they’re starting from a place (again) where everyone in town knows and remembers another version of her. It’s a cruel fate in a way.
We have a glimpse of that in the diner when Nathan immediately loves Faux Audrey, and she him, but they don’t know why, and then she leads him home to the real Audrey, sacrificing herself precisely because she does love him. I loved that Nathan couldn’t be wholly blank slated. That he’d remember, quickly, and run home, and that Croatoan’s device helped him figure it out. I did love the diner scene, though–it reminded me of just about the only quiet moment in The Crazies.
It touched on the imprint of Audrey in all these women who connect with Nathan back during “Just Passing Through“– that Lucy was handsy with him immediately. And if we get into a conversation about souls, that thread is always there. I just vastly dislike that Audrey’s soul keeps getting rebooted into different vessels that Nathan is supposed to love. It’s a wonder he isn’t medicated. I wanted Audrey and Nathan together, not a variation thereof, even if it came with his son. I can live with what we got, but that’s the asterisk I mentioned yesterday in my preview. But I am very grateful we got any ending at all. Immense gratitude about that. And I appreciate, too, what that meant to everyone working on this show.
As for Duke…I feel like we got short-sheeted there with him. First, because he was apart from everyone in these back 13. Second, if this was where they were going all along, I’d almost rather they’d done it at 5.13 and given us 13 episodes to honor his choice. I appreciate that he was himself again, but I don’t love that he was wrought with guilt about being Croatoan’s puppet hitman. Eric Balfour killed it with these last few episodes, but I wanted more for him and Duke. It was a nice bonus that his ghost returned to mouth off to Dwight and guide Nathan back to Audrey.
As for the meta winks–loved seeing Sloan Piller. I shouted at my screen when we saw her. And the police blotter of writers’ names was fun. Also loved seeing Jason Priestley and Nicole de Boer.
Shout out to Adam Copeland, who was so good in his scenes about Lizzie. Love that Haven showed the world how good he is.
I loved the long monologue (see above re: Bryant Effect), and the visuals of the Armory shots, Nathan and Audrey’s goodbye, and the scene in the diner. They’re up there with my favorite scenes over the entire series. Thank you, Shawn Piller.
Many, many thanks to the cast, creators, and crew for five seasons that entertained, destroyed, and infuriated me. As I said yesterday, I want all of these people back on TV immediately. Somebody put Bryant/Rose/Balfour together in a repertory company or anthology series ASAP.
Thank you readers, for taking the ride with me. Hit me in the comments with your thoughts on the finale.
You can rewatch this season of Haven on Syfy, and seasons one through four are available online at various outlets and on DVD. One final note–I realized a few weeks back that Haven is running in syndication now. They’re on the first season. Check your local listings for a trip down memory lane.
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