Friday, September 21, 2012

Haven Season 2 Recap.

 This is so very frustrating. So very very frustrating.

After season 1 where we waited  and waited and waited and ye gods above waited for some meta plot to show up, we finally got it all in the last few episodes. Yes, excellent, we’ve had an introduction and now the plot begins – and with more than we imagined; Nathan as police chief, Real!Audrey and Real!Howard hanging around with their own questions and possible answers. Audrey is really this Lucy woman, who was she, where did she come from, how did the memories get copied, maybe even what is the source of the Troubles? So many questions and finally we’re going to get some answers! Yes! Go meta! Go investigation! Go spooky discoveries! Go pointless Trouble of the Week…

Wait, what?

Because we plunge right back into Trouble of the Week. The only person doing any investigating into these big damn mysteries is Real!Audrey who promptly loses her memory (the writers suddenly realised that if she kept investigating she might actually find something and we couldn’t have that!) after that the closest we get is Duke trying to track down the tattoo. Did Audrey suddenly stop caring about Lucy, about who she was? We get odd moments where Audrey discovers she can play the piano (though she doesn’t remember learning) in episode 3 and she discusses the identity crisis of having fake memories with Cornell’s clone in episode 8 but all these incidents do is highlight how little Audrey is doing to discover any answers. What’s the point of reminding us how much all of this bothers Audrey if all she does about it is stew and angst?

What makes it worse is that she will meet people and gasp “oh you knew Lucy!” but she doesn’t actually question them! It’s more “YOU KNEW LUCY!” “Why yes, yes I did.” “Cool, see you around.” Even Duke’s investigation only drags up hints. It’s only in the last 3-4 episodes of the season that we get into the meat of the meta

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the episodes – I did, I think there was a lot of good there, a lot of interesting and original ideas, a fair bit of excitement but trouble of the Week this season is so much more frustrating than the last one because we have meta plot to develop! Even the newly developing meta plot of the Rev and his cronies plotting to destroy or drive out the Troubled was something that just rumbled away in the background for most of the series without seeming to go anywhere

Again, it took us until episode 9 to really get into some meta – and then it got good. A special prize to Audrey for killing the Rev (yes I cheered). We found out about Audrey’s multiple past personalities and that a Lucy Ripley really existed. We found out that Dave and Vince knew a lot more – and are at odds. Duke is Troubled and has the ability to cure the Troubled from a family by murdering one member with the affliction. We saw the Rev’s plots, the Chief’s ghost and his own plots. We learned about Audrey/Lucy killing Duke’s father and his father’s plot to kill her as well. We even had Audrey and Nathan advance their terminally slow romance. In short, we learned a massive amount about Haven – the plot surged ahead – but too late!

Audrey is also coming to resemble Sookie and Elena in one way – everyone loooooves her. I almost laughed at how lamp-shaded this was in the Groundhog day episode where Audrey had not one, but three male love interests to cry pitifully over. It’s one thing that her special immunity makes her extra special to some people (like the guy who was vibrating in season 1), but nearly everyone Audrey meets loves her. Not just the three love interests, but the pathologist, the pathologist’s daughter, Dave and Vince, the police chief – everyone loves Audrey!

Despite that, I do like Audrey. She plays by the rules more than most police in supernatural dramas, but is still trying to do what’s right for situations where there is no rule book. She has a growing sense of purpose in helping the Troubled which, in turn, stems from her own doubts of her own identity – is she Audrey Parker? Is she Lucy Ripley? Is she neither or both? It’s a fascinating identity quandary which I think the show doesn’t make enough of but when it does come up

I think we had some excess characters introduced as well, when as much could be done with, say, using Duke or Vince or Dave more (yes I love those 2). Instead we introduced to Real!Audrey, who is then packed up and out really quickly (and never shall she be heard of or cared about again). We meet Dwight who could probably be an interesting and integral part of the plot… if they actually used him. Then there’s love interest Brody who is absolutely pointless – sure I actually like all of these characters and think they’re amusing and add to the characterisation – but their presence and distraction just reminds me how NOTHING IS HAPPENING!

And Evie. We have to discuss the hot mess that is Evie. First of all we have to remember that Evie is the only regularly occurring POC in the entire show – there have been token inclusions for a single episode, but she is the only character. Her connection to the main cast is as Duke’s wife and from the beginning he doesn’t trust her – for good reason. She’s conniving, manipulative and clearly running her own agenda – which turns out to be betraying Duke on the say so of the Rev and his cronies. And then she dies. Not just dies, she is fridged, fridged to develop and drive Duke.

Other things of note:
Can we drop the damn Wendigos please. No more Wendigos or skinchangers until you actually have some Native American characters. Wendigos don’t even fit with this world setting, for crying out loud! I’m actually waiting for Alphas and Warehouse 13 to have the obligatory Wendigo episode now, because everyone must have a Wendigo episode. Those aliens that came down from the sky at the end of Falling Skies? Totally Wendigos, you wait.  If the best you can do is basically say “Wendigo, it’s a cannibal werewolf!” then stop raiding other cultures for spare monsters and just go for a damn werewolf and be done with it.

I also think we need to add the inevitable “groundhog day” episode to the list of inevitable clichés. It has been done and done and done and done and it wasn’t all that novel when it was done the first time.

In summation I feel similarly about this season as I did about season 1 – it was a whole lot of dull capped with a whole lot of awesome. Because the last few episodes were awesome – the revelations all piled up, the meta plot raced in – we suddenly knew far more about Audrey and Duke, suspected more about Vince and Dave and felt like we were on the edge of major answers – and then the season ended! Aaaargh! Again I’m pulled into the next season, eagerly, desperate for answers. But I’m also worried that the next season is going to be another 8 or 9 episodes of Troubled of the Week with no metaplot development.

Also, the cliffhanger? Yeah, there’s no way Duke or Nathan are going to die, don’t even try to sell that.

I feel like giving this series a 2.5 fangs and a 4.5 fangs... simply because the pace changes so much