Haven: Audrey Parker’s Day Off

The short version: Audrey Parker should never, ever take a day off.

The long version: Well, frankly, this was a weird episode of Haven, so I feel justified in writing about it in a weird format. I’m not going to go through the plot in order, because it would drive me crazy and because the details aren’t really important. So let’s sum up and then get into the actual issues the episode is addressing.

What happens: A man named Anson Shumway suffers from OCD, and his Trouble is related (more on this link later): his attempts to see his estranged daughter on her birthday lead to her (accidental) death, so his guilt makes the whole town start the day over. Because Audrey is immune to the Troubles, she’s the only one who can remember what’s going on and try to fix things. But each time she changes something, someone different dies: Chris Brody, Duke, Nathan. Finally, she manages to convince Anson of what’s happening, and he realizes that he himself must step out in front of the speeding car and let himself be killed to stop the cycle.

When I interviewed star Emily Rose a few months ago, she told me this episode was the one she was most proud of, because of the emotional intensity and “urgent, spiralling timeline.” She also pointed out that this episode supplied a different explanation for at least some of the Troubles: mental illness. I think it would be simplistic to suggest that all of Haven’s issues are caused by the mental illnesses of a few residents – because then, of course, you’d need an explanation for why mental illness triggered supernatural-seeming events, and then you’re basically back at the beginning of the mystery – but I thought it was a very interesting aspect to consider and I’m glad the show brought it up.

As the day repeats and Audrey’s approach becomes more deliberate and streamlined, it’s interesting to see the choices she makes: she stops trying to explain what’s going on to Chris (with whom she wakes up) or Duke (who she sees immediately since she’s now living in his restaurant), and instead simply makes them promise to stay together away from the danger zone. She does explain things to Nathan every time, and he always believes her and has complete faith in her ability to stop it. “We’ll find a way to stop this. Together,” he insists.

This episode was basically a shipper’s dream, regardless of who you’re shipping, as Audrey saw all three of the men in her life “die” and reacted to their survival. Audrey woke up with Chris and had planned to spend her day off with him, and they had a lot of coupley cuteness at the beginning of each repeat of the day. But his behavior during the repeats of the day showed that he was well-meaning but somewhat incapable of dealing with the weirdness of Audrey’s life and her inability to stop working. To be fair, he does save her from the speeding car during one of the repeats, and I really don’t hate them together. But by the end of the episode, it seems Chris can see the writing on the wall – for an extremely laconic, understated guy, Nathan is sometimes not all that subtle – and doesn’t put up much of a fight when Audrey sort of breaks up with him and sends him to London to get grant funding. (I believe he’ll be back for one more episode, in a few weeks.)

Duke is the first of her friends Audrey sees “die,” and she’s clearly distraught. When she sees him alive after the day flashes back, she throws herself into his arms, and it’s really adorable. He obviously still has a bit of a crush on her, but his flirting no longer seems to be particularly serious. I really like the two of them as close friends, and that seems to be the way the show is headed. And really, as much as Duke might enjoy joking about stealing Nathan’s girl, I don’t think he’d actually do it.

Speaking of Duke and Nathan, before we get to Audrey and Nathan, let’s discuss the guys for a minute. When Nathan thought Duke was dying, he was clearly quite upset (and Audrey was rather delighted that she could remember this and rub it in). Duke, meanwhile, is completely taken in by Chris’s Trouble-induced charisma until Nathan tells him what’s going on. At the end of the episode, we see the three guys hanging out companionably – but with both Duke and Nathan turned away so they don’t see Chris’s face and get drawn back into his spell.

And oh … Nathan. One of the saddest/sweetest Audrey/Nathan moments ever came during the repeat when he was the one to die: As Audrey held him as he was dying in the street, he said: “It doesn’t hurt. The only thing I feel is you.” In the next repeat, she’s so relieved to see him alive and well, and they have a cute little moment in which she tastes his coffee for him to see if it’s too hot, since he can’t tell. It’s played as though this is a regular thing for them, and I’d love to see some more of these everyday examples of how she helps him navigate the world.

The episode is full of examples of Nathan’s unwavering faith in Audrey. When she freaks out about the prospect of failing to stop the cycle:

Nathan: “It’s not going to happen.”
Audrey: “That’s what you said the last time.”
Nathan: “I bet I meant it then too.”

And later, when Audrey insists that she failed because she wasn’t able to save Anson, Nathan says “You could never fail me.” All together now: Awwwww.

At the very end of the episode – over a mellow cover of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” – Audrey looks in through the open doorway of the Gull at her three guys drinking together. She certainly looks contemplative, and it occurred to me that she got an opportunity that virtually no character in a love triangle polygon ever has. She got to experience the death of each of her three suitors and gauge her own emotional reaction to each situation. We see her turn away, looking slightly shocked – did she have some sort of revelation about her own (repressed?) feelings? We (and Nathan) can only hope.

Photo Courtesy of Syfy

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