Haven is back! Season four began on the Syfy channel tonight with “Fallout,” in which six months have passed since Audrey and Duke and the barn all disappeared – at least for most people.
For Duke, though, it seems like just a few minutes have past before he’s dropped out of the barn and into . . . the seal tank at the Boston Aquarium, of all random places. (I guess he does like water.) He winds up chained to a hospital bed under a psychiatric hold, since the Haven PD is telling the Boston PD that Duke is dead and the man they have must be an imposter. Luckily, Duke has enough of an actual criminal background to escape, once a young woman named Jennifer shows up to help.
Jennifer, one of our new characters this season, started hearing voices right when the barn disappeared – and the voices were talking about Audrey, Howard, Nathan, and Duke. She believed her doctors that she was schizophrenic until she saw Duke on the news after the aquarium incident and bluffed her way into the hospital to see him. Duke convinces her to help him find Nathan and then to go back to Haven with them, and she spends the rest of the episode serving as a very convenient, occasionally funny excuse for Duke to explain Haven’s background for the benefit of new viewers or those who might need a refresher. What I really liked about her was that she didn’t buy into Haven right away – she made clear that she thought everything going on was weird and wrong, because it was, and that’s how an outsider should react.
Duke finds Nathan, who is no longer a cop and has grown a beard, outside a diner supporting himself by letting people pay to beat him up. He clearly has not dealt very well with the idea that Audrey, James, and Duke might be dead. Nathan and Duke have a warm, huggy reunion – I maintain that their huggy relationship is actually the most interesting one on the show – and the pair agree to return to Haven so they can look for Audrey.
Jordan and the Guard immediately pull guns on Nathan when he arrives in Haven with Duke and Jennifer, because they blame him for the Troubles returning, but the Teagues and Dwight show up and argue on Nathan’s behalf. Nathan reveals that his plan is to find Audrey and convince her to kill him, because Howard said that if Audrey killed the person she loves the most, the Troubles would end forever. Duke is supportive in public – “All he’s ever wanted to do was protect Haven! And he’s willing to give his life to do that.” – but as soon as they’re alone, he makes it very clear that he does not like Nathan’s plan. Part of it, of course, is that he doesn’t want Nathan to die, but he also questions whether the plan would actually work: “That means for the Troubles to end, you have to be Audrey’s true love. Are you sure about that?” “Never been more sure about anything in my entire life,” Nathan says. I’m sort of with Duke here, oddly enough. I’ve liked Nathan and Audrey together from the beginning, but the end of last season brought that into question for me a bit, and Nathan’s very confident statement here had perhaps the opposite effect than intended on me – someone saying “Never been more sure about anything in my entire life” in a premiere makes me assume that whatever he’s sure about will be called into doubt by the finale.
Nathan makes it clear that finding Audrey is his priority, but Dwight talks him and Duke into helping out with a Trouble in the meantime. Marion Caldwell – the first Troubled person Audrey helped, back in the series premiere – is once again wreaking havoc with freak weather events, because her true love Conrad has died and she doesn’t want to let him go. Nathan finally manages to talk her down, and as he tells her that she needs to stop letting her past regrets make her continue to hurt people, there are clear echoes of his own situation. When Dwight and Duke compliment him on job well done, Nathan just says he learned from the best, clearly meaning Audrey. Aww.
At the end of the episode, Dwight insists on giving Nathan his police badge back, though Dwight will remain chief. Nathan resists, but Duke points out that he’ll have a better chance of finding Audrey with police resources at his disposal – and Dwight promises that if Nathan’s just a detective, he’ll be able to bend the rules a bit. Just like that, Nathan Wuornos is again an employee of the Haven Police Department. And Duke has a surprising homecoming as well – since he’s been presumed dead, he expects the Gull to be closed, but when he gets there, he discovers that his brother Wade has shown up and taken over. Wade acts like he’s overjoyed at Duke’s return, but Duke is clearly shocked and skeptical. I’m definitely looking forward to learning more about the brothers’ history and how Duke deals with having a family member around.
And where is Audrey? Well, we’re not exactly sure, but either Audrey or someone who looks exactly like her is working as a bartender in an undisclosed location, and going by the name of Lexie. We’re supposed to think she’s very different from Audrey, and they lay it on a bit thick, having Lexie talk about how she just wants to find a good man and claim to have never been close to a gun in person. As soon as Lexie says she’s looking for a decent guy, a new customer named William enters the bar and starts to flirt with her – but he’s quickly followed by a mysterious man who pulls a gun on Lexie. William fights him off, then confesses that the man with the gun was there because he was afraid William would tell Lexie a secret about herself. William claims that she’s actually “someone else entirely” and that she needs to help him find out who she is, or lots of people will die. Lexie is understandably skeptical. So William knows she isn’t really Lexie, but doesn’t know who she is? I thought he might have meant that he knew Lucy or Sarah or another incarnation, but the way he said he would help find out seemed to imply that he didn’t know to just go to Haven. So who is this guy, and what exactly does he know? Will he tie directly back to Haven, or is there another layer of mystery going on here? And does he really have Lexie/Audrey’s best interests at heart?
I’ll admit that I was not wild about how season three of Haven ended, so I had my doubts going into this new season. I think it would be impossible for them to get the show back on track in one episode, but this premiere at least set up some interesting questions and introduced enough threads (and characters) to make me genuinely curious about where the season is headed. My main question right now, honestly, is when Lexie/Audrey will make her way back to Haven, as I think the show is best when all three parts of the Audrey/Duke/Nathan dynamic are present to play off each other. What did you all think of the premiere? Any theories you’d like to share about what the heck is going on?
The next episode of Haven, “Survivors,” airs on Syfy on Friday, Spetember 20th at 10/9c.
(Image courtesy of Syfy.)