Haven: The Trial of Nathan Wuornos

Haven‘s final half-season, airing on Syfy and Showcase, continued with a strong episode last week in “The Trial of Nathan Wuornos.” This episode combined interesting character and plot and mythology elements, and I certainly hope the rest of the season continues in this vein!

We pick up where we left off last week: Nathan has come back to the school but WITHOUT Kira, and says she’s dead; the people want his head. (But, interestingly, they are at least trying to keep each other calm so as not to set off more Troubles!) Nathan manages to get a moment alone with Dwight and Audrey to tell them the real story: Kira’s alive but pinned in the place where they found the aether, and they have to hide this until they rescue her because if people go to save her and discover the aether, they’ll scramble for it and terrible things will happen. So! Freeing Kira is a two-person job; it’s understood that Charlotte can be one of those people. The difficulty is this: They can’t let Nathan go free (though I’m unclear on why he couldn’t just sneak out); Nathan thinks Audrey needs to stay with the people; Audrey thinks Dwight needs to stay so the people don’t murder Nathan.

So Audrey comes up with a solution: They’ll put Nathan on trial – with the Teagues in charge – while Dwight and Charlotte rescue Kira and Audrey solves the darkness Trouble. “Nothing slower than a legal proceeding. It’s brilliant.” And Dwight also uses this to sort of force the crowd into proving that they are strong and still have a sense of justice and civilization and don’t need to depend on him personally for everyone. “I’m unclear. Is this trial a stalling tactic or is it the rebirth of democracy?” “Can’t it be both?” It is pretty brilliant. The Teagues set something up modeled on ancient Athens, with Nathan speaking for himself, Kira’s fiance Tony speaking for her, and everyone in the community getting a vote. Audrey’s worried about Nathan getting banished into the darkness, of course, but Nathan tries to reassure her: “I’ll survive. I’ve been doing it for days.” “You’ve been doing it for years.” Aww.

But the stalling tactic turns more dangerous when Tony points out that under Athenian law the prosecutor sets the punishment, and he wants the death sentence. Obviously Audrey is having none of this – “Screw the rules.” Audrey and the Teagues, throughout, seem more worried about Nathan than Nathan is, which seems typical. Tony starts accusing Nathan of deliberately spreading the Troubles, and people are listening to him. Audrey decides she needs to just stop proceedings if they go too far – “I will pull the fire alarm. If that doesn’t work, I will set fire to the school” – and ends up enlisting a deaf man named Grayson whose trouble is a scream that makes everyone run away. (Audrey seems to be fluent in sign language. Did we know that?) She is so determined to save Nathan – “I will do anything to save you.” “You’re stealing my line” – and he finally tells her why he wants the trial to go forward: “I feel like I’m on trial for being me, or at least the me that I’ve become since I fell in love with you. I want to defend that.” Wow. Lucas Bryant was really masterful in this scene and episode.

Audrey’s also trying to solve the darkness Trouble, and this winds up being related to Nathan’s trial – various clues lead her to Tony, who is in denial about his Trouble just as he’s apparently always been in denial about his darker emotions. Kira had actually broken up with him because of this (meaning he technically has no right to prosecute on her behalf), and the breakup triggered his Trouble. In a very well put together scene, Nathan gives a speech in his own defense about hope and love while Audrey works desperately to save people from the encroaching darkness and Tony slowly comes to accept and control his Trouble. It turns out that Tony has been losing time and has no memory of writing the documents that had supposedly incriminating evidence against Nathan – is someone taking him over or something?

Meanwhile, Dwight and Charlotte go save Kira, and have an interesting conversation about Nathan’s strengths and weaknesses as they travel. I don’t quite have a handle on what the show is doing with Dwight this half-season yet; if he’s complex but coherent I’m all for it, but if he’s sort of vacillating between being “good” or not, I worry. Charlotte also tells Dwight that there’s some great evil living in the void and feeding off aether, and that she thinks there might be a way to cure the Troubles but she needs Audrey, and, for the record, Charlotte and Dwight still have a ton of chemistry. They rescue Kira – the darkness Trouble ends just in time to stop all three of them from dying – and return with her, after confirming that there’s a ton of aether. They get back just as Vince is about to read Nathan’s verdict, so we don’t actually know whether he would have been convicted. Kira being alive means Nathan’s in the clear, and everything seems great until – the Sandman uses his Trouble to put Audrey to sleep.

Elsewhere, Hailie is trying to use her Trouble and Duke’s trying to stop her, but ends up explaining how it works to keep her from hurting herself. “That’s why they’re called Troubles. Not powers.” I wrote in my notes “obviously this will end badly but it’s fun having someone excited about their Trouble” and sure enough, she soon decides to solve her financial troubles by robbing a bank. Duke: “I’m not even against stealing. I’m against you using your Trouble to do it.” Of course she does it, and of course they get caught by a cop. The cop shoots (but doesn’t kill) Hailie, and Duke uses her blood to activate his killing powers and protect them from the cop – but then, of course, he wants to kill Hailie; she only narrowly manages to escape by using her Trouble. My take on this whole plotline is still that I’m enjoying it but really miss Duke in Haven.

Next episode: What does the Sandman want with Audrey?

(Image courtesy of Syfy.)

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