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After “Fear & Loathing” three weeks ago, “Roots” was another episode showing Haven at its best. Like in the former, feelings of resentment and hatred were at the heart of the events, and the visuals were of the type that would impress the viewer’s mind. However, instead of a single person vendetta, we had a skillfully conveyed feud between two families to draw from, which turned out to be even more compelling. To make things more interesting, the writers also decided to spice things up in the lead characters’ lives.
Haven is not meant to be a procedural, and investigations are not meant to be the show’s strong suit. All that is required from Audrey is to gently lead the viewers to the person and the reasons behind whatever trouble is afoot, and that is what she did here. It was nice for the show to contrast her approach with Chris Brody’s who just wanted to deal with the manifestations or symptoms and not the source (Audrey: “In Haven [the town] it’s always someone!”).
The procedural aspects might not be that important, but the rationale behind a particular trouble and the way it manifests itself are fundamental when assessing an episode of Haven. This is the supernatural, not even pseudo-science, but it helps if it “makes sense” at some level. Plants are alive and life requires feeding. When you throw the supernatural in the mix, hatred is as good a food as any other. So, to me, using roots was brilliant and of course deliciously creepy. Delicious because watching them slither is very likely to trigger a visceral reaction in many of us, but not as strong or as repulsive as what we might get from slithering animals (snakes and brethren)…
In addition to the threatening roots, two secondary characters were portrayed in such a way that helped the viewer emotionally connect to what was going on between the Novellis and the Keegans. During his conversation with the father of the bride, the groom (Peter Novelli) appeared like the kind of character everyone loves to hate. It was very well done and helped set things up. The other character — a personal favorite — was Beverly Keegan. Seeing her rejecting Duke, and then welcoming him after seeing the box, and finally stroking the object while being elusive was a treat.
Because of the Twitter storyline, we saw a lot more of Vince and Dave (of the Haven Herald) than we usually do. The problem is that on a couple of occasions they were a bit too creepy or too odd for the scene. I will be, however, the first to admit that odd sometimes works for them. In the first season episode “Consumed” when they helped Audrey choose a dress for a diner with Nathan — actually, for a diner with Nathan at the grand opening of a restaurant under investigation, big difference! — odd was fine, and Audrey with her carefree attitude was exactly what she needed to be for the scene to work. Here, I guess Nathan’s charms and his own version of aloofness didn’t work as well.
Speaking of Audrey and Nathan, although we have had plenty of signs from him already, Haven has never really hinted at anything from her side. Her kiss on the cheek in an earlier episode was candid enough to be accepted as what she clearly intended it to be, a thank you. When she touched him during the lunch in “Fear & Loathing,” she had just discovered she was the only person he could “feel” and was in a way rewarding him for his kindness to the troubled girl. Such events and many others may be used as stepping stones to feelings for Nathan but as it is, the fact is that the show has been rather straightforward with the two characters. That is why, although it was at times done clumsily, I liked Vince and Dave reinforcing the fact that Nathan was the only one hoping for a relationship.
With that in mind, I could easily restrain the part of me that was quick to think the relationship between Chris and Audrey was pushed down the viewer’s throat. The fact is, Audrey warmed up to Chris and reacted to him very differently from what we have seen happening with Duke and Nathan. Around Chris, Emily Rose has portrayed an Audrey who was definitely less indifferent. And on the subject of love, which was coincidentally also the cure to the trouble in this episode, I will say it was rekindled a bit too quickly for my taste between the old lovers. People don’t move from fifty years of hatred and resentment to kisses in a heartbeat. We expect some intermediary steps, like looking at each other, holding hands and maybe, maybe after a diner, away from younger people you might kiss. But then again, when it comes to feelings and how we display them, we might as well hold back judgment given how wildly these things can vary.
Finally, the writers deserve some credit for their efforts with Duke and especially Evi. She is still an annoying character, but at least now we would like to know what she is up to. Also, Duke’s role in future events is becoming more and more intriguing. All things considered, “Roots” was a very good episode of Haven. When reviewing “Love Machine” a couple of weeks ago, I wished for an immaculate emotional reaction and here we virtually had it.