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Haven, the series, is a bit like the beautiful shots of Haven, the city, and its surroundings: there is a certain modesty to it, but it can be definitely bewitching. What the series lacks in the way of pace and structural discipline, it makes up for in the performance of its leads and the very distinctive way it draws the viewer in. However, it is still a TV series, so it cannot really shine when it completely throws any one aspect out of the window. Despite significant improvements over the first season, this is what has occasionally mired the show until now and is the reason why “Sins of the Fathers” is not the finale it could have been.
Right after things became interesting with Audrey’s outburst, Dave and Vince had the type of conversations that seem designed to ruin wonderful moments. The beginning of the investigation and the always entertaining Duke turned things around until Nathan’s warning (about Duke) happened, raising its ugly head above the surface of a story that was again getting smoother. Unfortunately for the episode, this was the pattern until the end. Before I get into why that string of carelessly thought out scenes is wrong, let me discuss a couple of them, because they are representative of the series’ issues and because they are also a good taste of what followed in this story where the dead came back to deal with unfinished business.
Dave and Vince have been consistently used much like the reverend: they openly withhold information not only from the characters, but from the viewers as well. Somehow, unlike the reverend, they have managed to avoid drawing much attention to themselves on the latter until very recently. After Audrey left the newspaper, their conversation was not only openly frustrating, but it was also inconsistent. One minute Vince is asking Dave for the authorization to give Lucy’s ring to Audrey, and the next (when alone) they are at each other’s throat about the amount of information given to our favorite Haven policewoman. On the one hand, they seem fundamentally divergent on how to deal with their troubles, and on the other hand they share those odd moments of consensus. As if the oddity of their relationship wasn’t enough, they keep dropping hints suggesting they know more than they are willing to let out. A little bit of that is tolerable, but after a while it becomes annoying.
Nathan’s warning about Duke was clearly there to prepare us for events that would happen during the episode and that is one of the reasons why it backfired. The whole point of having a series spanning several episodes is to give writers enough time and space to bring things about smoothly. Trying to cram all the details we supposedly need in the same episode never helps and often feels rushed or out of place. We all know Duke is not a saint, but we also witnessed a gradual transformation Audrey and Nathan were also privy to. We saw the relationship between Duke and Nathan change from something heavily influenced by Nathan’s lack of trust to something different. The kind of relationship where, even though Nathan still thought Duke was not an “honest man,” he could put his or Audrey’s life into Duke’s hands, because let’s face it, the stakes are not really the same. Unlike Audrey, who was angry at Duke in the Wendigo episode because she couldn’t believe he had switched sides (which is a natural reaction), Nathan was too quick to jump to conclusions here. Unfortunately for the story, the fishing trip wasn’t enough to justify his behavior.
Those little scenes — and the many more that followed — were meant to prepare us for the big confrontation involving everyone that ever mattered in the show and, to some extent, ease the way to the not so impressive cliffhanger in Duke’s boat. The annoying sequences also wanted to lay out the groundwork for the next season, but ultimately, what all those scenes did was interrupt the flow of an otherwise interesting story.
Killing the reverend was odd, so it made sense to bring him back, even if it was only temporary. A welcome corollary was that we got to see Chief Wuornos again and enjoy the Crocker family reunion. The conversations between the two sons and their dads were among the best moments in the episode. Chief Wuornos was a man of action in a way Nathan and Audrey are not. The differences between the two men were well emphasized during the conversations. One could see from his matter-of-fact attitude that Wuornos the elder only realized why he was back when replying “I guess I did” to Nathan’s “You came back to tell me that I can’t be in love with Audrey?” Watching the Crockers was delightful. Seeing his father’s points gradually making a dent into Duke’s protection made of sarcasms was interesting, just as finally getting to know what part he is to play in all this.
There was a little moment I found very amusing. While speaking to Dave, Vince said of Audrey, “It’s different this time, she’s different this time.” To which I was tempted to reply aloud: “Of course she is. That’s why there is a TV series about it. We know for a fact troubles will end this time for good!”
Aside from the shortcomings already discussed above, the confrontation in the woods showing Duke torn between his dad and the reverend on one side, and Chief Wuornos, Nathan and Audrey on the other was well put together. It showed, just like the father-and-son scenes, what the episode could have been.