With "Audrey Parker's Day Off," Haven has finally reached its potential. In one episode, the series has displayed the skills that made me laud "Fear & Loathing" and has made the viewers care more than usual for the outcome because Audrey — the cornerstone of the story — cared more than usual. By weaving together good storytelling and a compelling lead character drama, the show has delivered an episode that will really please the regular viewers, and possibly win over new ones.
Many of us tend to dislike change in general. When we are used to a particular situation or setting we find comfortable, we like to keep it that way or allow change to only happen following the narrow path we have foreseen and approved. Seeing Audrey with Chris Brody was not a particularly welcome change because of what we have been used to from the Haven P.D. police woman. However, it is absolutely understandable from a storytelling perspective as characters need conflicted emotions and values to grow and be interesting. This is why even though Emily Rose and Jason Priestley were both good, I found myself understanding the casual relationship more than enjoying it.
One thing the show has done right with Chris Brody is to include him seamlessly in every story since his first appearance. In this episode, the scenes again involving him and other people other than Audrey were appropriately light, but the best thing was to have the never-ending day start with both of them in bed. It not only allowed her (and us) to quickly pick up on what was going on, but it also put three of the main characters of the storyline at the same location, making each beginning flow much more smoothly. Seeing what passed at the bottom of the stairs between the new couple and Duke was each time a treat.
In fact, the whole looping day storyline was brilliantly put together. Because this is Haven and not some other story where the supernatural appears as too foreign an element, continuity between the days wasn't an issue. It even made sense to have Audrey retaining memories and injuries because she is impervious to troubles! One might still wonder what happened in the rest of the world as far as time flow is concerned, but hey, let's not be greedy.
There was of course a troubled person, but by the beginning of the third (repeated) day, it was obvious he was less relevant than he could have been. That is because the story started putting Audrey at the center by affecting her directly after each attempt to foil the chains of destiny. Every clue she used was well integrated in the storyline and each repeated scene was seen under a new perspective, which helped keep the repeated days interesting. Audrey's aloofness returned (after the bliss with Chris) in the second classroom scene in a very characteristic way. One could tell the day was starting to take a toll on her.
After delivering a gripping story, I was afraid the writers would let us down when Audrey spotted Anson Shumway, our troubled resident of the week. Fortunately, we were not only treated to a compelling family drama, but the story ended as it should have. Some storylines do not allow for happy endings and Haven's writers are finally getting around to it. They should also be commended for keeping Evi away and for giving us a Duke as funny as ever. About Duke, Eric Balfour is delivering a first rate performance in his portrayal of a character who doesn't need Chris Brody's curse to be universally liked.
The final scene with Sweet Talk Radio's version of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" had just the right tone. It was made to set the stage for the dispatching of Chris, and to remind us what and who really matters in the show. The viewer could see Audrey in turmoil because of the events of the day(s) and their consequences. These consequences could range from the fear of not being up to the task (of saving Haven) to the fear of losing friends and even an epiphany on newly discovered feelings for someone else other than Chris Brody. Whatever the reason, with the help of the melancholic melody and lyrics, it worked...