"Who, What, Where, Wendigo?" was an episode full of surprises. They were at times irritating, puzzling, and even touching. Some of the plot lines missed the mark, but we never stooped to the lows of the previous week.
The tone was set from the very first scene: a truck driver, flossing his teeth, watched a waitress while listening to a radio report of a serial killer whose last victim was a young woman working for a dentist. Flossing, dentist and voyeurism naturally nudged our mind toward the obvious conclusion, but the driver turned out to be the person protecting a helpless teenager apparently running for his life.
The rest of the episode was the above scene applied to different situations and involving characters hunting down or protecting a Wendigo. A Wendigo, for those of you ignorant of native North American mythology, is of course a human spirit feeding on human flesh, deers, and other things with a heartbeat and a lot of blood... Presented like that with a hint of sarcasm it might sound silly, but it actually ushered in a storyline with very good moments. The Wendigos turned out to be charming young girls with a deadly appetite, but definitely human in their emotions and longing. The youngest in particular was adorable and perfectly expressed her frustration at not being able to do whatever she wanted (read: eat human flesh) and was very compassionate toward the clean-up "Viking," Dwight, understanding his sense of loss.
Maintaining a bad reputation is Monster 101, and is a very essential part of what makes a monster. After all the hype, the Benton sisters ruined it for all Wendigos out there by refusing real food, eating deers, and almost dying of hunger. The youngest one, Sophie, was so helpless that Dwight even offered his arm to help her sustain herself, a move that could have spoiled — but that maybe helped — one of the best moments of the episode. At some point it looked like the middle sister would save the Wendigos' reputation, but even herself yielded.
Dwight was explored a bit more during the episode. With the loss of his daughter and his careless attitude ("tempting fate"), the story seemed to set things up to dispatch him, leading us to think he might be the sacrificial lamb before pivoting toward Reverend Driscoll. Characters like Driscoll who tend to withhold information are frustrating, as they appear as plot devices designed to keep things away from the viewer. After the initial surprise, I was about to decide it was good for the story (to have him gone) when I realized that in his death he was essentially having the same behavior: preventing or delaying any major revelations regarding Duke's role in all this.
Haven has been working for a while now on Duke, with Reverend Driscoll hinting that he is "in the middle" of everything and that his picking a side can tip the balance. Because this was the episode for surprises, they tried something with Duke that was unfortunately not well executed. With Evi and Driscoll now gone, it is still possible to improve the storyline which — despite very good moments — has been uneven throughout the season.
Duke's "Hey Sasquatch!" was one of his rare funny lines in a story that started out as a rescue operation and lost its way into a hunt for Wendigos. A story that conveniently ignored the father of the boy to be rescued after giving him a lot of attention. It was amusing to watch the dynamics of the relationship between Audrey and Nathan: He is the Chief, but she is clearly the one calling the shots in many aspects of their police work. The containment solutions this season have been consistently better than in the previous one, and here again the livestock slaughter-house worked fine as a home to our way-too-adorable Wendigos.
There were several surprises during the episode, but the one with the greatest potential is Audrey's behavior toward the end. With her explanation (or lack thereof) on how she learned to make fire with limited resources, the episode reminded us that there are several layers to Audrey Parker. This not too long before she shot Driscoll. Now, just like in "Audrey Parker's Day Off" I assumed wrongly that her final scene with her then boyfriend was a natural prelude to a break-up. I might be making too much of this. In case I am not, this could be a turn toward a darker side or toward some yet unknown agenda, which has the potential to make or break the story given that she is the cornerstone of the series.