DVD REVIEW: HAVEN SEASON FOUR / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: EMILY ROSE, LUCAS BRYANT, ERIC BALFOUR, RICHARD DONAT, JOHN DUNSWORTH, ADAM COPELAND, EMMA LAHANA, COLIN FERGUSON, KATE KELTON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Following on directly from Season Three’s climax (when will TV producers learn that cliffhangers only irritate their audience rather than intrigue them?), it transpires that the Troubles, the periodic plague of supernatural afflictions blighting Haven’s populace, have not disappeared after Audrey entered the otherworldly Barn like they were supposed to, and instead have intensified to wreak further havoc. A subsequent six-month time skip sees Nathan wallowing in self-pitying, self-imposed exile, Duke having apparently vanished after chasing Audrey into the Barn, and Audrey still trapped inside the Barn’s unstable unreality where her personality has once again shifted, this time to that of Lexie, a friendly and slightly trashy barmaid.
With everyone so scattered, the first thing to be done is get them all back together, which takes up enough time to also establish the series’ new status quo. Which, to be honest, other than clean-up guy and literal bullet-magnet Dwight now being the chief of police, is not all that different from its previous one. Trouble of the Week stories still surface, the Guard still do little other than aggressively point guns at people, Vince and Dave still know more than they’re letting on, and we still get previously unmentioned character details being crowbarred in and will blatantly become plot-significant eighteen minutes later. Throughout the whole of the season, you can’t shake the feeling it’s little more than a placeholder designed to bridge the gap between the ending of Season Three and the as-yet-unseen true ramifications of its fallout.
Character development has always been one of Haven’s weak points, with only Duke having shown much growth throughout the series’ whole run, beginning as little more than a petty criminal and over time becoming the show’s most interesting character. This now goes even further as the sense of responsibility coming from the burden of his own Trouble (if he kills a Troubled person he also destroys its cyclical hereditary curse) continues to weigh upon him, with one event in particular becoming a moral black hole from which there is no right way out.
A significant recurring addition to the cast comes in the shape of William (A Town Called Eureka’s Colin Ferguson), a mysterious stranger with knowledge of Audrey’s past whose presence appears linked to a pair of enigmatic supernatural thugs. The season also sees the introduction of Jennifer, who initially hears voices coming from inside the Barn and later comes to partially resemble the character of Stephanie from Stephen King’s The Colorado Kid (by which the show is very loosely inspired).
The mythology of the show is finally granted some exploration, and even though we are still denied a full explanation for the Troubles, we at least learn their origin. We also learn exactly why Audrey is so closely tied into their comings and goings, along with why she can both undo them and is immune to their effects, something promised further expansion.
Of course, this being a Syfy show, the season climax once again culminates on a cliffhanger, but the you’re-all-really-fucked-now final line promises to take the upcoming Season Five into a new and sinister direction.