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Review #2373: Haven 2.6: “Audrey Parker’s Day Off”

Posted on the 22 August 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Ever since “Groundhog Day” hit the big screen, it seems like every genre show (and several others, for that matter) feels the need to craft an episode around that property’s particular spin on the concept. And why not? After all, it was originally a speculative fiction trope. It was just made a lot more popular by that film, and now it’s a familiar touchstone for the modern audience. So it’s not all that shocking to see Audrey Parker encounter the same sort of thing.

Review #2373: Haven 2.6: “Audrey Parker’s Day Off”

Of course, “Haven” has been on a wave of rising quality this season, so the trope is hardly played for simple fun and games. Instead, it is designed to facilitate the best of intentions: addressing Audrey’s psychological state in the wake of sleeping with Chris and further complicating her emotions. Instead of firming up the shuffled love triangles that have been emerging since the beginning of the season, this episode just makes them a lot more complicated.

In essence, while the mystery and “curse” at the center of this episode is all about a father with OCD going out of control, trying to make things right for his daughter and pulling Audrey (as the anti-Troubled) into the mix, it really comes down to Audrey having to watch the three men in her life get killed. And, of course, in ways that make her think it’s all her fault. It’s all designed to force Audrey to examine her feelings for Duke, Nathan, and Chris in one single context.

And the results are about as conflicted and complicated as one might imagine. The writers do a great job of making all three men more than amenable as a choice for Audrey, building on the work that has already been done. Duke is the maverick rogue, Nathan is the dependable partner, and Chris is the safe alternative (not to mention his focus on her, which itself can be a strong draw).

In many other versions of the story, Audrey would come across as needy or annoying. Instead, Audrey comes across as more desirable than ever. A lot of leading ladies tend to be written as almost purposefully disrespectful of the men they claim to love, largely because a lot of writers (male and female, oddly) can’t seem to portray a woman’s emotional conflicts as sympathetic. One of the men is always treated badly as a result.

In this case, the writers tread close to that line with Audrey and Chris, but they layer Audrey’s growing sense of panic and confusion into the progression of the story so well that her inability to explain things to Chris is entirely understandable. Yes, this is “Haven”, so everyone is pretty good with the weird. But how can Audrey explain her motivations when she really doesn’t fully understand them herself?

But it’s clear, given that Chris is the third and last man in her life to be the victim of her attempts to change fate, that she’s not dismissing his concerns at all. Her inability to save the day and make everything right leaves her shell-shocked, and on top of that, the process has forced her to consider that she loves three different men at the same time. If anything, the look on her face makes it clear that she knows, sooner or later, her choices will wound them all in some way or another. There’s no easy way out.

Part of why I like this is that the show has already established, rather firmly, that our Audrey is not herself. She doesn’t really know who she is. What she feels right now may not last her process of self-discovery. For that matter, all three of them are interested in Audrey as she is now. Who can say that any of these relationships will survive the truth? That just raises the stakes even more, and connects these interpersonal issues to the ongoing plot threads. In Haven, nothing can be seen out of the context of the Troubles!

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 2/4

Final Rating: 8/10

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