Haven‘s season opener, “Fallout,” hinges heavily on a collaborative effort by the cast in order to accommodate Emily Rose’s maternity leave, which, for some shows, would be a hardship. On Haven, however, it merely allows them to showcase all of their strengths. Starting with Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour) being dropped out of the barn and into a seal tank at the Boston Aquarium, the momentum never really lags. Balfour anchors the first half of the episode as Duke is essentially a fish out of water, attempting to piece together all that has happened in the six months since his disappearance and assumed death, allowing for the audience to play catch up as well. While in custody for trespassing and identity theft, Duke meets Jennifer Mason (Emma Lahana), a new addition to the Haven family this season and a welcome one at that. Lahana holds her own opposite Balfour in one of the more amusing exchanges of the episode involving Duke being handcuffed to a bed and requesting his pants before things go any further, while explaining her unique clairvoyant inspired Trouble.
After Duke is sprung from Boston’s finest, we get our first news of the dire situation Haven has been facing for the last six months. The Troubles remain while Nathan (Lucas Bryant) does not as the town sheriff. Continuing their role as the town oracles, Dave Teague tells Duke where he can find Nathan. Lost to his grief, regret and facial hair, Nathan was explains that the less mysterious (but ever terrifying) Guard in Haven objected to the resulting chaos caused by Nathan shooting Agent Howard in attempt to save Audrey last season and ran him out of town. With the possibility of Audrey returning now that Duke is back from the barn, Nathan is determined to return to Haven and use the resources available there to bring her home so the Troubles can end once and for all.
Their return to town doesn’t go smoothly, as they are carjacked by Jordan Mckee (Kate Kelton) and the Guard shortly after arriving, and a confrontation ensues. The new sheriff in town, Dwight Hendrickson (Adam Copeland), previously the town cleaner, shows up with Vince and Dave just in time to prevent Jordan from unleashing some seriously pent up rage on Nathan with the business end of a shotgun. During the exchange it is revealed that the way Nathan intends to permanently end the Troubles is for “Audrey to kill the man she loves the most.” Him. That bombshell precedes the return of the Trouble of the week, which has a familiar tint to it.
One of the great themes of Haven is the notion of repetition and renewal, specifically as it related to Audrey Parker and her constant return to the town of Haven. Each time she returns, she has a different identity and yet at the heart, she is the same woman. In this instance, the writers played with the repetition theme to bring us the return of Haven’s very first Trouble. The clock has been reset and yet nothing is the same, including the way the Trouble plays out. Nathan has been struggling with his grief from losing Audrey for six months so when he must confront Marion Cauldwell’s (Nicole De Boer) grief over losing the man she loves, he is able to reach her when no one else can. One of the best exchanges of the night is after the Trouble with Marion is resolved and Duke compliments Nathan on how he handled the situation to which Nathan replies, “I learned from the best.”
“The best” is, of course, Audrey Parker, who is nowhere to be found in the town of Haven. We are given our first glimpse of where Audrey had fallen from the barn early in the episode and it is definitely a change from the previous versions of Audrey we’ve met so far. Believing she is a bar tender named Lexie Dewitt, Emily Rose brings a fun and new energy to the character. Instead of the reserved and steady Audrey Parker of previous seasons, Lexie resembles the straightforward and direct Sarah Vernon while lacking her confidence when faced with the threat of violence. The majority of Lexie’s scenes involve the mysterious new character of William, played by Eureka‘s Colin Ferguson. While at first we are lead to believe William is a flirty bar patron the final scene between the two reveals William is all too aware of who Lexie really is and the desperate need for her to remember Audrey Parker.
There is nothing about this episode that indicates massive behind the scenes changes and accommodations were made in consideration of Emily Rose’s pregnancy, and that is a testament to quality of Haven‘s production machine. Each member of the cast enhances your viewing experience and leaves you wanting more, while guest stars are believably revisited without a being redundant. While I am eagerly anticipating the reunion between Lexie and Nathan in the coming episodes, it’s clear that Haven is more than ready to be back and continue to surprise and delight it’s audience.