This week’s episode of Haven, “Survivors”, was written by Nora and Lilla Zuckerman, who have written some of the most popular episodes of the series to date – notably, last season’s “Sarah” which took us into Haven’s past in the 1950s – so I was excited for this episode, even if it’s a little early in the season for Nathan (Lucas Bryant) to don a fedora. It was not too early, however, to establish Nathan’s emotional journey for the season being reflected in each week’s Trouble.
In “Survivors,” spontaneous combustion is afflicting Haven and new chief, Dwight, tasks Nathan to do his job and help with the Troubles instead of just chasing down dead end leads on where Audrey might be. While Nathan searches for the culprit, Duke (Eric Balfour) must find a way to get his brother, Wade, out of town before Haven’s Guard gets rid of him permanently. Continuing his amazing work from last week’s premiere, Balfour is exceptional this week, especially in his scenes with Jennifer Mason (Emma Lahana) which are equal parts amusing and emotional. This episode allows Jennifer to explore who Audrey is to Haven and why everyone is so desperate to get her back. As the episode unfolds, it becomes clear that even though Jennifer fears the return of her Trouble she sees the sacrifices the people of Haven are making to bring Audrey home and accepts her role in helping Nathan and Duke to do that. The majority of this happens through her conversations with Duke about his experiences in Haven, especially when he tells Jennifer about his relationship with his brother Wade in a childhood memory about an incident while sledding that revealed just how long he’s been looking out for Nathan.
Duke appreciates Jennifer’s trust and understands how dangerous Haven can be so while their interactions are smart and witty, there is clearly an undertone of protectiveness from Duke that we’re not used to seeing. Duke has always taken care of the people he cares about, but usually it’s with a begrudging attitude and a sarcastic remark. Now, there’s vulnerability and understanding of how close he is to losing everyone he cares about. This protectiveness carries over to Duke’s interactions with Nathan because it’s clear Duke is worried about his friend.
Nathan’s Trouble keeps him isolated from everyone in Haven because of his inability to feel. While in previous seasons he was physically isolated, this season, it’s very clear Nathan is isolated in Haven on all levels. The people of the town blame him for the Troubles continuing even though Audrey went into the barn and Bryant portrays this isolation with an intensity reflective of Nathan’s desire to save Audrey at all costs, even his own life. In the first episode of season four, Nathan helped prevent a Trouble from destroying Haven by talking a woman through her grief in losing the man she loved. This week’s Trouble was triggered by misplaced guilt over the loss of a partner, something Nathan is intimately familiar with. While Nathan must find a way to get through to him before the town is burned to a crisp, Duke and Jennifer have a stand off with Jordan McKee (Kate Kelton) who is determined to keep Nathan alive so he can die to end the Troubles.
While Nathan struggles with his grief and guilt over losing Audrey (Emily Rose) to the barn, Audrey continues to believe she is Lexie Dewitt, a bartender who spends the episode arguing with the mysterious William (Colin Ferguson) about whether or not she is who she believes she is. While the scenes in the season opener were a little odd for a bar, this week makes it clear all is not right in Lexie’s new day job. William calmly dissembles a gun on the counter of the bar without a single reaction from any of the patrons and later in the episode Lexie reassembles the same gun because no one seems to care William is being dragged away by a giant and his fellow henchman. When she fires the gun in warning, we are given a glimpse of the Audrey we’ve come to love over the last three seasons of Haven. Hopefully her therapy sessions with William wrap up soon so she can return to Haven and helping people, maybe even with her memories back.