Haven 101:

A Fairly Spoiler-Free Guide To The First Two Seasons Of One Of TV’s Finest Shows

Haven is a supernatural series based on a short story by Stephen King called The Colorado Kid.  It all takes place in the small fictional coast town of Haven, Maine, where mysterious things happen sometimes, and no one has been able to figure out why.  This quaint little unassuming town is periodically plagued by something they’ve dubbed “The Troubles”, wherein a person or persons of a family will suddenly be struck with a curse – a power they didn’t know could exist, and of which they have no sense of control.  From the outside it may seem kind of cool, to wake up one morning with some kind of superpower, but The Troubles are far from enjoyable for the vast majority of the afflicted, not to mention the rest of Haven’s population.  From a man’s shadow going around killing people, to a girl who causes anyone who looks at her to see that which they fear most, to a woman whose emotions control the weather – these Troubles are not awesome.

So when FBI Special Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) – a woman with a murky past of her own – arrives in town on a routine investigation, the last thing she’s expecting to find is anything out of the ordinary.  She does, however, have somewhat of an open mind towards the supernatural, and her powers of perception are incredibly attuned to how The Troubles work and the needs of the Haven townspeople. What’s more, she makes an amazing discovery in an old newspaper article about the mysterious Colorado Kid murder that happened in Haven the last time the Troubles were around – a photograph of the crime scene that includes a picture of a woman who looks just like her, and who could very well be the mother she never knew.  Audrey decides to stay in town awhile and investigate this development a little more closely, but there’s a near constant struggle for her to glean any information about Haven’s past at all – both from the townspeople, who consider her to be an outsider, and from the offical records, many of which seem to have been doctored, incomplete, or are missing altogether.  For Audrey, Haven and its Troubles become almost an obsession, both on a personal and professional level, and as she moves deeper into the town’s secrets, her own past becomes more and more intertwined with Haven’s in ways that no one could have predicted.

The Characters of Haven

It doesn’t take long for Audrey to move from outsider to native Havenite, but at the end of the day, there’s always a tiny note of distrust between her and the rest of Haven.  Everyone has secrets, and a history of their own, but more is affecting Haven’s citizens than just the usual small town drama.  When The Troubles take hold – whether past or present – alliances and relationships can change with the breeze, as everyone gets down to the business of just trying to survive in their everyday lives.

Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant)– Nathan saves Audrey’s life before she can even fully get into town on her first day, and the two become partners when it’s discovered that Nathan is one of Haven’s finest. As a police officer, Nathan’s work immediately collides with Audrey’s case, and while the two work together tentatively at first, their friendship and partnership strengthens more and more as time goes by. Turns out that Nathan is himself a Troubled person – he physically can’t feel anything.  Not pain, not cold, not heat – nothing.  It’d be a cool superpower were he not still human.  As it is, his Trouble is pretty dangerous, especial given his line of work, because he can’t tell when he’s hurt.  It’s not long before a bond exists between Nathan and Audrey that transcends the norm, and the pair become a strong force in attempting to bring The Troubles to task and find the root of where it all began.

Chief Garland Wuornos (Nicholas Campbell) – Nathan’s father, and the longtime Chief of Police.  The bond between father and son was broken pretty early on, particularly after the death of Nathan’s mother when he was still a child.  The Chief seems to know more than he’s letting on, and that often puts an additional strain on the relationship he has with his son.  While some major secrets are revealed throughout the first season, however, most of what the Chief knows dies with him, leaving Nathan to be the one who has to try and pick up the pieces and continue holding the town together in his father’s place.

Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour) – A childhood friend of Nathan’s, Duke is the charmer of dubious intent in Haven.  He’s a businessman (read smuggler), he lies, cheats and steals if it serves him, and he’s definitely a ladies man, but when he’s loyal, there’s no better man to have on your side than Duke.  He’s running probably his first legitimate business in the bar/restaurant the Grey Gull, and he’s never happier than when out on his boat.  His contacts in and knowledge of Haven’s seedy underbelly make him an invaluable asset to Audrey and Nathan in their investigations, and when he lets his guard down a little, Duke proves himself to be worthy of a lifelong friendship.  He’s also haunted by a strange tattoo that keeps cropping up in his life when he least expects it.

Dwight Hendrickson (Adam “Edge” Copeland) – Dwight is Haven’s Everyman – he’s Troubled, he has a past, no one knows very much about him at all.  He has a myriad of skills in his arsenal, and where the Troubles are concerned, he’s the town Cleaner.  He once worked closely with the Chief whenever the polcie had to be involved in something tainted by the Troubles, and after his death, Dwight’s services passed on to Nathan and Audrey.  While Dwight doesn’t necessarily answer to anyone in particular, his abilities and knowledge of the town, the people, and the Troubles make him an important man to have on your side.

Vince and Dave Teagues (Richard Donat and John Dunsworth, respectively) – These brothers are life-long Haven residents, and have been running the local paper, the Haven Herald,  for about as long as anyone can remember.  Their understanding of the way things work in the small town – whether the Troubles are there or not – are a near-constant source of aid to Audrey, especially in the early going.  Together, the pair probably know more about Haven’s history than the rest of the town combined and, while they are ultimately loyal to one another, it’s the things that come between them throughout the course of the first two seasons that really crank up the tension and mystery levels of the show.

Reverend Ed Driscoll (Stephen McHattie) – The self-proclaimed leader of Haven’s God-fearing citizen’s, the Rev makes no bones about his dislike of Troubled people – or, as he calls them, The Cursed – and makes it his mission to rid the town of the evil he sees.  The Rev is intelligent, wellspoken, and a definitive leader within the town’s overall infrastructure.  He knows how and when to make his move, and can drum up a mob of supporters better than anyone around.  He and Nathan are constantly at odds, and the Rev has no problem keeping Audrey apart from his flock, both due to her outsider status, and the links she has to Haven and the Troubles of which even she is near completely unaware. Whenever there is a conflict within the town’s borders, the Rev is almost certainly at the centre of it, and even his death near the end of Season Two comes as such a shock that its reverberations are still being felt even now.

Those are the major players in Haven as we pull into the start of Season Three, and although two of them are no longer with us, their presence is still felt – often in a major way – and they still influence the lives and decisions of those they’ve left behind.  There are a plethora of other characters to have left their mark on the town, and on Audrey in most cases, and they bear mentioning, as well. Remaining as spoiler-free as possible, they are as follows:

Evi Ryan (Vinessa Antoine) – Duke’s estranged wife, her motives for helping Duke find out more about his past were not always clear, and she died before she could reveal too much.  Still, while she was in town, Evi was a force to be reckoned with, and possibly one of the only people that Duke truly cared about.

Chris Brody (Jason Priestley) – The Trouble that runs in Chris’ family is that they are absolutely loved by everyone with whom they come into contact.  For his politician father, this Trouble was a Godsend of sorts.  But with his death, the Trouble passed on to Chris, his people-hating son, and caused him no end of problems.  Chris and Audrey had a strong attraction drawing them together almost from the start, but Audrey soon felt that keeping Chris close to her meant placing his life in danger, and she eventually made the tough decision to set him free and send him on a different path – one which would take him out of Haven, at least for awhile.

Jess Minion (Anne Caillon) – A practicing Wiccan, Jess was somewhat of a mysterious outcast in Haven, particularly because she wasn’t born there , but she found a job working with some of Haven’s grieving townsfolk, and helping to counsel them through the process.  A relationship with Nathan boosted her status amongst lifelong Havenites, and she and Audrey bonded over their mutual outsider-ness for a time.  However, getting close to Nathan while the Troubles are in town is almost as dangerous as getting close to Audrey, and eventually Jess recognized that she was in over her head in something she didn’t understand, and made the decision to leave Haven – and Nathan – behind.

Julia Carr (Michelle Monteith) – Daughter of the now-deceased town coroner, Eleanor Carr (Mary-Colin Chisholm), Julia was one Havenite who couldn’t wait to get out into the larger world and never look back. Her return to town was meant to be brief, but when her mother died, she opted to stay around a little longer and help out however she was able.  As a young girl, she’d harboured an unrequited crush on Duke, and while she makes known her distaste for his current lifestyle, she also tries to help him sort out some of the mystery revolving around his family’s history and the meaning of the tattoo that Duke fears more than anything else.

As Season Two came to a close, we saw the town divided against one another, Nathan and Duke in a battle for their lives, and Audrey missing in an apparent abduction.  Haven is a brilliant, fun, mysterious and often creepy mashup of Stephen King and the X-Files. It’s a very human drama with a clever supernatural twist, and fans of King’s vast library of work will delight in catching all of the little shoutouts contained within the series which pay homage to the undisputed master of horror.  Now, with the  imminent premiere of Season Three, the creators and writers of Haven’s tales have promised us a season filled with more surprises, higher stakes, a plethora of amazing guest stars, and answers to some of the burning questions that have been plaguing viewers since we first signed up for this ride – and that those answers will, of course, lead to even more questions.

Here at the Mind Reels, we absolutely can not wait!

Season Three of Haven premieres on SyFy in the US on Friday, September 21, 2012 at 10/9c, and on Showcase in Canada on Friday, September 28, 2012 at 9pm EST.

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