'Haven: The Final Season' Barrels Like a Freight Train Toward Its Conclusion
The "final Season" of Haven rushes toward a satisfying end through inordinate amounts of death and destruction so that love can ultimately triumph.
HavenRated: NR Not Rated
Format: NTSC, Widescreen
Run Time: 540 minutes
Cast: Emily Rose, Lujcas Bryant, Eric Balfour
Number of discs: 3
Studio: Entertainment One (aired on Syfy)
US Release Date: 2016-04-19
Haven’s barn has closed for the last time, the Void’s Aether has been packed back up into the universe where it belongs, Duke makes his final sacrifice, and Audrey Parker appears about to live happily ever after with Nathan as somebody else. That’s what you’ll find on four-disc Blu-Ray of Haven: The Final Season.
For those who fell for Haven’s charms, and count me among them, this Blu-ray set offers the must-have concluding chapter to the Haven story. But this collection covers only the final 13-episode run, not the entirety of Season 5, as the network colluded to split the final season into two chunks, on one hand declaring the end of the show, and on the other, prolonging its ultimate demise. Amazon lists the “The Final Season” as “The Complete Final Season”, which it is not.
This disc contain episodes 5.14 through 5.26, and a number of special features. Each episode includes an audio commentary usually conducted by a writer, a producer and one or more actors. These audio tracks prove far more insightful than the ‘Haven Revisited’ Livestreams with cast and crew, or the 44 minutes of direct interviews—these are more of interest to would-be actors than to fans of the show. While actors may have an opinion about their character, it is the writers and directors who create the context for whatever perceptions actors may inherit.
Other more meaningful fan extras include a brief four minute series recap titled ‘Mythology Refresher,’ and backgrounders on the origins of the Haven mythology that span colonial America and the World War II era, as well as episode-by-episode featurettes focused on the story and the filming process.
Excellent DTS sound and HD video transfer make for an excellent wide-screen experience. As the show progressed, it became increasingly murkier and more tinged yellow and blue in post, so that color that may appear off is intentional, not a by-product of the Blu-ray mastering.
Season 5 wraps up the Haven mythology, ties a bow around it and makes it disappear in a big flash of light. The television show ends with a rather different conclusion than the one found in Stephen King’s hard boiled crime novel about the cold case related to the death of James Cogan of Nederland, Colorado, AKA, “The Colorado Kid”. In the end all Haven shared with King’s book were location names and a couple of characters. The deep mythology behind Haven has no place in King’s crime novel. The disingenuous tag line of the show, “Based on 'The Colorado Kid', by Stephen King”, might better have read: “Inspired by Stephen’s King’s trippy sense of the occult with a few characters and locations poached from one of his crime novels.”
Even though the lore doesn’t belong to King, the show developers created a rich and deep mythology. Season Five delivers the payoff with backstories and resolutions that mostly turn out well for the main characters. We learn about how and where the so-called supernatural “troubles” originated, and how Audry/Mara, a literally broken daughter, became the bridge between her childhood in another universe and the town of Haven, the innocent playground to her evil inclinations.
Of course, a dysfunctional family plays a key role with a mother (Laura Mennell) seeking a way to make her broken daughter whole -- and a father (William Shatner) bent on rekindling a relationship with a daughter he lost a long time ago.
This final 13-episode arc barrels like a freight train toward its conclusion, with Shatner’s Croatoan acting literally as the strange attractor. Season 5, Episode 14: "New World Order", as the implications of Duke’s troubles appear immediately as every trouble seemingly ever conjured in Mara’s sick head finds a home among Haven’s inhabitant. Multiple explosions erupt throughout the town, and a veil of fog descends around its edges. The fog erases Haven from the memory of the real world and physically locks out the movement between Haven and the rest of the world, save Duke Crocker.
With all of the new troubles, this adventuresome ramble offers up some of the creepiest moments in the show, from police officers becoming the police station, to the Sandman, who brings people into his dreams and won’t let them go.
The depth and complexity of the mythology greases the action as writers seem bound by unreal time to wrap the mess of loose ends into tidy knots before their time runs out. Perhaps the best thing about owning the discs is the ability to go back over the scenes to understand all of the detail, connections, ramifications and resolutions crammed into the episodes. Rather than previous season standalone trouble-of-the-week stories, the full final season weaves together a mesh of all that has come before.
There are no mysteries left at the conclusion, at least none that matter to the inhabitants for Haven. The troubles have left. The lovers reunite. Those who where closest to the troubles, from Dave and Vince to Croatoan, have not only died, but served some unforeseen, yet noble purpose.
Casting delivered on its own noble purpose with Shatner as Croatoan, an unexpected and welcomed surprise. Who knows better than Shatner how to close out a sci-fi franchise? His character died in Star Trek Generations to end the stories that started with the original Star Trek series. And Shatner played the “Big Giant Head” in the final episodes of 3rd Rock From the Sun, calling home the intrepid Solomon family from its Earth to its planet somewhere in a barred-spiral galaxy on the Cepheus-Draco border.
Indeed, Shatner added a level of gravitas to his playing of Haven’s trouble-making mastermind. Shatner, as the vaguely Native American sounding villain, turns out to be just a disturbed father facing loss and too many years of detachment. His acquiescence to save Haven ends up being his own salvation. Shatner plays the threat and the eventual reconciliation with equal aplomb.
A reincarnated Audrey returns as Paige, with her car dead just where Nathan can find it. She even has her child, James, in the back seat. The details of “Audrey’s” transformation and reappearance aren’t just sketchy, they are non-existent, but that is OK. Paige and Nathan find each other and the audience is assured by Dave and Croatoan Audrey knew what she was doing, and that love will triumph as they flash away into another dimension.
Die hard Haven fans who want every scrap of everything Haven, will want this DVD locked away in a filing cabinet just in case “the troubles” return, so its insights can be mined if needed.