Haven 3.03 "The Farmer" TV REVIEW(opens in new tab)
Writer: Sam Ernst, Jim Dunn
Director: TW Peacocke
THE ONE WHERE A man uses a demon tongue to perform DIY organ transplants from his relatives to himself, and Audrey becomes more ruthless in dealing with the Troubles, forcing Duke to use his powers.
VERDICT Although a little creaky in places, a half-decent freak-of-the-week plot married to some intriguing arc plot developments and better-than-usual dialogue adds up to most satisfying episode of Haven so far this season.
Harry Nix’s Trouble is actually quite disturbing, and a similar “monster” could make the central gimmick for a really good horror movie. He’s an organ vampire who can only prey on relatives, and they only become similar vampires if he fails to kill them, in which case there’s more of them all fighting for a diminishing food source. That’s bad enough, but the episode ends with him prepared to sacrifice his own son. Add in the phallic tongue and you’ve got a nightmare Freudians would have a field day analysing.
Sadly the show never quite exploits this set-up to the full. Whereas The X-Files would have created another iconic Flukeman, Leonard Betts or Eugene Tooms character, the portrayal of Henry Nix here is a little too prosaic and conventional to take on an infamy outside the episode itself. But he’s still a big improvement on the previous Troubled freaks this season.
The real strength of this episode is the interaction of the regular and semi-regular characters. There aren’t actually many arc plots revelations (though the noseless corpse at the end certainly added an unexpected and whole new creepily perverse vibe to the Colorado Kid storyline) but the episode addresses how ongoing events are affecting the three main stars in interesting ways. Audrey’s acceptance of her fate isn’t, it seems, just confusing the audience; it’s good to see Duke and Nathan (“I don’t have any idea where your head's at!”) tackling her about it as well.(opens in new tab)
Then we watch Audrey rather callously guilt-tripping Duke into using his powers to kill Nix and stop the Trouble at source. She may have a point, but the way she uses Duke still leaves a sour aftertaste. And has she unwittingly unleashed something in Duke? Maybe he enjoys the kill a little too much?
Sassy cop Bowen is also a great addition to the team. His snarky dialogue made him fun enough already, but his sudden corpse-burying shenangins at episode’s end bumped up his interest factor even more. It’s amazing how quickly his slightly jarring, brash character seemed to fit right in.
He didn’t get all the best lines though. The episode is full of little gems. "Have you ever had outside cops poking around Haven’s troubles before?” asks Audrey. “Occasionally,” replies Nathan. “Sometimes we keep ’em.” Even psychiatrist Dr Callaghan feels less forced this week and you have to love her response to Audrey asking, “Does anyone like it when their shrink says, ‘Interesting?’”; “No. That’s half the fun in saying it.” The idea of Nathan buying tickets for a murder mystery play because if anyone could work out whodunnit, Audrey and he could, is a really sweet moment too.
Which makes the fact that Audrey has managed to (deliberately) alienate both men in her life by the end of the episode all the more tragic.
Hell, it sounds like I’m making Haven out to be like Shakespeare here. It’s not, of course. It’s sci-fi bunkum, and there are plenty of cheesy moments here of B-movie banality trying – with varying degrees of success – to pass off as slick modern TV. But the best thing about the show has always been its central relationships, and when it takes the time to concentrate on them, it can really lift an average episode into something far more gratifying.(opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)
HASHTAG SPOTTING We found two #EscapeToHaven’s this week (above), one in the police interview room, and one in Harry Nix’s notebook.(opens in new tab)
THE NAME GAME Many of the names on the wipeboard in the police station are taken from various Stephen King books and related adaptations: Maggie Brigman is Carrie’s mother in Carrie ; Allie (Allison) is a nurse who cared for Johnny Smith while he was in a coma in The Dead Zone TV series; Rolly (Roland) Deschain is the main character in The Dark Tower ; Thomas (Tommy) Grinnell is from Under The Dome ; Joseph (Joe) Ransom(e) (whose name is just out of shot in this image) is a car dealer in novella A Good Marriage . Penny Callback just seems to be a telephone-related pun (though if you get a reference we didn’t please feel free to tell us in the comments section).(opens in new tab)
IMAGE OF THE WEEK I say, I say, I say. My corpse has no nose. How does it smell? Fill in the punchline yourself…
Bowen (from a police cell): “You left me here with my laces and my belt.”
Nathan: “You didn’t seem like the kind of guy who’s going to kill himself.”
Bowen: “That depends how long I’m in this town.”
Haven season three currently airs in the UK on Syfy, Tuesdays at 9pm
Read our other Haven season 3 reviews
• Read our exclusive Emily Rose interview