Previously on Haven: A bunch of reiteration about how the skinwalker and James Cogan are tied together. In the holy bonds of matrimony. I'll spare you the Princess Bride quotes; aren't you glad. With very nice cuts between "her name is Arla" and Arla wearing Claire's skin and have I mentioned how these are very well done previouslies? They're very well done. Some REALLY NICE continuity with all those 'hushes,' we'd forgotten about the one from Roslyn. We'll get into that in more detail later this ep!
This week on Haven: Bree Williamson being awesome! Laura Vandervoort being awesome! We have never been so glad to be wrong about a serial killer in our lives, because that takes at least one layer of ridiculous complexity to the barn away. The Troubled person of the week drops anvils all over the place and if I were Audrey I'd be rolling my eyes every five seconds when he's talking on account of fucking really, writers. And everyone has catalogued libraries of issues, leading to a recommendation that no one play the drinking game of take a drink every time we say 'oh honey', or if you do, call for the ambulance before you start.
Warning: this and the following post will be another jointly-written recapalypse and we expect them to contain 200% more instances of the word fuck. Particularly that second one. If one of us turns into Agent Smecker and the other into Spider Jerusalem, nobody will be surprised, right? Of course right.
LET'S BEGIN. Right where we left off last time, with a quick establishing panover of Audrey's apartment, and Audrey is quietly and painfully heartbroken that Claire's dead now. She was getting a friend, a support network outside the boys, and someone who might not have been the best shrink but was damn good at not letting Audrey put up walls. And she needed more of that in her life, and now it's gone. For all that Bree Williamson is barely in this ep this is a really amazing scene, while she turns to smirking and gesturing with the gun in a manner that indicates she's not too used to handling a normal firearm. Her body language is different particularly while she's sitting in the chair, and there's that little smirk right before Audrey calls her a monster. Note that she's using a gun and not the bolt gun; that allows for distance of control and tells us that whatever Arla plans to do to Audrey it doesn't involve trying to take her skin. She also takes issue with being called a monster, or possibly just with Audrey's expression when she calls Arla a monster because damn, Audrey, did you sharpen your teeth this morning? That's a vicious I'm-going-to-rip-your-stolen-face-off smile. Not!Claire's facial tension increases when she corrects Audrey to claim she's the victim, and I use that term advisedly because while it's probable that it's because Arla's pissed off and trying to keep control so she doesn't blow Audrey away before she gets what she wants, I also wonder if Arla's control over her skin is dependent on how calm she is. But that's speculation; what isn't speculation is that Arla claims to be the victim even after she's killed at least a dozen people that we know of. We've given the psychobabble in our profiles; it boils down to she's a stone killer who's dissociated herself from her acts so cleanly she can say that with conviction and outrage. Audrey can barely believe it. We might be right there with her barely believing it, but we chew people's psychological profiles for breakfast. Claire was a fighter. Of course she was. And Arla still isn't revealing her identity to Audrey, because she like at least half the rest of Haven is disinclined to give away any information she doesn't have to. But James apparently knows how to get rid of the Troubles for good! That's verrrry interesting, and says that he's still alive AND tied to the barn. You'll have to pardon me while I go do a victory dance in the living room while Audrey goes "wait a fucking minute what" and gets pistol-whipped.
At this point Nathan's going to get a complex about coming to Audrey's place after she's been abducted/injured/disappeared. He doesn't need more complexes! He has enough! He could start his own apartment management company with all of them! Ahem. I would love to know what's brought him to her place tonight, though I assume it's some kind of police work since he's calling for Parker and not Audrey. That, or he's trying to distance himself from the discussion about her leaving that they've been carefully not having these past few days. He's wearing his gun, but given the skinwalker issues lately that's not indicative of anything other than it not being paranoia when they're really after you. And when you've died once already. And when bad shit keeps happening to people you care about. Nathan, in short, has a lot to be upset about, which shows in the lines on his face and the set of his shoulders. He leaps to the most immediate solution of shooting out the lock, which tells us how jumpy he is given that Audrey could plausibly be half-asleep on her couch from all he can see. And yet despite the jumpy, that's good aim and a good choice of shooting out the deadbolt and opening the door by the handle rather than shooting out the door lock on the handle. Which should have also been locked, but it's more convenient this way. And his cop instincts are twitching and more than that, his must-protect-Audrey instincts. Definitely instincts, because unless Audrey didn't give him a set of keys (doubtful but barely possible?) unlocking the door would have been quieter as far as letting any hostiles inside know he was approaching. Anyway. Audrey catches him up to the bare bones of what's going on, the skinwalker's cover as Claire is blown with two people now which is a VERY GOOD THING, and he has a perhaps not unjustified freakout over what if the skinwalker took Audrey. I mean, we've seen that Haven will go to some lengths to keep AudSarLu from dying before she goes back into the barn, but we've also never had such a target-fixated killer before. Plus as far as anyone knows, in the (unlikely) event that someone manages to kill AudSarLu, her immunity to the Troubles disappears. And skinning someone is a very, shall we say, physical Trouble? We've seen Audrey be put in danger by those before; the most recent example being in Over My Head with the rocks and the cliff face going, and prior to that in Resurfacing with the sped-up man sending things flying around the room (remember that scar?) as well as Groundhog Day Guy and Audrey's progressive exhaustion and the injury that carried over. Fortunately this is a very, very simple test, since the skinwalker doesn't take Troubles. (Still wanna know if/how Claire was Troubled.) I kind of suspect that if Nathan's thinking about anything with his reaction before Audrey touches him, he's thinking of shooting Audrey once before, right after hearing Garland's story of having to kill his own partner because a chameleon took him, back in As You Were. There's a very nice slump of the shoulders/sigh of relief and tiny little smile of "yeah, that's my Audrey" from Nathan. (Have I mentioned how everyone acts the shit out of these last two episodes? Because they DO.) Audrey engages in some flailing about what the fuck James is alive, what the fuck is up with the barn, and what the fuck time's running out this is very bad. Like you do when you've just learned your newest friend is dead and your son is actually alive (according to a sociopathic serial killer, anyway) and you've just been hit on the head by said sociopathic serial killer. Who looks like your friend. Nathan will now play the voice of common sense and remind her that the Claire skin being blown means they just need to go try and get a step ahead of the BGK, and I love smart protags. Love.
So, alright, they're off to do whatever voodoo it is that they do, and we're to a panover of something we'd hope is the warehouse for more Arla information but no, that's something else. Hi Haven High! Yay introduction to the Trouble of the week. There's some very nice camera work here that keeps us from getting a good look at the pursuer but in retrospect it's clearly the teen actor playing Robbie. And then I guess it must be fear/acceptance of his fate that makes our first vic run under the bleachers to hide in a place where there's no fucking cover or run through a place where there are all the obstructions to running ever. Seriously? That's like covering your head with a blanket and saying the monster can't see you because you can't see it. As far as we can tell this Trouble doesn't involve any mind-fuckery of any kind, just de-aging and weird body issues. Because themes are sometimes shaped a whole lot like anvils on this show. Anyway, no telekinesis or projected tele/empathy involved that we're aware of, so Robbie physically moved the bleachers via the switch that must have been on the far wall; we get a good closeup of the man's face so that we can see he's now a teenager. Well that's a bit of not good!
We come back the next morning to see our friendly neighborhood cops addressing this bit of not good at the crime scene, and I have to take a second to side-eye Lucassi. Come on, dude, you're the ME, you know the Troubles have been ramping up and your first instinct is for the mundane explanation of stealing his dad's wallet to buy beer? That's kind of adorable, really. But not very helpful, except that it tells us Lucassi wasn't around that high school class, maybe wasn't even in Haven at the time. Which kind of fits with his outsider un-Troubled scientific perspective. Nathan, of course, recognizes the guy and I find it rather interesting that he apparently remembers his classmates' appearances that clearly. Granted, he's got the example right in front of him (albeit covered in blood), but that says some interesting things about his observational skills and memory from that time period. (Which, we've talked some about how the hell does Nathan not remember Max Hansen assuming his mother left around the time of the last cycle of Troubles? That just makes the case stronger for his amnesia being Troubles-related. One of these days we are GOING to get some goddamn answers about the Lucy Ripley time period, but it's not gonna be this season.) I wonder if, based on past contact, his gut saying Sullivan was Troubled is about this case, or about past acquaintance. It also says some things about Nathan possibly being a bullied kid and observing his peers was the easiest way to get the hell out of their way if they were showing signs of aggression toward him. His words also speak to that, identifying them as mean girl, class dork, and prom queen, with a tinge of viciousness toward Denise that speaks of jealousy or some such and what could be latent viciousness-by-phrase over the prom queen's weight gain, although that might also just be surprise. This is, at a rough guess, the 17-year reunion, which seems like a weirdass year to pick. I mean, if they were going for King references it would've been 19-year, we know Nathan and Duke were 7-8 years old 27 years ago, unless they both managed to graduate high school around age 16 (possible but a little unusual) then this can't be their 20-year reunion, so I'm not at all sure what gives. It's a convenient excuse but makes absolutely no sense with the chronology they've set up. And I'm pretty sure someone later says it's their 25th, and that's just flat out impossible with the show's chronology. I know this is not our world and that time is really fucked up, but I would like a goddamn explanation one of these years. Our years, not their weirdass years.
Denise gives Nathan a not-really hug and then proceeds to gush over 'Robbie' (after he stated he prefers Robert now) and his money, which shows us where her priorities lie and that she's still the mean girl Nathan apparently correctly labeled her as, yay! Good, brief character exposition all tightly wrapped in a couple of seconds. Denise is still mean, Robbie the Robert is still sensitive and not at all good with people, and because Jeanine is the one we don't get so much information on in the first five minutes, she must be the one we get to know in detail later! We even get a quick nod to Jeanine being a genuinely nice person when she tries to stop Denise's discussion of how dorky Robbie was. The whole getting to know you again bit is painful all around, because Robbie's spouting anvi-- er, aphorisms (which are here mainly to gutpunch Audrey, thanks writers!) and Denise is being bitchy and Audrey and Nathan look the way they do when they have to deal with witnesses but would never willingly hang out with them. Audrey has her cop smile on. Back to the case, anyway, where Nathan asks if they knew if Paul Sullivan was back in town and Robert says yes and there was almost facepunching. I am all in favor of facepunching. Poor Jeanine. The reunion crew would like to know what's going on because dance! Party! No, no party set up for them, there's been an "accident." And by accident we mean homicide. Only because of the Trouble they can't directly prove it, so, accident it is for now. Nathan gets a call on his cell phone and then books it out of there about as fast as he can possibly go without being obvious about it. Audrey thinks he's trying to get out of his reunion. I do too. But, no, it's about the skinwalker. Nathan, you're still happy to get out of talking to your old classmates, don't lie. Lucas Bryant once again does a very good job with Nathan's flattened affect, looking relieved and self-protective and wary all by turns as he gets the hell out of there.
So, over to the precinct! A computer is doing what computers always do in crime dramas, creating an improbably smooth composite sketch of the suspect! Okay, this isn't that improbable, given that there are morphing programs and they do have pictures of all of the people whose body parts were taken, it's just that that program doesn't seem to line up with the actual visuals I would expect out of a oh never mind. Duke's feet and legs are clearly in view there, and we also have Vince and Dave, as we did last time, no Claire because she's dead and skinned, and ... Dwight? What the fuck are you doing there, Dwight? I mean, it's nice to know Audrey and Nathan trust you that much, but still, the fuck? At this rate I'm going to assume the Doylist reason for him not being at the last palaver was scheduling issues and make up a Watsonian reason he wasn't there, because there's no in-canon reason we can think of. Still, it's good to see him. In leather. Yum. Hey, speaking of attendance issues, Duke would like to know why Claire isn't here for the final unveiling of the skinwalker's pastede together yay skin. I would like to know why they didn't lead with that, just in case anyone else had information about what "Claire" had been up to lately. Also because that is crucial information that should be shared, guys. Oh, wait, my mistake, this is Haven. Keep Calm and Don't Share Information is right there on the town charter. Nathan and Audrey are suitably subdued-but-functional as they relay Claire's death. Duke is... upset. Dwight is upset. I'm a little surprised at Duke and a little more surprised at Dwight, but it also goes to show that Duke, for all his antagonistic relationship with Claire, still respected her. Most likely both as a shrink and definitely for her friendship with and help to Audrey. In Dwight's case, it could easily be a friendship that wasn't developed on screen because irrelevant to the overall plot and they do have so much plot. Well, and now we get the reveal that the Bolt Gun Killer is building Arla Cogan, dun dun dunnnnn. Which is, admittedly, not something we predicted. We were guessing an Audrey suit, and while it does have to do with the Bolt Gun Killer's desire to get her dumb ass back into the barn, we are deeply grateful that it is not anything so complicated as fooling the fucking barn into thinking she's Audrey. Because that would give everyone headaches. There is a bit of wait-huh going on here too, because if she can assemble a frankenskin and have it look like the real thing, why would she use a bolt gun to minimize damage to the skin? Whatever, it's distinctive and serves the purpose of identifying those killings and there are plenty of Doylist reasons to use it, including the shout-out to No Country for Old Men featuring that uncommon beast the Serial Killer Who Gets Away With It. So we'll let that slide. First they say it, then we see Arla put on the skin! Hi Arla! So very not nice to see you again! Roll credits! Which don't appear to have changed for this ep; yes, we checked.
Duke is the one who comes up with the Arla-is-the-bolt-gun-killer theory, which is a little fishy because if Arla was the Bolt Gun Killer (and since they don't yet know her skin melted off initially) why would she need to reconstruct her own face? But it's also not unreasonable since he's the only other person than Audrey who knows what little there is to know of Arla's history, which is that she disappeared after James died. And it would fit in with the 'loved the Colorado Kid,' knowing Lucy but not Sarah, and there really is no other reason to have both of those and want Arla's skin, of all people. Motivation for building a skin out of women is one of the reasons we figured it was AudSarLu; there were multiple possible motives for it to have been her. (Control the boys, control the Teagues, get to the barn, get to the Kid... really, if you can convince Havenites you're Audrey? You have it MADE. Arla, however, is too target-fixed on James and the barn to think of that one.) So now it's off to track the skinwalker's movements, both in the past and, with Duke's help, in the present! I'd say 'with the Teagues help in the past' but their idea of helping is somewhere along the lines of cats. Notably, also, while Duke leaves to go take care of his end the Teagues don't. Because god forbid they miss out on potential information. Fuckers. Nathan starts to deliver the closing "go get 'em team" bit and trips over Audrey's imminent disappearance, so, all together now, oh Nathan. Audrey attempts to move past it with a crack about cold cases. We appreciate the effort, Audrey, but that didn't make anyone feel any better. It is interesting that she looks at the brothers Teagues when she says to be careful, but that might also be because they're the only ones thus far who have been tied up and tortured by the Bolt Gun Killer. On the other hand Nathan was actually shot and killed, so. On the gripping hand not looking at him might be overcompensating. At any rate, whatever everyone in this room does or doesn't think of Audrey's imminent disappearance (and we know that they're working at cross-purposes at best, and I'm not sure if Dwight even knows what side he's on), they're all working together to find and catch Arla. For answers, for the sake of her not being able to hurt anyone else, for all kinds of reasons that they can all agree on.
Over to the Gull, where Duke is bringing in the last of his cases of Chateau d'If (for those of you playing at home, that's the prison from Count of Monte Cristo) because he is a good and responsible bar owner who's also doing a good job of pretending that nothing at all is wrong why would you possibly think that. Oh honey. Jeanine is sitting alone at the bar drinking, and I wonder if alcohol/liquids don't turn to cake on her. Which would be interesting and also probably the only damn way she's kept off serious malnutrition issues like scurvy, because ugh. The scene in which she hits on Duke, who doesn't recognize her because a) weight gain and b) he is not thinking about the reunion right now, he's thinking about Arla, could be played more for laughs but given what we learn about her later is just sad. I rather suspect she was one of those prom queens looking for love in all the wrong places and never quite managing her fairy tale prince on a horse coming to sweep her off her feet. Hence, you know, her Trouble. Duke gets a quietly sad look at the mention of no wife for him, which is both on account of in love with Audrey, and on account of now he's a widower. And a father. Which have nothing to do with the same woman. Duke has issues in the relationship department, let's just say. Has had since high school, apparently, what with the womanizing memories! We will just sigh about making new memories, thank you all SO much for that anvil, and then promptly twitch when Arla shows up. Duke does a very subdued double-take; good acting from Eric Balfour and a good reminder that Duke-the-smuggler has an excellent poker face. (Which just reminds me of Simon rigging that poker game. Fuck you, Simon.) And she brought a gun! Smart move, considering how very many guns Duke keeps around his places of work and residence; I'm only a little bit surprised that he hasn't started carrying constantly the way Nathan seems to have. One part he doesn't want the hassle of probably not having a license for concealed carry or a license at all for maybe half of those guns, three parts he's still fighting against his Crocker heritage and he wants to have to think about it really hard before he shoots someone, especially if word gets out that he does carry a gun all the time. That's fair, and also oh Duke. I think killing the skinwalker Trouble would be a blessing for everyone.
After the ad break, Arla takes Duke off to a corner table with a good view of the room for a private discussion. But not before Jeanine gets to lampshade Duke being protective of his customers; she wouldn't have reason to recognize that look but we do! That's Duke's "I'm being an asshole to you because it'll make you go away and get out of danger" face. Like he does with civilians. Arla then lampshades what she's capable of, and hi Robert! Jeanine has decided that this means Duke's a jerk, and we of course know that this means bad things are going to happen to him as a result. On account of Robbie/Robert is really stupidly overprotective of the woman who got away, who he's still interested in and now feels is a kindred spirit because she's being bullied by their classmates for being fat. Yes, but that doesn't mean you have a chance of sleeping with her, Robert. Which is what I kind of think he expects? Ew, if that's the case, just, ew. Back over to the terrible twosome, though! Arla is trying a whole lot of very unsubtle tricks to get Duke on her side: she didn't ask for her Trouble, she doesn't want it, she just wants it gone, and the way to do that is to stick Audrey in the barn. Both of them have their game faces on (some more literally than others), doing the we're all knowledgeable thing, only Arla seems to think that she and Duke share enough in common that she can get him over to her side. That's adorable and not gonna work in a million years. Duke's jab at her about a long journey back to being normal is as revealing of himself as it is a jab about her, only she's so self-absorbed she can't see it. Not really, she references it without knowing what it means to Duke to have a Trouble that means killing people ends their family Trouble. Interesting, though, that she knows that is Duke's Trouble, and also underlining how she's from the last generation of Haven where Simon went around with the Crocker Trouble laying right out there in the open. Duke's made a different choice; up until he discovered his Trouble and we met the Guard all we knew about the Crocker line was a whole lot of cryptic crap from the Rev, and since finding out the Crocker Trouble Duke's taken pains to keep it out of his life. Not that Arla can imagine that, since until recently the only Crocker she knew was Simon. A lot of this is Arla using knowledge without a damn clue what that knowledge means to Duke, and thus she's completely unable to manipulate him (although this lends hilarious implications in hindsight to Arla/Tommy's comment about Duke staying away from the crazies). Yes, Duke knows that Audrey loves Nathan. He knows that if she ever makes a clear choice, it will be for Nathan as a romantic partner as well as a working one. And Duke's made his peace with that a long time ago. At least as long as Colorado, but I think that was more of a last nail in the coffin deal. Arla also seems to think that Duke's going to go around killing people at Audrey's behest, showing how very little she knows about that relationship. He's done that ONCE, and they both felt horrible about it afterwards, and there's been no sign of asking him to do it again. Asking him to defend himself/Audrey/Nathan with violence if necessary, assuming he will do so, absolutely, but that's something he was willing to do from the beginning and a far cry from killing someone in cold blood as he did with Nix.
And then she tries to gutpunch him with 'a woman you can never have' and that's a swing and a miss, Arla. Duke's the kind of friend who will be there, who will continue being actively supportive and caring toward the woman he's in love with, and as long as she's happy, he'll at worst get by. A strike like that also shows what Arla's idea of love is as much as it shows how well she doesn't know Duke; in her mind, love is immutable, permanent, and forever. The situation with Duke, Nathan, and Audrey is way more complicated than that. Duke seems to recognize that this is what she thinks of as her giving it her best shot, and now he brings out some teeth. Duke, where did you get those give them back to Dave this instant. He leans forward and growls about not wearing Claire and therefore not allowed to shrink him, and then we zoom out and I have to take a few moments about DUKE SHE TOOK HER HAND OFF THE GUN FLIP THE TABLE. Though they're still nominally in public, so he has to take that into consideration, not blowing what little cover he's keeping at the Gull and not putting the patrons in danger. I then take a second to flail over yes, we would ALSO like to know how many others before Sarah. PLEASE. HOW MANY. Ahem. Though I don't know if Arla knows that there were others or is just assuming that based on evidence of patterns. Longish sequence in which we get yet another character hammering on the "this is how it has to be because this is the way it's always been" anvil, which by now we know is absolutely not true. Not that we have any real idea how they're defeating it! But it's definitely not true. In Arla's case, because she lacks information and is misguided about how the cycle works; in others, ahemTeaguesahem because they're lying liars who lie even when they don't have anything to lie about. (Not that Arla isn't, but I don't think she is in this instance.) At any rate, Duke makes up his mind to play this little game and ask what she wants from him, and now is when I start to wonder whether him talking to his smuggler contacts was meant to rattle the cages and see if Arla approached him. She's already operating on the fringes of the law, and Haven't isn't a very big population for a criminal underground (such as it is) to be very big. Speculation, though. It's very telling just how target-fixed Arla is that she manages to buy that he'll do anything at all for her. I mean really. She had access to the tapes and has been hanging around in some form or fashion all season, she damn well has an idea that Duke's capable of lies and deceit when he deems it necessary. He's already pulled that on her once when she was wearing Tommy, so why the fuck would she fall for it again? Assuming she was paying attention. Which, no, the world revolves around her and her needs and wants, so of course she's made an adequately persuasive argument. Which works in our heroes' favor! So there's that much.
Back over to the Herald, where the Teagues are chasing down Arla's past existence! Someday they might digitize all of that, but I wouldn't count on it. (Though they had digitized some of it in the pilot. I wonder if they just kept back all the 1983 records so nobody could search on the most recent round of the Troubles. That would suit their tightlipped attitudes down to a T, I'm sure.) Hey look, it's Arla's very first victim, left near the fishing shack! Uh-HUH. The brothers give us a chunk of exposition for the benefit of more casual viewers, which is nicely done and at least they're being serious these days. I was getting awfully tired of those giggles. Dave's "mm" over Arla's first kill is an awfully profiler-y sort of mm, or maybe a kindred spirit. You cannot tell me these two don't know what it's like to take a life. I don't know when or under what circumstances, but they are entirely too dark not to have that knowledge first-hand rather than the second-hand knowledge Vince must have from running the Guard. Dwight shows up to interrupt these ruminations, however, and Dave's the one who starts off asking the questions. Heh. Aheh heh heh. Whatever Dwight's reasons for working for the Teagues are, I think he's differentiated that from working for the Guard even if their purposes often coincide, and he still doesn't like it. If we're very lucky they'll explore his motivations for us next season! That look over at Dave seems like equal parts "I really don't like you" and "I can't believe I'm working with you again," weighed towards Dave but likely in equal parts for both of them. Though given what we now know, it's making a whole lot more sense that he had a closer working relationship with Vince than Dave. Also intriguing is the fact that he looks at Dave on the "interfere" part, given that Dave's the one on the side of breaking the cycle. This whole scene and Vince's raised eyebrows/looking over his glasses at Dwight reads very differently with the knowledge that he's running the Guard. Though I also get the impression that Kirk (whoever he is other than 'the only non-prominent-recurring Guard with a speaking part ever' and I hope for information on THAT relationship next season) runs the day to day operations and Vince runs strategic command. This might be a case of Vince making use of the best tool he's got who still isn't very good and more prone to radical solutions than Vince might like. Though, again, let's all remember Vince saying "Leave, Max, before I do something I really enjoy." Man's got teeth and he still sharpens them on a regular basis. The Teagues also seem to differentiate the Guard from Vince, which if we assume that Dave knows Vince is running the op as opposed to just connected to it via information channels is an interesting delineation. Indications are that Dave doesn't know how deep Vince is in with the Guard, with his comment of "What's the Guard going to do?" but that might just be for Dwight's benefit because of not knowing if/that Dwight knows that Vince runs the Guard? I'm not at all sure what Dwight does or doesn't know; his poker face is better than Duke's, the only reason we know he didn't know about Vince running the guard comes next episode. No one is knowledgeable here. It irks me. It's irksome. About all we can get out of him right now is that he really, really doesn't like anything anyone is doing but isn't willing to start reaching out and banging heads together until everyone else sees sense. That might include Vince's, considering he spends most of the time looking at Vince I'm not willing to discount that he knows Vince started/is highly placed in the Guard, pick your viewpoint. Dwight is here for only one purpose anyway, to come, deliver his report (in person so we have facial expressions to chew on, thank you, Dwight), and leave, which he does. Vince, you have no call to accuse Dwight of being tight-lipped, shut your fucking face before I pry information out of it. Dave has a good idea! If the Guard is keeping tabs on our favorite three, maybe Arla is too! No shit, Sherlock.
Meanwhile back at the high school reunion case, we have another vic! Denise is dead now, and while I didn't like her much I can't say she deserved this. Death by boiling oil from the fryer dumped over you is a really lousy way to go, too. Audrey questions if someone's trying for a happier time, which either says something about her implanted memories of high school or about her perception of what high school is supposed to be when you're not a construct or a foster kid with serious emotional issues, take your pick of which is informing her at the moment. Third option is that she's operating on the fact that a lot of people tend to perceive high school as being happier even if it wasn't really, which might be the law enforcement training. Nathan corrects to unhappier memories, which I think says something about his high school issues, and also about the facts of the case. Which is, these people are being turned back into teenagers and then murdered. Not Trouble-murdered, but physically and deliberately murdered. And now Nathan will lampshade memories and construction thereof some more! Thanks, Nathan. At least he recognizes he's put his foot in it a second after he says it. I wonder if Audrey Parker used high school as an escape from her home life? That would fit the available data. Nathan tries hard to take things off Audrey's plate because he's overprotective like that and as much as he loves her he sometimes has no bloody clue what she needs or wants. Fortunately she's not shy about telling him! She would like very much to spend her day with Nathan, protecting him and hopefully Duke from whatever weirdass Trouble this is, since it involves someone with intent to kill. Nathan gets that little glow of "she likes me! she really likes me!" when Audrey admits she'd rather spend her last day with him than off chasing Arla. Yes, you moron. She really likes you. Doof.
Back to the two remaining classmates who had dinner with the two victims when they all... got into town, it's at least implied from the way they greeted Nathan earlier, who has been in town the whole time. Jeanine is properly horrified; Robert has quite the nervous face-touching tic there for someone who ostensibly doesn't know what he gets up to when he's being Robbie. He might not be in control of it, but that's a gesture of potential self-disgust as well as general people-I-know-have-been-murdered-horribly discomfort. Audrey asked the necessary question regarding the Troubles, because even if she had inclination to give people time to adjust, she doesn't have time to do this nicely. Good dodge from Jeanine on the what her parents told her versus what she knows to be true. Nathan asks the standard questions less because he doesn't know the answers and more because it'll be interesting to see how these people answer it. No, nobody kept in touch with the bully and the mean girl, why would they have? Robert's comment about stuffed in lockers has plenty of personal experience to back it up, and I really want to know what Denise did to him and now I want to punch him again. For the sanctimonious psychobabble if nothing else. This was about the point at which we were wondering if he was Troubled and a tool for the writers to toss in gutpunching aphorisms, or Troubled and a plant from Howard, because really this is not at all subtle. Audrey's arms are crossed, all defensive, and she gives a great impression of rolling her eyes as she closes them while Nathan gives a truly lousy cover story for why the dance has to go on. Complete with posture-shifting, leaning forward earnestness, and assuming a position not unlike that of a speaker at a podium for emphasis of authority. Yeah, Nathan, we can tell you suspect one of them. And yes, this is a great trap. Your excuses, however, are lame. You know it's bad when he's leaning on the crappy aphorisms.
Meanwhile at the Gull, Duke is having a beer to steady his nerves after dealing with Arla and hey look, a mysterious box on the dock! Not only is it a box, it's a locker. Awww, someone has leather-bound alphabetized issues. I wonder who could possibly have planted that, especially in light of the locker-related comments around a minute ago. We know from the long pan and the musical cues that Something Bad Is Happening and lo, there was a snake! By the Foley effect that's supposed to be a rattlesnake, but it looks way more like a ball python, no rattles, thick body for balling and squeezing, and the coloration is right. Anyway. No time to wonder about that because Duke is getting knocked off the dock into the water by an oar! Which presumably was supposed to kill him, but really, Robbie, Duke's made of stubborner stuff than that. Also, interesting: the Trouble doesn't require skin-to-skin contact to manifest, only some kind of physical contact initiated by Robbie. At the intended moment of death, so that whoever Robbie's after this time, he sees the face of his original tormentor rather than the adult they've become. For the record, the things this ep says about bullying seem to be perfunctory at best and mixed at worst, from the standard 'bullying is wrong' to 'cycle of abuse turns you into a psychopath,' though we also never get a good, unbiased image of Robbie in his past. Perhaps the intent is to demonstrate that no such thing exists, in which case they've done an admirable job. I am entirely distracted from that by ickle!Duke popping out of the water oh my god could he be more adorable? No, no he could not. And cut to ads! When we come back it's to the station, where Audrey and Nathan (mostly Audrey) are going through photocopies of old yearbook photos and if I read the livetweeting right that really is a photo of middle-school Lucas Bryant. Once I recover from that attack of adorable, Audrey's trying to kill me again with some gentle, fond ribbing about Nathan being president of the AV club and how the best ones are geeks. You guys. Either make out or stop that. Unfortunately, A Wild Duke Appears! Before I fall over laughing for the rest of this scene, I will just say that the guy they got to play young!Duke is AMAZING. When the only thing I can find to criticize is his eye color? (Which is apparently contacts, which explains the odd rim of color around the iris yes we notice these things shut up.) Yeah. I am completely sold on this being how Duke looked, and he's got a lot of Balfour's mannerisms down, with the body-awkwardness that should come from having a body you're no longer used to. I love that Duke looks instantly and desperately to Nathan for recognition because Nathan's the one of the two who knew him back then. I love that Nathan instantly recognizes him and is mostly waiting to get a word in edgewise. I love that Audrey goes maternal for a second before falling back into her chair with the thump of "I give up fucking Haven." I love Duke's rapid-fire flailing wordspew. I LOVE THIS SCENE. This is the closest we get to seeing some of the goofy Lucas Bryant mannerisms, too, a wider smile and more animation that I suspect is reminiscent of the kid Nathan used to be, responding subconsciously to the presence of a young-looking Duke. A bunch of rapid-fire dialogue in which the three of them exchange information, neatly done, and we learn that Duke tossed a snake in someone's locker. It wouldn't have been poisonous, in all likelihood; parents tend to frown on teachers keeping poisonous biology lab pets. (K: In my bio lab had a ball python just like the one in the locker. Named Monty.) This says some things about how Duke's penchant for pranks matured (and didn't) over the years from the last cycle of Troubles, when he stuck tacks into Nathan's back along with all their classmates. (And how many of those who participated did we just meet, I wonder. And who was the girl.) It's a freakout prank, but it's not one likely to cause lasting damage, nor is it one directed at anyone specific. And actually it says something also about Robbie's awareness and memory of the prank, that he didn't replace the snake with a poisonous one but went with the one that looked most like the snake that (probably) would have scared him in high school. Duke thought it would be Nathan's locker, as we learn later, but it was a crime of opportunity more than one of deliberate intent to harm, which is consistent with the Duke we now know and love. He's gotten a lot better at thinking things through over the years, but he still leads with his heart.
They agree to look into Jeanine, Duke is mildly terrified about how everyone else who's been de-aged is dead, I try not to crack too many fandom tropes jokes about high school AUs or de-aging, and Audrey heads back to her office. Where Dwight's waiting with a bit of a puppy dog look. Hi Dwight! Long shot through the blinds doesn't give us too good of a line of sight, but he definitely has the expression of someone who doesn't like the news he's about to give a friend. Though I also question how much he considers Audrey a friend and how much he considers her his ticket to a normal life. That bullet-magnet Trouble of his has cost him a hell of a lot. Heh, bringing up the Guard brings up Audrey's arms crossed in front of her, possibly because knowing Dwight and the Guard she's not sure how far to trust him. A random costuming note: Audrey seems to have that tan blazer on this episode (well, this day of this episode, until the costume change for the dance) whenever she's being From The FBI And Here To Help, Ma'am, which is to say whenever she feels the need for the defense mechanism of her externally imposed skillset. This is most marked when dealing with Arla the skinwalker as though it's a case, but she also tends to do it with the Trouble of the week while dealing with outsiders. She has it on throughout the first half of this ep, I believe the first time we see it off is in the scene previous and she's carrying it one hand rather than wearing it in this one. Anyway! Dwight runs us through Arla and the Guard exposition that by this time doesn't surprise us at all; my only question is whether the Guard said they actually couldn't do that or if they just tossed the crazy Troubled lady they didn't know out on her ass. I'm pretty sure what Arla thinks happened is the latter! And her arms uncross when she mentions that Dwight doesn't have the best relationship with the Guard. This is the part we're not entirely clear about, although best guess is that Dwight's trying to impress upon her the cost to life and health (and sanity) of her staying. It also serves as a warning about the Guard, although much less directly, and it's not as though we don't know the Guard is a ruthless bunch of trigger-happy fuckers. The delivery here is almost the exact same as Dwight telling Duke about the way he found out about his Trouble back at the end of season two, very matter of fact, very "reporting in, sir," intonations and facial expressions almost exactly the same. Dwight doesn't really have to explain all of this; Audrey's 'what happened' is subdued and not very demanding in tone or word choice, but as far as is possible this is how Dwight bonds with people, awkwardly, and by sharing bits of himself that are traumatic and normally private. When he's not being The Cleaner he's normally a recluse, he doesn't have friends, let alone very many close friends. This might have been something that started before he went to Afghanistan, but since then the bulk of his social groups have been rigidly structured and militant, either from the actual military or from the Guard. He doesn't have a normal level of sharing and making friends, he's lost whatever normal socialization he had, so he does all this. (Which leads us to all the oh Dwight-ing, but, look, we never said we didn't have tastes.) Ahem. Anyway, Dwight shares his Guard experiences, and how he balked at the more morally dubious practices. It's also telling that he doesn't say the Guard killed his daughter, even by implication, but that he says 'they might as well have.' Which means he thinks of it either as a horrible accident or as something that's his fault for passing on his Trouble, and no bets on which one we're choosing. Dwight's doorknob question is whether or not she's going into the barn, and she replies with about what we'd expect about how neither option is a good one. He doesn't say what he thinks she should do either way, again as we'd expect because Dwight doesn't pressure people much unless he's Cleaning something up, but that look he gives her (and the one she gives him back) says they're both aware of which he'd prefer. There's some sympathy or almost pity in his look, and there's something about the way she narrows her eyes at him that looks like she's waiting for him to ask her to go in (not tell her, neither of them think he'd tell her to go in, but ask, sure), but he doesn't, after acknowledging it's a horrible choice. He just leaves. Oh Dwight honey. I will also note that Adam Copeland's acting abilities, and here I'm specifically looking at voice modulation and so on, have improved by leaps and bounds. Oh Adam honey. Come here so we can give you all the hugs and tell you how awesome you are.
Ahem. Back over to a quick flyover of the docks setting the scene for the soft interrogation of Jeanine by Nathan at a gazebo. That is not at all an angry gazebo. Jeanine might not be guilty but she's certainly feeling ashamed about something, concealing something, the way she picks at her cardigan and her dress and her fingernails. Nathan tries to convince her the Troubles aren't just stories only to be told that she knows that, duh, and here comes the shame part. Not only for being Troubled and therefore different, but for it being a shitty, lame Trouble. This isn't even having a killer shadow or being able to draw things so you have power over them, this is just a hassle and embarrassing, and can you imagine not being able to eat out with co-workers or friends because everything you touched turns into cake? There goes most vestiges of a social life. Not to mention the malnutrition issues. No wonder her pickup skills are rusty. Nathan's got a good poker face here, though we can kind of tell he wants to laugh - not at Jeanine, but at the sheer what the fuck, Haven of it all. And then comes the shame of the jealousy, and I'm imagining a really bad Marie Antoinette pun here that you'll just have to imagine along with me. Oh honey. This is also the part where we get some confirmation that all her desperate attempts to find a man are because she has dreams of a fairy tale wedding of her very own. Also, three years! That's another nice marker in the chronology of how the Troubles slowly started coming back, the shitty, individual Troubles first, followed by the most externally destructive ones. So alright, Nathan believes her, what else can he do? Ask for proof, maybe, only as upset as Jeanine is over having told anyone that's just unnecessarily cruel and not false emotion. At which point she leaves to attempt to put whatever emotional armor she has back on and Duke comes pelting up like the teenager he looks like demanding answers. I hate to say it but that's a very valid measure of a Trouble: so crazy it has to be true! Young!Duke has that same hand through his hair exasperated gesture and the nosebridge pinch and everything, aww, and it's time for his freakout about never getting back to his normal self. Right on schedule! Nathan points out that it could be a do-over, it's not like they couldn't work up the right paperwork to deal with young!Duke owning the Gull or the Cape Rouge, or otherwise fix things up for him to go off and do whatever he wants to do with his life. None of which he says outright, but Duke certainly had the contacts, could probably make them again, this is all stuff they're aware of and not talking about because talking about it in any significant depth would mean acknowledging it as a strong possibility and not just assuming that somehow Audrey will fix it. 'cause Audrey can fix anything! Boys, your faith in her is touching, but I'm still going to sigh at you for that. Nathan will now mutter about how he kind of wishes it had happened to him, and let's just stop to note here that even though Duke is absolutely in love with Audrey he says you'd still be young, not I'd or we'd still be young. Carefully not implying that he would take a shot at a relationship with her next incarnation if worst comes to worst, but yeah. That'd put Duke in his mid-40s for next round instead of his mid-30s as he is for this round. That's not such a bad tradeoff. Also, Nathan is really stubbly. I don't think we've ever seen him this stubbly before, implying that he's so stressed out and spending every available minute working with Audrey/on her behalf that he forgets or doesn't take the time to shave. Mostly I mention it because it makes me want to play pat-the-bunny with his face.
Still, that's a thing they're Not Thinking About, as indicated by Nathan's shrugging it away and heading out of the gazebo to start hunting down the next lead, who we hope will be Robert! But wait, there's an ominous lurking blonde watching them! Audrey's not into voyeurism, so hello Arla. And HELLO TEAGUES with guns. This may be the only time we say this instead of ranting about their unwillingness to share information, so HI VINCE AND DAVE WE LOVE YOU. I will refrain from snarking at length about Vince's payback comment and instead note that it's a good thing for them Arla's not firearms or hand-to-hand-trained, because they're standing close enough she could disarm them if she were. Range of efficacy, people, Vince, you especially should fucking know better. Vince looks grim and determined; Dave looks a bit nervous but no less determined to play backup. For the moment, their goals align. Then we skip over to the back room of the Herald, with the file cabinet Arla ransacked behind Dave, aheh, nice bit of blocking there. Throughout this scene Vince looks fairly calm while Dave looks nervous, in a lot of respects I figure that's because Vince knows he has a small private army (seriously, what the fuck, Vince) to back him up while Dave has... himself and his brother if he's lucky. And I think Dave suspects before they even get started with Arla that she'll say something that puts them at odds. Arla starts by snarking about their precious Audrey and you would think she would learn not to do that, that it doesn't get her anything except people rolling their eyes? But apparently not so much. All wide-eyed and childish mocking, too, which really makes me wonder what (if anything) she knows about their relationship with Lucy Ripley. Clearly she knows that Audrey doesn't trust them all that much - more than a lot of people in town, but only because they haven't worked to her detriment with all the knowledge they have. So far as Audrey knows, anyway. Vince has his teeth out and Arla... I do believe she's been through worse. I'm not sure if she's counting her Trouble's manifestation as the only instance of that, but I would guess not. Dave specifies the barn, Vince specifies Audrey, which is a nice delineation of where their priorities lie at the moment. Dave wants to know about the barn so that he can see if any of Arla's knowledge contradicts Vince's; Vince cares in his own twisted way about AudSarLu and wants to be sure she's safe. Where safe means safely tucked in the barn of her own volition when the time comes, but see also twisted and possibly with emphasis on of her own volition; Vince seems to coincide with Dwight here in that they both want Audrey in the barn, but they're both unwilling to impose that want on someone they care about, whatever form of caring that may take. Arla wants to be right next to Audrey when the barn comes so that they can go in together, which speaks to some interesting knowledge that contradicts Vince's as-yet-unspecified yet tacit assertion that only AudSarLu can go in there at all. Not that we're surprised, at this point, but Arla's dropping knowledge all OVER the place and Vince isn't picking up on it because he, too, is target-fixed at this point. He thinks Arla wants to be the one to stop the Troubles, or that's the reason he's giving out and it's given with enough conviction that I believe that's the first thing to come to his mind right now. And here's where the Teagues' secret-keeping comes in handy, because Arla's sure Vince knows all about everything that goes on, so she blindsides them with new information about another way to stop the Troubles! Then Dave blindsides him with a vase to the skull. That must have been a fun Foley effect, I'm just saying. While we're sitting here going WHAT JUST HAPPENED NO WAIT WHAT, because that's a very sudden escalation from the latent hostility they've had going on before now, Dave bends over and hisses about letting her go if she tells him about the other way. Well, that's a fairly solid indication of just where they radically depart from agreement on how to handle the Troubles!
Unfortunately we're going to have to wait for the finale for that bit of information dropping. First we have to have the dance that made a thousand fangirls swoon! With music that's about as subtle as, well, a vase to the face. Thanks for that, guys. We start with Nathan and teen!Duke cracking a comment about how everyone looks so very old, followed by Nathan telling him to shut up in the exact tone that two best friends use. I'm awww'ing in between the laughing hysterically. Well, Jeanine hears them, recognizes Duke probably from the similar silhouette and the exact same clothing and, really? It would have killed someone to get Duke some new clothes for the duration of his stay in reverse!Big-land? Well, Duke is still quick on his feet when he comes up with "Junior" and Jeanine cracks a quip about hoping he doesn't turn out like his father. Nathan would agree if Duke were really his son, put away the puppy eyes, Duke, that's not going to change Nathan's opinion. Jeanine misses it because she's giving us a demonstration of her Trouble so she can give Duke a piece of juicy delicious looking chocolate cake and drag him off to dance with the pretty boy. Poor Duke. I'd feel sorry for him except, no. I'd feel more squicked about Jeanine hitting on ostensibly a seventeen year old except it seems to be less hitting on Duke directly and more hanging out with Duke's "son" because he won't reject her or treat her like a verbal punching bag, which, oh honey. We then have a transition to even more anvilicious music as Audrey comes up to be dubious about their investigative play at Nathan, who hasn't yet lost confidence. And Audrey finds the whole nostalgia thing amusing, which is a better reaction than curling up into a fetal position over her not having had an actual high school dance of any kind of her own, and she wants Nathan to dance with her. You and several hundred thousand fangirls, Audrey. But Nathan doesn't dance, the last time we saw him dance was when he was utterly, hilariously drunk back in season two, and as much as it might be hilarious to do a repeat of that now is not the time. This little exchange is equal parts furthering their adorable relationship and setup for Audrey's echo of "why do I always go for the shy ones," which, okay, sounds a bit forced or played? Though in this case I will accept that Audrey is totally doing it as the verbal equivalent of 'SIIIIGHpout.' Plus that's a vaguely ridiculous excuse on Nathan's part, it's not like he has issues walking. He could learn to dance if he wanted. Either way, it definitely spurs Nathan to invite her to dance as he was refusing to do a second ago, which, ahahahah you are so gone, Nathan. So. Gone. They're both smiling happily as they follow each other onto the dance floor with, I have to say, cop posture. Seriously, that is the same posture and walk that they have while walking to a crime scene, it's cute. And they awkwardly settle into a dancing mode with some body language of how do dance. Interestingly, it's Nathan who takes her hands and moves them into a suitably courting position, despite his assertions of Not Dancing earlier, possibly because Audrey's trying not to make him all blushy and glowy with direct physical contact. Aww. And KISS ALREADY YOU BASTARDS. PS whoever picked this music, I'm blaming you for my headache from bashing my head into the wall in a fit of get things back the way they used to be in-fucking-deed.
We have a juxtaposition of Nathan and Audrey being close and adorable with Duke being awkward and exasperated while Jeanine attempts to monopolize his attention or at least leave him dangling out there as bait for "Duke." I almost think the latter more than the former because despite her assertions of Duke's jackassery earlier, she seemed not to have gotten over him so easily as that given how stung she was, and might have decided that while he was being brusque, he wasn't unforgivably mean. Audrey wants to know what Nathan was like in high school. So do we! Nathan was, as he sort of is now, an outsider. But not, apparently, the kind of outsider who was a target for being victimized and bullied (probably mostly the kind who was ostracized or made himself an outsider by choice), that was Robbie. This nudges Audrey to some more thinking out loud that while Jeanine was the one who would most want to be back in high school, the Trouble and related murders aren't about wanting to be back in high school, they're about revenge. And who would want revenge more than the person who was picked on and bullied the whole time? Ah-hah! It's a bit tragically hilarious because the whole time she's chewing on this Nathan's got his head bent towards her in a non-verbal shut up and dance with me Parker, while thousands of fangirls stand around them and make trollfaces. Stupid lack of kissing. But after she puts it together, they collect Duke (Nathan noting that they need to grab him for, presumably, his own protection, aww boys) from a regretful-looking Jeanine, off they go to find Robert and it's back to business.
Hallway of childish bullying! Or what we like to think of as childish bullying, because as we're about to see, bullying and harassment doesn't stop when you graduate high school. The two unnamed bullies are depicted with slightly more exaggerated high school dialect patterns than I would expect, except they're also most likely drunk and thus less inhibited and potentially less adult in their behavior. As we're about to see. The woman wants to light up and smoke a bowl, the other two are on board with that, Robert puts on an exaggerated display of both physical fitness and responsibility, with an unfortunate word choice that triggers a memory in the other guy of Robbie getting stuck under the gym bleachers for about twelve hours. Ouch. Both ouch then and ouch now, because whoever said kids are cruel should have generalized it to adults are cruel, everything about this scene is skewering Robert for the sake of inflating the attackers' egos. Again, I'd say it's exaggerated except it really isn't, just maybe more like highlighted by its timing. And now we know why Paul was crushed in the bleachers. It doesn't really explain the specifics of what Denise did; it's not explicitly stated that she knew about the prank, but given what we see of her character we don't really need an explicit correlation. Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber walk off laughing about what a loser Robbie is and Robert attempts to get ahold of himself because, well, rejection and derision hurt. And apparently the bulk of his motivational speaking is trying to give himself the confidence he so blatantly lacks. Sadly, he doesn't listen to himself any more than anyone else does, because Robbie pops out from under Robert, creating a bizarre and near-hilarious inversion of Jekyll and Hyde. In this case, Jekyll is the supposedly-confident, aggressively cheerful grown-up man of average handsomeness, and Hyde is the gawky, awkward boy. Who is still a homicidal prick. The transformation sequence is all kinds of uncanny valley, too.
Brief cut over to Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber in the boiler room, continuing to demonstrate that they're still high-schoolers with adult bodies and drives. And giggly and stoned. Cut to Arla stalking down the hall and rapidly running out of bubblegum. Cut back to the other two about to get a faceful of steam and, oh, hey, it's Robbie outside the boiler room door with a wrench. I feel like we're in a game of Clue. Again. Nathan, Audrey, and teen!Duke interrupt Robbie in the act of presumably sealing everyone's fate, Audrey goes after Robbie while the other two deal with the imminent death issues. By shooting out the lock. Again. By now it seems to be the reflex division of labor, Audrey goes after the Troubled person because she's immune while Nathan and whoever (usually Duke) deal with the imminent threat to life and limb. It's a good plan! Into the gym/dance hall where Audrey clears the room, Robbie tries first to escape (which doesn't work and was a half-assed attempt at best) and then to use his Trouble on her which, heh, no. At best it only irritates her because she doesn't have high school memories of her own, and never will. If she had an adolescence it was probably back before adolescence was actually defined, around the 1600s or so. Jeanine, meanwhile, recognizes Robbie and wherever she flees to at the mention of killing people it's not the same place everyone else goes. Because Audrey is Audrey, she doesn't bitchslap the anger issues out of him like she might want to (I know I want her to) and instead tries to reach Robert, the rational adult within. Supposedly within. Robbie is having none of this and wrench to the face! Except not, because A Wild Arla Appears! Arla uses Long-Distance Pistol skills! It's super-effective! For someone who's never shown signs of being overly familiar with or habituated to firearm use, it is a suspiciously good shot (though it may have been intended to kill rather than injure), but it serves its purpose, and Robbie goes down while Arla makes her escape because Audrey is busy with the injured boy-man. That's a good variant on the Bolt Gun Killer theme music in the background and a good fake-out on the previous which made it seem like Arla was pointing a gun at Audrey. Which she kind of is, but with no intention to use it; she needs Audrey to get the barn for her.
After the break we see that Audrey's still with Robbie, they've got a first aid kit out and have patched Robbie up as best they can, and Jeanine's still there along with Duke and Nathan. Duke declares that they've lost Arla after a search of the building, and either Robbie's too tired to stay out or the lack of imminent threat calms him enough for Robert to come back. And he has no idea what happened, in true Jekyll and Hyde fashion. It's a nice touch that Audrey then has to adjust the makeshift pillow to his new body shape/relative height, though this then shifts the bullet wound more clearly to roughly the hero spot - not somewhere traditionally Hollywood-fatal. The scrunched up face Robert gets when Audrey asks whether or not he remembers anything makes me think he does remember something, but it's like a nightmare or a half-remembered daydream or something of that nature. Nathan provides us with the brief exposition for Robert's Trouble triggering to create Robbie, and I will just stop to note here that we don't really have any clear understanding of how these Troubles work in a familial line. Or if there even is a familial line; after all, all Troubles have to start somewhere. Robert's is another of the shadow-self types we've seen so much of, though I assume the point of origin of that shadow-self is mutable; Jeanine's Trouble seems to be wish fulfillment and/or food based, probably emphasis on the former. Anyway, that goes to the index of Troubles page, moving on; Audrey lists off the people Robbie's harmed and we get the no-duh moment of Duke admitting he thought he'd put the snake in Nathan's locker. And a scrunchy yeah-figured look from Nathan that's somewhat softer, I think, for the fact that he's looking at his friend in a younger body and can't muster up his usual ire for Duke's past misdeeds as a result. Yes, Nathan, you were both just kids. Maybe that's finally sunk in for him! Robert didn't know he had troubles, and we can just about hear the lowercase letter on that where he's so steeped in non-Haven culture that he barely even remembers the stories about the Troubles. Actually, yes, Jeanine, it is all his fault that people are dead, though if she's trying to stop him turning into Robbie again that's a good way of halting the process. I'm not sure she's thinking that clearly so much as oh god classmate bleeding on floor has weird Trouble what the fuck how is this my life. And saying whatever she can to comfort him, because Jeanine does seem to be a basically good human being. I suspect that what she regrets, though we don't get it in words, is never doing anything to stop the bullies with all her popularity and prettiness. Because she was scared, or she didn't see, or both. Probably mostly the former. She comes over and somehow this, here, is what she's good at. Jeanine? You should go into nursing or counseling or something. Assuming she's not already there. Audrey, Nathan, and Duke all take a step back either literally or visually, Duke and Nathan sliding hands/thumbs into their pockets to accentuate it, and Jeanine comforts Robert as he tells her she's still pretty and then passes out. Duke gets a weird little shudder that almost looks like he's trying not to gag on the sentimentality of it all except that's not our Duke, so no, it must be the last effects of his Trouble wearing off with Jeanine doing her bit for healing Haven's Troubles. Hi Eric Balfour! We did miss you this ep, even if your youthful stand-in kicked tons of ass. There's a moment of fuck-yes! followed by the realization that this means no second chances and also they still have a metric assload of problems to handle. I also wonder if Lucassi's going to end up with two bodies in the morgue suddenly aging a good 15+ years or if once dead the Trouble's effects stick.
We will not get that answer, because so much plot and our gruesome threesome will now proceed to dance all around the elephant in the room. Nathan, see? You're totally good at dancing, we just have to make sure there's a conversation with strong emotional content that you don't want to have as a moving target to avoid. None of the three of them are upstairs keeping an eye on Audrey's place because they're not separating the party, good plan except for the part where this backfires in a bit, and there's a lot of triangulation blocking in this scene, Nathan and Audrey facing each other as Duke orbits around them. Yeah, we got that message awhile back, but the visual theme is still nicely played and it's well in-character for Duke to be pacing anyway. Dwight's taken our Troubled couple off to somewhere safe, probably somewhere of their own choosing based on what he said before about the Guard and their strongarm tactics with relocation. I still can't quite believe Jeanine wants to be with someone with those anger management issues but that's a tragedy for another time. And then I have to stop and squee over Audrey telling Duke he was a cute teenager and Nathan making this little grin and nod of affection admission: yeah, he was. That's a lot of reaching out from Nathan, and Duke's sobersrs look followed by wandering off with his precious beer (I'd want something harder after that kind of day, but Duke's used to Haven being fucking Haven at him) isn't in offense, it's to give Nathan and Audrey some private time. Audrey will now proceed to freak out very quietly about how the meteor storm is starting in a few hours and this is her last night as Audrey Parker and oh my god would you kiss him already. Either him, we're not picky; in fact we firmly believe the answer to all their interpersonal problems is a nice threesome, but we never expect that show up on our screens so we just sit here making trollfaces instead. No, she will not. Nathan will go on about his plans for how to find the barn before it finds her, which is a fascinating theory and somehow everyone in this room has managed to forget about what happened in Love Machine? I know it's been awhile but come ON. It's an appearing-disappearing barn, it does this shit. (I still want to know its goddamn excuse for showing up for Audrey II, but we'll start analyzing that come next recapalypse.) It will show up when it's good and ready, Nathan, also I don't think the Coast Guard has freaking satellite surveillance, do they? Really? (Apparently yes, really.) Nathan also, notably, reaches out to touch Audrey a lot this ep; there are three major instances of touch: at the beginning proving she's not the skinwalker, at the dance in the middle, and here at the end when it might be the last time he touches her and it's special because she's the only one he can feel. (Not that being able to touch everything else won't be special to him, but Nathan assumes he'll be grieving her loss at that point and, well, do we need to spell out the ways in which that'd be hideously traumatic for him, with every touch reminding him of what he's lost? Yeaaah.) The first one Audrey initiates; the second and third Nathan initiates with handholding gestures, which is extremely unusual for him. Normally he doesn't admit to this kind of need, seeing it as a weakness. Duke comes over sometime mid-spiel because he recognizes the signs of Earnest Nathan Who Might Be About To Stick His Foot In It and also because he needs to reassure Audrey that both of them are on her side. Arms crossed and defensive, though he nods and exchanges small little smiles of yeah-we-got-this with Nathan. Oh boys. I love you so much, and so does Audrey, who's happy to know her boys have her back. Pardon me while I collapse in a heap of squee, because that's almost like her using words with either of them. (Speaking of which, did anyone ever tell Nathan what she said while he was dead? I don't believe we saw anyone do so on screen, just had the repercussions echo throughout his interactions with everyone else who was there and heard Audrey. Especially Jordan.) Nathan has earnest desperation where Duke is projecting calm confidence that yes, they will fix this, oh honeys. Right now Audrey can't take any more false hope, though, so she's going to go upstairs and probably do nothing that resembles sleep in the slightest, but she might have given it a good shot!
One last look at her boys standing there united in their desire to keep her there, and a smile and up to bed. Duke has a guy watching the place! Duke, you should've gotten Dwight or someone else with some actual backstory, you know the laws of narrative causality are in full effect in Haven. Ahem. Speak of the devil, Dwight will now show up for the third time this episode to deliver dire news about the Guard and then leave! Dwight, you don't look Greek, stop playing the chorus. Nor are you a Scottish witch. Stoppit before I turn you into a penguin. Nathan cracks a quip about not carding Dwight at the door therefore everything went fine and Robbie didn't pop out and I have to take a moment to go fall over at the mental image of teen!Dwight. (Especially because there are some VERY young pics of Adam Copeland out there on the internet.) Really, I'm not quite sure why this is even in save for the rule of threeing it, we're all very knowledgeable about what the Guard wants. Especially Nathan, though I suppose he probably hasn't told Dwight just how he came by that knowledge. Nathan. NATHAN WUORNOS. Do not say shit like "over my dead body" you know what happens when you say that and Moira and Noelle aren't in Haven anymore. You fucking moron. Duke's gone all defensive again too, the way you do when someone turns up to deliver Guard-related news, and hey, Duke. At least you know it's not Dwight, his tattoo's on his back. We have a theory about that mysterious forearm tattooed person who murders persons of significance that we'll get into next recapalypse, too. Nathan isn't sure what Dwight wanted. Nor are we, aside from acting as Greek chorus, except possibly to bond with the people he more or less trusts to be capable of fixing this in a way that benefits everyone. I think Dwight thinks that if there's a way to do that, these three will find it. There's also the aspect of, now he's delivered the news about the Guard in person to the Teagues, Audrey, and Nathan all separately, so if people are keeping secrets from each other Dwight hasn't tacitly abetted in doing so.
Up to Audrey's apartment! Where somehow the lock's already been replaced on her door, I'm not sure if that's continuity error but I suspect Duke got one of his guys in to do it during the day, or did it himself while he was seeing to the overall security of the Gull. For all the good it did, hi Arla. Her ultimatum is pretty silly, considering she needs Audrey to get to the barn and there are no other people around, unless she plans to shoot at random through the floor and see if she can hit someone downstairs. Which would be a better plan if it seemed like there was much of anyone but Nathan, Duke, and a few of his trusted associates hanging around. But Audrey's not going to risk Arla having follow-through this late in the game plus she's absolutely terrified, having chased the skinwalker around Haven all season, and anyway this is a great opportunity to find out what the hell she does want, now that she's in a skin close to her original appearance and thus perhaps more inclined to talk. Now is probably a good place to mention the thing I realized around about the second watch of the 'hush'es in the previouslies: the reason Arla favored wearing male skins for longterm work, aside from opportunity completely dropping in her lap, is because it's harder to forget herself and drop tells when she's wearing a skin so at odds with her self-image. It must have been a jolt every time she looked in a mirror, and indeed, hushing people came into play when she was most herself, a tell limited to two of the female skins she wore (Roslyn and Claire) or to when she was killing. Audrey recovers herself pretty rapidly with a quip about getting another set of keys made. Yeah, pretty much, Audrey. Which also shows a lack of willingness to show weakness in front of Arla, however much Audrey may have resigned herself to her fate. (I don't think it's complete resignation, but I do think she feels the boys aren't giving enough weight to her leaving as an option of last resort. To which I can only say, duh. That's how they work.) I will also note that they did an excellent job of getting someone who looks close to the model from the photos with James from Colorado but not so close that she's a perfect match; it means that James will recognize Arla (not least with whatever amnesiac effects the barn's had on him in the last 27 years) but gives us some uncanny valley issues if we hold up Vandervoort to the wedding picture.
This next bit goes a long way toward giving us some reasons to sympathize with Arla while in no way excusing anything she's done. She's turned into a sociopath, whatever she may have started out as, and she's doing a magnificent job of burying all her murders under the veneer of necessity. Everything is for James, and gee, that doesn't sound like a familiar refrain at all. Remember Jordan and everything being for Nathan? Uh-huh. We'll get into these parallels in greater detail in the next recapalypse, but for now I will just note that Jordan and Arla are Audrey's dark mirrors; they sacrifice everything but themselves for love, whereas Audrey is self-sacrificing love by definition, almost. There's a lot of very small twitches around the eyes and mouth where Arla is struggling to maintain her composure; we're still not sure how much of that is maintaining control over the skin and how much is emotional control and where the twain meet. Regardless of the Trouble-oriented implications it's some damn fine acting work. She still has no idea how to hold a gun on someone for a long period of time, which leads me to believe she does know how to shoot but not the proper methods for holding someone hostage at gunpoint. I love Audrey's little a-ha look over the prospect that Lucy dropped James off in the barn to fix him, though she I think plays dumb some more to keep Arla talking. Arla is really good at talking and not so good at knowing when to shut up. For as clever a sociopath as she's been up until now she falls down on the job when it comes time to execute her endgame. I can't say as I'm surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. Arla then tells us her story, and this is horrible on a far more personal level than we were expecting. Yeah. That would've sucked a lot. That said, whatever was driving Arla at the time, she could also have gone to the morgue to pick out a skin from someone not yet autopsied. It wouldn't have been ideal, but she wouldn't have killed anyone for it, either. The little glance down on 'it was... instinct' says to me it wasn't just instinct and that some part of her is still horrified by that first murder, even though it's got a nice thick layer of justification over it by this point. And now we have a guess at what made Lucy go into the barn despite all her running from the Guard earlier: saving her son and keeping Arla from killing anyone else. A more personal reason than meteors coming to destroy Haven, but nevertheless a valid one. I wonder who Arla got stuck wearing for the next 27 years. It's also possible that Lucy was afraid she was running out of time to save James; we have only Arla's word for what Lucy said and did and no specifics and I wouldn't trust her interpretation of events any more than I would trust her lurking behind me. Arla goes on to reveal her bargaining chip: get James, learn how to end the Troubles for good! It's a pretty good bargaining chip, and Audrey's 'no you're lying' isn't very convincing. She's talked to the original Lucy Ripley, after all. She knows she knew, back then, what the start of the Troubles was and how to end them for good; it's not at all implausible that she would have told James the same. If Arla knows the secret we get next episode at this time, though, it's a nice bit of lying through her teeth as she racks up a list of things Audrey can do with Nathan and Duke (innuendo totally intended, look, it's not like you guys don't know we ship OT3 around here) if they're unTroubled. Well, y'know. At least one of them gets to be dead, which is sort of like being unTroubled! And, sadly, even if Moira and Noelle were in town, Audrey killing one of them to end the Troubles would also end the lifesaving one, meaning they'd be really most sincerely dead, so that's off the table. Arla delivers her final ultimatum, which seems like she's threatening Audrey with direct action but I think more involves the meteor storm, which leads me to the question of, how close did Lucy cut it on that storm?
Overhead, the meteors begin to fall, the barn appears, and Agent Fuck You Howard steps out, followed by one James Cogan. (We've decided that, much like Coulson's first name is Agent, Howard's first name is Fuck You, because we start swearing at him and demanding all his answers every time he appears. Plus he appears so infrequently that we're not inured to his lack of answers and manipulative bastardry the way we are with the Teagues, who you will note we still swear at after three full seasons.) James staggers off like he's just finding his land-legs again and the meteors fall thicker and faster and now we're going to fall over and pass out in preparation for writing up the season finale because my god all the plot dropping and all the new questions YAY.