Previously on Haven! Chris "Everyone Is In Love With Me And I Hate It" Brody! Evi "Duke's Secret Con-Artist Wife" Ryan! (aka "Her Name is Evidence? Are We Sure She's Not A Puritan?") The Crocker Box that apparently has no future significance ever. I'm not at all bitter/hopeful about getting closure on this, really. Though here's a crackpot theory for you, what if Fitzwilliam Crocker really was William in disguise and made it for .... no, see, there it breaks down. Though he certainly thought that his and Mara's love could conquer all. Also what's up with the funky glowing Crocker letters.
So. We open up on a house on some property with a barn. No, not that barn. There's a soccer ball on the ground in something of an ominous position and focus, this is probably symbolic of the innocent playtimes that are going to be destroyed by Troubles soon. Oh, hey, two people we've never seen before! One of them is Troubled. The lovely thing about formula is after you've dealt with it a while, say, into the middle of the second season, you can establish these things and move onto the how, and the details of the who and engage with those rather than having to re-exposit your basics. One of these two men is getting married to the other's daughter, and by the way the dialogue is played it sounds like neither of them is happy about it, for varying reasons most likely going back to the same source. As it were. But they're going to go along with it and play nice with each other for the sake of the woman involved. Honestly, and I say this as someone who did do a number of things only with the privilege of her family's resources of various kinds just so you know where I'm coming from, both of them sound kind of like assholes for this. On the one hand, yes, the groom should get himself a good job and pull his weight in the marriage. They're going with "traditional" patriarchal values so I guess that means be the breadwinner but, either way, pull his weight. And if he's been phrasing his requests as give me all your monies so I can do what I want with them, that makes him sound like an asshole. On the other hand, yes, in fact, certain things are a hell of a lot easier when you have money or connections, and denying them to your future son in law just because you don't like him, as it seems like he's doing, makes you kind of an asshole. You have the ability to make your children's life a little easier, why wouldn't you do so? You, groom person sir, you want to be treated as an adult, that does mean putting on your big boy shorts and getting a job (some of this phrasing makes me think he doesn't have one? is just starting one?) and maybe being a little more diplomatic and a little less fussy for the sake of getting along with your fiancee's family. It's one soccer ball, dude, we have a couple long shots of the yard, we can see there's nothing else on it. Pick it up yourself and take it inside. And stop berating the fucking help, I'm starting to have more sympathy for the father of the bride. Uh-oh, the trees spat the soccer ball back out. That's not good. Complete with supernatural spittle and ominous creaking, that's really not good.
Here to deal with the not good is Audrey! With Chris Brody in tow, aww, they're heading out on a first date. And she's got paperwork to apparently just drop off, and he's being kind of irascible. Dude, if you were talking to me like this after I'd presumably already told you I was going to do this thing real quick since her "it's really only going to take a minute" sounds more like reassurance than clarification, yeah. If he was still talking to me like that and then grabbing my arm, it'd also be a last date. I sympathize with Chris Brody, I do, it's not like it's easy to be fawned over by people you don't necessarily like back, as he says. Still and nonetheless, that's not an excuse to act like a whiny domineering dipshit to the woman you want to be your girlfriend. Said person coming up is, of course, Duke Crocker. And Evi! And Chris, you should have stayed turned around. Or better yet waited in the car. Yes, you go take that walk and stop fighting with your not yet girlfriend who's looking like she's really questioning the wisdom of this date. How long does it take to drop off a piece of paper?? You could have waited in the car and not looked at anyone.
Of course, then we wouldn't have an episode, would we. Back inside the house, kind of dickish groom (is this going to become a running theme of the episode, kind of dickish guys with very well hidden redeeming qualities?) is insisting that he is getting married tomorrow despite the scary stories of his grandfather? Grand-uncle? An older male to whom he is showing the patient respect of a guy who thinks this relative is senile in some way. There are scary stories! That mean the wedding is going to be a mistake! Well, this is Haven, so he's probably right, and unfortunately this is Haven, so the groom is probably valid in not believing him because he would have been in single digits when the Troubles last came around, assuming he was capable of forming long term memories. Ooh, blood spilling, that's not good. We interrupt this pronouncement of doom for Audrey with the marriage license! Shortly after that we interrupt the groom's happiness at getting married for the father of the bride to have a temper tantrum and crumple up the marriage license! You do know that doesn't actually do much, father of the bride, yes? They have these things called printers that can do another copy and then they just have to collect autographs again. Yes? No? Probably not. The groom can get the hell out of his galaxy house, so apparently the house, barn with a lower-case b, and grounds are all his. Which adds a slight new dimension of dickery to the groom's fussing earlier, dude, it's not even your lawn to worry about how it's presenting to the family you're marrying into. Pacify your lapels. But then if he hadn't thrown that hissy over the ball we wouldn't have the focus on the woods, would we.
This leads us to a nice brief bit of staging where Chris Brody is standing out in the green drumming his fingers on his pockets all "Come on, let's go," in pretty much the same stance, angle, and lighting, not to mention the impatient waiting dance, that people are usually in when they get munched on things in horror movies. Nothing's munching Chris Brody yet, though. The munching is coming from inside the house! Audrey doesn't really look like she's intending to go, she looks like she wants to straighten out the fucking license issue, but the point is moot because there's crunching and screaming. Audrey does try knocking in the hopes that whoever's screaming is in a position to answer, I guess? Maybe she hopes it's a movie playing on someone's phone? Not with those screams. The bathroom is destroyed, and there's blood on the broken windows. Roll credits!
After the credits Audrey's walking around the house to see the swath of destruction left by whatever destroyed the bathroom and took the guy from inside. The trellis is broken off halfway down the wall, the curtains are torn and flying out the window, and there's no prints or tracks to indicate what the hell. This being the middle of nowhere there is, of course, no signal, but worse is that the phone line's been cut from the outside, too. That's a really big swath of destruction, we're talking rampaging single file of elephants there. That doesn't look good.
Heh. Okay, now I'm betting Duke doesn't actually have the alcohol for the party, he's just here to talk to Mrs. Keegan about the Crocker Box because she's head of the Historical society? He says queen, we can take that to mean at least in some position of authority. Duke will now try bluffing his way into her good grace, which results in an epic fail of alarm and not recognizing him as being anyone from the catering staff. Duke, sometimes that's just not going to work, and you should really be prepared for that eventuality instead of letting Evi step in, especially when she's as unpredictable as she is. Yeah, that's not selling her anything, and she's on the verge of even more explicitly kicking them out when he brings out the Crocker box. (Actually if he'd been capable of thinking, or if he and Audrey had been further along in their relationship of trust than they were, he could have asked to borrow her boyfriend's Trouble. Ah well.) The Crocker box does do the trick, anyway, so why he couldn't have just led with excuse me I was hoping to catch you and identify this, I do not know. It's not as though he could have kept the box a secret if he wanted her to tell him anything about it.
Audrey is in the woods. The music is telling us this is not a place she or anyone wants to be, but she is a) Audrey, b) a cop, and c) immune to most Troubles, which this probably is. So, headlong into danger it is! Let's have some overhead shots and some Evil Dead cam to emphasize that the danger is all around her, without doing anything to clarify where the threat is coming from. Sometimes using the old stand-bys is good for that, especially since the only establishing work we've gotten so far is typical Haven stuff, where it's a Trouble that runs in the family or families of the people involved in the wedding. It does quite a bit to set the mood without giving the entire game away, and many props to everyone for it. It's time for a false scare! In the shape of Chris Brody, who is in fact not just sneaking up on a person with a gun but sneaking up on a cop in full Weaver stance clearly looking for an aggressor. Dude, what the hell. Why would you even do that. If you'd seen her walk into the woods with her gun drawn WHY WOULD YOU NOT CLEAR YOUR THROAT AND SAY SOMETHING SO SHE DOESN'T ALMOST SHOOT YOU oh never mind. Chris is, understandably this time because it's been longer than it takes to drop off a marriage license, wondering if they're going to get back to their date. Audrey uses her words and explains about the fight and the swath of destruction which she rightfully describes as a drag trail. I do note she's leaving out the near-fatal quantities of blood she saw at the scene. I also, now that I'm thinking about it, kind of wonder if she secured the scene. Probably not, but since it's Fucking Haven that matters... marginally less than it otherwise might? Still, it doesn't make me think well of her (implanted) cop/Fed reflexes. With all that explanation Chris is, sure, going to help her look, because apparently he does have a death wish, Audrey, that's a shittyass Type to have. oh, but he did find something! Bloody glasses belonging to the father of the bride, whose name is now Ben Keegan. Chris warns her not to touch the goo for science reasons. I think she already knew that for cop reasons, but sure, why not. We have suggestions of spinal fluid and digestive juices, oh goodie, thank you Audrey for not asking whose digestive juices. Because just for that grisly pun totally intended suggestion, Chris will now bring up grizzly attacks, and how seeing the drag trail is worse than seeing the bear, because the bear sees you first. I have to agree, that does sound worse, except for the fact that there are no grizzlies in Maine. Or on that coast. Or at least, there are no natural grizzlies, when you have people's Troubles conjuring up headless zombies in dancing bear suits, all bets are off. Still. They're going to keep looking, and the camera will pan up to the corpse hanging in the tree they didn't see. I don't think grizzlies do that. I could be wrong. You're still a fucking moron Chris. I don't think your Trouble works on Trouble-animated trees. Or grizzlies.
Anyway. Vince and Dave are over at the police station attempting, badly, to entice Nathan into going with them to the wedding because marriage license and they have business there too and blah. It could be camaraderie at first. It could also be that which it quickly turns into, which is needling him about Audrey and how she's all lonely and pretty and do you even know how skeevy you sound right now guys? My skin is about to crawl off my body that's how skeevy you sound. Ew. No. So says Nathan too. Ew.
Duke is trying to entice Mrs. Keegan the eldest to either buy or tell him more about the Crocker box. Probably more the latter, at least in Duke's case, Evi's definitely interested in the money. Mrs. Keegan, for our interest, tells him that it was Regis Glendower who made the box, around the colonial era. It'd be so much better if this actually paid off into anything, given how much time was spent on it, but so far it hasn't.
On another side of the property Audrey is trying to find out what happened with Ben Keegan before he disappeared, which means talking to the groom about the fight they totally weren't having, dear, I love your dad, really. Bride knows exactly what they were fighting about, apparently there's some land involved. Land, money, often the same thing, fair enough, and this is when Chris Brody decides to short-cut the whole prying it out of them thing by putting the whammy on. Chris. Chris, honey, that's not how it works. Look at them falling over themselves to offer him a bottle of wine, no, that is not like answers, which is what he really wants. But wine is what he's going to get, or at least what they're offering until Audrey not so politely tells him she knows what she's doing and step the hell off. I suspect a writer has been lurking around the X-Files, because "Sure. Fine. Whatever." was a repeated phrase in a particularly memorable ep. It gave me a bit of a giggle, anyway. So, it turns out the land involved is timber land, which is indeed potentially a fairly rich bag, and it belongs to her aunt who inherited it when she was a little girl, and I kind of wonder if that aunt is perhaps now identifying a box for Duke Crocker? Maybe? Conservation of characters says yes. Anyway, groom wants her father to talk aunt into giving it to them for a wedding present. I'm.... okay, speaking from experience, I am not even getting into the potential family politics involved there. Nope. Not gonna. The groom will now proceed to stonewall, at which point Audrey needs to go talk to someone else and can Chris keep the happy couple here, particularly the groom. I will admit here that Chris has some right to complain considering he's not a cop, using his Trouble grates endlessly which Audrey knows, he has no skill in any kind of social engineering, and why him he just wanted to go out on a date. The phones are down, and here's where I wonder if how come she doesn't have a police radio in her car? She has been in Haven a little while. No radio, though. This is a fluid situ-- no, Audrey, that's not going to fly either.
Oh, it turns out she's going to talk to the grandfather. I appreciate the man's forthrightness in saying that while groom (Peter, I suppose I should use his proper name) has his troubles, they're not the kind that come with a capital T. Audrey points out that he seemed to be afraid of violence happening earlier. It turns out he meant marrying a Keegan, because the Keegans are trouble and look they tried to kill him once a long time ago. There's a story here, but we don't get it yet because someone's screaming outside. Welp. There's Ben Keegan. And there's more of Ben Keegan a ways away. And as much as I do kind of want to shake Chris for letting his daughter see that, under the influence of Brodywhammy there's not much he could do to dissuade her from following him. At least the shock of seeing her dad ripped to pieces, literally, sends her away. So I guess in a morbid way now we know what it takes to break the Brodywhammy compulsion! Ew. Audrey points out the similarity in injuries, but if the Keegans caused the injury to the Novelli elder, and now a Keegan is dead with the same injuries, what gives? Unconscious Trouble would be my guess. Or a rift within the Keegan family, that also fits. Or a completely unrelated Trouble in the woods.
Dave's voice is coming over the radio with a hilarious pile of CB jargon. By Nathan's response this happens often. By Vince's response it happens often despite better judgment. Oh boys. All three of you, too.
After a bloody mess like that no way in hell were the guests staying around. Audrey is rounding everyone up and trying to get them out of there, except there's a slight delay due to Peter wanting Ben Keegan's body? This would all have been a lot easier if he'd just said "so we can give him a proper burial" or something like that, Instead he just says he wants Ben Keegan's body, cueing his lovely bride to wonder why, did he have something to do with the death, is this a land grab, etc. Nothing Peter says is coming out right, mainly because he's making everything about him (he's right about his lack of motive though), which leads to an angry-sobbing outburst from Moira, and then the rumbling in the woods! It's coming right for them! Nameless caterer lady with the ominous angle and the retrieving of the soccer ball is the first to break for the cars, which means she's the first to die, of course. Everyone else goes running to the barn. No, not that kind of barn, a normal person barn. I'm going to go ahead and assume right now that everyone else is going to live, too, because conservation of characters and it looks like everyone's important here.
Inside the small-b barn the elder Novelli and Beverly Keegan are going at it about how your family was always bad, no your family, etc. Audrey trying to convince them to work together is no help, so she'll employ Chris to give them the whammy. Again. And in this case, yeah, I know he hates using his powers but in extremis, dude. And it doesn't help too much. And the roots are growing up the side of the barn and wrapping around it like a cocoon. Audrey keeps with the trying to keep everyone calm, and at least when Chris makes his pronouncements of doom it's in a hushed tone to Audrey. And trying to keep them calm isn't as ridiculous as it sounds even apart from the fact that calm people are more efficient and helpful in a crisis than panicked ones. Calm people also manifest their Troubles less haphazardly and less dangerously. Out on the road Nathan is sighing at the Teagues and trying to fix their van when, well, even they get enveloped by roots and vines. Apart from tying them into the main plotline, this also implies bad things about how quickly and how far those roots and vines can spread. The CGI is passable, if not very realistic.
And we're back to the small-b barn. Audrey and Duke are discussing what to do and how he can help, with somewhat more cooperation and camaraderie than Audrey and Chris, I note. Her first question is can Duke get up high and see how they're situated, which isn't unreasonable. Her second question, though, is about Beverly Keegan. It turns out she doesn't actually have control of at least the money in her accounts? The family accounts? Ben had to write the check for the Crocker box or for whatever it was Duke was selling, considering he keeps the Crocker box later on. I'm not sure if he never cashed the check and changed his mind or if this bit of continuity was just forgotten, or if it was a check for something else. Anyhoo, that suggests to Duke that she doesn't control her own finances, which suggests bitterness towards Ben and maybe motive? I also, again, speaking from family experience, would point out that just because she owns the land and Ben had a checkbook doesn't mean that she doesn't have authority to buy and sell the land, that she doesn't have a bank book of her own, or that she didn't simply want it to come out of the accounts that Ben controls because of reasons unstated. There could be a lot of complicated things going on here. God knows there are a lot of complicated things going on behind the scenes not having to do with money.
Anyway. It is a plausible motive. Duke goes up to the attic? Loft? Probably a loft but it looks like a full second floor by that staircase, and Chris argues with Audrey about the plan of action here. He would prefer the one involving weed killer and she would prefer the one involving his whammy as a blunt instrument to calm everyone the fuck down. She argues that the problem isnt' the plants, the problem is the people, specifically whoever's Trouble is causing this, not that she says that out loud. He then proceeds to argue that if she wants to address the people problem whammying them isn't the way to go about it, you have to observe and record and not interfere. She said, pushing her sleeves down over the wrist tattoo. Not that tattoo, the other tattoo. He drops the point in favor of looking for an axe, though. It's not that kind of a trick, dude. And he's blown the argument by going back to weed killer and fire axes, making Audrey less likely to do the smart thing and watch and listen. Argh, you two.
Upstairs Evi brought lampshades enough for everyone about how this is a fairly stupid thing he's doing. The dialogue is slightly clunky but it's a fair point. Even more clunky, although not in the way of being awkward writing but in the way of Evi is the least subtle, is her attempt at manipulating and/or seducing him. Probably both. Both is good. Duke keeps giving her 'uh huh what are you playing at' looks, even if he is tempted. Evi is both selling a bill of goods and failing to understand how tied Duke is to Haven, though to be fair to her he's keeping that part of himself tightly under wraps. To be less fair to her and more critical, she is amazingly bad at reading people closer to her, even for a con artist with a heart. I mean, seriously. There's also the little matter of misreading the situation later, but that's a whole other episode. She does say that the money from the box could keep them for a few years in Mexico, so that might indeed have been family trust Ben was writing the checks from, separate from the land. While I'm pondering this Duke has finally gotten the loft door open and the vines are screaming outside. I coulda told you that, dude. I like the touch where the vines are screaming any time there's a hint of them getting inside though.
Meanwhile, out by the van, well, they're all sitting tight with no radio since the vines tore the antenna off. If they have to be trapped, at least Nathan's trapped with the archivists! Although all they have to offer is a couple hundred year old story about this part of Haven being given up to the wild. And some hideously ill-timed inquiry about Twitter accounts that was originally tied in to Vince and Dave being on Twitter, and the campaign and posters all over Haven. We're not even going to discuss how unnerving that was, thanks guys. No, Vince, now is not the time for social media schmoozing. Seriously, dude. It is even less the time to talk to Nathan about Audrey. Dave, you are the least helpful. Both of you, stop with the shipping, the shipping has been delayed for the day. On the other hand it does nudge Nathan to improvise something like a torch with the hockey stick and flares. So maybe it wasn't entirely useless? But still creepy. Always creepy.
So, Audrey is badgering Beverly about maybe having a motive for Ben Keegan's death, that motive being the finances. Beverly gives no shits about this and has no significant response until Audrey brings up the fact that all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again unless they can put a stop to it, or at least deal with whatever's causing this manifestation of this Trouble. It turns out the last time this happened was when she was in high school, there was a fight between her brothers and Dom "Grandpa" Novelli. They "caught him in a lie" and he attacked them and killed one of them, and, well, cue the screaming at each other. And the vines coming through the walls and the floor. Duke, heh, knocks Audrey out of the way, but it's not until everyone freezes up and stops moving that they retreat. Yeah, Chris, you do not have nearly enough weed-killer for this. On the plus side, Audrey has a plan.
We follow with the exposition about how the Trouble works, which is basically that the angrier the Keegans (and the Novellis? that one's unclear) get, the more the woods attack people. The solution, Chris Brody says, is an equal and opposite reaction. I'd argue that the opposite of hate is indifference but for these purposes, it's less hate and love as opposites and more conversion? Inversion. Something like that. Audrey takes the lead with Moira who is still regretting the whole wedding thing. Moira tells them the story of the tree that killed Beverly's brother too, as told by Ben Keegan, and that clicks something in Audrey's head, I'm not entirely sure what points the finger at Dom or why it takes her so long to put the scars plus the story together, but, sure. Maybe it was just the outburst earlier. Or the way Beverly talked about it. Either way, when she goes to confront Beverly about her feelings, the barn starts collapsing as the tendrils cling tighter. So there's some truth to that then! As Chris Brody steps in to point out that hate is love in body armor with a battle axe.
Oh, there it is, it's the combination of seeing Dom's scars plus hearing the story about how Beverly's brother died ... several times. I'm still not sure why we needed that repeated, but maybe it's just needing to fill the time? Or the fact that in the story Moira told the brothers catching Dom in a lie was deprecated to non-existent, in which case that should have been brought up more but, eh, either way. Audrey points out the scars, points out that Ben Keegan and whoever else was there lied to Beverly, because if she got married he would lose control of the property and her money and everything else. Dom was supposed to meet her to elope, but apparently Ben staged the whole thing and told Beverly that he ran away instead. It's a bit ambiguous whether they were all attacked because they were fighting, or whether Ben knew about the Trouble and started it (in which case why would he have been the first one caught by it? eh.) and what role he had to play in his brother's death. Either way, he definitely allowed Beverly to think that her onetime love had killed her baby brother, which is asinine in the extreme. Audrey hopes their love, if it remains (it does. really.), can push back the plants of doom. They all have to stick very close to them though. Belatedly, NATHAN! With a flare on a hockey stick! Oh Nathan. This is actually kind of... a letdown? Anti-climactic? I know it's supposed to be but right now my sympathy is more with Nathan, not that there's anyone doing anything wrong, per se. Timing all around.
So, we get a sequence of couples holding hands, aww everyone, I'm reasonably sure this only exists to make us feel sorry for Nathan and to reinforce the idea of love conquers all (hey, at least the Crocker Box came back once!) and as a moment to build the idea of Duke and Evi so they can smash it later on. Seriously, Duke has the worst fucking luck with relationships.
We get the final explasition ... that doesn't portmanteau well. Explanation exposition from the Teagues, of course, being that the Novellis were the original carriers of the Trouble and they had a lot of twins, and then one of the Twins married into the Keegan line and ever since then they've needed both families to start the Trouble. Which actually might also explain why Ben Keegan wasn't keen on his daughter getting married into the family apart from his grasping money issues. Nathan will now dismiss the Teagues with a few less than gentle nudges and no, you guys, he doesn't want to talk about Audrey. Really. You guys are being kind of gross. Go away, Dave. Vince stop with the damn signs. That is endlessly creepy. Years later, that's still kind of creepy. The Twitter accounts, by the way, are inactive now.
So we continue closing things up with Duke and Evi having drinks on the Cape Rouge, Duke telling her he can't leave and it's not her, and Evi demanding to know what it is about Audrey that keeps him here. Given Haven, it's a fair question! Given Duke and Audrey's camaraderie earlier it's a semi-fair question, although it's only second season and I'd also argue that Duke and Audrey haven't quite become demonstrative enough in their friendship to warrant that kind of question. Yet. It might also be Evi being intuitive, as that part of her is written fairly erratically. But no, it's not Audrey either, proving that a few things in this show are actually not about Audrey. It's Duke's dad, who made him promise to come back to Haven if the Troubles ever returned. We know why now, but at the time this just made Duke and the Crocker box even more mysterious. The implication is that Simon died either literally right after he made him swear that or that he died within hours or maybe days at most, because he doesn't say anything about being angry that Simon wouldn't tell him. So, one can infer that Simon didn't have enough time to reasonably tell him, according to Duke. Because of this, he's in it up to his eyeballs and can't leave until he finds out why. And then he heads up topside because he doesn't like talking about this. Oh honey. Ooh, and now the mystery part. Evi's on the phone to someone. (I mistyped that Evil, which is certainly the implication.) Evi's on the phone to the REV. Telling him that Duke's father never told him, and the Rev says that then they have to keep pushing him. Evi, you dumbass. The Rev is a bad person to get involved with.
Aww, Chris Brody brought Audrey flowers. And is still able to crack jokes about being attacked by plants to her, that's a good sign. I'm warming to him some now. Oh Audrey, that's ... semi-rude, but at least he finds it funny, which arguably is also because he has a tendency to be semi- to outright rude. (Put these in water *tosses them into the bay/ocean*) So, wine and some honest conversation where Chris Brody says her immunity isn't why he asked her out, he promises. I'm pretty sure it's a contributing factor, though. He says she's amazing and she cares about people and that's why he asked her out. And because of hope. And people worth knowing. I can, still, kind of believe that but the immunity is totally a contributing factor, if only because it allows her to be her own self around him rather than a whammied puppet. Either way, the speech does the trick for now, and off they go to bed. I can't say this is the best of ideas, but it's not that terrible either. And of course the show must remind us about Nathan, so let's have a phone call from him being the last thing we close in on. Nathan/Audrey always was endgame for the show, I think that's true even with the transition in show-runners. So this makes for only a semi-obvious speedbump in the road to true love. It's up to the viewer, ultimately, whether to like and/or approve of it or not.