Thursday, February 28, 2013

When You're At Home: The Haven Herald

Fortunately for my sanity and the structural integrity of the Teagues' throats, the Haven Herald offices aren't very large. They are, however, packed with miscellaneous crap and therefore information, and as a result this actually ends up being the largest home analysis yet. The outside of the Herald is painted a soft lemon color, with white steps that look like they've seen better days and could at least use a good sanding and coat of paint, and windowboxes full of what might be grape hyacinths and a few ferns. There's also an American flag out front, which is interesting at the beginning and after the reveal that they knew and were close to Sarah Vernon, is even more intriguing. It might be that the flag is due to inclinations they had from their family; certainly we've heard them discuss family members in ways that suggest they picked up a number of traditions and customs willingly, but it might also have something to do with the fact that Sarah Vernon was an Army nurse, and enough of an influence on their lives and emotions to imprint some of the patriotic spirit of the time more deeply than they might have taken otherwise. A small sign with the goddamn lighthouse on it (seriously, we're just going to start calling that The Goddamn Lighthouse, the way Agent Howard is actually Agent Fuck You) shows to what business the building belongs, and there's an old yellow-painted newspaper dispenser, the kind that looks like it dispenses the Herald for free. In retrospect, that should have been our first clue that the brothers were loaded. For all their nosy habits and various hobbies, the Herald does not look like it brings in enough income for them to do all the things that they do, especially not if they're putting the Herald in free newspaper dispensers. 

Going in, the first thing a person would see entering the Herald would be the front desk area, the receptionist station, which is a tallish counter with a phone at it and apparently a binder with the circulation roster on a shelf behind it (Silent Night 2x12). There's also a bulletin board behind the receptionist station with a number of articles and pictures on it. At least one of these pictures is of a young Dave with a ginormous fish looking particularly pleased with himself. (Sins of the Fathers 2x11). Other pictures include a house, a horse, someone standing in a doorway, and what looks like a child's drawing of a rainbow stegosaurus. Or a very weird-looking flower. I'm not sure. We see at various times post-it notes and coffee mugs at the receptionist station, so clearly they go there for some purpose or another, but since most of the time when people come into the Herald the brothers are at their desks they clearly don't spend much time there. There is, however, a tea kettle and various pots and jars and bottles on the back shelf up against the wall of pictures and articles. At least at one other point there's also a wooden tray of what looks like business cards in some sort of organizer, and two wooden inbox trays, as well as an old clipboard, the kind with those great big u-rings on them?

To the right of the door as one enters is a small waiting area with three to four chairs and a lamp or two. Deeper into the office about on line with the receptionist station there seems to be a set of cubicles floor to ceiling, most of which have been stuffed with rolled up papers. It looks too short to hold really big maps, and it's hard to say what they are if no one's going to pull them out and unroll them, le sigh. There's a door further in that might be to a restroom or something, and then a bulletin board beyond that, with stuff pinned to it. There's a couple pictures hanging between the right hand side/corner of the door and the cubbyholes with the maybe-maps, and I have to question why anyone would paint even part of the interior (or exterior, really) of a building that avocado seeming shade of green. Maybe it's the light? One of those pictures is a group shot, but since it's fuzzy it's hard to tell what of. Baseball team, at a very hazardous guess. Some team of some sort because they seem to be wearing uniforms. 

The swinging gate on the left side of the entrance into what passes for the bullpen here is made of the same wood as the cubbyholes and the desk and everything. Just in front of it there appears to be an terra cotta umbrella stand with many umbrellas in, I have no idea what they need with so many but sure, why not. Possibly some of them are canes in case of psychotic skinwalkers? Around to the left of the front entrance there appear to be some low bookcases and another chair with railback; potted plants and small figurines cover all of the flat surfaces along the outer wall. The windows are covered with white venetian blinds, usually drawn, though this might be as much for glare on their computer monitors as the more plausible/meta reason of uncontrolled lighting while filming. Most of the potted plants appear to be cacti or maybe that's an aloe? In Business as Usual (2x13) there was a jade plant on the receptionist station. Plants that don't require much watering. Stacks of post-it notes on a dispenser, there's definitely at least one rolodex of post-it-note-shaped cards and some very odd looking shaped lamp that might have come from the seventies, a very old vintage phone with the megaphone shaped earpiece and microphone separate on the stand, Dave's hat is on that surface by his jacket which seems to be hung over yet another chair, which makes that surface most likely a desk. So now I have no explanation for why they have so many desks in an office that only regularly sees use of/by two people. Also behind Dave is some other kind of fern and a chess set fucking really? A stylized chess set with its own box on a stand, too, which means that thing probably cost in the mid to upper three figures. Something they could have inherited, but also a very subtle indication of wealth. And fuck you, Dave. I don't like you and your chess metaphors. Remember kiddies, chess is the game smart people play, at least according to television. Dave is the one with the desk he most commonly is seen at positioned so his back is to the door; Vince has his back to one wall with, admittedly, a bank of windows, but still his back to the wall. And, oddly, their desks are at an angle to the wall, presumably to leave sufficient walkthrough room between the ends of their desk and the receptionist station. This might be originally a Doylist reason, in fact it probably is because the angle at which the desks are pushed seems to change a bit depending on whether or not anyone has to walk through that space, but it works well enough in the Watsonian sense as well. Both of the Teagues have thick office chairs, and Vince has another one behind him against the wall/window.

We didn't get a good look at this area until season three, but between the back of the receptionists station and the card catalogue behind Vince there's a door to a Back Room. And we find out what's what, here, after Arla ransacks it. One of the more peculiar things is a fucking gold-plated Egyptian sarcophagus. Okay, probably not real gold plated, and definitely not a real sarcophagus, but even so, guys, what the hell? Above that there's a throw or a rug of some kind somehow pinned to the ceiling, I don't know what's up with that, either. (Actually it looks like it's been hung between the "wall" and the "ceiling" but I'm not going to speculate on what's going on there.)  And, again, newspaper articles pinned all over to the wall. Inside the cabinet there look to be articles pinned on inside of the cabinet wall, a brown accordion folder, some sort of old style camera for which I can only see the lens, really, and some unspooling film that had better be developed already or it's ruined. There's a very small box safe and what looks like a negative box, too, and most of the rest of it is more papers and more boxes. At least one of them is a paper-wrapped box!

And finally I'm going to include the room where the boys have Arla tied up, even though we don't get an external marker for it. For one, it seems unlikely that after three seasons they'd take us to the interior of the Teagues' house and for two, it has that same bizarre green coloration as the wall between the cubbyholes and the door that had the picture on it. For three, there's an old printing press in the room. I'm pretty sure there aren't many buildings in Haven with old printing presses. So let's assume that that's where the door leads. Not a bathroom, then! That must be further down the hall. It's got the same lit-by-many-small-lamps atmosphere (they go for that a lot in Haven, I've noticed), the same lowish ceiling, but in this case instead of articles and notes taped up everywhere there's other things. Starting with, say, on the table behind Arla. A lamp, a silver teapot, something spread out that looks like a map or a diagram, a small cup that might be wood or dark-glazed ceramic, a bottle of something or maybe two bottles, either that or the second bottle is something like an apothecary jar. Several small pieces of paper, a tarnished sugar bowl, a rectangular box that, if we're assuming that's a tea set, might be a non-matching butter dish? The desk itself is almost French style, with two small drawers to the right, and older looking. Behind the boys there's two cabinets, architect's cabinets or map cabinets, it looks like. Some very bizarre ornate statuary and Vince get your elbow out of the fucking way because that looks like another damn sarcophagus behind his elbow. If you want to play What The Fuck Is That along with me I'm about halfway through Reunion 3x12, just so you know. Behind Dave and to his left there's a tall file cabinet that looks like the twin of the one Arla broke into. In fact, at this point I'd say it's almost the same room, except for there aren't newspaper articles taped all over everything that would stand still. So, above the cabinet there's a deer head, which might be the least surprising thing in this room; we know the brothers like to hunt and fish. (Fur 1x06) There's at least one model ship on top of the cabinet, too, and something else that might be a print or a woodcut, I can't make that out. Further down that wall there's some metal wire shelving, heavy duty shelving, and that section looks like an evidence lockup with those file boxes. I woudln't be surprised if that's what it practically amounts to. In addition to the vase Dave clocks Vince with there's at least two teapot looking things, a potential sugar bowl, a bunch of rolled up papers, and I have no idea what that spatula looking thing is. About the only thing that's missing from this picture is a bunch of disregarded chain of evidence forms, and you'd have an evidence lockup in a crime drama.

So. That's the layout, and we've got one more piece of the puzzle that is the Haven Herald to go through. Remember a while back I mentioned at how a person's radius could tell a lot about them? (If you don't, that was in the Haven recap of Double Jeopardy 3x05.) Let's have a look at the Teagues' radius and see what it tells us about them. Starting with the fact that they don't have a clear line of demarcation between their desks, which are pushed up against each other so they face each other. The lack of demarcation or barrier between them indicates that they're comfortable with each other, even if trust seems to be an issue, and the pushing them up against each other suggests that they need the reassurance of being able to see each other, which given them is probably equal parts fraternal affection and suspicion.

Vince's keyboard is standard and raised at the back, but it doesn't look like he has one of those ergonomic? wrist cushions. He's the one who sits with his back to the card catalogue which appears to be the archives catalogue? I'm not sure how that's organized. At his desk he appears to have a couple of books with a bookend that resembles either a bookcase or a doorway; it also seems to hold mail, so maybe it's more of a magazine stand that happens to have a book in it than a set of books in a bookend. Several pencils in a cup (seven, if you want to be picky about it), all of them with the same place of origin and none of them have likely been used, since they're all about the same height and their erasers are new. A pill bottle and a gold eagle on a stand that may be attached to the clock and ballpoint pen stand immediately to the right of it. To his far right on the shelves along the wall there's at least one small set of dark metal file drawers, the short stack kind that may have only six drawers on it with three in each column, and then a briefcase-sized trunk further down along the wall and next to/behind his chair. Also to Vince's right and along the wall there's a white kitty clock. Awww. Inside his desk drawer, since we do get a look at it when he goes to pull out the ring, there's a typed manuscript that, sadly, is largely illegible, a leather flip-style notepad I think and another spiral bound one, some paperclips, something that looked at first glance like a holstered gun (and it's sad that this is what I first thought of with only a very tiny bit of surprise) but turns out to be goggles of some kind, some business cards, a packet of what might be checks, and a letter. The letter definitely intrigues me. It's addressed to something or other SB something-that-starts-with-W, at something-that-starts-with-D court. This letter deeply intrigues me, and if anyone can get a better copy of it to find out what that name is and the address, please let me know. We can also see the end of the folded up handkerchief in which the ring is, white with tan and gray-blue striped edging. Now, I'm sure there's a possibility that that isn't a promise/engagement ring, but I'm damn well leaning towards it being such. And for your final WTF of the Vince's radius portion of the post is that a music stand with a flute on it behind him? Seriously? Or a clarinet or something?

On Dave's desk proper there's a propeller fan, a couple of notepads (presumably these change type and position as he uses them but the general atmosphere of the office seems to be writing implements and surfaces everywhere), and a trinket dish shaped like or made of half a shell. Dave does have a phone on his desk, too, but his is white where Vince's is black and I deeply, deeply hope that's just a result of these were the two props available. Sometimes Dave's desk has a monitor and sometimes it doesn't, and I'm not entirely sure why. To Dave's left there's a lamp and either a clock or a barometer, it's hard to tell which. It looks like a nautical shaped clock, if that's what it is. Which is my main reason for thinking it's a barometer. There's an answering machine to Dave's far left past where the monitor is when it's on his desk, and a pencil cup behind that. No little black box, though. And, and I'm going to put this here because it's from Dave's desk that I first saw it, there's at least one paper press on one flat surface, if not two or three. It's awfully hard to tell where it lives, though, because these things seem to freaking migrate. So far I've seen one to Vince's right/Dave's left and one behind Vince and in front of Dave. (Double Jeopardy 3x05 for that second one.)

It took almost 3,000 words just to describe all the crap the Haven Herald has in their office, and yet we get a clear look at almost none of it. So it's hard to draw any kind of really detailed conclusions based on factual data. We can draw some conclusions that aren't in the profiles and aren't stated by them so we don't have to contend with the fact that they're lying liars who lie. The first conclusion is that dear god they are information hounds. And hoarders. The place is so covered with notes and articles that it seems like they keep every single scrap of paper on which anything was written down; more realistically, it seems like once they compile the information into a more organized format, be it newspaper article or their own personal file, they keep it. Somewhere. Their offices are organized in such a way that they probably couldn't even find each other's work if they weren't Methuselah brothers who've lived with each other (most likely, if off and on) all this time. This might not have started out as a defense mechanism, but by now it probably is, albeit a subconscious one. The Herald is their home most likely more than their actual home is, as depicted by the haphazard, clean but not at all tidy nature of the place. Their important stuff is there, what's most important to them, the information. Which brings me to the second major conclusion that I draw from this and from how they treat Audrey and Sarah (and by implication, Lucy as well): they have spent almost their entire lives trying to figure out what's happening to Haven and how to fix it. I could confirm or deny this more if I had a good look at the articles on the wall, but given Vince's focus on the Troubles and mitigating them or controlling them (he formed the freaking Guard, for crying out loud) and given that both of them are the keepers of knowledge both on a Watsonian and on a Doylist level, it makes sense. The scattered masses of articles and notes brings to mind various depictions of walls o' crazy in serial killer flicks, dedication and repetition and idolization of a person or a cause, in this case, fixing Haven. Mitigating the Troubles. The final conclusion that I have to draw isn't much of a conclusion so much as an impression: that these boys are very, very tired. Tired of Haven, tired of the cycle, tired of the Troubles, tired of whatever burdens it is they pulled onto their shoulders way back in the fifties. And again, it's not much of a supported conclusion so much as an impression, but nearly everything in their offices is fairly old, except the computers. Cabinets, desks, office supplies except for fresh pencils, if that's a jade plant that's probably at least ten or twelve years old, maybe more, the articles. The drawings. There's very little here that says they've been going out and doing more, accumulating more, or at least accumulating at the rate they used to, and there's a whole lot that says they're clinging to and miss the past. And that, to me, says tired. They're ready for this to be over, and while they hope for a happy ending out of it (most likely for all of them), they're ready to pass it on to others, now. Possibly Nathan. Possibly Duke. Possibly both.

Whether or not they get to, well. I guess we'll have to see next season.

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