Saturday, November 22, 2014

Trust But Verify Haven S5E11 Reflections

Previously on Haven: how do you solve a problem like the CDC? If you're Dwight, you adopt the new person and are all YES PLEASE YOU ARE SHINY AND PRACTICAL AND NOBODY ELSE AROUND HERE IS. Gee, it's like she was kind of tailor-made for Dwight. Or he was handpicked by her. Or both? Vince was investigating things. Mara was a manipulative fuck at Duke some more, who at least for now seems to be giving in rather than playing her, which is mildly irritating. And Nathan is freaking right out over Audrey still being sick even after Pete's contagion Trouble got, um, dealt with. This seems reasonable, honestly! I'd be pretty freaked too.

We open, oh, probably a day or two after the last episode, not more than that judging by lack of decomp on the body in the crime scene photos. Plus these seasons have been getting what feels like increasingly compressed in their timeline. Nathan is bringing case files instead of coffee and they have one of those quiet, adorable bantering moments. Except Audrey being tired, not just tired of the Troubles and the murders and wishing she could still fix them the way she used to, not just with the barn but with her immunity and the sense of purpose it gave her. At any rate, Nathan's the one holding the intelligence and willing to say shit straight out here while Audrey reaaally would rather not be thinking about what Duke's up to. Whether that's using his Trouble by choice or letting Mara off the boat; I wonder for the umpteenth time how much knowledge of who Mara is and what she's willing to do Audrey learned while she was fighting for her existence. Because I'm sure the answer is "lots" but she's also not talking about it to anyone. About much of anything. Though she will still almost pick a fight with Nathan about whether or not he thinks she's a really real person. Oh Audrey, have you been paying any attention? Nathan will believe you're real with his dying breath. Has! Several times, depending on how you measure it from what happened to Nathan versus what he was expecting to happen. But she is still sick, has a racking cough and probably fatigue, judging by the snippiness, and Nathan, now that Audrey is in need of a kind of support he's better able to give, has picked up the common sense ball! Oh Nathan. It's true, too; they don't know the details of how that Trouble affected Mara and Audrey, and with the loss of her immunity who the hell knows what else might've happened to her. Long term effects are never any fun.

Over at the boat house or fishing shed of obscurity (seriously, I have no idea whose this is supposed to be or where, we're not told) Duke is highly pissed. At least enough to throw a several decades to a hundred or more years old journal across a room. The only room in the house/shack/shed/thing, it looks like! A studio type residence with one bed, a hammock, a bunch of boxes so either whoever lived here never unpacked or it's the kind of place where someone just shipped all their extra shit and called it a day. Or Duke uses it to store contraband he buys cheap and plans to sell? or something. He finds it safe enough to bring Mara there and either no one in the writer's room thought about freezing pipes in winter in Maine, or all the other things that happen when you leave a fully equipped building unoccupied for years and years, or he uses it regularly enough to keep it in pretty good working order. Or someone does. It's a mystery! It's a well stocked with everything but food mystery, there's a kitchen, there's probably a small bath in there somewhere, and as mentioned before, the bed. So. Duke throwing shit across the room! Mara is not at all fazed by either Duke's temper or his outburst of violence, which isn't surprising but is semi-indicative. Confirmation? Whichever. Small women, particularly small women chained to chairs, tend to flinch when tall or large male figures around them display temper like that, and once again the fact that she doesn't indicates who's really in control of the situation. But we've finally gotten some information on Duke and why he hasn't let out any Troubles yet! On the one hand, he's getting more control over the situation. On the other hand, the only Troubles left for him to let out are the really bad ones that made people desperate enough to call on a Crocker. I.... question this, somewhat, although I do buy that those were the ones written down in the Crocker journal, but does anyone remember Jordan? We're pretty sure Duke knew Wade killed her. That would suck for Duke but it wouldn't be bad for anyone else, and Nathan's still Troubled. How about the Hopkins kid? I think the only people Duke's buried, at least that we've seen so far, are Wade and Garland. Okay, Garland wouldn't be bad but, heh, I can see why Duke wouldn't want Ghost!Wade wandering around. No one wants Pete's Trouble coming back, poor bastard. On the other hand, we also don't know what Troubles Wade absorbed, and on the other other hand we don't know if the Crocker Troubles Duke's now saddled with transmitted laterally as well or if he only got the ones passed down by his father and so on. We also don't know what happened with the Gallagher Trouble, if Duke just absorbed the blood and got temporarily charged on it or if he absorbed the Trouble with that, or if he absorbed any Troubles that might have been in the bloodlines of the people killed. Isn't this fun? And there's literally no way to test for any of this. All Duke has to go on is the journal. No wonder he's frustrated. We're frustrated by the lack of concrete anything or safe way to experiment and we're not even the ones overloading on acquired Troubles!

(And while I'm going on and on and on about the Crocker Trouble, I have to wonder what would happen if Charlotte were briefed on it. I'm just saying. Someone had to give the original Crocker that Trouble that eliminates other Troubles, and with a hell of a lot more finesse and control than Audrey did. It doesn't seem in William's character. Still not sure if it was in Mara's. Still wondering who Charlotte is. Questions, questions, too many questions.)

Anyway. Duke bitches that Mara hasn't fixed him. Mara bitches that she doesn't have aether. Duke bitches that she just wants to open up a thinny homeward. I bitch because there hasn't actually been a direct link between aether and thinnies, right? Yes? Just a link between aether and her giving people Troubles, which, granted, she could also give someone a portal Trouble. It's portals all the way down! So. Everyone is bitchy today. Mara somewhat less so as they talk, sounding... something. When she talks about how she was ambitious back then, apart from implying that she's less ambitious now, I have ideas as to what she's either displaying or intending to display, but I'm not entirely sure what she's actually feeling. It's a bit too soon with a bit too little evidence for genuine change for regret. Unless it's regret for creating a hostile environment in which she's now stuck, which I can entirely see. But it's something more subdued and pensive than she's been previously when talking about her original romp. She's developing her ideas about what her original experiment did, and that's both curious and dangerous. Duke is not buying any regret or anything like that, and would like to remind her that she played with people's lives like roleplaying characters, and why the hell should he believe she's changed in the last few days. Well, okay, yes, him as an asset to ensure her continued survival, that's a good strong reason. It doesn't explain her tone earlier, but again, regret for creating a hostile environment, etc. Not to mention the Crocker Trouble that she's not immune to. Was that always the case or is this just a factor of Crocker 2.0? Who knows? Not us! Duke dryly comments on at least being able to trust enlightened self interest, it's a brutal form of honesty, and it almost makes him like her. Oh Duke. Don't go down that road. You saw what happened to the last guy who liked her. The fact that she finds this good should be a giant red warning sign. Not really. Maybe the orders to stop sulking and go find the aether are, at least? We hope? Dammit, Duke. You were the smart one.

Meanwhile, Charlotte's pulling up to the hospital the next morning and why yes, I would also react badly to a large man striding angrily across the parking lot and announcing that we're going to talk. I wouldn't get out of the car, in fact, because cars make great weapons, but then again, this is Haven. Where cars could all too easily be turned into weapons against you, and nobody knows what Trouble is which until it's too late. So, sure, call Dwight and get the largest man in Haven out to glare Kirk down. Kirk will be playing the part of the Guard that's desperate enough to start issuing threats against the one person who's offering any kind of long-term help for the Troubles! Oh goodie. I mean, it's fucking stupid, but it's also wholly believable human behavior: there's hope, and there's rumors of a cure, and that means that clearly the outsider scientist lady is here to fuck with their hopes and dreams and he's going to put an end to being jerked around, as he puts it. Dwight is not having any of this bullshit. Despite all of that, Charlotte doesn't look that scared through the conversation with Kirk, much the way Mara doesn't flinch from Duke throwing shit around the room while she's chained. Granted, she has Dwight coming to her rescue pretty soon, and as a CDC field operative (assuming she actually is) she may well have been in situations with scared, angry, sometimes large people yelling at her before, but right now the situation only plays into his savior complex. I'd love to know what she would've done if he'd still been down at the station or whatever. Charlotte needs more aether to finish running tests against it and the genetic marker. I still want to know how the fuck you scientifically test magical black death truffles. Doesn't matter! They'll do it over dinner! Dwight, I know you're twitterpated but… never mind. Sigh.

Let's go visit the Trouble of the week, over at the Tart Half bakery. So… not Rosemary's, then. Is this the bad bakery from s1? Or is this still a third bakery? How many bakeries can a town the size of Haven support, anyway? (K: I often wonder that about Asheville and breweries.) An employee, Marcy by her nametag, is begging someone on the phone for more hours, she needs the money to get by, someone else can afford it. And then she says she doesn't know how long she can keep it together which of course means she… falls to pieces. Literal ones! Without any blood. That is a truly fucked up Trouble, and given that she's the one dying before the credits roll, safe money is that she's not the one who's Troubled. Roll credits!

When we come back it's to the Herald rather than the crime scene. Dave is still Sir Not Appearing in this episode; what the hell is up with that, anyway? Did Dunsworth need some time off? Or have another gig? Or want more money than they had budgeted for actors' salaries? (I mean, they got freaking Shatner on so I have a hard time buying that last, but hey, stranger things.) Dwight is here under his auspices as leader of the Guard, look, dude, I know you need to establish that you're still in charge and not let Vince think he's going to magically get that back once the Teagues brothers' problems are solved? But getting snippy with Vince isn't going to make the transition that much easier. On the other hand, if Vince really was supposed to check in and made Dwight come to him, that's a bullshit passive-aggressive power play. In short, BOTH OF YOU be better. No, Vince does not have any information on Duke and Mara that he's sharing, which is not to say he doesn't have any information at all. Vince, I'm going to throttle you until you stop keeping secrets. Dwight, I'm going to throttle you until you stop making excuses and look at what's in front of you. I mean, he's not wrong that sometimes operatives do come in and reserve judgment prior to making a full assessment, calling in a team, but Vince is also not wrong that this is a thing to be concerned about. That they can't find records of Charlotte Cross, possibly even being associated with the CDC in the first place, hey guys, who's the last person to come into Haven with an official badge who wasn't what she appeared to be? I'm just saying. Dwight would like to offer the defense that Charlotte hasn't told anyone at the CDC, that's nice, what about other people? Or what about being a rogue operative who's more dangerous than you know? Dwiiiiight. You're smarter than this. And all of that said, he's been given an explanation that has more to do with science than magic, or at least the potential for such an explanation. Which sits a lot better with a guy who's been through the military, who's been forced to believe in the supernatural very much unwillingly, and whose supernatural option for making the Troubles go away is, as far as he knows, totally out of everyone's reach now. (Thanks, Nathan!) Speaking of which, Dwight sounds an awful lot like Nathan when he claims to know in his gut that Charlotte's here to help with the Troubles. Like down to the intonation. Guys. GUYS. Well, these parallels aren't going away anytime soon. Vince isn't going to dignify the why-not with a response, he is old and tired and probably wants these young'uns to get the fuck off his lawn by now, since none of them listen. Well, Vince, if you'd coughed up what you knew when you knew it would do some good… but no. He'll just go along with working up cover stories for the Herald. Sure, okay. This can't possibly end poorly.

Gloria is making the usual commentary over the body, because that's what morgue workers of various ranks and professions do. And this is why we love Gloria. The upshot is, no blood, no cut marks, she just literally fell apart, and since it's the fifth season they don't even bother prevaricating around the fact that it's a Trouble. Seriously, they probably have a whole separate set of files on cause and manner of death at this point. She is also, she says with some snide remarking, going to send a body part or some tissue sample over to Charlotte for analysis, including the check for the DNA marker, which is the only specific test we've heard about so far. But hey, it's more than we used to have! It's also, by the way Gloria's talking, the only thing Charlotte has. She really doesn't like Charlotte. Calls her skinny, says she's doing make-work, a lot of it is the kind of grumbling you do about a co-worker you don't like, nothing that disrespectful but making a lot of noise. That said, it also makes me wonder what she's picking up from Charlotte that Dwight definitely isn't and not many other people seem to. Increasingly, Dwight's becoming the only person on Charlotte's side, and ... well, not enough information to say for sure yet, as always, but that's. Interesting.

We pass over with a nice pan from Gloria to Audrey interviewing the owner of the bakery? Must be, who is weirded out by the death as one would be, and knows about the Troubles. So, not as weirded out as a complete stranger or civilian. And in the next breath she outs herself as one of the anti-Trouble bigot crowd by asking if Marcy could have infected her or her daughter. Um. No. It doesn't work that way. It turns out, also, that Marcy had money problems, and had asked for a pay advance that she wasn't granted. Not knowing the subject of these money problems, owner lady still comes across as judgemental and mean when she says she didn't give it to her because she didn't want to give her a crutch, that she was helping her by not giving her the pay advance. Considering that whatever her money problems were, they included not being able to pay her rent, I'm definitely going to go with judgemental and mean. Even if she doubted what the woman would do with the money, just pay her the goddamn paycheck to the landlord so her rent oh never mind. Look, I have issues with this whole philosophy of giving people money doesn't solve anything, okay? Audrey is not saying what she thinks. Audrey is very diplomatically not saying what she thinks while inviting the other woman to say more, at which point she makes her feelings about Those People even more clear. Oh goodie. Because we always do come back to touch on the Troubled-AntiTroubled battle. Which is good, consistent writing, but always results in some characters that make us cringe. Some more explanation of who the other characters in this episode are, in this case Grace, another employee, and Samantha, the daughter in question, who are in a relationship that the mother doesn't entirely approve of, but more on the grounds of don't sleep with the employees. That, at least, I can kind of respect as not wanting to invite drama into the workplace. And it's clearly not stopping her daughter. We interrupt this information stream for Audrey's coughing fit, and the owner goes over to get water. This is room for Nathan to come over and ask what's up. Audrey responds with a rundown of the case, including calling the owner a bigot, so now we know where she stands. More definitively, I mean, than we did already. And assuming that Marcy's Trouble is what killed her, although Nathan meant with the coughing and the sickness. She's fine. It comes and goes. She's fine, it's all fine here. No, no it is not fine, and she is going to see the doctor. The CDC doctor. Why the CDC doctor and not another doctor I... have no idea. It's not like she has much of anything beyond an answer to Is This Person Troubled Y/N.

Back at the boat house of questionable everything, Duke fell asleep in the sort of position that suggests he was too exhausted to keep watch anymore. The handcuffs are dangling from Mara's chair, and his phone is ringing. Gee, I wonder who that could possibly be. Hi, Mara. Oh, hey, dish soap for the handcuffs? I'll have to remember that one, if that's a real trick. Duke would like to declare before the ad break that he knew he couldn't trust her, except by that fog and the general surroundings I don't think she went far. Mara, you're a sneaky patient terrifying villain now. Took you long enough. After the break she's needling him some more, well, yes, she could have left him dead but who the fuck knows what killing him while he's holding onto all those Troubles would do. Get rid of them and him? That's an awfully easy way out, and I'm waiting for someone (probably a Guardsman) to think of it and start trying to take potshots at him. Which might be another reason for Duke to be Anywhere But Haven. We're also not getting a below the waist shot of Mara, but her left hand's held in such a way as to suggest she's carrying something. Mara, you went shopping for supplies, didn't you. That's… kind of adorable in the REALLY CREEPY RED FLAG way. Especially since she goes on with forced-teaming: she's been thinking about how he said she only looks out for herself, and then tries to suggest that she's turning over a new leaf in keeping with Duke's self-sacrifice. Oh god. I… no, I'm going to be over here with the steel wool, even IF Mara is becoming slightly less evil and/or murderous in her outlook, which seems unlikely, this is still immensely manipulative and skeezy. She might or might not be right about the people Duke cares about being worth it, given that Dwight tased him and Nathan and Audrey are severely wrapped up in their personal world of flailing and clinging to each other right now. But let's not forget that she's the one who manipulated him into getting her off the boat in the first place, which lost him some of his friends' trust, and if he developed a plan to work with them and check in with what he's got from Mara that'd go a long way toward reestablishing trust. But he isn't, because she's not giving him time to think like that. He does put up token effort about how his unicorn got run over by a tractor when he was five, but the line before that read a little too genuine in his relief. And all of this is lead-up to the punchline of how she knows what it is to sacrifice in vain, in fact, look! She's letting him treat her like shit right now! (Deserved, Mara. How many people have you killed? How much misery have you caused?) But she came back! With popsicles! By the expression on Duke's face he has no idea what to do with this, except finally someone did come back when he fully expected them to walk on him. Believed that they already had. And that going right to all kinds of core trauma, from both his parents to everyone who's ever believed him a little too much that he doesn't care and isn't in this for others.

Over at the medical center Audrey knocks on Charlotte's door, and I can only think that that extended sequence of open-mouthed staring means that Charlotte recognizes Audrey as something. Exactly what, whether she recognizes Audrey as AudSarLu or as Maraudrey, it's hard to say, but she knows this woman's face. And given that she claimed not to know anything about Haven initially, that's not a good sign. I can't read much more than that, surprise? Glee? Unholy glee? But the implications are dangerous. Audrey, being too tired and sick at the moment to pick that up as the warning sign that it is, says she'll just come back later, which is enough to shake Charlotte out of her trance and resume her role as The Good Doctor. Audrey introduces herself, Charlotte asks what she can do for her, and no, Audrey, it is not the contagion illness. It sounds a bit disingenuous when Charlotte says that Dwight told her the contagion was over, especially considering she's the doctor here and not Dwight (which, to be fair, she does follow that up with saying she hasn't seen any new patients), but that might just be avoiding mentioning the Troubles? She picked up on that secrecy awfully quickly. Maybe I'm just suspicious. (Maybe she's evil.) All right, well, she'll do a blood draw and go over Audrey's symptoms: fatigue, low body temperature, dry cough, which could imply a lot of things including, yes, exhaustion. And for now she'll administer a vitamin B12 shot and recommend something OTC for the cough, until the bloodwork's back. All nice and safe and doctorly, except for the fact that on the long shot Charlotte was placed sinister to Audrey's dexter (no pun intended), and there's something more than a little eerie about the blue-green lighting that's coming from below when she's filling the syringe. Which we can't see the label of, so is anyone willing to take it on faith that that's B12? Because I'm not. Also her blood draw protocol is for shit, but that could equally be down to what steps can and can't fit within the dialogue or be mimicked on TV or half a dozen Doylist reasons. Or it could be down to her not being a doctor! Which we still can't be sure she is. Audrey is also skeptical, and wonders why Charlotte hasn't called in the cavalry yet. Charlotte then goes into an interesting little speech about how in her line of work reputation is everything, and she needs proof to get her colleagues to believe in Haven. Um. I thought, generally, that in the line of science, the science was everything. Duplicatable experiments? Granted, that doesn't necessarily mean anything, that might be the ideal and not the reality, but still. That's an awfully ambiguous speech that references only colleagues and values, no specifics like the CDC, titles of doctors, or even medicine. That makes me even more wary. Audrey is likewise suspicious and snarks about Charlotte covering her own ass, which she is admittedly doing, whoever she works for. Charlotte points out that this is for everyone's own good, still not using any specific terms and referring only to her superiors. I can't help but feel that we're going to look back on this and go ah-hah! she meant this other thing! I mean really, this dialogue is almost tailor made to be that kind of ambiguous. And besides, this is about the people of this town needing help, she says, not contradicting the impression that she knows way more than what Dwight could have told her in a few days. Audrey doesn't trust her further than she could throw the lab, by that face, but she doesn't have any reason to reject that help. Rather than discuss this further she pleads impending case, which reminds Charlotte that Marcy didn't have the Troubled DNA marker. So, no, it wasn't Marcy's Trouble that killed her. That's something like progress, anyway! So Audrey leaves to investigate that and we give Charlotte all of the side-eye for that intent and thoughtful expression after, along with, you know, everything else. We will borrow other people's eyes for some more side-eye. Vince, you weren't using those, were you?

That brings Audrey back to working the case at the bakery, with the owner who continues to be an asshole. Yaaaay. There are no questions this time about if Audrey's okay, though the cough is at least as much to indicate that she's still sick as anything, because this will be Important Later. Audrey wants to ask Grace some more questions, being that she found the body, that's reasonable enough. Well, Asshole of the Week fired Grace because she believes Grace is Troubled. Or knows. She says knows, I say believed, because this woman hasn't been acting out of an abundance of knowledge or anything other than terror since we've met her. At any rate, Samantha the daughter might have a better idea of where to find Grace, being that they're dating, yes? Yes. Or at least they were, who knows if the mother's tried to forbid that, too. But there's a boy they hang out with whose parents she tried to warn, maybe they're up there? We'll go with that as a starting point. Nathan meets her up at the house to more coughing and his immediate question is, what'd the doc say? Nathan, honey, if she's not actually keeling over right now, she does have a valid point about a teenager to look for. That is more immediate than Audrey's illness. Allow the ambulance to demonstrate. Audrey will find out what the fuck they're too late for this time, while Nathan answers his phone. Hi Duke! Duke is calling to get chewed out and do a bunch of chewing in return, and while they're being frustrated and annoyed with each other he gets the word that Audrey's sick and Nathan's worried it has something to do with the separation. I do wonder if there's something about limited distance they can be apart, or possibly they need to talk to each other? Touch? Or can't do any of those things? Is this vaguely like the succubus Trouble from Ball and Chain? Anyway, Duke doesn't want to bring Mara back, he needs the aether so he doesn't kill anyone with whatever Trouble he lets out. Nathan, your argument has some holes. You don't know that Mara will take out the entire town on purpose, Nathan. In fact at this point nobody should be certain that she'd open a thinny with the aether in the first place. We have only her word that that's what she wanted at one point, and everyone's been assuming it since then, but since Mara is a lying liar who lies, I wouldn't count on her goals not having changed. After all, her goals very clearly involve turning Duke into her next William, which is going to be awfully awkward when William turns up next season. Second half of this season. Whatever we're calling it. I do appreciate the pot-kettle exchange, which is wholly accurate, but Nathan's bottom line is that Duke brings Mara in and they'll figure something out. Which has not, in fact, worked all that well thus far. He gets the I'm playing someone tone when Mara pokes her head out the door, and it's still unclear who's being played until he admits that he thought Nathan would come through. No, he's not going to bring Mara in. Especially since nobody's updated him that the CDC lady seems nice enough. So far. And that they're not going to turn Haven into a ward of lab rats, you know, more than Mara and William already did. Which is fair, I don't think that'd get through Duke's wall of (somewhat justified) paranoia anyway, though I wish Vince were in a sharing mood. I bet Duke would help him dig up information on Charlotte, even if he had a particular set of biases in play. Regardless, the upshot is that Duke feels even more abandoned and betrayed, is telling Mara that, and is going to go steal the fucking aether. Oh this is going to turn into a game of aether, aether, who's got the aether, I just know it. Great.

Turns out what they were late for is a skinny teenager with some sort of hole in his chest somewhere below the collarbone? Above the heart? and a potential neck injury, although they do tend to slap those on just out of an abundance of caution. The hole in his chest is non-debatable on account of he's bleeding out of it. He's stable enough to move, so they're going to move him, while Audrey gives Nathan the background. Apparently the kid dropped 280lbs (127 ish kilo for those of you with sane measurement systems) on his chest bench pressing. Ouch. Nathan comments that the kid doesn't look like he could lift that much, let alone drop it on himself, but Audrey has photographic proof that yesterday the kid was ripped. Nathan, considering you've lived in Haven all your life, you have absolutely no cause to say that couldn't be the same kid. Seriously. The question is, which is the real kid, the ripped person or the skinnier, less workout focused one? Pre-serum or post-serum Steve Rogers, in other words. Shut up I do not have a thing. Vince has news for Nathan! Evidently it's news enough to get Nathan's attention within a sentence or two, while Audrey suppresses a cough. (K: Seriously, as someone with broken lungs, I can attest to the fact that that never works.) Nathan can go check out what Vince wants while Audrey goes and hovers around the hospital and waits for Terrence to get out of surgery. And it looks like she doesn't have too far to go to find Grace or Samantha, either. They're right there in the crowd of horrified spectators! The more interesting part is when Grace encourages Samantha to run from the not at all threatening Audrey. So, Samantha's the Troubled person then. We actually figured it was either her or the psycho motherbeast, because of the You Are What You (Or Your Mother) Hate trope. Anyway, Grace isn't afraid for herself. She's willing to tell Audrey, too, but only if she takes her to the hospital to see Terrence. Not an unreasonable question given they're friends, and one Audrey is willing to honor. And one that seems to confirm that guess. Okay, then.

Dwight was going to go be adorable and twitterpated some more with the aether and dinner, yeah, that's not going to work very well now that it's gone already. And if this episode is close to realtime, Duke and Mara must not be very far away from Haven for him to have driven in already. As evidenced by the very next scene, while all our couples undergo changes of plans. Duke by now is desperate enough that I don't think he'd hold out on having the aether if he really did and was withholding for information. Mara is… painting her toenails when he walks in, because nothing says I'm not even a little concerned about my control of the situation like tending to small, finicky, unnecessary matters of personal hygiene. I'm impressed, honestly. She does start him down the garden path a little further with the spiel of how Nathan must've moved it, it's all his fault, his friend hates him and doesn't trust him anymore, and now he's going to pay for it. I'm sure if the aether had been there it would've been, your friend is so willing to take advantage of your nature that he assumed you'd jump to his whims. Some kind of framing to put the screws to their relationship even further. But his Trouble is putting the screws to Duke's composure much more effectively, and not long enough in this case means, not long enough to get away from a significant population. Especially since I'm sure some of those Troubles seek out people to be hurt by them. Mara will now come over, and between, by the way, that little feminine sundress of I couldn't hurt a fly, and her expression, she looks freakishly like Audrey. Duke brought the lampshades for it by admitting that he wishes she wasn't Mara right now. Well… yeah, I can't blame him for that, but admitting it means that she goes all pragmatic and too bad, I'm what you've got to work with, deal with it. That's a really nice appeal to his own survivor's sense.

Over at the Herald Vince is giving Nathan the bad news about the CDC not sending Charlotte to Haven, so who the hell is she working for? Well, even if Dwight had put together the whole official people coming to Haven under official looking identities that actually belong to other people (Audrey Parker, thanks) thing, he probably would have come up with some Nathan-over-Audrey-like justification for why she didn't just outright say that to begin with. In Audrey's case, that was because she didn't know. Charlotte knows, whether she's admitting it or not, a little too much for ignorance to fly as an excuse. And when Vince says they need hard evidence, what he really means is they need proof that Dwight can't explain away or justify. Dwight spent years explaining away or justifying the Troubles. They're going to need a lot of proof.

Over at the medical center, Nathan is leaning in a doorway looking up to something. Charlotte does not notice! Charlotte fails her perception check, Nathan could possibly be more up to something, but he'd have to have a mustache to twirl or some such weirdness. Sure, of course he's here to give her a tissue sample, why not. He does try to shake her hand by way of greeting, but it's hard to tell if the gloves thing is a dodge or what. It's definitely a little weird. She has touched Audrey, and didn't seem surprised or as though she was reacting to anything weird, but ... well, it's still hard to say. She invites him to sit, asks him about his Trouble for the record, which is all reasonable. He offers to trade it for information about Audrey's illness, which sends Charlotte scurrying behind doctor-patient confidentiality. Which is indeed a thing, Nathan, you could have expected that. As as her phone rings she hands Nathan a form to fill out, presumably with his vital stats to attach to the DNA sample, and tells him to talk to Audrey. Both for news on her diagnosis and to get her to call Charlotte, because Audrey's been ducking her calls. You know, I would too, as much ulterior motive as you seem to have, lady! The phone seems to be Vince asking about Dave using bleach to clean his wounds, which is both hilarious and comes in for some facepalming, at least until it becomes evident that the phone call is designed entirely to get her out of the same room as Nathan. Ah-hah! He's ... no, okay, he's not searching the office, which is good because there's no way he has enough time for that. He's getting a hair from her brush for a DNA sample. I love you guys. I love everyone in this mini conspiracy. He even brought an evidence type baggie. Love. So much love.

After the ad break, Nathan's making the handoff to Vince. I'm not sure a single strand of hair is actually enough for a solid DNA test; on the other hand, if they're looking for that specific genetic marker that Charlotte herself found… maybe! I would cackle at the poetic nature of that. I would also cackle… well, let me put this hypothesis out there because we poked at it last night; there's a reasonable possibility that Charlotte's from a Troubled family that left Haven for whatever reason. Based on the end of the ep, there's a strong chance that if she's not from the other side of the thinny (or even if she is!), that that family would have had a lot of interaction with and knowledge of AudSarLu. There's not that many families as yet who fit that description; the Teagues are one, the Crockers are another, the Glendowers might be a third and since Charlotte is female she wouldn't be bound by the same and now you are stuck underwater for all eternity Trouble as the men, and the Carrs are a fourth. Considering she's met the Teagues and barely batted an eye, but hasn't met any of the others nor, to my recollection, even heard their names as yet… well. Dwight, go have ill-advised sex with her and let us know if she has a disappearing-reappearing tattoo, let's rule out ONE option. Or in. I like actual data as opposed to incomplete data. So do the guys, Vince is being typically cryptic although for once it only takes Nathan giving him a look and his name before he admits that Gloria has suspicions and is handling this. Also, for 24-hour turnaround on the results we're either going for TV timing or that is the very specific let's look for Troubled DNA markers test. Or both! Both is good. Dwight looks incredibly unhappy to be coming up on this whispered conspiracy, and by his opening statement it sounds like he knows what Nathan's up to. No, not that! The aether being missing! Um, Dwight, I don't think Nathan knew you were going to give her more of it. That's a thing Nathan can deny and be honest about, which is good because he's not that good a liar anymore, and especially not to Dwight. No, he didn't take the damn aether, who took it? Duke took it! Well, okay, fair, that is the other person they're aware of has reason to want it, but seriously that shit is an open secret at best in this town by now. So nobody has the fucking death truffles of doom, but Nathan has an excellent point that Duke would take two minutes to crack the safe. Less, considering he had the first two numbers last ep! I wonder who else in Haven is good at safecracking; my guess is a fair number of people.

Over at the hospital Audrey was going to walk Grace to her friend's room but now she's being accosted by Charlotte. So, all right then, and the very next scene Charlotte's taking more blood. Her test results seem relatively healthy but her cells are deteriorating, which seems to me to be a contradictory statement. Also Vitamin B12 is not going to help with that cough, so something else is going on there, what exactly did you give her again, Charlotte? The extra blood vial seems to be in order to double check the diagnosis, which is reasonable, but there's something still fairly hinky about all of this.

We get the update from not!Steve Rogers in his hospital bed, who apparently worked his ass off in order to bulk up, which got the kids at their school to stop bullying him. But he says he is weak, not was, which, oh Terrence. Grace gives us the rundown on how scrawny guys and fat girls get all the usual small-town asshole treatment, probably doubly if not triply so for a girl willing to be in an openly lesbian relationship. I mean, other prejudices don't just go away with the Troubles, that's just an extra layer of hatred and us-versus-them added on. And it's pretty obvious by this that Terrence and Grace are good friends, and I would even hazard a guess that one of his secondary motivations to weightlifting and getting in shape was then he could help physically defend both himself and his friend against the more overt forms of bullying. I actually really, really adore this, and it plays out as a subtle miniature version of the knight-errant with his lady thing we've had going on all episode between our three main pairs. There's no sexual love, but there's a lot of devotion even in this one scene, and based on Grace's recitation sure, it hurt. But she's got some impressive psychic and emotional defenses against that shit, primary of which is: teenagers are assholes and soon she can get out of this crapsack town. Oh HONEY. Terrence narrates for us what it's like being caught by the Trouble, except he never specifies who "her" is, and Grace keeps looking away; Audrey keeps looking at her all "is this thing going to catch me? hmmm, I don't feel caught." Grace will even save her the step of trying to figure it out and flat out say it, because Grace is a forthright young woman. I like her a lot. I like the writing a lot, too, hell, because it's a very mature but still very teenagery viewpoint: a lot changes in two years, not least when you're sixteen. Also the description of it sounds a lot like some kind of Medusa-type hypnosis, except instead of stone you become whatever you think you are inside.

Over at the bakery of tea, crumpets, and bigotry, psychomom is laying down the law about not seeing Grace again, how "her kind" are dangerous. Not in the sense of, what if Grace's Trouble does something terrible like start killing people or blow up a building and you get hurt, in the sense of "those" people do evil things and we don't associate with "them." Because that attitude ever got anything constructive done. Samantha defends her girlfriend, pointing out that nobody chooses to be Troubled and there's something almost more poignant now that we know where the Troubles do come from. I wonder if Mara thought about the social dynamics of how this would fall out, or if she was too busy giggling over people melting like butter in the sun or whatever. Oh, here's some more of the mother's issues, the Troubled are evil because they lie about their status, not in order to avoid bigotry like hers, oh no, out of malicious impulse to... something. They're not hiding out of embarrassment or fear, they're doing it specifically to inconvenience her, is the upshot of this, reserving particular venom for Samantha's father, whatever happened there. Whatever did happen, she blames him for it, and by extension all Troubled people, blaming them for their reactions to other people's anger and you get the idea. And on the plus side, now we know which side of the family Samantha got it from! Not that her mother knows yet, not until Samantha tells her. Sideways, because she can't look at her mother both because of her Trouble and because her mother's anger makes it hard to look at her. That's an actual psychological thing, a complex thing so I'm not going to get into it here, but it's a thing involving fear and avoidance and so on. In this case it also serves the practical purpose of not Troubling her mother, whom she still wants to protect even if her mother's a hateful sack of prejudices. Sadly, that only makes her mother pull out the "look at me when I'm talking to you," which, well. There we go.

Speaking of people who are like others, Duke is trying very hard not to be like his father, probably is trying not to be like William, but unluckily Mara is very, very good at this manipulation thing. I do wonder if this is ever going to result in her actually softening her overall evilness, or if this is all in the service of making Duke her personal pet Trouble machine that she's not immune to, and her personal lab rat as a result. By the way she reaches out to grab the back of his neck like that's going to do anything other than establish dominance when she doesn't have aether? Yeah, I'm going with personal pet lab rat, here. Duuuuke. You of all people should know to look at what people are doing as well as what they're saying, finding the place where it doesn't match up, and asking yourself why that's a problem. Unfortunately the whole, gonna die if he doesn't let out a Trouble problem, that's much bigger at the moment. Mara I don't think has any actual ideas for how to fix this without aether or having read the Crocker journal (though given where he tossed it and that she got free while he was asleep, I would not bet against her having read at least part of it by now), but she'll try a thing! That thing is to give essentially guided meditation instructions. Woman, have you ever tried meditating like that when you feel like so much shit you're going to die? Or wish you would? Because I have, and it's not that easy. This is at least an immediate Trouble, so Duke knows what the fuck is going on as soon as it's out, and what's going on is… all the water is boiling. Oh that's fun. We come back to the explanation of it, it was a kid who lived through a house fire and was terrified nobody was coming to get him, and when his Trouble activated Simon couldn't kill him in time to save the lunch rush at a diner from the re-creation of the fire. Oh ow. For everyone. Duke will now freak about how he wanted it to be harmless; well, going by area of effect and their current location he might only burn himself and maybe Mara alive before the fire sinks into the lake/ocean/whatever the hell that body of water is? That's not harmless, but it's not killing innocent bystanders, either. Mara identifies the reason it came out as, Duke feels like that trapped little boy right now who's afraid he's isolated, nobody's coming for him, he's stuck with her-the-monster being terrified and alone. Gee. WHO PUT HIM THERE, AGAIN? I mean, the rest of them aren't blameless in this, but Mara has specifically and repeatedly isolated him on purpose so that he would only have her to turn to. And in order to break this, she will insist against immediate self-interest and self-preservation that she's not leaving, even though Duke seems to be accepting his death as a matter of course. Well, that's going to bind him to her really thoroughly in ways that are going to really suck for everyone.

We'll have a brief repeat of the hallway scene where Charlotte interrupts Audrey and Grace at something, this time with semi-good news. Her bloodwork's come back with less cellular degeneration. Which, apart from the initial condition being weird, the following reversal is also weird, when did it start. Apparently it started when Samantha looked at her on Terrence's lawn, which is about right, because Audrey is confident and relatively put together compared to other people, Marcy nonwithstanding. She's sure of herself and her skills and abilities, and that's not something most people have. So, when Samantha's self-perception Trouble hits her, it transforms her into being strong and put together. Unfortunately as Charlotte quickly deduces, that means that when Audrey talks Samantha down she's going to start deteriorating again. Once again, I can't tell if Charlotte's going with her out of concern for Audrey or concern for the asset she represents. Either way, it's genuine concern. Of note here as well is, if she does recognize Audrey and knows that Audrey's supposed to be immune to the Troubles, well, that's a good indicator that Audrey isn't at the moment, so why isn't Charlotte reacting to that? Who are you, woman. Come here so we can throttle answers out of you. Of course when they burst in at the bakery.... oh that's disturbing. Apparently Samantha has in fact transformed her mother into being, well. In middle school? A spoiled selfish child? Pick your epithet, she's right there. And a child. Younger, at the moment, than her daughter. That's interesting, especially considering that the Trouble transforms people into how they see themselves, so apparently, what, hellmom never felt like an adult? Never felt like she'd grown up, or never emotionally advanced beyond middle school?

I kind of wonder, as Mara talks Duke down from this Trouble and tells him that she sees it hurts him when people walk away, which is basic psych and not actually a revelation, here, if there is anything she's actually been through that she's using. Because I do believe that somewhere under there exists a woman who needs other people, but she needs people she perceives as equals, and somewhere along the line she stopped doing that with, as far as I can tell, anyone. Which makes it awfully difficult to get out there and connect with the world. Duke protests, quite rightly, that she wouldn't be doing or saying this, particularly with the touching like she's already the romantic partner he didn't ask for, if she didn't have an angle. Her angle is to save him, okay, I'll even buy that. Save him for what is the question he should be asking. Getting kissed is a pretty good way to startle him out of asking logical questions like that, as desperate for connection as Duke is by now. Oh honey. Don't do this. I mean, he's going to, but don't do this. Dammit, Duke. Mara's reason as given is that this fixed the Trouble because he finally believes she cares about him. Uhhh. I would go for, finally believes she's not leaving him. That does not have to have the positive connotation she's trying to put on it. But he does, in fact, have one person who is not going to leave him for the foreseeable future, because she needs him. For lab ratting. Seriously, I don't buy less malicious explanations.

Over at the bakery we have the other other standard talking the Troubled person down, or maybe up? One of the two. It doesn't help that Samantha probably did do it out of anger, on purpose, but Audrey opens with the standard it's not your fault, which to an extent is true because anger shouldn't have that kind of consequence. Unfortunately talking the Troubled person down, in this case, also means Audrey gets sick again. As demonstrated by the cough coming back. Immediately, quick enough that I'm even more suspicious now, Charlotte swoops in and suggests they take Samantha and hellmom back to the lab. She doesn't say for tests, but that's what it sounds like. It doesn't help that she then says that maybe there's a way to keep Audrey healthy while keeping everyone else from being affected by the Trouble, which on the surface of it does sound like the kind of thing science should be able to do, make the Troubles useful. On the other other hand, what kind of experiments would have to take place for her to find that out? Grace isn't any more happy about this than we are. Grace would like Audrey to stay and continue to help Samantha, which is Audrey's inclination as well. So Audrey continues to tell Samantha that it's not her fault, that she has the power to stop it, and child!hellmom interrupts to yell. Audrey takes an interesting tack here, referring more to Janet's anger than to her bad behavior, and asserting that Troubled people aren't malicious or trying to hurt everyone else, they're just as scared as everyone else of what they can do or have done. And, fortunately, when Janet returns to normal, she is not as angry with her daughter as we might expect for turning out to be Troubled, etc. Instead, oh, well, that's not at all like better, she's angry at Audrey because she has to do with her daughter's Trouble in any way, and she's decided her daughter's Trouble is a punishment for... not knowing right from wrong? At this point the lesbian relationship is starting to feel like an anvil on top of an anvil, especially with the camera cut right to the terrified couple after hellmom says that. Really, you guys? I appreciate the message but I really hope it wasn't actually intended to be that... preachy. On the other hand, having Charlotte there means there's a scientist to back up Audrey's assertion that the Troubles are genetic, not inflicted. Well. Not inflicted as far as the general public knows. No, I don't trust that Charlotte doesn't know they aren't inflicted. And apart from a couple special cases, none of the Troubles were inflicted on this generation anyway. On the other hand, this also gives license for Samantha to blame her mother for what happened to her. Which is also not inaccurate, but not directly simple, either. That's a nice bit of backlash-slash-parallel for Janet, though, the whole maybe-if-you-were-better-this-terrible-thing-wouldn't-be-happening. It even fits right in with her logic, so she can't very well escape it. Her daughter doesn't love her, I hesitate to say anymore, but certainly not right now, because let's face it, Janet is not a nice person. Meanwhile, Audrey is coughing and looking like she's trying not to quietly freak out. Oh honey.

In the aftermath, Nathan and Dwight are trying to figure out how to work together again. For starters, video surveillance! And Nathan confessing that Audrey went to see Charlotte as a patient, that there's something wrong with her. I support this trade of information. I would support if more if I were sure it wasn't going to end with awful things being done to Audrey; in this case I support Nathan's paranoia though not for the reasons he states. But! Surveillance footage interrupts this moment, and I do love that, separated and at odds and everything, Nathan takes less than five seconds to look at Duke walking out of the station and go no, that's wrong. Because Duke's furious, and Duke wouldn't still be furious (and trying to hide it from the general public) if he had the aether. He'd be casual, cocky, self-assured, maybe even grim and determined given the way things are going. Not angry. So someone else beat them to it? Let's find out who! Some dumbshit was dumb enough not to put it in a pocket before walking out? Some dumbshit maybe wanted to be found, or is really epic stupid. I can't decide which. Dwight calls our attention to the left-forearm tattoo also on prominent display, no seriously, this is screaming either trap or deliberate, blatant flouting of Dwight's authority. I'm looking at Vince, Kirk, Mitch, anyone else who would know or have heard about the aether (which at this point is half the damn Guard, you people have no sense of opsec), anyone who would know or have heard about the safe, and anyone who would have reason to undermine Dwight's position. That leaves us with the question of why, though. Is it just to undermine Dwight, or are they aiming to get Charlotte the aether faster? Do they have a pet scientist in the Guard they'd rather run these tests? SERIOUSLY WHAT. Aside from the obvious fact that the Guard is falling to fucking pieces.

We then cut over to what might be the longest sex scene we've actually had on Haven? Didn't the pancakes scene get cut and added to the DVD extras? There's some interesting stuff in the blocking, from the fact that they start out both seated, with neither of them exactly in a traditionally dominant position, to then Duke topples Mara back onto the floor. Floor rather than bed, in this blocking I'm going with because bed is a synecdoche for home and safety and all that other kind of stuff, and the floor is where you have ill-advised, not thought out sex with someone you don't exactly want to bring home to meet the parents. As it were. And then Duke has a very clear moment of rethinking what the fuck he's doing and how the hell he got here in the first place, and Mara will now proceed to put an end to the thinking. I really wonder what she's getting out of this besides another William. And I really, really dislike those ominous strings as we move away from that scene.

We close on our not-yet-consummated couple, at least not with sex, though obviously that's far from the only way to bind someone emotionally to you. Dwight promises Charlotte will be the first to know when he gets the aether back, and they trade apologies about canceling dinner. But that might be for the best, because this is hectic enough without distractions, and by distractions, Dwight, you mean letting some of that repressed out in bed? That's what I thought you meant. Complete with adorable puppy dog eyes from both of them. It's really a shame I don't trust Charlotte at all, because as she presents herself she's the sort of person who'd make a great partner for Dwight, in either the romantic or the working sense. Or both! Charlotte will now go all middle-distance-staring, which I suspect has more to do with AudSarLu, in that she says it's about what she saw today and opens with "a woman," and that's a phrasing that's really easy to shift on the fly to be about the Trouble of the moment rather than the thing actually bugging her. Or, hell, maybe she hasn't had any personal experience with the Troubles, maybe it's all family lore and legend. Maybe hers is a family that had its Trouble removed by a Crocker awhile back. That'd be enough to give her pause regardless of personal motivations. And I still don't think the desire to help is untrue, just incomplete, and that her definition of help may not be everyone else's. And that is the part that has me worried. Dwight will now proceed to be comforting and ask her to stick around without asking, because he needs people like what he thinks she is. Oh Dwight. Complete with mild fussing about how she should lock herself in her lab if she's going to work this late, and sidling out like a schoolboy with a crush. Goddammit Adam Copeland when did you get this awesome. Plus ten million points for STILL somehow managing the body language that says Hi I'm Not A Threat. No, the threat is Charlotte, or at least the known unknown is Charlotte, and in Haven those two things are often way more synonymous than anyone likes to think about. On that advice she does go lock the door behind him, and digs out a rather thick file folder. Charlotte why do you have a murderfolder on AudSarLu? And that is all of those incarnations, possibly plus one? That's definitely Sarah as she appears pushing a veteran down the boardwalk from her ep, and then again with Dave later on in that incarnation. That's an early-ish Audrey picture. And I think the brunette is Lucy with her hair pulled back, because otherwise the hair's too short, but the rest of the styling is consistent with early-mid 1980s. Oh, yeah, there's something from even earlier, because that headline is about Spanish Influenza. As we pan to the right side of the folder at least two of those photos are from what look to be Lucy Ripley's days in Haven, complete with a father-daughter pair? Hmmm. It's staged like a happy family, which worries me. And that's definitely a contemplative look on Charlotte's face. Seriously, what the fuck. Do not trust.

The promos for next week are designed to bring the wrestling fans to watch the show, which is nice but not entirely helpful for purposes of figuring out what's going on. Regardless, Adam Copeland's wrestling partner is in for an ep or two to guest star, near the end of the first half of the season which means nothing good about his presence oh god. Dwight admits he's falling for Charlotte, that's not much of a surprise, the way he's greeting not!Jay Reso suggests prior relationship, probably military. Oh goodie. He's also a bartender now, which means he's used to hearing secrets. I wonder how many we'll get out of anyone.

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