Saturday, November 28, 2015

I Must Live While Others Die Haven S5E22 A Matter Of Time

Everyone stop for awhile to groan over the double pun in the ep title with us, while we go over the previouslies. Yes? Yes. Previously, Hayley or Hayley's Trouble are the key to saving Haven by way of making a thinny whee. Vince was a complete fucking idiot who thought the best plan was to discuss plans for saving Dave from Croatoan IN FRONT OF HIM WHEN HE KNEW DAVE WAS POSSESSED. I'm pretty sure that one never got fully erased from his memory, is what I'm saying, and even if it did, the body on the floor should be a big fucking clue. Nathan coming back from the void is crucial, which will be fun since William's there too and Hayley refuses to use her power for the purposes of eventually getting rid of it. Kid. Have you seriously never read Harry Potter? Splinching is a thing. You don't want that thing.

Nathan does not want this boulder or this void air or whatever in the void is making him sick, but there's a lot of shit Nathan doesn't want and bulls his way through despite that. Because Nathan. Also I question the wisdom of sending in the guy who can't feel things to a place that's that toxic to humans. While it may lengthen the time he can stand being in there, if there's any kind of nerve irritation/pain that goes along with it, it means that he doesn't notice how bad it is until, say, shortness of breath and blurry vision come into play. William shall taunt him a second time! Free me and I'll help you, yadda yadda, nobody believes you, William. Though he's not wrong about Nathan doing poorly. William babbling about all the terrible things Mara's going to do is definitely like provocation! A lot of provocation, since Nathan starts shouting about how Mara's not coming back and ALSO no seriously NOT COMING BACK SHE'S DEAD YOU MORON. DECEASED. KICKED THE BUCKET. SHE IS AN EX-MARA. Ahem. I will allow as how this is enough passion and Nathan is fucked up enough that it definitely registers as true. Or Nathan believing it's true hard enough that he's got some kind of alternate proof, even if William looks utterly stricken by that idea. He's not wrong, either, there's not really anything he knows of that could do that. That's in Haven. So now they have new and interesting information to exchange and negotiate from. Such as negotiation can happen when the only thing William was living for (as far as he's ever said) is now gone.

Speaking of hope being gone! At least they named her Hayley, not Hope. Audrey will now freak out at Duke about how did this happen why does she think her Trouble is awesome. Audrey. Because she's a fucking teenager with a teenager's notion of invincibility and a Trouble that backs her up on it. Even though Duke did try to tell her about the downsides of it, at length, it has been extraordinarily useful to her in a very short span of time. Plus, you know, she's gotten fucked up plenty in the past few weeks, between Trouble activation and people trying to kill her and then Duke going all Terminator on her. And then Audrey totally fucked up the motivational speeches, so yes, this is totally your fault, Audrey, and you should feel bad about stranding your boyfriend in the void. Oh, about that downside, that would be a girl's voice in a looot of pain. And that would be Hayley splinched in a metal gate or fence of some kind, at least one of those bars is running through an artery, and I think the one through her back is probably paralyzing at least her lower extremities. Wow that sucks. Also I don't know how the fuck she thinks they're going to help her, unless Duke has an iron-melting Trouble we don't know about.

After the credits we come back to the group of total fucking idiots in the cabin (in the woods, one of these days A may get over her wary and watch that) with Dave still chained up. Vince and Dwight have brought in a hypnotist that I'm sure we would've seen before in this half of the season if there were time in these eps and also, y'know, if Croatoan weren't mind-fucking everyone for shits and giggles. (5x04 Much Ado About Mara is the ep where she last hypnotized Dave, if you'll recall back that far.) Goddammit, Croatoan. At least that implies that they keep getting close to something he very much does NOT want them knowing? Thank you Dave for attempting to warn them that Croatoan's watching and maybe talking about separating him or him getting to kill Croatoan is maybe not the BEST plan you've ever come up with. Dwight will be the only halfway smart person and call an end to the debate in favor of maybe hopefully catching Croatoan off-guard. Pun totally intended. The hypnotist, whose name we don't get, explains the gist of a mind palace to everyone who didn't already know it and didn't watch BBC Sherlock, The Mentalist, or any of these other shows. (No, I don't know why it's suddenly in vogue either.) Well what's Dave supposed to do when he's back there supposedly confronting the big bad? Kill him, get information, they're not picky. Yeah this is a great idea. Send Dave to the back of his own mind so that Croatoan can pop out! This can't POSSIBLY end badly. Dwight you at least I expect better from, for fuck's sake, and once again I wish we knew exactly how much his and Vince's memories of the past half-day resemble Swiss cheese. Also, dear hypnotist, telling Dave that he has no control over what he takes with him is a) bullshit and b) really NOT HELPFUL. Dave jokes around a bit as a defense mechanism. Vince don't take your brother's defense mechanisms he has a reason to want them. See also how his voice trembles when he declares it time to get this over with. Are you facepalming? I'm facedesking.

The facedesking does not let up. Yes, Hayley, you wore yourself out opening portals and now you're too tired to focus on using your Trouble properly and no, you're fucked. As those looks between Audrey and Duke suggest. You're not getting out of here, kiddo, and heart and lungs are not the only vital organs or things that can get you killed, I think she actually does know that and is lashing out in panic and fear. Not that I can entirely blame her, she's very obviously desperate for parental figures and neither Duke nor Audrey actually wants to adopt a stray teenager, they have bigger problems. So, no, they can't even try moving her, if those bars aren't piercing her arteries they will as soon as she gets shifted. Her right brachial artery looks okay? I don't think it runs that low, but I'm guessing her femoral artery is only being kept from spurting blood by that bar running through her thigh. Her left brachial artery is more dubious and removing the bar running near to in her spine is liable to make her quadriplegic IF it doesn't outright kill her. Besides which, it's not as though either of them has a phasing Trouble to conveniently get her out of there. Oh honey. Audrey may have sucked at dealing with you and your Trouble, but under these circumstances she doesn't need to try and trick you. She does, however, need to discuss Extremely Upsetting Things with Duke out of earshot. What could be more upsetting than sorry kid you're going to die? Oh, getting used again as a portal-opener and nothing else. I can't imagine this isn't hitting all of Duke's buttons over Jennifer, too, which is part of why he volunteers to talk to her. The other part is responsibility for Hayley personally and the fact that Audrey did fuck it up the first time so let's just… not do that. I somewhat question the wisdom of that, in that if Audrey could be persuaded to admit she fucked up to Hayley, some, uh, fences might be mended. But alas, no.

I have to say it's probably a good thing for Maddie that Croatoan yoinked her memory of the first time she hypnotized Dave, because she was so completely freaked out when she called Vince that I don't know if he could've persuaded her to come back with her memory intact. That looks more like an EMDR light than a hypnosis light, but sure, we'll go with it. The strength of Dave's mind palace turns out to be the Herald, which doesn't merit the jar but is kinda cute, and it looks like there's a … tree? growing in the middle of the office. Between that and the creepy tree of deathtruffles life on William's box of balls, I have concerns. I have even more concerns about how the entire area outside the Herald looks just like the void. That suggests quite a lot of power already gathered from Croatoan, and Dave looking like he has a headache is not doing anything to counter the idea. Dave. You're saying hello to the boogeyman in your head? That's… okay kind of hilarious, actually. Back in the really real world, Dwight and Vince are crouched over Dave all okay well what are our chances oh shit Maddie's dead? Maddie's dead. Must've been Troubled, either previously or recently by Duke's Troublesplosion. Which means you guys are COMPLETELY FUCKED. Yes, Croa-Dave broke the chains, yes, you lost ten minutes, yes, in conclusion, this was a terrible idea what the fuck is wrong with you. At the VERY LEAST it would've been a good idea to send Maddie away for fewer civvie casualties, probably also a good idea to go outside of the cabin while Dave's hypnotized so that you have half a chance to react if Croatoan meatpuppets him outside to try and fuck with you and wipe your memories. Honestly, you guys, these are basic tactics. This is also the ONE time where I would accept that a glass cage might be useful, assuming line of sight doesn't work and you can make it strong enough that Croatoan can't break it, so the smoke monster can't get you. ONE TIME.

Meanwhile back in the cave of trapped and bickering, William has entered not so much denial as the stage where he's tried to logic his way into Nathan making sense and failed to figure out how Audrey and Mara could be separated and Mara killed. There's no barn! This does not compute! Literally. Nathan stop giving away the homeworld. While I appreciate that getting one over on William feels great in the moment, I just don't see how giving him more information is a good plan oh ever. Though sure, let's break his psyche into a few more pieces, that'll go well. Reveal Charlotte, reveal the split of bodies and personalities, well at least William's giving up a little bit of information too. Sort of. We did know that Mara wanted to make Troubles that could affect her own kind, in a very be-careful-what-you-wish-for way she got it, and presumably she wanted to drop them on the heads of everyone who doubted her back in their world all MWAHAHAHA NOW YOU'LL SEE YOU'LL ALL SEE. And other such mad scientist cacklings. I mean, she already flat out said it was to prove a point! Apparently this little storytime hits William hard, not just because Charlotte chose Audrey over Mara but because he has half a clue how that's even possible, so I… guess that's good? I'd still like to know how it IS possible and the mechanics thereof, but at least it rings true enough that William has to assimilate this new data before he has any other prodding to do. Evidently he's both scared of Charlotte and not surprised that she favored Audrey over Mara, which makes one wonder what he knew of Mara's parents and just how long Charlotte's been a controlling, rigid-thinking to the point of abusive mother. Not that William is anywhere close to being a decent person either, but there's a clear pattern of fear, analysis and apprehension, grief, anger, and then thinking. Lots of eye-darting and thinking as he what I can only assume from that face, he's calculating something. He can do that, Nathan's going to use a fallen stalactite as a lever to move that boulder while William watches with an intensity I don't at all like, which of course the stalactite breaks because they're not the most sturdy of rock formations. That would be his cue to get fed the fuck up and fling it across the cave, gouging out a dent and leaving him wheezing and William disgusted with their situation. Oh, hey, the controller crystal, that's something. If you can ever get out of here. And that is a fucking LOT of aether dripping down the gouge. I am so not fond of those eyedarts, William, the fuck are you planning. You creepy motherfucker. Seriously creepy, that's the kind of thing we've been accused of doing when we do our own situational analyses. Though I'm not surprised the cave bleeds aether. I'm sure you could practically condense it from the air in the void, if you knew what you were doing, though if that's so it begs the question why William hasn't bothered yet. Unless he plans to just watch Nathan die! Questions for later.

Speaking of eyes, Hayley's losing focus by the minute. She wants to know why it doesn't hurt more, well, there's these things called nerve connections, and probably a lot of them got severed when you splinched yourself into the bars. See also BAR IN HER SPINE. Seriously, it looks like it's coming out just at the base of her skull, the bars might be the only things holding her upright at this point. Duke takes the less gory route of telling her her body's going into shock, which is probably also true. (Someone get her a blanket.) (That's not entirely a poorly timed joke, it's going to take her a while to die in there, and she is going to get cold and weak and basically unless someone gives her mercy this is going to suck.) She is upset, she doesn't want to die. She may or may not be telling an emotional truth when she says she finally had one good thing, it's not like she's exactly thinking clearly now, but by her behavior when Duke met her the first time she didn't have much in the way of hope for a decent future there, either. So, yeah. In some ways it's not really a surprise that she took this new ability and ran with it. The surprise is that the adult who knew her (Duke) and more importantly the adult who's supposed to be empathic and understanding and talk people into a better, more hopeful place (AUDREY) so completely fell down on the job. Mostly Audrey. Duke is tired and doesn't necessarily know older Hayley all that well. As proven by the fact that he's appealing to her more generous nature (really?) and asking her to use her dying breaths to pull Nathan out of the void. Sorry, no. Putting Nathan in the void is what exhausted her to this point in the first place, and then holding it open to get him out, and basically she is not doing the people who begged her to use her powers for their benefit, thus exhausting herself, thus killing her, any new favors. Also Duke did kind of try to kill her. Albeit he was under the influence at the time. We will now have some blather about destiny and saving Haven, which I think is less about how he thinks about destiny and more how everyone and everything in his life since he was all of seven and dialing it up to eleven in the past year has basically been herding, shoving, or outright forcing him to this place. And he doesn't like it, but at this point if he can find meaning and purpose out of it that's better than thinking all that suffering was for no damn reason. Hayley isn't quite at that point, even dying. So he can take his destiny and shove it.

Dave is still looking for Croatoan in his mindscape. Personally I'd be conjuring some weapons and armor, but my mindscape is quite a bit tidier than Dave's. I take it back, it's not tidier, but it is clearer and less fuzzy and far more familiar and well used. Dave doesn't seem to have cracked open any books on meditation theory or anything in his life, which you'd think he would, being a citizen of Fucking Haven. Anyway. Croatoan is not in the Tut box. Nor is he riding the tiny version of the bicycle for two, does anyone yet remember that? All the way back in the pilot, how we met the brothers Teagues? It's a nice if ominous callback, since we usually only go to the pilot for characters who are about to die. Also because them being introduced on that bike as twinnish people was, wait for it. Creepy. No, Dave, I promise, it's not just you in there. Magazines and file boxes go clattering, oh thanks, Dave, I really needed you to go looking in your porn stash for Croatoan. I will say, I do believe that is also some internal continuity with the porn mags, and that is all I want to focus on for that. And then, yes, there's the smoke billowing out of, heh, the Tut coffin box and things rattling, clocks ticking like they're in a Pink Floyd video, and a typewriter typing! (Nice bit of foreshadowing there; the SECOND - pun intended - Dave gets a look at those clocks, Croatoan decides to make contact all HI HI LOOK OVER HERE HI IT'S A SQUIRREL.) Everyone who has seen Fringe OR at this point Agent Carter is now twitching violently. Typewriters typing on their own have never done anyone any good. The typewriter says Hello Dave. The typewriter answers his "who's there" (REALLY DAVE WHO DO YOU THINK IS IN HERE) with Croatoan. The typewriter sadly does not tell Dave he's sorry, he can't let him do that, or any variation thereof on that theme. A and I were rooting for that one. Dave freaks out, as you do when you're being addressed by the deranged serial killer in your head.

And then, well, not everyone wakes up but we come out of Dave's head into Bizarro world where Dwight has Vince by the shirtfront and his arm back to punch him and is saying something about how they can't take that chance? What chance? Does it matter? They've been taking chances ever since they found out Dave was possessed by Croatoan. REALLY STUPID ONES. Over a sequence of dialogue pretty much only there to lay it out for the members of the audience they decide they were arguing, don't remember what it was about because they lost time. Again. Dwight at least glances briefly at Dave-a-toan to make sure he's still-again chained up. Yep, chained. And Maddie's body got moved out of the room at some point. Whereupon he will freak out, and rightfully so, about the gun on the floor. Vince, you lost time, not (more) brain cells, you wouldn't have been defending yourself with a gun because you know that you CAN'T defend yourself with a gun in Dwight's presence, the bullets won't hit anyone but Dwight. Which the aforementioned bullet-magnet is quick to point out. I will grant that given that Dwight looked like he was about to slug Vince, he might have been moving to defend himself from Dwight, but still. That's an awfully lethal defense. Especially given that Vince is the one person who might be able to go toe to toe with Dwight and have a chance of coming out on top, without powers. With powers, of course, all bets are off. Anyway. Vince makes a racket putting the gun the hell away and would like to know what the fuck, which Dwight decides is because Dave found something out that Croatoan doesn't want them to know. Reasonable assumption! Now what the hell was it. Vince offers that Croatoan is trying to get them to kill Dave, which I also question, see above for the futility of trying to kill someone by shooting them with a bullet magnet in the room.

Back in the Cave of Manipulative Bastards, William is smugging it the hell up. Nathan has to have him point out the aether leak, thank you Haven for giving me all of the X-Files flashbacks ever, and confirms that it's the element of the Void. In its purest form, he says. This is a confirmation so we're not going to immediately assume he's lying. The part about how Mara and him used to come to places like this to collect it, well, no reason to believe he's lying there, either. And the snark about how he has to get some on his hands is just the truth as far as we know it. Sadly, Nathan's not that desperate yet. Maybe not sadly. No one trusts William. For good reason because his idea of helping is to use that aether to give Nathan a new Trouble so they can get out of there. I, um. Yeah. No. Not going to happen. William's pretty sure it's going to happen once Nathan gets desperate enough. Still not going to happen. Now it might be Nathan's blur-o-vision, but I feel like there should be a hint somewhere here between what he's actually planning to do and what he says he's planning to do. Because then what happens is the follow through seems to be disconnected to the setup, although the follow through does also hint at something else and I can't really talk about this until we get there so I'm going to leave it at that.

We do have a nice transition from we're both going to die here to Hayley's going to die. Or rather, Hayley's dying and no, she still won't help you Audrey, stop sounding so goddamn indignant when you were the one who made her think you wanted to take the only thing she had away from her. Jesus fuck. Audrey is usually far more compassionate or at least understanding and empathic than that, even in the middle of the crisis. Audrey, are you a Skrull? That would actually make sense. Anyway, Duke promises to get Hayley to help them. Duke sounds desperate to believe that to me. And yes, it's possible he could talk her into it, but they are running out of time. On the other hand then Audrey pretends that they're both thinking hey Duke, why don't you use your Trouble and kill her and take her Trouble and do it yourself? Um, because he wasn't thinking that? Because he doesn't like using his Trouble? Granted, she's only ever asked him to do it in some fairly extreme situations, but also granted that doing shit like that is what STARTED Duke on this dark path of god I suck and my destiny sucks and everything sucks, peace out. Not to mention wasn't it just last episode that Duke was bitching about how Audrey only needs him, not Duke-him, but his Trouble and his this and his that and one aspect of him, not the whole package? I do believe it was. She's trying to sell him on his destiny is to save Haven and that's not flying either, that is when he tells her about Croatoan creating the Crocker family curse. though of course not anything about "... in order to collect Troubles" which I find a strange thing to leave out, but sure fine whatever. Also I find strange is what the hell Omnia Vincit Amor has to do with anything, but I'm going to keep bitching about that until the end of time. Duke does have a point that taking yet another Trouble is exactly what Croatoan would want Duke to do, since, again, not that he told Audrey this, but that's why his bloodline was created. And then Audrey's back on the what if we don't have any other choice, and it's not that what she's saying is contradicting itself at all, but wow the mood whiplash of her sales pitch. I think it's this, this moment, on top of all the other moments, that convinces me this has to be about something other than her exhaustion making her act so off. At least I hope there's a payoff, because otherwise this is going to end with Audrey sitting firmly in the middle between old Audrey and Mara and I have no idea what to do with that. Duke is making a different choice. Duke is choosing to let Hayley die on her own, and to convince her to help them before that happens. You go, Duke. You do you.

And William will do William, which is to say he will be a sarcastic, arrogant little snot and whine about how Nathan won't let him shove any more aether into him. And it's definitely whining. With a bit of a laughter undertone. I don't even think he thinks Nathan will let him ever, I don't even know if he really wants Nathan to let him, he's just poking him. The only problem with this is that it takes him into the what would you do for Audrey because I would do anything for Mara and she would do the same for me territory. Meaning to imply that, among the many other ways Nathan is a lesser being, he's less in his love for Audrey except this is where Nathan points out what we were jumping around and saying seasons ago. Mara was only using William for various things, most recently for his stash of aether. William chooses to ignore that and focus on the fact that Nathan is dying and will he just let him fucking give him a Trouble so they can get out of here already.

Over in Dave's head Dave is trying to smash the typewriter so it will stop telling him things he doesn't want to know, and instead of Hal we get Jareth echoing out of the air with "I wouldn't do that if I were you." Yes, I just superimposed David Bowie over William Shatner, you're welcome. No, seriously, the intonation is a bit the same, but the point is Croatoan is so getting a kick out of Dave's suffering. We also get the always useful to know bit of information that what he does here will affect his body in the real world, that's good to have confirmed. I mean, it's usually true, but then you get movies like Inception where you can do all kinds of crazy shit and nothing happens. Anyway, Croatoan then gloats about Dave being the one who's really in danger and how he knows everything Dave knows. And then he asks the very good question, why SHOULDN'T he kill him right here and now? A very good question, CroaShatner, and one we're all wondering, why HAVEN'T you killed Dave. Dave tries to claim Croatoan owes him an explanation which, yeah, but how the hell are you going to force him to collect? But he's an ego-driven creature and yes, it turns out that Dave being a halfling, or a changeling or whatever, that made him the perfect host for the fog monster. *raises hand* So, I have a question, does that mean Mara's father was a halfling too, or was that a whole different process? One would think Charlotte would have mentioned if he was, and it's not like we don't have enough sense of Mara's father the Mad Scientist to guess that he might have fucked things up in some other way that allowed Croatoan access, especially since they were both banished to the void at the time. Or maybe once the merge has completed a changeling host at that point is the only viable host for a blended creature. WHO KNOWS. NOT US. And blah blah yes all this time that was Croatoan pulling you towards the thinnies, blah blah Croatoan entered through the hole in his leg. Dave is not so quietly having a much delayed meltdown and, heh, Croatoan even refers to the death of people as a 'side effect.' Just like we predicted! And he's been absorbing Troubles and growing strong enough to leave his body and enter Dave's world on his own... as a smoke monster? That part's unclear. Dave attempts to threaten Croatoan by pointing out that this is his body and his mind and he can hurt him. That's nice, Dave, except see the part where you haven't exactly been practicing the skills of the mind, oh, ever? And we have no idea what Croatoan's abilities in that respect are. Croatoan basically gives him the you're nice, I like you, you loaned me your body to ride like a meat puppet, I'll spare you/kill you last. (He really means kill you last, obv.) But his condition is that Dave has to leave RIGHT NOW. So, a) what doesn't he want Dave to find if he stays in there and b) dude, do you really expect Dave or anyone to believe you? Nobody believes you, Croatoan.

When we come out of Dave's head Vince is pointing a gun at it and saying it's the only way, and what were we saying about the efficacy of guns? Although at that close range it might not matter, and the bullet would be travelling slow enough through Dave's skull I'm not even going to finish that, ew. Also Vince is telling Dwight to go, so clearly he doesn't intend to shoot Dave while he's there. Actually he's telling him go now, before I shoot you too, and that's when they wake up. So to speak. So, yes, they lost time again, Vince flings the gun down again and closes it in a trunk, Vince, weren't you JUST SAYING that if it came down to killing Dave you'd be the one to do it? Which clearly somewhere in the intervening time we're not seeing, it has. This is another bit of clunkiness that's probably a result of time compression: the jumps from oh god what the fuck happened to pointing guns and imminent death of someone, if not necessarily the intended someone, is very very choppy and not in the disorienting way I suspect it's meant to be? Each piece by itself is very clear. But there's no progression, and not enough play in each piece to emotionally bond to it or feel like there's stakes happening apart from the ones we already know about, so no escalation of danger. It's just Dave, Vince, and Dwight getting yanked around by Croatoan again. The same way Dave and Vince have been getting yanked around since the start of S5, so, no progression, no escalation, no real sense. And then, the doorbell phone rang! DWIGHT you are best Dwight and I love you. It turns out Dwight recorded at least a fragment of the conversation before they woke up. And if it had been slightly more than a fragment we might have some cohesion (not continuity, I understand there's supposed to be some chop here, but there's chop and then there's scatter) between the scene and the jump, but oh well. The point is, Dave is trying to convince Vince to kill him, and that seems to be the trigger point for Croatoan to wipe their memories. And here's where Dwight butchers it, because he's assuming that Croatoan wants them to kill Dave. And if that were the case, though, why not just let it play? Why stop them, presumably twice, as they were about to? I'm not sure who's jumping in what direction here, it's also possible Croatoan's trying to get them to almost kill Dave just to fuck with them some more, really. I'd buy it. And they can't know what's going on in Dave's head, but Dwight has a very good point that eventually, someone's going to die. And lo, someone does. Not yet though.

After the ad break, I can only assume that Dwight has his phone on record this entire time. I hope! I also hope he's got both battery and storage space to record the whole thing. (By the way, shit like that would be exactly how to make having a cell phone in this day and age a tension-builder. Not that I think anyone here needs telling, but every so often we still run across people complaining about how horror movies used to rely on phone lines being cut blah blah blah.) And he and Vince are attempting to be all braced for Croatoan to show up and try to convince them of some more bullshit, which of course means it's not! When asked to prove it's really him, Dave coughs up the same key word as when Duke came back after being absconded by the barn: Oprah Winfrey! I somewhat question this, as Croatoan's totally been in there long enough to pick it up as a passphrase, but it is highly specific and we don't know how tidy Croatoan has been about running through all pieces of useful data. Certainly Dave hasn't been very tidy about how he keeps his mind palace, that place is a wreck. (Is this one of the downsides to keeping a tidy mind? Should I dirty mine up a bit? Shut up.) So as acceptable levels of paranoia go, they're finally starting to catch up to us. Vince updates Dave on the shit they're in, I'm severely distracted by Dave's glasses being permanently askew (it's a good shorthand for his discombobulation! it's also distracting no I do not have symmetry fixation why do you ask, and also it makes it difficult to see if his eyes are Cro-occluded.), and oh hey Croatoan's manipulating people in two different directions, what a shock. This is our shocked face. Yes, Dave, losing time, if he were less rattled he'd probably have caught onto time plus clocks that don't belong to his mind palace sooner, but knowing that Croatoan wants them to kill him is pretty rattling. Especially with the emotional gutpunch of knowing it's likely Vince who'd end up doing it. Dave, Croatoan is entirely composed of terrible things, so far as we know, so that's not very descriptive. Although okay leaving Dave alive and escaping to either smoke monster or physical form, that's pretty terrible. He likes you as a pet, Dave. At best. We'll spend some time facedesking over yes Dave you can do things to him in your mind palace and yes, Dave, there are things there that are not YOURS, so you can hurt him! Personally I'd be taking an ax in with me to hack at the tree, not even that there was a tree on William's box of deathtruffles but that it's a very consistent symbol of life, life-force, might also symbolize Croatoan's connection to Dave, and setting up a giant fan to disperse the mist is trickier and might make things worse. But an ax? You can hit both tree and clocks with that shit. Dave isn't thinking that big or that clearly, though I'll admit that destroying Croatoan's ability to take memories would be the most USEFUL thing ever if you assume that killing him outright is impossible to do without either killing yourself or that killing the tree might accidentally release him. At least the clocks are a pretty blatant symbol! So. Well, we know what happens next now.

Which means of course going over to the dying Hayley. We should note here that it seems pretty clear that they conflated emotions with Dave's death over Hayley's death, and scenes likewise, to give the whole thing more emotional heft. Dave's death has been likely ever since we were sure he was being possessed and the possession was only getting worse because he was ostriching over it, and Hayley's death has been telegraphed pretty much since she got her powers. (And poor Maddie the hypnotist gets just… left in the dust and ignored. Haven, have I mentioned your killing women problem? TWO IN ONE EP?) It's not a bad way to garner more sympathy for the people who might be going oh my god, you annoying bratty kid, do you ever think about anyone other than yourself, but frankly we already had a lot of sympathy for her. Yes, she's immensely frustrating, but she's also A KID, who got raised in a family of petty criminals, who sees nothing good or special about her, in her life, and she's probably been fucked over by every adult she's ever trusted. Then here comes Duke, and she starts to maybe sort of trust him and he tries to kill her because creepy supernatural shit, and she gets back to Haven, remembers how shit her upbringing WAS, and proceeds to get used AGAIN by adults. It's not really a wonder she's going "fuck you and the Troubles you rode in on." The other problem here is that Hayley is by now so lacking in energy and focus that even if she were inclined to help, I don't think she could. She doesn't bother telling Duke no again, regardless, she goes on to a discussion of destiny and Duke warned her about this shit, and yes, yes he did. Out of all the adults she's known Duke is probably the least awful. Which says some pretty depressing things. I dislike all of this talk about destiny, it seems pretty forced specifically to wedge another crack in Duke's I DON'T LIKE THIS DESTINY ANOTHER facade. The runs in the family joke is at least kinda funny! And then she's gasping in pain and honestly, I can make a really good argument for this being a mercy killing. God knows someone should be hugging her and trying to keep her warm and not alone during her last moments, and it's not really a surprise that Duke waits until the last possible minute to go ahead and kill her and take her Trouble. Complete with something that I think is supposed to serve as warning? letting her ask him not to end it, leaving that option open? Instead she closes her eyes in resignation, possibly relief, for which I cannot blame her, yet again. Also neck-cracking is an… interesting choice, in that it allows for a death that looks almost gentle, but frankly requires him to amp up on Troubled blood in order to do it with so little movement. (It's actually really hard to do for a normal and TRAINED human.) Duke does look in substantially more control of his new, exciting iteration of the Crocker Trouble this time; his eyes still go black for long enough that Audrey sees and steps back more in surprise than fear, admittedly, that's more of a 'oh holy shit he wasn't kidding' gasp than a fear gasp. Audrey go hug him. Though at least her apology seems sincere. I wonder if it's also for Mara, who's not really here but who used that body to do this to Duke. Allow Duke to have a terribly nihilist miserable speech about destiny and how this was always going to happen and he has to embrace what he is to save Haven. Oh Duke. At least from him it's believable, after this long of people dragging him kicking and screaming through his Trouble and making him use it in ways he doesn't want even a little.

Speaking of kicking and screaming, William's trying to drag Nathan to the realization that he has to choose something other than dying here alone if he wants to save Haven. Honestly this looks a lot like various kinds of poisoned-air deaths: slow oxygen deprivation, carbon monoxide poisoning, stuff like that. Which implies some interesting things about the void without actually telling us anything useful! Yay! Eventually, though, the will to live overrides even Nathan's stubborn fuck-you-William. William shut up, if you keep needling him he might not do it. This seems like it was meant to be a test of Nathan's love for Audrey, and maybe so, but if that's the case it wasn't entirely made clear. I completely do not believe William's promise to take the controller crystal back to Audrey so she can fix everything in Haven and fight Croatoan, and I don't think Nathan does either, but he's out of any better options. I also wonder if William maybe didn't expect quite THAT much aether? Because Nathan could just as easily have picked up a single droplet of goo, and instead that concentrated aether turns into a significant portion of what we've seen William manipulated before. Well. At least he wasn't lying about it being strong stuff! So instead of a Trouble for Nathan, we get Heckyll. Not Jekyll, sadly. Looking over the entire sequence we can notice there's never a moment of changing his mind, there's definitely a smirk in Nathan's direction as he braces for Trouble impact, but there's never any sign that William's changing his mind, no moment of decision in his face. He just pulls up the deathtruffles and his big burly servant. Nice physical acting touch with Nathan very carefully NOT touching William if he can help it when he passes it over, too. (There's a moment when the side of his thumb brushes his palm, but otherwise.) So! Boulder removed from William, who doesn't appear to have a broken arm so much as a badly bruised and bloodflow compromised arm. Well, that would've probably killed even him eventually, I don't know if the extradimensional aliens get gangrene from a limb dying but I can't imagine the results would be pretty regardless. And there we have the reason, I realized upon third watching or so, that William never intended to Trouble Nathan. Because while a Trouble for Nathan would have cleared the exit, who's to say it would have gotten the boulder off William? William would totally have acceded to being Troubled again and then left his enemy pinned under the boulder and waltzed on out of there. Nathan, probably not? But there's no way for him to be certain and we do tend to judge others based on what we can comprehend ourselves doing. So, Heckyll picks up Nathan by the throat, as you do when you're the size of a tree and your purpose is to intimidate people. Apparently the question in William's mind as far as break vs kill Nathan is what would Mara do. Aww, it's LIKE what would Jesus do! (You can't tell me that wasn't on purpose.) I bet the vague allusion to marry-fuck-kill was at least subconscious if not deliberate, too. Nathan has one card left to play as far as getting out of this! Since William's all about killing him and getting to the thinny and going back to fuck up Haven some more. I don't even want to think about all the creepy ploys he'd use to get Audrey to attach to him in her grief over losing Nathan. Let's just take that as read, the AU that didn't happen (yet) and move on! Nathan uses By The Way Mara Slept With Duke When You Weren't Around To Be Useful! It's reasonably effective! He pairs it with You're Just Like This Deathtruffle Servant You Stupid Asshole, which makes it way more effective. Certainly William's thinking now about whether or not it's worth bothering to kill Nathan now that Mara's gone and he's got reasonable proof that Nathan's telling the truth about all of what she did to and with Duke. He also doesn't look in the least surprised about what Nathan's saying about Mara. Maybe that she'd sleep with a human in her full aware self, but other than that, and that's explained with the blackhanding comment. So for all his posturing about him and Mara = Nathan and Audrey, he is at least aware of what we were saying back in S4, that Mara cared about him in the way one does a particularly useful tool or pet. Heh. Sadly, Nathan might be in a position to bear the consequences of that.

We'll leave Nathan dangling - literally - and return to the other side of reality, where Duke's about to open a thinny and would like Audrey to promise not to run into the void if Nathan's lost there. Ahahahaha. Did you really think that'd work, Duke? Or were you just hoping that you could guilt her about how bad Haven would get if they were both lost? I'd be pissed at him for the guilt-trip except that Audrey's been ever so much more blatantly and forcefully doing this (and Nathan to a somewhat lesser extent) since he decided to come back. So really. Also for once I'm not going to yell about palm-cutting for the sake of bleeding, because in this very specific case it is SO CLEARLY Duke self-harming out of a combination of depression and guilt and PTSD: if he's going to do things like kill people to take their Troubles, and do it consciously, he's going to make sure he bears a reminder of it. I want to hug him and give him all the therapy! But it's very, very in-character at this point. It's also incredibly fucking impressive that it only takes him a few seconds of wibbly-wobbly thinny-thingie to get it to firm up: yes, he knows how the Coulton Trouble works, yes, he's seen it in action both as a phasing Trouble and as a thinny-creator, but still. It takes force of will, which Duke has in abundance. In the void, William isn't going to bother getting more aether to make another servant, he'll just let Heckyll put Nathan down to remove the boulder so they can get to the thinny. Well, that'll give Nathan more breath to argue for his life! Not that he takes it, because William's apparently already made up his mind, however temporarily, that he's going to do whatever Mara wouldn't have wanted and let Nathan go. I think my suspension of disbelief here is only supported by the amazing acting Lucas Bryant and especially Colin Ferguson are doing. Never tell anyone he's letting you go! It might ruin his reputation as a profoundly nasty person. No, I'm serious, that's the tone he's using. Not, don't tell anyone I'm here or that I helped you, don't tell anyone I'm a nice guy. Don't worry, William, I think your rep will remain intact. In response to which Nathan pulls out the magic ring and starts talking about how this is a ring that lets your kind go home, right? So here take it and go home and stop wandering the void lost. Which is actually a very Nathan response to this kind of abrupt kindness, here I cannot be in your debt have a thing that fixes it, but William's not used to that. William is getting punched in the feels he didn't think he had anymore, first with the first sight of one of those rings he's had in at least 500 years ish? I'm going to bring that up in a second, but, so first there's the ring which clearly meant a lot and has left massive scars, and then there's William getting punched in the you get to go home now this human is telling you to go home. With the end result that William kinda looks like he wants to kiss Nathan. This is not the boykiss we wanted! Although they're doing their level best to sell us on the hatesex, I'm just saying. William trying to tell Nathan not to go he'll die, with maybe an implicit come home with me and be my pet human, is NOT HELPING. So weird. So un-prepared for and not noticeably grounded. Well, the William turning into a briefly decent guy isn't noticeably grounded or at least not noticeably based in revenge against Mara, which I would have believed, the hatelust I'm presuming is more of an in the moment director choice or Colin Ferguson deciding to amp up the unsettling or both. Nathan, of course, is all no YOU go home and deal with the clusterfuck you're going to find there. HE'S going to go back to his Audrey and collapse on her. Taking a brief few lines out to further contemplate William's feels, let's go over some ring facts again: Mara took her father's ring, gave one (her father's probably but either would do) to William, they wander around the multiverse doing mayhem. At some point Charlotte shows up, puts the barn-whammy on Mara, we don't know what happens to William except that he turns up in the barn somehow 500 years later. We also know that AudSarLu had two rings. If we assume Charlotte would have, finding it on William, taken her husband's ring back with her, that means Mara took the ring from William, maybe even promising to give it back, but still, she took his way home. And having just been reminded that Mara didn't love him as much as he loved her, let's all contemplate how much William is getting punched straight in the soft bits of his psyche right now by Mara's replacement incarnation's ... replacement of him, I guess, going by his repeated comparison. The answer is ALL OF THE FEELS PUNCHING. I didn't think anyone could make me feel sorry for William, but damned if this scene and Colin Ferguson's fucking face isn't doing it.

Duke has the presence of mind to close up the thinny before William can decide he's going to go fuck up Haven instead. So that's good! We do not need a fucked up William taking out his many many issues on Haven. There's some really adorable reunion dialogue, up to and including the boys' flip-flop of yay you came back from just LAST ep. And oh. Hayley's not here. Nathan has concerns. Yes Nathan do go hug Duke. Everyone go hug Duke. Stop dragging him away, Audrey. The blocking of Duke stepping up with one arm swinging like he was offering a hug did not help in the slightest. Would someone please give the man a hug?

Dave has decided that he's going to go take out at least SOME portion of Croatoan's abilities now while there's still time, since he's been informed that he's being abandoned as a meatpuppet pretty soon, if he's smart Dave isn't trusting the whole I'll let you live bit (god knows I wouldn't) and they have who knows how much time. Especially given Croatoan keeps stealing it. He's gonna go stop that now. Vince would like that not to happen because he doesn't want to lose his brother, which is understandable if not exactly fair of him, leading to Dwight stepping in all AHEM DAVE'S WISHES MATTER HERE HE HASN'T GOTTEN A FAIR SAY IN A LONG TIME. (With a very military tone there. Dwight, leader of men.) Yes Dave would like a moment to hammer on his brother's thick fucking skull with a cluebat, thanks. Without Dwight present. And hell, Dave's first words are "I'm doing this," so mad points and brass balls there. Vince thinks this is a terrible plan and he should know because the terrible mind palace plan is what got them into this situation in the first place. I can't argue that it's not a terrible plan, mainly because no one in the room was very skilled at guided meditation or mental fighting or all the things that come with both of those, but trusting to Croatoan to come out of Dave without harming him is even more terrible. This is a creature who may not have predicted that taking Troubles from people killed them and, when it did, referred to tens and maybe hundreds of deaths as a side effect. What makes you think Croatoan coming out of Dave won't result in a similar side effect, hm? Particularly since, if what Dave says is true about Croatoan being the one causing Dwight and Vince to almost murder him, it looks like it might be easier for Croatoan to escape if Dave's dead. So, again in a parallel to Hayley's death, why not go out in a meaningful way that does some good? Like by ruining Croatoan's time-skip ability. We can add Donat and Dunsworth to the list of names of people who are being patently unfair to our feels, because for all we don't think much of this plot, they are really selling the pain of deliberately and imminently losing the brother you've spent your entire very long life with. Seriously, at this point I don't think Vince is going to make it out of this alive either. At any rate. Vince agrees, ordering Dave to come back as his big brother which gives us all the WTF because although that is how they behave most of the time, that's not what was said back in the Chameleon ep (1x09). Meh, never mind. Dave's going under with the flashy thingie now.

Back under, Dave has quite a bit of bravado now! It's amazing what you can do when you've accepted your own imminent mortality and have decided to fuck shit up on your way out. Basically he's calling Croatoan a very rude monster, finding a golf club from somewhere (did he bring that with him? is he finally learning how to manipulate the dreamscape? is it present in the Herald office as a general rule anyway? I'd believe any of these!) and smashing the shit out of those clocks, all the while shouting about the rudeness of Croatoan for taking his body without asking! Monsters these days! Oh Dave. Croatoan has some bravado too, saying destroying the clocks won't hurt him. And offering him a last chance to leave, to warn people, doesn't he want to wake up now? It might have worked if he hadn't gone for the oversell. Dave does grab a notepad and write on it, to what effect we'll have to find out shortly, but when Croatoan starts losing it Dave knows he's on the right track. Dave smash! Smash puny clocks! Sadly, Croatoan was not kidding about the tearing his mind apart. As it fades to white (which in and of itself is a common telegraph for death) we get one last glimpse of poor Vince begging his brother to wake up, knowing it's in vain but he can't exactly help it. And Dwight's there, at least, for all the comfort that hand on his shoulder gives. Aw boys. If you really want to be terrified, now contemplate how in many ways Vince, Dave, and Dwight has mirrored Nathan, Duke, and Audrey as the working saviors of Haven. And now, then, guess which one of them's going to die next! Unless we're replacing the old guard with the new, or not mirroring anything at all. Just figured I'd put that out there though.

Hey, speaking of the other trio, here they come now! I'm not fond of the blocking that puts Duke so far away from the other two, but it makes sense given the characters and where they're at right now. I just want my threesome, basically. Or, more realistically, someone give Duke a damn hug already. Audrey will go for the next best thing since she's still understandably clinging to Nathan (the more so if he told her what went on in that cave, augh) and reminding him that he shouldn't blame himself for Hayley, he did what he had to do. Yes, it was always going to happen, that's the problem. And Duke's coming down on the side of yes I'm fine now, but we know there's going to be a price later, and I'd really like to know what the fuck it is. But, Nathan reminds everyone, it wasn't for nothing. They've got the controller crystal! Which... none of them know how to use. We were afraid of that, though given that we never heard any of what Charlotte told them we didn't know for sure. Grrr. Still. (A: If this turns into using one of the other rings to go get William for help, or William coming back all OH MY GOD YOU'RE ALL IDIOTS here I fixed it it's better now, I will laugh SO HARD.) As much as I'm not sure about Audrey's optimism, it strikes an almost meta note of both coming back around full circle and reminding themselves and each other that they've done more with less, they've done incredible things not having a clue what they were doing, and the three of them are together again. So they'll figure it out. Also Nathan is being SO touchy with Duke that I wonder if he can feel Duke now, due to whatever Mara did to him? Or they're playing it up some for great OT3 justice. (Is Bryant going for the no one ships Nuke like Balfour ships Nuke title?) Insufficient data, but it IS quite cute. Awww. That is a hopeful note to end the... episode... on?

No, we can't have that. So we're back to Dave's body, which may or may not be dead, and grieving Vince, and now Dave's not quite so dead body. Not actually moving his mouth either, I think that's even more frightening than Vince advancing on his dead brother to do something. He's not sure what, I know, and Dwight's pulling him back already, but I didn't need to see Vince beating up the corpse of his brother. That's a bit much. Croatoan confirms that Dave succeeded and then states that it doesn't matter, he's done hiding, it's time. To be ominous, apparently. Also to manifest as a fog monster out of Dave's mouth, because most likely symbolic reasons having to do with breath and life and so on, and blast his way out of the cabin house. Well! That's unsettling in the extreme. Dwight is the one who spots the scarring on Dave's arm, which turns out to read 'He's coming for Audrey' Best Dave is best, assuming that Croatoan wasn't totally manipulating the poor fucker away from his real goal. There you go, though, it's all he had time for. And there goes the fog monster Croatoan! Will we finally see Croatshatner? Not in the promos, annoyingly.

Next week on Haven! Everyone's down at the station, including a bunch of people we've never seen before except maybe in crowd scene. Vince looks wrecked. Nobody likes Duke. Something's seriously wrong at the station or outside of it, maybe they're all hiding from Croatoan? There's something about the cameras not working from Nathan, which of course means we get a lot of shots from said cameras that implies they only look like they're not working. And a corpse in the storeroom. More use of Troubles for hopefully good or at least not evil, Audrey getting separated, it looks very much like another haunted house ep in some ways. HMM.


  1. Man, Audrey really probably should have had a moment of I fucked up I’m sorry right there, because without it, and her backing off while Duke did all the talking and hugging and killing, it didn’t give us much in the way of does she actually care that the kid is dying outside of she needs to open the Thinny right damn now? Ugh. I don’t like having to contemplate stuff like this about Audrey.
    I actually thought last episode that Duke’s anger over them using Hayley had something to do with the situation pushing his Jennifer buttons, and now we’re pushing his doesn’t fucking want to use his Trouble buttons, and I do not like this whole I’m going to have to embrace who I am at all. Yes, he needs all the hugs, which I was hoping for even if there was just a Nathan arm around a Duke shoulder, because seriously. Not only that, but now that Croatoan is out, I have a feeling any inevitable meeting between him and Duke is not going to end well.
    I was also thinking last episode all the victim-blaming and piling crap on Duke was about the writers wanting to give him reasons for self-destructive reckless behaviour, which fits in well with your comment about the palm-slicing being self-harming, and will so totally, combined with everything fucking else that he needs all of the hugs for right now, be the reason he goes down the kill them all road before he can swing it around to save them all. Which is also, incidentally, very not good for my own sanity. But, on that line, I am so totally standing behind my theory, as cheesy as it probably is, that Omnis Vincit Amor has to do with Duke’s love for Haven and the people in it being key to conquering his Black-Eyed Trouble of Death and maybe even defeating Croatoan.

    1. Audrey has had some very uneven characterization across the whole season from what was previously established, yeah. :/ I'm not sure that was on purpose, although I'm not sure it wasn't, either. I think part of it is they're not entirely thinking through the implications of what she's saying/doing as a character because they're trying to wrap up everything. And there's a lot to wrap up! And people are stressed and strained, but still. It's upsetting.

      I hadn't thought of the Duke buttons, but that's true. Especially since using Hayley and using Jennifer also reflects on everyone using him for his Trouble, even if that's not all they value him for. Lately it's gotten down to that and little else.

      (And it took us so long to reply to blog comments and now we see what happens when Duke meets Croatoan! And I'm not sure how to describe it but well certainly isn't on my list of adjectives.)

      Welp. He's certainly most of the way down the kill 'em all road! I hope you're right about him coming back in the nick of time to save it. I do think he kind of has to, if for no other reason than to deliver a satisfying conclusion to his arc. It's been popping up all over the place that maybe he'll be the new Maraudrey in the new barn, which also works with the Omnia Vincit Amor so, um. Maybe?

    2. Yeah, my reaction to the Duke and Croatoan thing was mostly just a lot of indiscriminate swearing and flailing.
      I think that theory about Omnis Vincit Amor also has a lot to do with me wanting them to tie that in somehow too, mostly because the inscription really wasn't necessary on a show like this if they weren't going to do anything with it. That and the tattooed man/person killing Duke/being the last thing he sees. Because we remember these sorts of things, dammit. And also, because it'll be fucking awful if he doesn't get to redeem himself somehow before the end.

    3. The focus on the inscription, the boxes. The weird glowing Crocker on the top, none of it was necessary if they weren't going to use it! They could have just left it as here is a box of murder that has been passed down in the Crocker line, my son, because that's what we do. We do murder.

      Of course, now we all see about the tattooed man. :/ And we've been tossing that around as a prediction on and off at least for this past season, but that really was fucking awful.