Saturday, December 12, 2015

Wings of a Dove Haven S5E24 The Widening Gyre

Wings of a Dove Haven S5E24 The Widening Gyre

Any ep title they can play on-the-nose with we can do better? Ahem. (For those of you who've noticed, Cash covered this one.) (A: Though my FIRST thought was Lonesome Dove, because even MORE on the nose.) Look, anytime anyone invokes Yeats' Second Coming for TV we are going to at minimum tease and possibly mock. Do you know how many times that poem has been overused? There's an entire TV Tropes page about it. (Suffer with us!) However, if we start in earnest now we'll never stop, so: previously, on Haven! Dave took out Croatoan's ability to wipe memories and erase time, and died in the doing, breaking Vince. Dwight is cracking at the edges to the tune of Not Losing Anyone Else, Audrey flails at the barn and acquires a Howard, however briefly due to Duke fucking with the aether core and going full evil. Whether that's possession or his choice is still severely questionable! Enjoy trying to figure it out! Fuck knows we're not sure.

Other things we're not sure of: how Audrey got from augh fuck it's Croatoan no NOT hi-Dad to lying on this bed having nightmares/flashbacks. Did someone whammy her with a Trouble? Did she get knocked unconscious? Is this a mindscape where Croatoan's setting her up in a child's room to get the upper hand as Audrey, I'm Your Father? We have no idea to start with! Though the mindscape one held some water for awhile. Also she's lost her jacket and will leave it off through this episode, for maximum White Shirt Purity. Will she get blood on it? Maybe not yet, but I'm just waiting for that one. Certainly there's some gore! And yes, as it turns out, Audrey's locked into this room, which, let's take a look at it, shall we? The bed is maybe a double, old wood and light colored linens, floral wallpaper (white and red and pink over yellow/cream, I have no idea if that's on purpose but The Yellow Wallpaper is one of those Stories They Make You Read In School by Charlotte Perkins Gilman [yes, I twitched too] about a woman slowly going crazy and fixating on the yellow wallpaper), a white teddy bear sitting in a wicker rocking chair, sideboard table with lamp and maybe jewelry box and other stuff that looks like it belongs more adolescent girl than child. Ceiling sloped so it looks like an attic, dormer windows, glass chandelier, full breakfast set out on the desk, old-style pitcher and washbasin on another sideboard, small dresser by the door with a bird under glass. That's not going to get sinister real quick or anything, with the symbolism incoming. Lovely rug that's at least intended to evoke Persian-style whether or not it's the real article. Dress dummy, for inexplicable purpose given that nothing else in the rest of the room looks like crafting is going on here. And I should know, given the state of my craft room. The whole room and what we can see of the hall outside (thank you whoever picked a painting for behind Shatner that looks like a variation on the theme of woman being ravished by deity) is designed to evoke wealth, old money that doesn't have to show off, it just is. Knowing later that this is a Teagues hideout originally makes that part make sense, but what is in fact incredibly creepy is that Croadaddy stuck Audrey in the room that looks very much like a little girl's room, with touches that range from grown adult to teenager, just in case we needed to be reminded that he's an asshole. Here: have some emotional manipulation putting Audrey in the inferior position! That's not subtle at all. After a few seconds of pounding and shouting to be let out, CroaShatDaddy walks in and calls her "dove." AUGH. AUGH AUGH FUCK YOU AUGH. Since we know that was Charlotte's nickname for her as well. Audrey's face seems to also say FUCK YOU AUGH. Croatoan is also perfectly in control of the situation allow him to demonstrate by leaving the door open behind him; Audrey's little eyedart there indicates she's aware that if he's being this casual about it he almost assuredly can make her stay put in less pleasant ways. Here, Audrey, eat the creepy manipulative fairy food! That won't go badly at all! CroaShat continues to disturb us mightily by claiming responsibility for the nickname dove, presumably as a dual nod to the fact that Mara wasn't peaceful and because he saw her potential? Maybe? I have so many issues with this starting with the fact that apparently their world has the same associations with doves as ours. Blah blah blah paternalistic bullshit, blah blah no she's not going to call you Daddy in any sense, ew, oh my god ew, although I think the hint of regret is genuine. Then again, as noted previously, a lot of the abuse in this show tends to be under the premise of "I love you and have your best interests/your morals in mind therefore nothing I do harms you." Ahahaha. No. They have catching up to do, CroaShat will demonstrate his power by telekinesis-ing the door shut, Audrey is frankly scared out of her mind. Which is probably as it should be, if not exactly good for coherent thought.

Over at an old church, some of the Guard members are going over a map with Nathan that has nearly 20 red Xs and around ten names on it, suggesting in tandem with the dialogue that they've devoted a lot of manpower to combing the shores for Audrey. Well, if they're going along the waterfront, at least they haven't turned up a body? Dwight and McHugh show up about then to announce that the latest attempt to get a Troubled person whose Trouble could help find Audrey has in fact turned up a body! But not the specific body they started looking for. Making four people Duke's murdered in the last twelve hours, give or take a few hours. So now he's collecting Troubles for Croatoan and also, let's not forget, REALLY HIGH on Troubled blood. At this point the question of free will may very well be moot, on account of that level of addiction may be Duke's event horizon. As it were. I also question why the FUCK Dwight doesn't know the plan until he walks in, since he is still nominally head of the Guard and I would think that everyone has a good deal invested in making that not a revolving-door title. The plan is, Nathan collects Troubled people who are willing to be bait and sticks them all in one place that is not the police station. Why not the police station, I'm not sure, aside from that way he doesn't have to argue with Laverne about his methods, maybe? Human bait for a killer seems like the kind of method you might have to argue over. And Nathan's about to try talking Dwight around to no but we need Audrey and that's a we not a me, or at least not JUST a Nathan, but Dwight's already made that logical leap thank you. Anyone else notice that he's much better at rational thought when McHugh's there being his 2IC? Just saying. Further discussion of how they need Audrey to build the barn and end the Troubles will have to wait, because Duke's just appeared in the doorway with a murderous look and a knife. Duke can you please STOP slicing up your hand? It makes me wince every time no matter how evil the person is. Although bleeding on the floor will have to wait for credits to roll.

After credits, the Guardsmen will be idiot redshirts, pun intended, and rush Duke. At least only one of them gets sliced up before everyone realizes this was a bad idea. Nathan already realized it, but his 'don't get too close' is lost in the idiot rush. Yes, guys, even without an opponent who gets superpowers from slicing you open and absorbing your blood, MAYBE you should hesitate to rush the guy with the knife. Also WHY do you fucking have fucking guns around the fucking bullet magnet? Seriously. Whose genius idea was that so I know who to point the crossbow at. Unless it's a tranq gun, but that's not in the least bit clear, just, rifle with a scope. Duke will now go for Throttling Nathan, who really has to be getting sick of that shit by now. If you're going to strangle him at least make there be proper breathplay safeguards in place. Begging Duke to stop gets still-black eyes but also a gasped-out Nathan, this is not helping the shipping, but no he's not stopping the strangulation. In a move that's totally a nod to Edge-and-Christian, and also one of the dumber fucking moves for Dwight-and-McHugh to decide to do in this situation, they will now break a chair over Duke's back. Though it's not worse than doing nothing, so I'll allow it, it just severely throws me out of the narrative for a bit especially since as a Ranger and then a Guardsman and then a Chief of Police, Dwight at the very least should really be up on his unarmed combat. More so than "find furniture break over person." And it doesn't help that there were closer items of furniture to hand. Ah well, it's a good nod if nothing else. Turns out the rest of Nathan's plan was "and then chloroform Duke." Oh my god seriously? Okay fine, that's a start, Dwight also has "oh my god seriously" all over his face. Dwight is apparently taking point on audience identification member for the moment, since the next obvious question is… really? Chain him up? He's got Hayley's Trouble, he can phase through them, how is this containing him? Well apparently somewhere between last ep and this one, or maybe more likely between the 1983 ep and this one, Nathan dug up these old chains from three generations back (so… around Sarah's day or the cycle before it, I think that was Veronica the lesbian/bisexual of the 1920s?) which are specifically designed to prevent the Coulton Trouble from working. I have… all of the questions again, up to and including did these chains require the use of a Trouble? What the fuck are they? Never mind, they're the deus ex machina to "control" Duke for the ep while he's not actually secured at all, especially since they already know he has the acid dripping Trouble and I'm going to stop poking holes in Nathan's plans now. Let's move on.

Back in the teenage girl's room of incredibly disturbing, Audrey's putting as much space between her and Croatoan as possible. REASONABLE. Better if she had a weapon, but reasonable, definitely, and nervous is not the first descriptor I would go for. Scared would be the most neutral, minimum-level word I can think of.  Hello, minimizing rational fears! Croatoan continues to disregard all of Audrey's demands and questions about Duke, let her go, what have you done what are you doing, all very valid concerns, in favor of reminiscing and playing the consummate host. Uh. Dude this really is abuser 101, could you not? According to him, little Mara loved coffee, music, and dogs, and while I don't remember the latter as a significant part of Sarah, or Lucy's personalities, the first two are accurate to Audrey and the third we saw a glimpse of in Stay (3x02). We all remember the bit in S2 when she learned she could play piano, yes? (2x03 Love Machine, for the record). The coffee is just all over the freaking place, so the citation will have to be the entire series. She still likes all these things, therefore she is the same person therefore she is his daughter and should behave like it, runs the logic. Yeah Audrey's not having any of this bullshit. Even though yes, she does want to know all about who she/Mara used to be, since CroaDaddy's dangling out in front of her like bait. At least Charlotte did her the decency of, having picked her over Mara, treating her like her own individual by the end. CroaDaddy isn't doing anything even close, he's trying to manipulate and abuse her into being his good little daddy's girl again, and the hell of it is that given time it might even work. It's not, in fact, a badly DONE round of villainning, either in writing or in acting (and it's very disturbing to have Shatner actually acting, as opposed to the self-parody he's been known for in most of our formative years barring Star Trek reruns), it's just very transparent to anyone who's put effort into understanding how this shit works. CroaDaddy declares that their world is awesome and they're going home where they belong, it's much better except for "a few wars." Uh-huh and how many of those did you start, asshole? Or facilitate? Or continue rather than engage in peace talks? He will continue to infantilize and demean Audrey by calling her pet names particularly when she asserts herself by reminding him he doesn't know a damn thing about her, and insisting that he knows things about her like, oh, this is just like the room she grew up in! See, he knows things! Audrey continues working on asserting her right to individuality by reminding him that Mara's dead, which results in the very creepy change in emphasis that Mara's dead. But Audrey's alive and by his lights she's still, what, blood of his blood and his in all the ways that matter and he's going to get her back? No, more accurately, he wants her back, in this unsettlingly avaricious/grasping tone and performance from Shatner. I am so disturbed. Not just about what he's saying but about the things he's not saying, the reasons why, the things he's hiding. Up to and including his real name: Charlotte gave hers, but CroaShatDaddy has only the name of the great evil monster in the void and Dad to go by, and Audrey isn't interested in the latter.

Over at the Herald, Vince has the controller crystal and is asking Howard to please tell him his brother died for a cause. Oh honey. Specifically, he wants confirmation that the new barn would destroy Croatoan too, which Howard confirms: basically we're doing sympathetic magic with the aether core to draw all the aether out of everyone and send it back to the void. I… have concerns; would this really kill CroaShat? He was partly extradimensional-whatever-humanoid before this, would he go back to being evil humanoid DaddyShat? Would he die? Would he be less evil without Croathingy's influence or would he just be less erratic, or a different kind of erratic considering there's no likely way to go through all that without suffering some kind of damage. Would he just get sucked into the void non-aether-bits and all? Would he end up in the barn in the same position Mara was in for five centuries? (That last one seems like it might be where they're pointing, actually.) So many questions! So few answers. Howard explains that he's the ship's captain of the barn, or the IT guy at the computer, or pick your metaphor here. Though given his chosen metaphor I have all of the FOR FUCK'S SAKE over that poor doomed lighthouse. Actually also given his chosen metaphor I'm going to go laugh hysterically in the kitchen for a bit over the concept of captain of his ship. These are the voyages of the starship That Darn Barn. Anyway, once the core is repaired they're good to go buuuut one tiny detail: Howard can't be the controller anymore. Whatever happened at the station "compromised" him, which sounds incredibly bad, and he can't do the thing anymore. Well… fuck.

Also well fuck: Duke all flat-affect in interrogation. Hell, I will also Well Fuck over the fact that they've got him chained up in a chair in interrogation when he has god knows whose powers rattling around in there. Then again, we've already established that no one in this show is that good at securing super-powered prisoners. Dwight's got his security crossbow, which is about all the good that's going to do if he gets loose, I promise. Not least because I don't believe either Nathan or Dwight is capable of shooting to kill this particular person, and anything less won't stop Duke at this point. Who may, in fact, be going for exactly those results! Remember that he tried to commit suicide and was prevented not long ago, and got about halfway to a very passive suicide with the asshole garage owner before his protective instincts kicked in with Hayley. Nathan's decided that there will be just as much stubborn faith in Duke as he's got in Audrey, oh honey. Down to the explicit parallels between this and Mara up at the cabin when Duke bought him time to try and draw Audrey out. Sadly there will be no true love's kiss to solve this problem, we're beyond that, and furthermore Duke's further gone than Audrey was, because he's got a lot less hope, and a lot less certainty that this isn't him. Dwight is giving Nathan these really funny Oh You Sweet Summer Child looks and attempting to point out gently that regardless of if they can get Duke to stop acting on behalf of Croatoan (possession/free will question aside), Duke will never be the same after what he's done and had done to him. He is met with Mt. Wuornos The Stubborn. Selfsame Stubborn is met by wary curiosity. For the brief glimpse we get in interrogation at this point Duke looks exhausted when he's not looking feral and homicidal. Nathan just looks rather like a hopeful puppy. Oh everyone.

Creepy house on creepy hill on the outskirts of town has progressed to Audrey sitting on the bed as stiffly as possible while CroaDaddy sits at the desk and tries to get her to eat like an errant child refusing dinner. Which in his world is probably what she is. Oh, and family isn't a choice. Excuse me I have a steaming pile of FUCK YOU to serve over top of that bacon and eggs. Audrey wants to know how he can talk about (read: pretend) family as though the concept means anything to him, makes the point that he killed his wife, although I would point out that Charlotte was a choice. Actually so was Mara, come to that. CroaShat goes still and quiet in the way I recognize from previous Shatner roles, the way that combines Srs Business with sadness with longing for the past. Possibly with a side dose of mad cow. This does not do anything to convince me he's right, but it does reinforce that he thinks he's right and suffering and noble for doing all this for his daughter, etc. Now as far as family, I will admit that from a parental perspective, once you bring a child into this world and commit to raising it, you don't get a choice about whether or not you do the best job possible, you either make the choice or the choice makes itself from your inaction. And it's very, very clear to me that Charlotte and CroaDaddy's ideas of good parenting are NOT MINE and arguably extremely harmful. But that's about the only point where I agree: you had a child, you decided to raise her yourself rather than adopting or fostering her out, then you owe it to her to do a good job of raising her because you are making a small person and that's enormous responsibility that you don't get to give up except when, see adopt/fosterage. HOWEVER. Your kid gets to decide how good a job you did. See also: a separate person. Audrey hammers some on the personal connections by repeating, wife, mother, and CroaShat responds by accusing Charlotte of having been manipulated and swayed by simpler, more afraid minds. Actually he uses the word "contaminated," which is ten kinds of interesting but we don't get much in the way of information to hang it on. He says it broke his heart, he looks like he believes this, this is not making me any more comfortable here. Not that it's meant to. Also looking for a cure could be disastrous to both of them oh REALLY. (And which both? Given later revelations I'm going with Audrey and CroaDaddy.) I will admit that that doesn't look like a happy flashback to killing Charlotte. Audrey will now point out that, okay, you claim me for your daughter and want to help but you KILLED MY SON, your grandson, which brings on the argument of "that's how much I love you." with a fair bit of anger? Vehemence? Uh-huh. Apparently so much you refuse to let her make her own choices! Because with James comes Lucy's willingness to kill him to end the Troubles, comes everyone dying, comes all Mara or whoever's work being undone which is apparently worse than Lucy having to live with having killed her own son? Because that is an argument I would buy not as being more valid since it wasn't James' death but the circumstances of it that were important, but I would buy that he is at least capable of understanding and faking empathic emotional interaction. But no, it's work being undone and Audrey (or Lucy, at the time) dying or being sent away by the barn and he would have lost her forever. He would have lost. Let's all note how much his outlook is framed on what he knows, what he's done for her, what he lost. Blah blah he has no regrets everything has been for his daughter as he straightens up all proud and tall. Yeah, you keep trying to convince her. Jackass. Blah blah still not good at asking permission here, asshole. Does she understand that she's everything to him? No, I think she understands that your ego and inability to let go are everything to you, framed around what she represents in that context. But she's not saying that. She is indicating that she understands this degree of target fixation means her options are acquiesce, pretend to acquiesce, or fight back. Audrey being Audrey, she goes for stalling and then fighting back. I would just point out that given Croatoan was possessing Dave for quite awhile, there's absolutely no reason that taking her coffee black is a shared trait with Mara. It could just as easily be CroaDaddy having rifled through all of Dave's memories of Audrey (and probably Lucy and Sarah as well) in order to use all the info against her. But he's still going to use it for a moment of cheer that's definitely layered over some very scary determination that shows up as the pretend goofy smile drops away. At any rate: he leaves and closes the door behind him, no sign of whether it locks or not, Audrey goes to get a shank of wood out of the headboard that'll be hidden by the pillows and also under her leg.

The funny thing is, no, Duke doesn't entirely look like Duke Crocker, and this is what makes me think he's possessed more than anything. His mannerisms, his behavior, they're nothing like Duke angry, Duke sad, it's more like Eric Balfour's playing someone else playing Duke. It's a little bit reminiscent of the layers of Mara and Audrey and Maraudrey that we got back in s4. I'm not sure Nathan's aware enough of the nuances of Duke, or maybe I mean aware that he's aware, at least enough to know what's going on. But he does draw a distinction between Duke as he is now and the Duke he grew up with. Which. Urk. That could be as much the things that have happened to Duke in the last year or so as possession, so that's not the best choice of phrase. He cites the fact that his eyes have gone back to normal as proof that Croatoan's influence is wearing off, I cite how Dave appeared normal until the very end as indication that you guys have no fucking clue how this works and Dwight was totally correct in Oh You Sweet Summer Child-ing you. Duke will prove my point by blackening his eyes on purpose (which also makes me feel like this may have happened when he was in the shipping container, but maybe not? definitely shortly after Hayley's death) and claiming this is who he is, he is the person who took Audrey Parker. Which still isn't a Duke phrasing. In fact, most of this interrogation scene isn't Duke's speech patterns or body language as we've come to know it, and not easily accounted for by accumulated stress and trauma, so I'm back at the whole possession and/or pretending to be possessed thing. Nathan points out that he didn't just now kill him when he had the chance, because he remembered who he really is. Or because he has a different use for him! But the explanation he's said is the one Nathan wants to be true, so that's the one he's focusing on. Even better, he's focusing on Audrey, and how much she means to Duke, which prompts a whole thing about how much does he mean to her and maybe they'll go all the way and again with the focusing on her sexuality, as last episode when he called her frigid. Nathan's right there with him, bringing up Colorado specifically and what happened there and that it meant something to both of them, and Duke should remember that. I'm excited and deeply amused that Nathan doesn't seem in the least bit bothered that Audrey and Duke had a Moment of some kind of sexual tension, he just wants Duke to remember his connection to Audrey and come back for her, tell him where she is. Duke's amusement is more normal sounding right up until he starts mocking the idea that he (whoever he is right now) could feel anything for Audrey, the idea that love will have any effect on anything, that Nathan keeps clinging to love. This is who Duke is, and he's happy about that. (The mocking of love, now that actually sounds like Mara, which brings up the question of is he possessed or is he reacting in a manner more similar to being programmed.) Nathan doesn't believe it, he believes he'll get Duke back the same as he believed for Audrey. Still not helping the shipping. Duke will now digress into something a bit curious, firstly how Croatoan was hiding inside of Dave which also does not discourage the possession idea, and secondly how you remember Dave, old and bald and knew every inch of this town. And as much as I'm wary of deciding Duke Is Possessed Because He Could Never Be This Evil (dude do you know how much pressure he's been under?) this very much does sound like Duke trying to get a message out to Nathan under some kind of coercion. I'm not sure it is? But it sounds like it, especially the way Balfour's moving his head like he's trying to convey being distracted by something. And on the other other hand, maybe that is exactly what Duke, CroaDuke, or whoever he is now wants Nathan to think, because you can see Nathan seizing on the 'that's Duke in there he's reaching out to me.' I just don't know. Bonus points on the conniving, though, for the consequences of this little talk.

Vince is having a small freakout over at the Herald. I'm having images of a maybe twenty years older Tony having a small freakout at Jarvis. The fact that Howard points out Vince is, by his own logic, insulting a computer or an even simpler machine is not helping. Vince would like to know why he can't be more damn helpful with this completely unprecedented event. Well, his previous helpfulness was in service to his primary function, which is now no longer applicable. And no, you can't just turn him off and back on again, he's not actually a computer program though he does seem to love talking in metaphors that indicate as much. I do have to say though, I'm a little appalled that Vince is so surprised that Howard was a person once. Given everything he now knows about Audrey, Charlotte, Dave, beings from other worlds, etc. The controller. The aether crystal. This is what you choose to balk at? If only for a moment. It turns out that one of our pet speculations from back when we realized he was the barnvatar however many seasons ago was correct, he was involved in the original barn design process by volunteering to be its warden, keeper, avatar. Barnvatar. The part we didn't specifically predict for lack of specifics was the need to feel a particular impetus for Mara's judgment, in this case the suffering of a young boy with a dire Trouble and the relation of that to his own family. It also turns out that what was damaged in the police station was his memory of and connection to that, and so he can't serve as the barn's director or controller. That's a bit archaic, but certainly works as well for magical theory purposes, as well as for purposes of Vince's understanding. It also gives us kind of a toss-up for who gets to be the new barnvatar, Dwight or Vince! Since both of them have recently hit a fairly sizable and painful wall. (You may now make the they ARE the very sizable and painful wall jokes. Vince and Dwight ARE the brute squad.)

Back at the police station Dwight's Sweet Summer Child look has died down to an Ouch And Also Ouch look. And a comment, too. No, Nathan is not okay (which is one of the few times we've EVER heard him admit that out loud), but at least they have some indication of a direction to go charging off in, and someone should go talk to Vince about where his brother would stash something. So many places, Nathan. So many goddamn places. We not being the only ones who can pick up on nuanced sentences Dwight double checks to make sure that someone really didn't mean Nathan, which, no, he wants to stay here and hammer on the wall of Duke some more. So I guess we see which breaks first, the immovable object or the unstoppable force. Dwight will go, then, and McHugh's on his way in and can back Nathan up. And we know because McHugh is a named extra we've grown just attached enough to to kill, and Dwight is a main and male character who at least stands a higher chance of not dying even if this is the series end, that this is going to turn out so so badly. Nathan tries to apologize or at least explain? account for? compensate for his fixation on saving Duke to the exclusion of everything else, but Dwight is not going to die on Mt Wuornos the Stubborn today, and besides if anyone can get through to him it probably is Nathan. And maybe talking to him is working, maybe this is a message. McHugh comes in as Nathan goes back in to bash his head against Duke's aether-drunkenness for a while, asks Dwight for his marching orders. Which are to stay put, guard Nathan, don't kill Duke because Nathan might be getting through to Duke. I'm a little amused at how quickly McHugh goes to want me to put him down. Also amused and very much Oh-Dwight at the whole no one left behind thing. You can take the Ranger out of Afghanistan... While I'm noting things that amuse me, you can also see the progress Adam Copeland has made in adjusting down from wrestling's You Must See Me Emote From At Least 50 Feet Away, if for no other reason than by comparison against Christian. Heh. Not that he's bad! He's not at all, it's just a visible difference going on here. We will be interested to check in on both of them in a few years.

Dysfunctional Family Hill continues, now with coffee hour. The Troubles are Mara and Daddy Dearest's work! Life's work, sounds like, and a job, and other things that Audrey severely questions. Like his sanity. It's okay, Audrey, he left his sanity behind awhile ago. I keep waiting for the over-the-top mad scientist cackle and it keeps not happening, but every single fucking part of the usual spiel happens besides it! See, the Troubles are scary when all you see are the risks! There's so much MORE to them! Going right along with the theme of people using them this season, which has been hammered on quite extensively, as noted, but the really very relevant question is, where is the line? Forced human experimentation is a pretty big neon Do Not Do This line, frankly, and it still sounds like at a minimum William and Mara did that, probably them and CroaDaddy. My sympathy for the but I'm just trying to make us/the world/everyone better speech is very very limited. So is Audrey's! Hers comes at the point of a… well, a stake. I'm impressed by several things here! One, her aim, which is fairly directed pointed at the overlap of carotid and jugular; two, that CroaShat shows very little traditional pain signals (dropping the coffee could be surprise as much as pain); three, that despite Audrey's aim he doesn't even start to bleed out. Though on the last count I'm pretty sure that he kept the stake in his throat on purpose to control the flow of platelets (does he have platelets?) and aether to the wound for most rapid healing. Audrey is freaked the fuck out, as well she might be. Audrey you should've broken off a couple stakes so that you could stab him again while he was healing from the first one. And now it's time for the you hurt me so I'll hurt you and demonstrate my nifty healing abilities round of villainning! For all that it's incredibly telegraphed it's also not badly done. My one quibble is, okay, if you're going to go for the child abuse implications to outright statements here, a spiral fracture would've been more in keeping with that. (Spiral fractures are commonly caused by abusive parents holding onto their kids who are trying to get away from them. For many reasons, all of which are awful and beyond the scope of this post.) This, however, is a compound fracture, splitting skin and at least hitting the radius if not both it and the ulna. Hard to say for certain since the gore is pretty quick. And painful. Audrey would like us to know that it hurts like fuck.

Although it is one scream, and then an attempt to back away from CroaDaddy when he tries reaching for her again because fuck you stop hurting your daughter, asshole. Oh I think you're trying to teach her the don't try and kill your father it's impossible and he'll torture you lesson TOO. Can I tear out his eyes yet? But what he wants her to learn in the most painful, visceral way possible is that he can use the Troubles to heal her. Complete with creepy as fuck fatherly kiss the boo-boo better. Okay, fine, let's stop picking at the creepy, it's not exactly new by now, let's poke at the information he's giving up. Such as it is. Duke is out harvesting Troubles, specifically the ones that Croatoan needs to protect himself. From what? Why? O-kay, and yes he can use the Troubles and the aether and he survived in the void for centuries. Presumably on nothing but aether. CroaDaddy isn't even going to dance around the notion of whose hands are the right hands for these Troubles he calls gifts to be held in. His! Of course! Oh and by the way he drops so casually even though his face has come over all scary intense, when Mara was a little girl he saved her life using aether. Um. Uh-huh. We should note, because it's one of the more pervasive and subtle forms of gaslighting manipulation he's doing, that CroaDaddy continues to insist on referring to Audrey and Mara as the same person. He seems to be being careful to call her Audrey when he's addressing her directly, but he's not drawing any distinction between what Audrey's experienced and done and what Mara has. Now it's time for his side of the story! Audrey's still holding onto her recently-broken arm like it still hurts, which it probably does even if it's psychosomatic pain. I really wish Charlotte were around so that we could get a good idea of family dynamics and who's lying more. Because everyone's lying! It's just a question of in what direction. I am so disturbed that, aside from the arm-holding, they look like a courtly father-and-daughter pair. So disturbed.

Whatever Nathan was doing with Duke in there, it was neither consummating the relationship (look we have a limited number of eps to get more Nuke jokes in CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, okay) nor successful in getting Duke to stop spouting scenery-munching villainy. Nathan looks equal parts exasperated and determined, which is about par for the course with him, and goes off to check in with McHugh. (Christian manages to bring some of his emoting down even further when put up against Nathan the stoic woodblock, too, which makes us even MORE interested for those few years down the road if he keeps up the acting.) McHugh suggests changing tactics, yes thank you let's divert Mt. Wuornos the Stubborn to a new path, this one being the one of let's use the Troubles to force Duke to talk! Nathan points out that this is torture, which may or may not be accurate depending on the specific nature of the Troubles McHugh's thinking of. Coercion definitely, torture in the sense of physical or mental pain I'm not sure about. (If nothing else, I'm not sure what they can do to put Duke in more mental pain than he already is. My tongue is fairly firmly planted in my cheek on that one, but still.) McHugh isn't wrong that the older Troubles will be ones Duke's not immune to, so with that in mind Nathan suggests that he go get the Trouble census and they look for a Trouble that could bring Duke back. That's… adorable, especially since we know that all the anti-possession Troubles are already taken, either by CroaShat or by Duke. Dwight did you not share the intel? Dwight, Vince, share your fucking intel. I mean, Vince is ossified in his habit of keeping his fool mouth shut and also severely compromised in the emotions right now but Dwight you at least should be equipped to handle better. Goddammit. And Nathan, stop sending people off for one of your biggest weapons to put next to the second-most dangerous person in the whole fucking town. Will people please stop putting all the really powerful shit in the same place at the same time with minimal security! But no, of course not, he's going to go back in there and keep digging for the real Duke because that blinding optimism is going to get them all killed. Dammit, Nathan.

Back at the Herald of doom, Dwight's checking in with Vince and Howard for where Dave might've wanted to stash a prisoner and Vince of course knows immediately about the abandoned farmhouse on Route 19. Honestly that number doesn't even merit the fucking jar, just a resigned OH YOU AGAIN at the writers with Stephen King's mythos engraved in 20 foot neon letters. And numbers. Out west of West Haven, by that little map Vince draws him, it's where they would've hid out if they'd disappeared when everything went to shit. Not that they managed that one, nor I think would they ever have gone unless one of them were incapacitated and the other couldn't do anything to help either his brother or the town. And getting them to the point of admitting that was always a non-starter. Oh Teagues. I have so many questions about how far outskirts is outskirts, and how far does the shroud extend, and can we have a fucking detailed map with explicit boundaries drawn please and thank you? No, but we can have Vince grieving some more and Howard being a manipulative fuck at him. The thing is, at this point I can't even argue that it's malicious manipulation so much as what he's done for centuries on end. He starts with pointing out that Vince would've given his life for Haven if he had the chance, and Vince takes it the rest of the way by asking if, well, the new barn needs a controller. And the controller needs to have an emotional connection. So how's about you make Vince the new controller? It's not like he has anything else to live for. Oh Vince. The thing is, if it lets Vince be useful in perpetuity and maybe allows Howard to die peacefully, then it's not entirely a bad thing, though it doesn't allow room for either of them to recover from their grief. Also, Vince you jerk, how the fuck do you think Gloria's going to feel when she finds out about this?

Over in the deserted farmhouse that, you know, now that I think about it there are a lot of Stephen King stories about the creepy shit that goes down in quiet little farmhouses. Anyway. Over in the deserted farmhouse where we can't stop because it's King country, DaddyToan is doing the full Walter Bishop. Never do the full Walter Bishop, dude. First of all he's so clever and smart and knowledgeable that the work he was doing was far ahead of his contemporaries and light-years ahead of what this world has dreamed up (Shatner himself called out the light-years line reference so we don't have to!) and eventually his colleagues were envious of him and afraid of progress. No, honey, they were afraid of your batshit crazy ambition. I will go so far as to allow that some portions of this and what Charlotte said about proving things to her superiors might even be true, but given that the only things we know about the scientists in this other world have been told to us by a profound liar (Charlotte) and a definite megalomaniac (CroaShatner) we really have no way of knowing. And we're leaning on the side of Dude No Get Help. Audrey is also leaning on the side of Dude No Get Help, based on what her mother told her about him getting carried away, getting reckless, getting vanished because of experimenting with aether from the void. It turns out this experimentation was because when she was a little girl she was very sick, no cure, no treatment, no hope of survival, etc. (See? Walter Bishop!) And of course he couldn't let her go, and in this one instance I will believe, or rather I will allow him the benefit of the doubt that it might have been genuine paternal terror rather than this freaky possessiveness he's displaying right now. We don't, after all, have any indication for or against him always being this off the rails. At any rate, he introduced aether into her immune system, which just sounds like a generally poor idea, and it saved her life. On a scale of hooked your loved one's corpse up to electrodes and zapped the body till it lived again to ripped a hole in spacetime and grabbed your loved one's duplicate from another dimension, how fucked up is this?? However fucked up the initial act was, CroaShat's little victory dance of yeah your mother gave birth to you whatever I created you mua ha ha ha ha, that's profoundly warped. Ew. In addition to which I could have done without the giggling. Yes, there was giggling. You see Audrey's face of Dude No Get Help, that's where I'm at. Only I'm sure there's no help for this guy. And I'm having The Gunslinger flashbacks to the man in black tittering as he resurrected the one dead guy in his introduction moment. I don't think anyone wants to remember that. (I also don't think it's a deliberate reference, call it an underscoring of how giggling in the right moment is evil and creepy.)

So, we're going to take a second here as we go over to round three (drink! heavily. you bet your sweet ass I am.) of this isn't who you are no this is exactly who I am, and wonder if the reason Duke's speech patterns are going all weird and fucked is because Duke is sounding quite a bit like Mara. Physically, of all people he seems to almost be acting more like Wade, but in speech he sounds like Mara. Particularly the love part, the calling Audrey frigid. And then there's the part where he says he is what he was always meant to be. Well, to a certain extent that's true, given that Walter (AND WHO THE FUCK IS WALTER, ANYWAY. ARE WE GOING TO GET AN ANSWER TO THAT NEXT EPISODE I'm not holding my breath) revealed that Croatoan created the Crocker line as a Trouble collector, also known as an aether bucket. This is paralleled to CroaShat talking to Audrey about how he made her special, he infused her with aether and made her special. Arguably, neither Duke nor Mara as she was then handled the change to having aether in the blood terribly well, and this alternating of scenes highlights how they both got more brutal, more violent. Only the Crockers, possibly being human as they are, got the addiction and the need for more blood/aether, but I don't think it's a stretch to theorize that what Mara's father did to her informed what Croatoan, or Croashatner, or whatever it was at that point did to the originating Crocker. Now, what that means for the future, we have other guesses, but since we're going to find out next weekend we'll get back to the recapping and scream at each other in private. Okay, you get one guess, if we're heading for a full-on Dark Tower ending then we might as well get everyone but either Duke or CroaShatner dying and the one who survives being the next one locked in the cycle of Troubles, though maybe this time with knowledge of what they've done and why they're being sent out to atone. Circumscribed powers until they begin to set things right? Something like that. In the meantime, Nathan will be drawn in by Duke having a resurgence of sounding like his former self. It may or may not be his genuine former self. It might be whatever Duke is now fucking with Nathan's head. I wouldn't put it past him.

Audrey's falling into the trap of calling herself Mara, or at least his daughter, which she pauses to correct. Good. That's a crucial correction to make, at least as much for her sake as she struggles not to give into the manipulation as it is to hammer away at Daddytoan's insistence that she's his. She's not wrong that it took courage and a hefty dose of recklessness to try that method of saving Mara in the first place! She is also not wrong that in NO WAY does it excuse the terrible shit he did to everyone in this dimension. Unfortunately what Audrey has next is suggestions that maybe the void corrupted him, cuing CroaShat to declare that he's only been made stronger and everything has been for his daughter and by the way did we mention your target fixation is a problem? I don't think we've said it in so many words, but it is a severe and dangerous problem. (Nathan, this is what you had to look forward to before you turned outward and started trying to make amends.) And now he'll insist in the face of Audrey claiming the father he describes would hate the man he is now, oh no, he's just the same. Lie to convince yourself a little harder, dude, I don't think you've quite ruined this world by the force of your denial yet. Unfortunately, Audrey, with someone this deep in his own delusions, arguing the same tack you've already taken just means he's had time to come up with new and exciting counter-arguments. In this case that he created her by virtue of introducing the aether to her immune system, and this body is the same, and that makes her still his and still special. Special? Oh REALLY. Says us and Audrey, who is rapidly coming to the conclusion that delusions aside, CroaDaddy would just take what he wanted if he could get it from her that way, no, he needs her and he needs her willing participation in this. He's not best-pleased about her having guessed that, though I think he's not as dismayed as he's pretending to be, either.

Vince is about to make terrible decisions, or at least decisions out of a terribly unstable emotional state, which is pretty much normal for him. And definitely normal for what the controller of the barn has been, since apparently it requires significant emotional investment in order to make it work for you. That seems like a bug, not a feature, you guys. Then again all of this blather about how Love Conquers All and Emotion Is The Conduit To Ultimate Truth kind of fucking grates, because no, you need both passion and reason, thanks ever so. As a portrait of a large group of severely and interminably traumatized people, though, seems legit. Howard has a very valid point that since the only controller(s?) that he knows of were of his species, there's no saying that Vince would even be capable of doing it. Dave might've, as a halfling! Vince certainly has aether in his bloodline (though we STILL don't know what the Teagues Trouble entails precisely there are so many unexplained potatoes in this fucking show you guys) (A: would you like fries with your inexplicable potatoes?) (K: Someday I will find that clip from Humbug so everyone else gets that joke.) so at least he's got Not Baseline Human going for him. Whether or not that's a plus or a minus is kind of an open question, especially since they're trying to create a barn that'll draw the aether out of everyone without killing them. Really could go either way! Vince uses Impassioned Statements About His Dedication To Haven! It's Super Effective! He does admit to making the Guard in the first place, just to confirm what we've established, lists off the coverups and the loss everyone including him has suffered, so now he'll sacrifice this because it's all he's got left. If you're imagining us facepalming forever over No, Vince, Vince No, you would be right. I hope Gloria punches you for being fine with dying to become the controller, dude. At least Howard's being reasonably upfront with him about what this entails, though it's pretty obvious that he knows Vince considers dying a feature of this sacrifice. Vince you… do realize that if it succeeds, you have to feel all the feelings in order to run the barn, right? And you're not very good at that? Vince? Sigh.

Audrey continues to press the advantage she thinks she has by asking what the fuck why does CroaShat need her. Alarm bells start going off in our head when he finally refers to Mara as a separate individual from Audrey. All the alarm bells. That's ceding a LOT of ground from where he was, Audrey, be REALLY CAUTIOUS PLS. According to CroaDaddy, what he did to save Mara's life also changed her and gave her a unique bond with the aether. Oh hey more alarm bells: you think that's maybe why she "went bad"? I do! I have many issues with the writing of aether as the Ultimate Corrupting Agent or whatthefuckever they're going for here, but that's definitely what it's shaping up to be, from the physical appearance of the deathtruffles to the influence it has on people both directly and less so. Particularly given it sounds like Mara was quite young when she got sick, so it's more than likely difficult to separate nature from nurture from aether here. At any rate, Mara has the greatest edge in manipulating aether CroaShatDaddy's ever seen, even more than him, and I would even go so far as to guess that whatever effort he has to put into it, it's substantially less than Mara. I would also point out, while we're here, that with the various plotlines going on it is entirely understandable that CroaDaddy doesn't want the new barn built, given what Howard's said about how it would work. If it pulls the aether out of everyone, theoretically without killing them, then it would at a minimum cause Audrey to reacquire Mara's childhood illness and die from that, and at maximum, given how the aether's bonded to her cellular structure, simply rip her apart. Plus, if CroaShat's had something of the same happen to him over centuries in the void, he has a lot to lose, which we've previously noted. With his target fixation on Audrey, though, that makes sense even if he deserves all the stabbings for failing to ask what she wants done. I don't think this downside has even occurred to her yet, or if it has she's hiding it very well under that overall "holy shit infodump, DAD." So. She moves on to the obligatory declaration that no I'm not going to work for you making Troubles, asshat, why would I, and he counters with but you did it for Duke! Yeah, she did, because people were dying and their options were kill a baby or re-Trouble Duke and kill a grown man who asked that he be killed so his son could live. Still a terrible choice to have to make! But it takes people's free will into account to a greater degree than "and now I shall run experiments on you lesser mortal guinea pigs" does. I'm not thrilled about what happened with Duke, but I think that's one of the few times he was willing to admit the necessity of his Trouble as the lesser of two evils. Audrey does not make any of these arguments, instead going for the one about doing what she had to do so clearly that makes her just like daddy dearest. Yeahno. Why is a good question! Why Troubles! CroaDaddy will now proceed to go on the Vader-iest speech since Empire Strikes Back and frankly I don't buy that's his real reason at ALL. You do know this is a Star Trek reference ep, not Star Wars, right? Blah blah create the Troubles they need to go back to their home dimension and take over and SHOW THEM ALL MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA MINE IS AN EVIL LAUGH. Seriously, that's the gist of the speech. About the only part of this that makes me believe there's some truth to it is it shares elements with the "proving a point" Mara mentioned, so at least at some point either Mara wanted to ust that or she and her void-bound father actually agreed to this all this. It's so textbook I have to wonder how much of it's misdirection and what he's really aiming for. Along with admitting that he wants to rip open a tear in between the worlds and flood this world with aether, which is presumably the vision Duke saw, turning it into his personal laboratory. How about no? And also fuck no? No, apparently he'll try and hammer on taking her hope away some more by telling her it's too late to save Haven and the people in it, and everything's already begun. I'm guessing that means the shroud. I dislike the look of staring up at the ceiling like he's listening to something far away, how about you?

Oh yes, let's have even more reason to dislike it! And more facepalm. STOP BRINGING ALL THE POWERFUL THINGS TOGETHER. No, McHugh, NOT a gold mine. Plutonium mine. Get it right. Things he's suggesting just off the top of his head: psychic communication and puppetmaster Troubles, neither of which are anything I'd recommend for a starting point with Duke but hey, it's worth considering the nuances of how they work, I guess. Technically there are two puppetmaster type Troubles, the one the writers are thinking of according to the Haven website is the one from 5x04 The New Girl, the guy who bodysurfed his way into Duke. And then killed himself while in Duke's body, thereby ending that Trouble only temporarily, as it turned out, but still. But another Trouble potentially falling under that description would be Ginger of the commanding voice from 3x10 Burned. Anyway. So now Nathan will pick their Trouble and try it on Duke! Who is looking through the one-way glass like he can hear them. Why yes. Yes he can hear them. Thanks, Duke, now we have to go back and figure out all the things evil you knows; fortunately most of it is Dwight was going to go talk to Vince and there's a real live boy still in there no really. His eyes don't even go black when he rips the manacles off with brute strength. Guys, this was a fucking terrible idea. Have I mentioned that in the last three sentences? Just checking. Remember what we said about Nathan not being prepared to shoot Duke? Well, he's fumbling at his gun and barely even gets it up in time for Duke to smack it away, when we know he's more competent than that, so really. I still wonder what McHugh's Trouble even is, and what Duke's doing to him, since he shows up in the promo pics for next week's eps but definitely was incapacitated right here. (Also your random thought for the day: what if McHugh's Horatio?) Yes, Nathan, Duke's been waiting for the Trouble census so he could have a menu. He also continues to sound eerily like Mara. I dislike everything about this.

In the eeriest little farm house ever, CroaShat is basically outlining what's been happening, Duke teasing Nathan with the promise of maybe if he works really hard he can get his friend back, not indicating why he wants Nathan to keep Duke close, of course. And we're back to maybe Duke is being controlled by CroaShatner? At the very least there's likely some kind of element of messages being passed back and forth so that he's aware of what Duke is doing in the station. Either that or he really is that much of an arrogant sonofabitch, let's not forget the arrogance he's exuded the whole episode. Audrey is understandably rattled. And we're back at the police station, since it's the end of the episode and we're going to do rapid cuts between both active scenes to ramp up the urgency and the parallels at the same time. Duke wants to know in possibly a more than academic sense if Nathan will defend the census with his life; come to that, I want to know if Duke will go that far to get it, too. I'm less sure that he won't than I was an episode or so ago, that's for sure! Laverne makes threatening haunted house gestures, but that's as much as she can do. Duke's 'stay out of this' has more a tone of irritation than any sense of alarm. Nathan, brain still not catching up with everything, wants to know how he got free. Well, Nathan, when a Trouble-addicted Crocker goes on a rampage... I mean, we already covered the acid Trouble as an alternate way to get out of the manacles than phasing, how about the two people we've seen so far who can destroy things with a touch? We could go back as far as season one for Marion Caldwell for the freezing the joints approach. There are a lot of ways to get out of chains when you've got access to weird abilities, phasing through is only one, and none of you have any sense of security. Yes. Duke used super strength. Yes, Croatoan planned this. Yes, he wants the census, only Duke's response is so quick it makes me think that is not the only reason. Insert usual joke about being vast and containing multitudes here, particularly given Duke containing who knows how many Troubles and CroaShatner technically? Perhaps? Containing two beings? At least as far as we know. Anyway, yes, the census, give to Duke. Duke just punches him and Nathan sinking down the wall is at least as much shock and sadness as it is from the punch, I'm almost positive. The interesting thing about the census page we do get is there's at least three different types of handwriting in there (I'm not going to discount that someone is switching from cursive to print and back again) but almost all of those are season one Troubles. That we can see entirely. Then there's something about microwaves and something about pressure, those might be from the last season or so? Hey, there's Marion Caldwell! The one that isn't a first season Trouble is marked new, something about hyperintelligence in someone named Justin. Duke gives the line about now they can pick and choose their favorite Troubles, oh goodie. And then leans in close to Nathan for morebetter impact, to remind him of all the times he (read: Audrey but let's not pretend Nathan wasn't complicit in at least a couple of those) pushed him to kill, look what he turned him into. Angry Duke is angry. I can't say his anger isn't well founded, just like I can't say that the alternatives to ending that particular Trouble by the only albeit dangerous method they had weren't a lot worse. In both cases, the alternative was a lot more people dying with no real way to stop it, in the case of the organ legger at least the people in the hospital already would have died, assuming none of them escaped, and in the case of the baby, well, I guess they could have mutilated the poor kid. Assuming that would have worked. But at the same time, them pushing Duke into it was not at all well done. There are no clear answers there. And Duke's anger is not only justified, but also very much his as opposed to the creepy behavior he was showing earlier reminiscent of Mara or anyone else.

Audrey will beg for Nathan's life. Audrey has already proven she will totally beg for the lives of the people she loves, she will even call him Dad, which we can tell is out of a need to keep her friends and her Nathan alive and not at all out of any sense of bonding. Not that this matters to CroaShat, who looks intrigued more than gratified or touched, another danger sign of this man has no healthy emotional connections and may not be capable of forming them anymore run the hell away. In the police station Nathan somehow manages to gurgle out through bloody lips that Duke should remember this, it isn't him. Remember what he did? Remember that it isn't him? More probably the latter, but ugh ambiguity. Duke pulls back, but not, as we see, because of his words, more because he seems to be listening to something. So yes, odds are good they can communicate, because he drops/pushes Nathan away again as though disgusted and walks out with the census. And Nathan slumps to the floor, unconscious-looking. Wonderful. This is not giving me warm fuzzies about whether or not the aether itself is sentient, or if Croatoan can split him? it? self off into multiple humanoids, or what the fuck is going on here. Since we don't have any good indication if the aether and Croatoan were ever two separate things, if they started calling ShatDaddy Croatoan after he got cast into the void (in which case REALLY, CHARLOTTE? you MISSED THAT? talk about denial), what the aether even fucking is beyond a corrupting influence… I'm getting dizzy from juggling all the potatoes.

When we come back from commercial, because we had to have the tension spun out a bit there, Audrey is still begging and CroaDaddy is still calling her by the pet name eew. He's decided to let Nathan live. Just in case we or she was unclear on where the power is. Thanks for that. He looks so cheerful when he says it, too. He's decided to let Nathan live because that's what she wanted, because he is magnanimous and generous and only loves his baby girl and if you believe that I have several bridges and a tower to sell you. The tower's going real cheap. Audrey is very angry to tell him that it doesn't change the fact that she won't help him, and she's very angry. Oh yes she will. And he never expected to talk her into helping him, here is where it gets not so much more creepy, it was always creepy, but here is where it gets blatant about what he wants and how he intends to get it, today wasn't about talking her into helping him, it was about finding out what she really cares about. Gee, thanks, Dad. We see how much you love your daughter. Also, more relevantly and less with the sarcasm, how much he thinks he's in a position of power now to be able to admit this. He's not even making a caring face. He's making, and I can't believe I'm saying this, a stern captain leader of men face. Only without Kirk's genuine heart. Yes, he's found out that she cares about Nathan and the people of this town and no, don't be silly, he's not going to hurt them, he's going to give her and them what they want, he's going to make them happy. That... coming from a guy who barely shows any sign of understanding emotional connections, that does not fill me with the warm fuzzies. It does not fill Audrey with warm fuzzies either, she wants to know what that means for Duke, is that what he did to him? CroaDaddy doesn't seem concerned with how his "gift" to Duke turned out, though this entire exchange does seem to confirm that something was done to Duke somewhere, and by CroaDaddy as well as Mara. Poor, poor Duke. He does not get a break from people treating him as a lab experiment slash useful tool, does he. Apparently that's his identity in life, at least that's what CroaDaddy seems to be implying. Before Audrey can point out that that's a shitty identity and not the one Duke wanted at all, at least I'd hope she'd point that out, he's teke-ing open the door and telling her she's free to go. Implying she wasn't before. Father of the year, you are. He wants her to go, be with her friends, my imagination adds in something about before they die horribly but of course that's not what he's saying out loud, see all the things he can offer them and all the things she'll be ripping away from them if she continues to refuse to join him. Well that's not loaded language or anything at all. Thanks, Dad.

One flyover of Haven later, Dwight's getting out of his battlewagon at the yellow house of evil and I have no idea why there's an ash and dirt heap to the left of the screen but it looks like a giant pile of dead hopes and dreams to me. Okay, more practically it looks like either the rubble that results from the firefighter's Trouble, possible some ashy looking aether although I think that's a stretch, and either way it does not fill me with confidence. There's pools of what look like marsh around the house, there's... is that a cross on the lawn? Why is there a cross on the lawn? I'm going to make one so Daddy Dearest can go hang himself over it and let it go. And going by the size of Dwight and the size of the door he's kicking open (seriously Dwight? are we just discarding stealth okay given the potential enemy maybe we are) those ceilings might be as tall as mine. (Ten feet.)  However he clears the rest of the house, he ends up upstairs in the yellow attic room of slowly going insane, and that's definitely not Audrey on the bed. It's a girl playing with or just looking at a teddy bear, but when Dwight comes in she turns around and it's her daddy! She's happy to see her daddy! He's going to drop the crossbow so she can dive into his arms, which is good and at least less likely to go off and shoot someone for being dropped pointing at the wall. Dwight's expression seems somewhere between stunned relief, shock so total he can't think around it, and oh fuck me where's the trap. There's definitely an element of oh fuck me now what going on here. He is not, however, telling her "sorry, honey, but you're supposed to have been dead for years" though. Because whether or not she is his daughter or even a little girl, he doesn't know she isn't and you don't tell little girls they're supposed to be dead. Not when they know you as Daddy Who Loves Me And Makes Everything Better. I can only assume that this is why Dwight, and not McHugh or Nathan or anyone else, is discovering the first of CroaDaddy's "gifts," is because we now get the juxtaposition of an actual loving father-daughter relationship, cruelly broken, with the twisted one we saw earlier. I kind of hope it isn't a trap, because Dwight will never recover from this if it is.

Oh, hey, Nathan's over at the Herald of doom, which seems a particularly appropriate place to end this, looking for Vince. And calling up Howard to help him find Vince, only, funny that. As predicted, Vince doesn't look entirely stable For that matter he doesn't sound entirely stable, and Nathan's "my god Vince what did you do" puts him in the blogger's identification chair for the moment because fucking hell Vince what did you do. Apart from the stupid, suicidal thing. Possibly also, as we touched on earlier with Duke, the best of a bunch of bad options, but still. Vince did what he had to do, is his take on it. And now he knows exactly how to send Croatoan screaming back to hell. Did I mention the not entirely stable? Because hooo boy.

Next week on Haven, apparently A upgrading her phone means the sneak peeks on Syfy's site no longer work, because I can't get them to load on the web either. (Seriously that is the ONLY way we've been able to get them. Ask us how much we want to throttle whatever incompetent idiot coded THAT one.) It does summarize Duke as acquiring a psychic future-seeing Trouble of some kind! Because that never ends poorly. The person who has the Trouble is named Kirby, which may or may not be the food delivery guy from Mortality (5x10) who was also the red herring. However, SpoilerTV's promo photos work, and it combines photos from both eps of the doubleheader finale! So that's nice. Nathan meets his… father-in-law? And looks remarkably calm about it. CroaShat is seen on the docks, possibly around where James Cogan was murdered. Dwight's on his cell talking to someone and Vince is around, which probably means the controller crystal is around, it looks like they're in the downstairs of the creepyass farmhouse. With Lizzie. Or not!Lizzie. I have no idea anymore. McHugh's got some Guardsmen with guns out on a road with what might be a standoff, unclear if the next pic of Dwight coming around the corner of a squad car is related or deliberately misleading. More Dwight leaning in the doorway of the little girl's room where he found Lizzie, more Audrey and Nathan in winter clothes looking worried and grim, and one of what looks to be Nathan's ass lying on the floor while Audrey crouches next to him. I dislike ALL of this.


  1. Right, very long comment coming up. In parts, no less. Sorry.
    I can’t figure out Duke either, and it’s driving me crazy! I want to go with possession for reasons (the same reason you mention. Though I could take pretty much anything other than well actually He’s Evil Now Because Deep Down He’s Always Been Evil), but after all that we planned everything all along fuckery, I don’t know. Because honestly, I feel like Duke is more than capable of fucking with people- especially Nathan- like that. Hell, even that whole maybe he mentioned Dave because he’s trying to give us info without Croatoan knowing sounds exactly like something our Duke would probably do if he could. And yes, whatever else is going on, the anger over being used to kill people was all Duke. Dammit.
    Ah, thank you for mentioning the mannerisms and behaviour! I’d noticed that too, like Eric Balfour has made Duke a completely different person, and I was also thinking along the lines of maybe that does mean possible possession, but it had also occurred to me that maybe I’m just rationalizing where there is none to be had. But his body language doesn’t read at all like Duke’s, not to mention, the way he talks sounds, if not rehearsed, but very deliberate, almost to the point where it feels forced in some places.
    Yeah, the programmed thing is interesting considering Howard, and Mara and all the rewriting her personality she’d been through, Vince’s bitching over arguing with an AI, and the amount of times since Hayley’s death that Duke has said the same variations on “this is who I am”, “this is my destiny” etc. etc. Maybe it isn’t so much possession as having rewritten/overridden his Operating System? Or you know, reinstalling the driver(a bug in the system maybe?) Oh my god, I’m going to stop now.
    That last scene where Duke was all yes I can hear you bitches freaked me right out, Duke stoppit your evilness is messing with my general I heart you aura.
    That page said hyperintelligence? Given the preview, that might not be what he goes for but no, guys, no. Super super smart Duke would appeal to my geekiness on any other day (then again because This is a Trouble, there’s almost certainly a downside to it which I will not contemplate) than when he’s being evil murderous Croatoan Trouble collector and just no.

    Croatoan just honestly reads like a handbook of abusive jackass when he’s not being his own brand of damaged as fuck and self-righteous and crazy and It. Gives. Me. The. Creeps. Poor Audrey’s going to have to make an appointment with her shower and some steel wool after this. I wanted to make an appointment with my shower and some steel wool.
    Oh I was so too all over look Walter Bishop when he was telling Audrey his riveting tale about how he saved her life when she was a kid and now she’s his most bestest creation. Ugh. Stop being so creepy as fuck...

  2. I really kind of thought Nathan should have suspected something when Duke walked in through the door exactly like they wanted him to. I mean, if he really wanted the Guard-bait could he not have just sneak-phased through a fucking wall, frozen everyone and grabbed the one(s) he wants and tipped the rest over because evil and possessed and high on Troubled blood? No? Or did I miss discussion on this? Also, no discussion on who Duke has killed and what fucking Troubles he has now? Are the four people he murdered not on the Trouble Census? Has no one checked? Can we please for the love of fuck know what else he’s capable of? And guys. Super strength is one of the side effects of his own Trouble, even if he doesn’t already have other Troubles he can use too. Chaining him up in un-phaseable chains only fucking works if he can’t get out of them some other way. Nathan. I know you are most likely severely compromised by trauma and oh, I don’t know both your girlfriend and boyfriend are kind of fucked right now, but really.

    And just for a little more for fuck’s sake, that ship metaphor when we happen to have a literal captain of a ship running around murdering people and with the odd theory floating around of him being the one to captain That Darn Barn?

    I was honestly thinking for a second that Dwight was going to go into that house and get violently killed because last season and going into a potential villain’s lair on your own Dwight? Except now I’m pretty sure this is going to turn out so much worse, because that’s been the trend of things lately.
    Poor, poor Dwight. Poor Nathan. Poor Audrey. Poor Duke. Poor everyone.
    Except Croatoan. Fuck him.

    1. Okay, let's see if I can cram the whole reply into one comment.

      YES, essentially, to the Duke stuff. Both the way Balfour played it (or the way he was directed to play it?) and the way it was scripted sounded like possession, but now we never got a concrete answer as to which it was, or both, or how much of each, or what was going on. Arguably yes! His anger and hurt and frustration and especially the struggle against the addictiveness of the Crocker Trouble totally could have opened him up to even partial possession but what am concrete evidence or outright saying anything. Argh. I like your programming theory though I'm not sure where even to cram it in in terms of the timeline. Or even a partial programming! I wonder what a partial programming would look like, would it be Lexi or something else.

      A hyperintelligent Duke... I'd be terrified. Given what he was doing already? And that at least half of that seemed to be succeeding because the rest of the main cast required shaking some sense into? Yeah, on second thought let us not have hyperintelligent evil Duke. As for downsides, I bet it would involve something like either your brain overheats and bakes in your skull or you lose all ability to communicate outside your head, at least if Eureka and Fringe (and, I think, Alphas?) are examples to go by.

      Augh Croatoan. I feel like this episode should have come with trigger warnings for abusive parents, this and the one where Charlotte overwrote her daughter. Mara's entire family, I just. I really wonder. Especially if we're supposed to see Howard as contrast, which is sort of fine, he seems like a decent parent at least within the confines of his current programming, but urk.

      Heh, speaking of brains overheating. I think Nathan might have suspected something if he hadn't been wanting so hard to be able to catch Duke, to be able to talk to him and turn him back around like nothing had happened. I don't think you missed any discussion on it other than NATHAN STOP BEING STUPID but possibly there should have been, I really think Nathan's stupid was at least in large part because that's what Nathan DOES when the people he loves are in danger or not themselves or in some other way taken from him, he gets stupid, he gets stubborn, and he ignores everything that doesn't fit with If I Do This I Can Get Them Back. Which is understandable on some levels but Oh Nathan.

      I am, however, as much as I want to throttle people for WHY DIDN'T DUKE GET HIS HAPPY ENDING THIS IS NTO A HAPPY ENDING, I am really happy with how Dwight ended up.

    2. Yeah, I sympathised enough with Nathan in that's pretty much who he is, hell even I Wanted to Believe things would work out for about 2.5 seconds, but yeah a little more thought I guess would've helped.
      I'm glad where Dwight ended up, yes, but I'll scream forever over Duke

  3. I really kind of thought Nathan should have suspected something when Duke walked in through the door exactly like they wanted him to. I mean, if he really wanted the Guard-bait could he not have just sneak-phased through a fucking wall, frozen everyone and grabbed the one(s) he wants and tipped the rest over because evil and possessed and high on Troubled blood? No? Or did I miss discussion on this? Also, no discussion on who Duke has killed and what fucking Troubles he has now? Are the four people he murdered not on the Trouble Census? Has no one checked? Can we please for the love of fuck know what else he’s capable of? And guys. Super strength is one of the side effects of his own Trouble, even if he doesn’t already have other Troubles he can use too. Chaining him up in un-phaseable chains only fucking works if he can’t get out of them some other way. Nathan. I know you are most likely severely compromised by trauma and oh, I don’t know both your girlfriend and boyfriend are kind of fucked right now, but really.

    And just for a little more for fuck’s sake, that ship metaphor when we happen to have a literal captain of a ship running around murdering people and with the odd theory floating around of him being the one to captain That Darn Barn?

    I was honestly thinking for a second that Dwight was going to go into that house and get violently killed because last season and going into a potential villain’s lair on your own Dwight? Except now I’m pretty sure this is going to turn out so much worse, because that’s been the trend of things lately.
    Poor, poor Dwight. Poor Nathan. Poor Audrey. Poor Duke. Poor everyone.
    Except Croatoan. Fuck him.

  4. First thing I just have to get out of the way is -- oh my god, is that an X-Files reference?

    Now as for the actual episode (and finale, at this point), I am forever going to be sad that we didn't learn more about Mara and William's world. Up until these last few episodes their world has seemed pretty different from our world. Their people are so advanced compared to the people in our world that they're entrenched in species-ism and are inclined to think of us as inferior, which I think everyone (except perhaps Howard?) from their world has displayed. And none of them seem to understand that CONSENT IS IMPORTANT, between Charlotte and Howard's rehabilitation/punishment for Mara (Howard at least, seems to lean toward the punishment and imprisonment aspect, versus Charlotte who believed in the overwriting-her-personality as rehabilitation), Croatoan's experimentation on both his daughter and the first Crocker, then Mara and William's experimentation on local humans. Up until now, they've been playing up these differences between our world and theirs, which makes it pretty jarring that they have dogs, doves (with the same symbolism), and coffee. The dogs part especially trips me up, because if there are no humans over there, how are there dogs? Did dogs originate from there? Or have a common ancestor? Either of those explanations means that at some point, travel between worlds was much more common than it is now and probably only ceased after Mara and William’s experiments commenced.

    I really hoped William would come back in the finale, having been back to his world and explained to their authorities about Croatoan’s presence. I wanted their authorities to come unite with the Haven citizens against Croatoan and force him back to their world for justice or something. We could’ve met more of their people and maybe gained more of an understanding of who they are. We’ve only met the people involved with Mara and William, which offers a limited perspective on what their people are like. By necessity of what they’ve seen and dealt with, they have a certain cynicism towards the two of them and toward the experiments they conducted. Maybe the rest of their people have a less black-and-white attitude toward criminal activity. I don’t know. We’ll probably never know. I hate not knowing; their world sounded so interesting.

    1. I always kind of thought maybe their world was like a...parallel to ours, just maybe a notch or two further down the evolutionary scale, or something like that? Which means it's certainly possible they do have dogs and all sorts of the same things we have, generally.
      The superiority thing annoyed me, but honestly? As interesting as they are, I have a feeling no one on their side would give a fuck about whatever messes their people are causing here, just going by the general attitude of the people we've met, like Charlotte before she got stuck here and Croatoan. I'd figure they were content to toss Croatoan in the void and forget about him.

    2. wait, did you... are you talking about the unexplained potatoes? because yes, yes it is an x-files reference and I may have to love you forever for getting it.

      I tend to fill in their world with bits and pieces from Stephen King's Dark Tower series, but you're right, they are entrenched in speciesism and at that point, given that any glimpse we would have had of their world would probably have involved some humans coming back to it, actually, now that you mention it, that could get really interesting. My best guess, as far as dogs and doves and coffee, is that it's something more like parallel universes and parallel development, because especially if they're more technologically advanced than us, they've probably done more exploring that way. And we know science has already postulated and at least mathematically? I think, proven the existence of parallel universes!

      I was really, really shocked to find that I wanted more of William after his brief appearance in the void. That was weird. But yeah, it would be interesting to find out what the full range of people over there is like. And the final bits with Croatoan were... shaky? Scattered? It certainly couldn't have made it worse.

      Hey, if we're really lucky maybe someone will write a spinoff or a tiein novel or something!

  5. That's true, because even the "good" people from their world only seemed to care when Mara and William's messes were going to affect them personally.