Monday, 22 August 2011

Haven Audrey Parker’s Day Off: Best Episode Ever

For an episode that had as its premise one of the most overused concepts in sci-fantasy – the time loop – ‘Audrey Parker’s Day Off’ is probably the best episode of Haven so far. So good in fact that it may be one of my favourite episodes of television ever.
From the minute Audrey was woken by Chris at 7:32 on her ‘day off’ to the final scene of her hiding - white-faced and shellshocked - from the three most important men in her life, the writers gave us a perfect blend of drama, humour, tragedy and action.
Emily Rose’s performance as the day repeats is fantastic: giving us confusion (first repeat), determination and relief (second repeat), shock and fear (third repeat), and finally sheer emotional exhaustion. That the show gave us a resolution to the main plot that is both happy (nobody Audrey loves dies) and gut-wrenchingly tragic is a tribute both to them and to the performances of the actors involved.
I cannot pour down enough praise on the writers for integrating Chris (the increasingly bemused love interest), Nathan (Audrey’s rock) and Duke (whose man-crush on the Troubled Chris was downright hilarious) so successfully into the plot and for bringing subtlety back into the love triangle (or square as it is these days). After last week’s anvil-fest, it was nice to see Nathan and Duke’s feelings for Audrey telegraphed without being clunky and trite.
The variations of the waffle conversation were some of the funniest Duke scenes since his cupcake and shotgun dialogue from last year’s finale. I’ve been hanging out for a Duke/Chris man-crash scene and this episode gave us that in spades.
Since the show started, we’ve seen Audrey develop an increasingly-narcissistic martyr complex. This was in full force in this episode as she comes to the belief that the tragedy of the day was all her fault, simply because she took a day off. This facet of her personality is nicely represented by the Trouble of Anson Shumway: the OCD man whose need to repeat actions to stop bad things happening causes the day to repeat as he subconsciously tries to stop the deaths he witnesses.
“Just because you believe you’re responsible for these things, doesn’t mean that you are,” Audrey tells him in the episode’s climax. If only this was advice she could take for herself. As she packs Chris off to London at the end and then hides at the Gull, face white at the thought of losing Duke and Nathan, you can only hope that she doesn’t throw off the support the men give her in dealing with the town’s Troubles in some misguided attempt to protect them.
The writers, Nora Zuckerman and Lilla Zuckerman, didn’t write for Haven in their first season. The only other episode they’ve been involved in, Love Machine, was arguably the second-best episode of the show ever. So I’d like to send a personal message to the showrunners: keep these two on. Jim Dunn, while I love that you helped co-create this show, you should probably let others do the writing. Between Roots and Fur, your batting average is not looking good.
PS - And no Evi. Thank the Lord. My only problem with this episode is the knowledge in the back of my mind that she's still out there, lurking around Haven and manifestly not dead. Is it too much to ask for her to be killed soon? Please. I'll give you cookies.

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