Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #168 (Haven part 2)

This is Part 2 of my Haven series leading up to the premiere of Season 5 on September 11. In the first part, I looked at the series in general. For the next four installments, I’ll review each season as a refresher, and I’ll wrap up with an overview of what we know about the major characters by the end of Season 4. For each season, I’ll also include a list of episodes, along with a summary of the Trouble(s) featured in that episode and a list of the Stephen King references (some of them admittedly a stretch).

Without further ado:

Haven: Part 2

Season 1 — It’s a Haven Thing

The first season begins with the arrival of FBI Special Agent Audrey Parker in Haven, Maine, where she has been dispatched by her boss, Agent Byron Howard, to bring back Jonas Lester, an escaped federal prisoner who killed a guard. Upon her arrival, she is greeted by the sudden appearance of a sinkhole on the road that sends her car dangling off the edge of a cliff. She is rescued by Nathan Wuornos, an encounter that winds up in a standoff when they both realize the other is armed but neither is sure why. Shortly after they meet, Audrey discovers that Nathan is incapable of feeling pain, which he attributes to a medical condition.

In town, people start to comment on the fact that Audrey looks familiar. She is shown a photograph from a 1983 copy of the Haven Herald about an unsolved murder where the unidentified victim was referred to as the Colorado Kid. A woman (also unidentified) in the picture looks exactly like Audrey except for some cosmetic differences. Nathan knows the story because his father (currently Chief of the Haven Police Department) was a beat cop at the time.

Audrey, an orphan, wonders if this might be her mother. She asks Agent Howard for vacation time to attempt to identify this mystery woman. It turns out that sending Audrey to Haven was part of a secret plan between Agent Howard and an at-first-unidentified person who is later revealed to be Haven Police Chief Garland Wuornos, who has been attempting to hold the town together under the latest onslaught of the Troubles, supernatural afflictions that plague many of the town’s inhabitants. Chief Wuornos tells Audrey about the Troubles and says she should stay in Haven and work for him because she has a special talent: she can see things the way they really are. He hopes some of that will rub off on his son. Few people will talk to her, though, because she isn’t a local. Ultimately she comes to realize that Lucy Ripley, the woman in the photograph, wasn’t her mother—it was her, somehow.

Audrey, who was seen reading a vampire novel in her apartment, is open to all possibilities when investigating cases, which makes her a perfect person to try to figure out what’s going on when a Troubled person’s affliction manifests and to talk the person down when possible. Nathan, though he was born and raised in Haven and is Troubled himself, tends to remain skeptical at first, perhaps as a reaction to his father’s willingness to attribute most problems to the Troubles. The Chief and his son have a rocky relationship.

Lines within the town are drawn. On one side is Reverend Driscoll, who regards the Troubled as unnatural, a blight to be cast out, saved or destroyed. On the other is the faction consisting primarily of Audrey and Nathan who attempt to alleviate the Troubled person’s affliction.  Not all of the crimes they investigate are caused by Troubled people, though. In one case, a woman poisoned her boss and, in another, Audrey and Nathan discover that a boat wreck was caused by the sale of shoddy and defective parts.

After several weeks of handling Troubled people, Audrey receives a visit from Agent Howard, who threatens to bring her back to NY. He demands a true accounting of the cases—not the whitewashed versions she’s been turning in. Ultimately she quits the FBI and joins the Haven Police Department as Nathan’s partner—which was Howard’s plan all along. She just needed a push from him.

During the course of one investigation, Audrey and Nathan see an interesting tattoo that consists of a maze with figures standing at each of the four compass points. (This same sigul can be seen in the show’s opening credits.) Duke Crocker, the local rogue and an old nemesis of Nathan’s, learns from his former babysitter that he will die at the hands of a man with this tattoo on his arm, but ultimately it is revealed that many people have this tattoo. Audrey recommends he look into the meaning of the tattoo rather than be concerned about any one person bearing it. It appears on the headstones of many people in the Haven Cemetery, for example.

Nathan forms a romantic relationship with Jess Minion, a Quebecois who the locals believe is a witch. He is tentative because he’s afraid his lack of sensation will make him unable to be physical with her. Jess ultimately leaves town because she’s afraid of the Troubles, which seem to be attracted to Nathan.

Another ongoing thread is the appearance of cracks. They’re seen on the road leading into Haven in the first episode and later at Carpenter’s Knot Island and on Duke’s boat. A lighthouse crumbles because of another crack. In the finale these are revealed to be caused by Chief Wuornos’s trouble, a manifestation of his attempts to hold Haven together.

Everything comes to a head with the arrival of two people to Haven. The first is Max Hansen, fresh out of Shawshank Prison , where he’s been incarcerated since 1985. He has a maze tattoo and the same Trouble as Nathan, and he has some ancient scores to settle—in particular, he wants to see Chief Wuornos die for stealing his family from him. Nathan discovers that Chief Wuornos isn’t his real father, which causes a further rift between them. Another sort of rift—the kind Wuornos generates—opens up in front of Hansen, who falls to his death. There is speculation that Hansen killed the Colorado Kid, though that was never proved.

Chief Wuornos is at the end of his tether. He’s tried everything to keep his affliction at bay: drinking, smoking, going to church, but it’s time for him to die. Now that Audrey is back, he can let go. A series of cracks emanates from him. He pulls them into himself and explodes into a million pieces. Vince and Dave Teagues from the Haven Herald gather the parts into an ice chest and bury him in a remote location. They know a lot more than they’re telling about Audrey and her purpose in Haven, but they’ve decided (sort of) to keep out of it and let her discover things on her own.

Though Audrey and Nathan keep the chief’s death a secret, Rev. Driscoll knows and makes a power play to control his replacement. He tells Nathan to leave Haven or suffer like the rest of “his kind”—the damned.

The second arrival is an FBI agent named Audrey Parker. There’s a near-exact repeat of the showdown that occurred in the first episode. Once again Audrey’s identity is called into question, as the new FBI agent asks, “Who the hell are you?”


1) Welcome to Haven

Trouble: Marian Caldwell causes catastrophic weather events when pressured or threatened.

King references: Audrey’s radio is set to 103.1, which is WZLO, a station owned by King. The Haven Herald is located at 217 King Street. Room 217 was the haunted room in the Overlook hotel in The Shining. Marion Caldwell share’s a surname with Rebecca Caldwell from The Dead Zone television series on which Nicole De Boer appeared.

2) Butterfly

Trouble: Bobby Mueller brings to life in his dreams the things he sees before he goes to sleep.

King references:Hannah Driscoll’s secret bank account is in Bangor, King’s home town.

3)  Harmony

Trouble: Ray McBreen causes people around him to go berserk when he plays music—but his Trouble has a beneficial effect on catatonic patients.

King references: A scene features a folded paper boat like the one Georgie plays with in It.

4) Consumed

Trouble: When Bill McShaw gets upset, the ingredients of any food he eats (all the way back to the original source) go bad.

King references: The Grey Gull is the name of a restaurant in The Colorado Kid. Marnie Snell shares a surname with Sue Snell from Carrie.

5) Ball and Chain

Trouble: When Beatrice Mitchell turns into an alter ego named Helena and has sex with a man, she gets pregnant and gives birth in a few days. The father ages rapidly and dies when she holds the baby for the first time.

King references:King’s signature can be seen on the Harbor Master’s certificate. Beatrice’s nanny is an older black woman named Abigail who hails from Nebraska (The Stand). Deaths like the ones that occurred in this episode are mentioned in 1954 records from Derry (It).

6) Fur

Trouble: Piper Taylor and her son Landon cause stuffed animals to come to life and go after the people who killed them. Piper had been brought back to life by her father during earlier Troubles and she resurrected Landon after a fire.

King references: Jess Minnion had her car towed in Derry. Derry Road is also mentioned in “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut.” The resurrection plot—especially the strong temptation to bring a loved one back to life—is reminiscent of Pet Sematary. The hunt for the killer wolf is reminiscent of a scene from Silver Bullet. Tobias Gillespie’s name is inspired by Constable Parkins Gillespie from ‘Salem’s Lot.

7) Sketchy

Trouble: Victoria Dutton’s drawings come to life. Anything done to them is also inflicted on the subject—people or objects.

King references: The concept of artwork coming to life is common in King’s work. Patrick Danville has this ability in The Dark Tower, as does Edgar Freemantle in Duma Key and Richard Sifkitz in “Stationary Bike.” Vicky’s sketch of Haven was done from the perspective of King’s Point.

8) Ain’t No Sunshine

Trouble: Thornton Aaron’s anger at his wife’s death from cancer detaches from him as a shadow that kills others.

King references: Members of a support group believe a “Dark Man” is responsible for the premature deaths of their family members. King wrote a poem called “The Dark Man” that is the genesis of his character Randall Flagg, a name that is mentioned in the opening credits. Two cops are named Stan and Beverly after characters from It.

9) As You Were

Trouble: Vaughn Carpenter is a chameleon. When his trouble is reactivated, his ability to exist in any one body for any length of time is limited, so he has to kill people to take them over.

King references:  The hotel on Carpenter’s Knot Island is reminiscent of the Overlook. One of Audrey’s birthday gifts is a first edition of Misery Unchained signed by the author before that lady chopped off his foot (Misery). Nathan’s middle name calls to mind Thad Beaumont (The Dark Half). The shapeshifter in this episode is reminiscent of the Skin-Man from The Wind Through the Keyhole.

10) The Hand You’re Dealt

Trouble: Matt West has pyrokinesis, which he uses to pay back his tormentors and wreak general havoc in Haven. Vanessa Stanley sees the last thing other people see before they die.

King references: Charlie McGee from Firestarter was also pyrokinetic. Photographer Morris Cross mentions lobster-like creatures that chattered back and forth at each other, i.e. lobstrosities from The Drawing of the Three.

11) The Trial of Audrey Parker

Trouble: Ezra Colbert has bouts of acuity and prescience—the ability to predict what a person is about to do or say.

King references: A copy of Tommyknockers can be seen among the books Audrey moves in the stateroom of Duke’s boat. Agent Howard refers to the people Audrey has been investigating as the “Children of the Corn.” Duke’s boat’s position is given relative to Little Tall Island, the setting for several King stories, including Dolores Claiborne and Storm of the Century. Tobias Blaine may be named for Blane the Mono from the Dark Tower series.

12) Resurfacing

Trouble: James Garrick vibrates to the point where he can longer be seen or heard.

King references: The boat that washes ashore with one body on board and several men missing is similar to the unsolved mystery of the Pretty Lisa Cabot from The Colorado Kid. A model of a car exactly like Christine moves across a desk. James Garrick’s interactions with reality are reminiscent of a poltergeist and, for a while, his kids are suspected of possessing telekinesis like Carrie. In a sense, he’s like Jo Noonan’s ghost in Bag of Bones, moving things around to interact with “the living.” In The Tommyknockers, Bobbi Anderson’s farm was formerly known as the Garrick farm.

13) Spiral

Trouble: Garland Wuornos causes cracks all around Haven. Max Hansen can’t feel pain.

King references: Max Hansen has just finished his sentence at Shawshank Prison. Max’s all-denim apparel is meant to call to mind Randall Flagg from The Stand.

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