Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #170 (Haven part 4)

This is Part 4 of my Haven series leading up to the premiere of Season 5 next Thursday, September 11. In the first part, I looked at the series in general and in Parts 2 & 3 I reviewed the events of Season 1 and Season 2, respectively. After tackling Season 4 in the next post, I’ll wrap up with an overview of what we currently know about the major characters. For each season, I include a list of episodes along with a summary of the Trouble(s) featured in each episode and a list of the Stephen King references (some of them admittedly a stretch).

Haven: Part 4

Season 3 — They don’t call them Troubles for nothing

Season 3 begins immediately following the end of the twelfth episode of Season 2. The Christmas episode was a kind of lagniappe, and isn’t in sequence with the rest of the episodes.

A lot happens in the third season: we are introduced to the Guard, the identity of the Colorado Kid is revealed, a Troubled serial killer stalks Haven, a new cop comes to town, Nathan finds a new love interest, and a timer starts to count down the amount of time Audrey has left before she is supposed to leave Haven and end the troubles. And that’s just a quick summary.

The season begins with a fight between Nathan and Duke that is reminiscent of the one that triggered Nathan’s Trouble. There is a gunshot, but no one is injured. At first, Nathan has the advantage in that he can’t feel Duke’s punches. However Duke gets an upper hand when a drop of blood triggers his supernatural powers. They are interrupted by the manifestation of another person’s Trouble. Audrey, meanwhile, is tied up in the basement of an inn, taken prisoner by the indi­­­vidual we will come to know as the Bolt Gun Killer. This individual, a shapeshifter, wants to find out what Audrey knows about the Colorado Kid. The Bolt Gun Killer is also digging around at the Haven Herald because Dave and Vince know so much about the town’s past.

Audrey’s captor claims that Lucy Ripley loved the Colorado Kid and implies that someone else did, too—a major clue to the kidnapper’s identity. It turns out to be Arla Cogan, the Colorado Kid’s wife, but we won’t learn that—or the Kid’s real name—for quite some time. We won’t find out the real reason why Lucy loved Cogan until late in the season, either: he is her son, or rather the son of Sarah Vernon and a time-traveling Nathan Wuornos, who was sent back to 1955 with Duke. Uncertain that he’ll ever get back to the present, he and Sarah have a fling in the back seat of a car on the day she arrived in Haven and later that same day Sarah kills Duke’s grandfather, Roy Crocker.

Audrey now thinks there’s a chance that the Colorado Kid is still alive, even though Dave and Vince refute that possibility. When they exhume his grave, the coffin is empty except for some bricks, and there’s a cryptic message written in Audrey’s—or, rather, Lucy’s—handwriting that says she has to find him before the hunter arrives. At first they assume that’s a reference to a person, perhaps someone hunting the Colorado Kid, but Duke figures out that it refers to a meteor storm that always occurs at the end of the Troubles.

The next storm is due in 49 days (at the beginning of the season), which sets the countdown on Audrey’s remaining time in Haven. Audrey, like her predecessors, is supposed to enter the mystical barn, which will end the Troubles for 27 years. This knowledge creates a shift in the relationship between Audrey and Nathan. Aware that she will be leaving in less than two months, she starts pushing Nathan away because she knows he’s intent of saving her. Hedonistic Duke tries to talk her into seizing the day, taking off from Haven and enjoying what time she has left, but Audrey stays on the job until the bitter end.

The Troubles, of course, continue as before. Because of their past issues with the Rev and his faction, Audrey and Nathan often work these cases alone, without the backup of the rest of the Haven Police Department. They don’t want to draw any more attention to these situations than necessary.

Nathan has the maze tattoo on his forearm. He figures that if the person who kills Duke someday has the tattoo, he wants to make sure he’s on the approved list. He doesn’t know what it represents at first, but Dwight warns him that not everyone who has the tattoo is good. Vince and Dave finally cough up some helpful information by telling Nathan and Audrey what the maze tattoo means. It is a symbol of the Guard, a group that has existed for generations. They refuse to let the Troubled be victimized and won’t hesitate to kill to protect them. Vince won’t admit for a long time that he’s the head of the Guard, though it’s clear he knows more than he’s saying. The Guard also relocates Troubled people to Haven from around the country, sometimes against their will. They know what is supposed to happen to end this round of the Troubles and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure Audrey keeps her rendezvous with the barn.

Several new characters rise to prominence this season. Dr. Claire Callahan, a psychiatrist who works with Troubled people (she treats many of the characters from past seasons) is assigned to counsel Audrey after her abduction. Claire insists on shadowing Audrey at work and the two eventually become close and work together on several cases. She also tries regression therapy to see if Audrey can access her past lives, which works to a point. Audrey has visions of herself as Lucy in the company of the Colorado Kid, which provides the clue she needs to find out his real identity, although these flashbacks take a physical toll on her. Ultimately, Claire is murdered and her body taken over by the skinwalker.

Dr. Lucassi, first seen as the psychiatrist affected by the music Trouble in the Season 1, becomes Haven’s medical examiner, a position he will hold until he has some sort of breakdown and vanishes from town with his neighbor’s cats.

Detective Tommy Bowen comes to Haven on the trail of the person who killed his trainee back in Boston. After the case is solved, Nathan offers him a position on the Haven Police Department, though they keep him in the dark about the Troubles for a while. His bosses back at Boston PD aren’t unhappy to see him go—he has been under Internal Affairs investigation because of a shooting incident, although the file is sealed. Nathan figures out he’s the Bolt Gun Killer after seeing his GPS history. Bowen kills Nathan (who is later resurrected by Noelle Keegan) and flees, taking Vince and Dave hostage before pretending to be killed in a boat explosion. The real Tommy Bowen was killed by the shapeshifter before Audrey and Nathan met him the first time.

Jordan McKee is the member of the Guard to whom Vince directs Nathan. She works at a bar and dresses in black, including black gloves. Her Trouble is extreme pain delivered to anyone she touches or who touches her. However, because of his Trouble, Nathan is unaffected. She is seduced by the fact that she can touch him, and they have a brief but intense relationship. Jordan doesn’t trust Nathan at first and gives him a few tests to pass before she is semi-convinced that he’s being straight with her. She gets him to transfer a prisoner who she claims is dying to a nearby facility, but it’s a setup so they can break the Troubled man loose and take him somewhere safe. She lies to Nathan on other occasions when his purposes oppose those of the Guard’s, making it plain where her allegiances lie. She is arrested after trying to take Ginger Danvers but is released in a prisoner exchange deal with the Guard. The Guard wanted the girl for her powers of persuasion, which they planned to use on Nathan to coerce Audrey if she refused to go into the barn.

After Audrey learns the Colorado Kid’s identity and sees what he looks like in a vision, she and Duke travel to Nederland, Colorado, James Cogan’s hometown. There she learns that the Cogans are part of the Guard’s underground network and operate a safe house for Troubled people in transit to Haven. They also learn that James was married to Arla, though she hasn’t been seen since he went east and there are suggestions that she killed herself. The Cogans took James in when Audrey (as Sarah) brought him to them—he was Sarah’s son, which explains why Lucy loved him. On this trip, Duke and Audrey kiss, the first time that Duke admits that he has feeling for her, too—something he will confess to Nathan at the end of the season.

Duke struggles with his curse. Nathan suspects that he is ready to use it at any time and chides him about it, but Nathan isn’t above letting someone sacrifice himself to end a dangerous trouble, which leads to some philosophical discussions about what the difference in their approaches are, if any. Audrey talks Duke into killing a dying Harry Nix, who has hundreds of offspring and his Trouble is lethal. Countless lives are at stake. Duke refuses at first, but finally gives in when he sees what the consequences of his inaction might be, but he’s furious with Audrey for putting him in that position, even though Nix would have died in a few minutes anyway. The worst thing about his curse is that giving into it feels good, like a drug. Nathan’s not happy about Audrey using Duke this way, especially without consulting him first.

The Bolt Gun Killer is murdering women. In some cases, the killer takes off the victims’ skin so that it can be worn later when it’s time to take on a different guise. In other cases, only specific body parts are removed: lips, noses, ears. The common thread in all of these murders is the way the people are killed: a bolt gun shot at the back of the skull, which leaves no exit wound and does minimal damage to the skin. Unlike the chameleon seen last season, this shapeshifter/skinwalker does not need to change bodies regularly—only when circumstances require it. The shapeshifter first appears as Rosalyn Toomey, the woman Audrey talks with through the wall while she’s tied up in the cellar. For most of the season, though, the killer is in the guise of Tommy Bowen, who was dead before he first appeared in Haven. The shapeshifter is Arla Cogan and her goal is to create a skin for herself that looks the way she did back in 1983 so that her husband, James, will be comfortable seeing her when he emerges from the barn. Audrey is able to identify her by putting together the stolen body parts in a police Identikit program.

After James was murdered (perhaps by the Guard to force Lucy into the barn), Lucy took him to the barn, believing that its restorative properties that kept her the same age would bring him back to life. Lucy was supposed to take Arla in, too, but she didn’t because Arla’s Trouble kicked in and she murdered someone to steal their skin. Now, Arla wants Audrey to show her where the barn is so she can be there when James emerges. James told her that Lucy had found a way to stop the Troubles for good. However, James leaves the barn (in the company of Agent Howard) before anyone reaches it and stumbles into town, confused over how much time has passed. He’s deathly sick—he can’t survive outside the barn. Arla has convinced James that Lucy killed him to try to end the Troubles.

The Hunter meteor storm arrives, and it’s a killer. Fireballs rain onto Haven, destroying buildings, starting fires, and killing people. The storm won’t stop until Audrey leaves, according to the Guard. It will only intensify until Haven is destroyed. Audrey meets Agent Howard in the field near the barn’s locations. He sends Arla into town to find James and tells Audrey that the barn will appear whenever she’s ready to go inside. She has to want to go inside, to leave Haven—she can’t be forced in against her will.

One of the main themes of the season is destiny. Duke struggles with what everyone else calls his family’s destiny. His purpose. He commiserates with Audrey, telling her that she shouldn’t blindly accept this fate. He chooses his own fate, he says. Nathan struggles with the notion that Audrey must go into the barn on the appointed day. He feels there must be another way to end the Troubles without losing Audrey. There is, as it turns out, but it’s not a palatable one: Audrey must kill the person she loves most, and she’s not going to do that.

In the final scenes at the barn, Duke tricks Arla into bringing James along and then holds her at gunpoint. James is very sick but manages to revive himself enough to dash inside the barn. Audrey follows, believing him to be her one chance to end the Troubles forever and stay in Haven without losing her identity. Nathan goes inside with her while Duke keeps Arla at bay. Inside, Nathan’s Trouble goes away. The barn shows them things from the past they need to know: it shows Vince and Dave’s failed attempt to blow up the barn with Sarah Vernon, and it reveals that Nathan is James’s father.

The Guard, led by Jordan, shows up to make sure that Audrey is still inside the barn when it leaves. Vince and Dave arrive on the scene separately—Vince wants Audrey to go into the barn and Dave doesn’t. Dwight sides with Dave—he wants the Troubles to end, but there must be a way to put a stop to this vicious cycle. Vince is revealed to be the leader of the Guard. He orders them to leave, but Jordan lingers.

Audrey can’t convince James that there’s something wrong with Arla, so she brings Arla inside the barn. Her Trouble ends, so the grotesque stitches in the skin she is wearing are revealed to her husband. When he finds out that she has murdered so many people, he is enraged. Arla pulls a knife, meaning to attack Audrey, but James gets in the way and is stabbed. In the ensuing struggle, Arla is stabbed, too, and dies. Nathan takes her from the barn so she won’t be revived by it. Agent Howard spirits James away somewhere so he can heal. He can never leave the barn.

Audrey doesn’t love James—she just met him—and she won’t kill the person she loves, so she makes the decision to leave. She goes outside to say her goodbyes and gives Duke a gun to prevent Nathan from stopping her. After she goes back inside, Nathan tries to open the door, but it won’t budge. In a rage, he grabs the gun and shoots Agent Howard several times. Jordan shoots at him but misses—Duke pivots Nathan around so that he can shoot Jordan before she tries again. Instead of vanishing, the barn begins to break apart. Light streams through holes that mimic Agent Howard’s wounds, and from his wounds as well. Nathan tells Duke, who admitted his love for Audrey, to go after her. Duke leaps into the barn as it collapses onto itself, screaming her name. The meteor storm is still raining fire and destruction down on Haven.


1) 301

Trouble: Wesley Toomey, whose grandfather was abducted by aliens, thinks they are back and about to attack Haven. He brings to life several “news” items about alien incidents from the past.

King references: The Altair Bay Inn is named after Altair 4, an alien planet from The Tommyknockers. Wesley Toomey is named for Craig Toomey from “The Langoliers.”

2) Stay

Trouble: Whenever people in Tor Magnusson’s family try to slaughter animals, they become human. When he treats the animals (dogs in this case) like people, they revert.

King references: The Dixie Boy truck stop from Maximum Overdrive makes its second appearance. Dr. Claire Callahan shares a surname with the priest from ‘Salem’s Lot. Dr. Lucassi goes surfing in Ogunquit on Wednesdays—that’s where Fran Goldsmith and Harold Lauder lived in The Stand. The Tarker’s Mills Tigersharks mentioned in the Haven Herald references a town from “Cycle of the Werewolf.”

3) Farmer

Trouble: Harry Nix suffers chronic organ failure. He secretly fathered dozens or hundreds of children so he would have a source of replacement organs, which he sucks out of his victims with a tube that comes out of his mouth. If his attack fails, the victim’s trouble (which is the same as his) is triggered, so this lethal Trouble spreads.

King references: Tommy Bowen is named after Todd Bowen from “Apt Pupil.”

4) Over My Head

Trouble: When Daphne’s car goes off the highway into the water, she transmits whatever bad thing that’s happening to her at the moment to the people who she thinks might rescue her. When Jordan McKee touches anyone, she delivers an extremely painful jolt.

King references: Frank Bentley shares a surname with Wes Bentley from “Dolan’s Cadillac.” Jason Dooley shares a surname with a character from Lisey’s Story.

5) Double Jeopardy

Trouble: Lynette creates a golem out of the painting of Lady Liberty she sees every day in the courthouse. This vengeful creature exacts fitting justice on people she believes have gotten off on technicalities. Duncan Fromsley starts fires in his sleep.

King references: The hidden camera has Dandel-O’s brand, with a spider on the box, a reference to the shape-shifting creature Roland meets close to the Dark Tower. James Dooley shares a last name with Jim Dooley from Lisey’s Story. Judge Boone shares a surname with Charles Boone from “Jerusalem’s Lot.” The Dixie Boy truck stop from Maximum Overdrive is seen for the third time. A gazebo plays a pivotal role in the serial murder case in The Dead Zone. Lynette enters a painting much like Rosie McClendon does in Rose Madder. Duncan Fromsley was incarcerated at Shawshank Prison.

6) Real Estate

Trouble: Roland Holloway became so obsessed with the house he was restoring that he lost his body and became the house itself. Lucy Ripley couldn’t help him 27 years ago, so now he’s set on pitting everyone who comes to the house against each other.

King references: The Holloway House is on Marsten Road, a reference to the haunted house in ‘Salem’s Lot. Roland Holloway’s first name is a tribute to Roland Deschain, the gunslinger from the Dark Tower series. For Halloween, Dwight is dressed like the gunslinger. Tina Teagarden shares a last name with a police constable from Gerald’s Game. James Cogan is real name of the Colorado Kid in the book. Nederland, Colorado is also a setting from King’s forthcoming novel, Revival.

7 & 8) Magic Hour

Trouble: Moira and Noelle Keegan can bring people back from the dead (one per day) by absorbing their injuries. Moira uses this Trouble to extort money from people.

King references: Arla is the Colorado Kid’s wife in the book, too. Trapingus Cove is named for Trapingus County from The Green Mile. Grady Smith, one of the Bolt Gun Killer’s victims, is named after Delbert Grady from The Shining. The Kitchener Mill is a reference to the Kitchener Ironworks from It. EMT Joseph Brentner shares a surname with Ralph Brentner from The Stand.

9) Sarah

Trouble: Stuart Mosley, a war vet, sends people back and forth in time to put them out of harm’s way.

King references: Roy Crocker is named for Roy Depape from Wizard and Glass. Both men are Big Coffin Hunters. Roy’s family lives in Derry. Traveling back in time and changing the outcome of the future is the main storyline in 11/22/63.

10) Burned

Trouble: Young Ginger Danvers has the power of suggestion / command.

King references: Ginger Danvers shares a surname with Mrs. Danvers from the “Father’s Day” segment in Creepshow. Waterman Lane may be a nod to King’s favorite pen maker, the brand he used to write Dreamcatcher longhand. The warehouse where the Bolt Gun Killer kept his skins has a “King Bros.” sign on the wall.

11) Last Goodbyes

Trouble: Will Brady, who has been in a coma for two months and was being transferred home to die, sends everyone in Haven into coma so he can wake up.

King references: Will Brady shares a surname with the mother and son from Sleepwalkers. His prolonged coma is reminiscent of Johnny Smith from The Dead Zone.

12) Reunion

Trouble: Robby “Robert” Farson, who was bullied as a teenager, turns his former tormentors back into their teenaged selves. Any food former prom queen Janine touches turns into cake.

King references: Robert’s last name is Farson (according to credits), which is a tribute to John Farson, the so-called Good Man from the Dark Tower series. Also, the initials RF are common to identities adopted by villain Randall Flagg. The basement boiler that builds up explosive pressure is reminiscent of The Shining.

13) Thanks for the Memories

Trouble: Arla Cogan is a skinwalker, able to strip the skin from other people and wear it like it’s her own. The meteor storm can be thought of as Haven’s Trouble.

King references: The inside of the barn is impossibly big with many doors, like the Black House. The destructive meteor storm is reminiscent of an incident in Carrie.

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