Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #183 (Haven part 5a)

Haven is set to return on October 8th for its final season. You may not have time to catch up on the 13 episodes that make up Season 5A, so this is a synopsis of events that I hope you’ll find helpful. If you want to read my posts about the characters and previous seasons, you can start here and work your way back. I’ll be updating the Who’s Who with info from Season 5A in due course, and I’ll have a sneak peak of Season 5B for you soon: I’ve already seen the first two episodes. Stay tuned. The game is changing in many different ways.


Season 5A — Trouble has a new name

After Audrey, Nathan, Duke and Jennifer, with the assistance of Dave and Vince, cast William through the portal at the bottom of the lighthouse, two things happen: something bad comes through (about which more later), and Mara takes complete control of Audrey’s body. She claims that all traces of Audrey are gone, forever; however, Nathan, loyal to the end, believes Audrey is still there and he can bring her back.

Haven promo

Mara is a bad piece of work. Armed with all of the memories of her other personalities, she delights in stirring up Troubles, promising a rash of new ones. However, she needs William’s “black goo,” aka aether, to execute her plan. She believes William left a cache of it behind, or she might find some in a thinny, but the only ones she knows about have been sealed. Without aether, she’s powerless. Well, that’s not exactly true: she can still wreak havoc. She kills people for arbitrary reasons and shoots Nathan. However, she can’t finish him off, so maybe there’s still hope.

Nathan has to keep Mara away from everyone while he tries to rescue Audrey. The police want to arrest Mara and the Guard wants to kill her. He takes her to his father’s old cabin, which no one but Duke knows about. Audrey manages to emerge from time to time, and she tells Nathan that the way to get her back is to talk to and treat Mara as if she’s Audrey. It takes a while for Duke and Dwight to get with the program, especially once Dwight learns that Mara caused the Troubles, but eventually they both believe that Nathan isn’t grasping at straws and agree to help out. They hope that Mara can fix all of the Troubles she created, and they work on forcing her to do so.

However, Mara is deviousness embodied. She tries to seduce Nathan. She pretends to be Audrey in an attempt to escape. She pilfers a small amount of aether from Nathan. She promises to fix individual Troubles but merely changes them into something worse, usually with lethal consequences. Audrey, who has access only to Mara’s current thoughts, realizes that Mara is lying to them: she can’t cure the Troubles.

Part of Nathan’s strategy is to bring Mara along on a Trouble investigation, since that plays to Audrey’s strength. Mara tricks everyone and escapes, but Nathan and Duke track her down. Duke releases a reincarnation Trouble that separates Mara and Audrey into two entities. For the first time ever, Audrey is just herself. She has no memories of other lives, she is no longer immune to the Troubles and Nathan can no longer feel her. Worse, she gets sick and begins to rapidly degenerate on a cellular level. Without Mara, she’s in trouble. She begins to doubt herself—even doubting her reality—and starts losing her mojo when it comes to fixing Troubles.

In parallel to all this, Vince and Dave investigate the mystery of Dave’s nightmares. After the lighthouse explosion, his body bears marks of violence, including a wound on his leg that won’t heal. He is drawn relentlessly toward thinnies and remembers waking up on the beach beside the body of the Colorado Kid after passing into one years ago. During their time in the lighthouse, the Havenites experienced a loss of time and memory similar to what happened on the day of the Colorado Kid’s death. Something is trying to stop Vince and Dave from learning more. It wants to hurt Dave, who is convinced that whatever it is, it came into the cave when William was sent packing.

Dave’s nightmares relate to a massacre in the woods, and the word Croatoan. While at first it seems that this is a reference to the missing Roanoke Colony from the 17th century, Dave ultimately realizes that the trees in his vision aren’t indigenous to North Carolina, but rather to Maine. Using geographic benchmarks, Vince and Dave identify the location of his visions. They find a stone with Croatoan carved in it. The carving is very, very fresh.

Duke has his own issues to deal with. His lover, Jennifer, died in the lighthouse, so he has to face his grief and guilt. Worse, he’s now filled with every one of the hundreds of Troubles the Crocker family has absorbed over the generations. The pressure builds up inside him to the point where he has to give a Trouble to someone or he will overload and explode. Chaos ensues until he realizes what’s happening each time he bleeds. He tries to release relatively benign Troubles, but he soon runs out of those. Mara promises to help him deal with his situation, but he—understandably—has a hard time trusting her.

Dwight takes over the Guard after the group’s members lose confidence in Vince, who is too distracted helping Dave to pay attention to his leadership duties. With Dwight out of town, Nathan, Audrey and Duke don’t know what to do with Mara. If they turn her over to the guard, they’ll kill her. Nathan worries that Mara and Audrey might still be connected the way Audrey and William were, so they chain her up in the bowels of Duke’s freighter. They need information, but she won’t cooperate without getting something in return. She wants to read Duke’s journal, which contains all the Troubles his family has removed. There’s also an element of reverse-Stockholm syndrome: Mara gets inside Duke’s head, suggesting that he subconsciously wanted to rescue Mara by splitting her in two instead of just doing something to put Audrey in charge. She warns him that, if word of the Troubles gets out, she and he will be the main targets of the investigation. They’re the woman who created the Troubles and the man who can take them away. She successfully alienates him from the others.

Mara “proves” her loyalty to him by escaping custody and returning with supplies. She’s not the problem, she argues. Duke is the one who can destroy Haven by unleashing a flood of Troubles. He agrees to recover the small sample of aether for her. When Duke unleashes a Trouble that threatens to kill him, Mara again demonstrates her devotion by staying with him and helping him fix the problem. He believes Mara cares about him. They consummate the relationship.

It’s all a lie, though, part of her nefarious scheme. When Duke finds out how badly he’s been duped, something happens to him. His tears turn black and fly from his body, inflicting Troubles on other people. Mara tells him he’s become something awesome—a concentration of new troubles that no one has ever seen. She wants to leave Haven by a thinny, and promises to fix Duke if someone can make that happen. Duke thinks he can isolate himself by sailing off to sea, but Dave tells him that Troubles always find people unless they’re expelled where they came from: the void. Duke then agrees to take Mara to a thinny, but his real plan is to kill her and go into the void, thereby saving Haven from his explosion.

Another complication is the arrival in Haven of Dr. Charlotte Cross from the CDC. She’s supposedly there to look into the virulent lesion on Dave’s leg, but she arrives during a period when a disease plagues Troubled people, so her investigation expands, threatening to blow the top off a secret the residents have been keeping for centuries. As part of her study, Charlotte discovers a genetic marker that is unique to Troubled people. Perhaps the Troubles aren’t supernatural—maybe there’s a scientific explanation for them and maybe even a cure.

Charlotte and Dwight grow close as she works on this problem. Ultimately he tells her about the Troubles. However, not everyone is accepting of her story. Vince finds out that the CDC didn’t send anyone to Haven, and then he discovers that Charlotte has a file on Audrey and several of her other incarnations. She has an explanation for this, but her cover is finally blown when Audrey finds a ring in Charlotte’s car—identical to the one that used to belong to Sara. It’s part of a set, Charlotte admits—everyone in the family has one. She’s Audrey’s mother or, rather, Mara’s mother, and is 1,100 years old. She crossed over from her world to try to figure out and undo whatever Mara has done. Joining the CDC allowed her to investigate Troubled people. She was the one who punished her daughter by forcing her to return over and over again in other guises to make reparations for her actions.

Audrey is sick, Charlotte says, because one life force was split into two. Mara’s personality has been overlaid so many times that the goodness in Audrey has been leached out of her. Audrey must be returned to Mara. It will be different than before: Audrey won’t be trapped in Mara, she will be part of her. However, Audrey will be like a drop of white paint in a bucket of black. She will cease to exist; she must die. Naturally, Nathan isn’t a big fan of this idea, but Audrey insists. Nathan promises to get Audrey back after the two are united again.

Charlotte convinces Mara to go along with this plan by telling her that she will feel better if she is reunited with Audrey. She’ll be like she once was, before her father died. After Mara claims she turned off Duke’s problem, Charlotte brings the two together. However, it is Audrey who emerges after an energy wave emanates from them. Mara had already been destroyed by the loss of her father many years ago, Charlotte says. Audrey is now how Mara once was. Nathan can feel her again.

Mara has the last laugh, though. She lied about fixing Duke, and a black fog circles Haven, trapping everyone in town. Duke finally erupts, spewing hundreds or thousands of Troubles into the air. They rain down on Haven, impacting every living resident of the Troubled town.

That can’t be good.


Note: Season 5A consisted of pairs of episodes, so I will treat them as such here. Also, a number of “classic” Troubles from previous seasons return, thanks to Duke’s  condition.

1-2) See No Evil / Speak No Evil

Trouble: Vicki uses her ability to draw things that manifest. The Barrow family’s trouble causes people’s faces to be sewn up like the “see no evil” monkey dolls they own. If you don’t have good news for a Barrow, best not say anything at all. It is triggered by denial.

Duke - kaKing references: Doors to other dimensions are a recurring theme in King’s work. Thinnies–special places where the veil between worlds is stretched thin, allowing travel between worlds—are from the Dark Tower books. Black House coffee makes a return appearance. Duke’s license plate is 98 KA 16—KA is an important concept in the Dark Tower novels.

3 – 4) Spotlight / Much Ado About Mara

Trouble: Jodi needs to absorb light to survive, but the light is converted into lethal beams that erupt from her torso. Mara tweaks her Trouble so it changes from visible light to even more deadly microwaves. Duke speaks nonsense but he thinks he’s making sense. The Trouble was originally found in a harbormaster named Scoville whose stutter caused a fatal shipwreck. Guilt is the trigger.

King references: Duke’s “Deus Ex Machina” ball cap is reminiscent of the Dark Tower series. Duke and Dwight confront Jody in Duddit’s Discount Furniture Warehouse, a reference to a character from Dreamcatcher. The therapist writes “Croatoan” in her notes, a word from Storm of the Century.

5-6) The Old Switcheroo (Parts 1 and 2)

Trouble: Pairs of people who have secrets from each other switch bodies.

King references: The Old Croatoan Café at the Historical Society references the word from Storm of the Century. The thinny is a Dark Tower reference.

7-8) Nowhere Man / Exposure

Trouble: When Amy Potter prints out photographs of people, they become invisible and unable to interact with the normal world. Her trouble was triggered when she found out her fiancé had cancer and she wanted to capture their last happy moment together in a photograph.

King references: The name Ruth Creed seen on a tombstones is the name of Louis Creed’s cousin, who was killed in a car accident in Pet Sematary. One of the “ghosts” is named Morgan Gardener, a combination of Morgan Sloat and Sunlight Gardener from The Talisman. Audrey is kidnapped in a van marked Merrill Shipping & Freight. Ace and Pops Merrill are familiar characters in the SK universe. The murdered “ghost” is named Glen Andros, a combination of Glen Bateman and Nick Andros from The Stand. Doctor Reynolds is named for a character from Doctor Sleep. Duke and Mara bond over a bottle of Gunslinger Standard bourbon.

9-10) Morbidity / Mortality

Troubles: Chris Brody’s charisma Trouble is called upon. Dancing bears appear in town wherever Lucy and her father went together. His death in a boating accident was her trigger. The town’s epidemiologist, Pete Palak, sets off an epidemic that makes Troubled people sick, and the resulting illness activates their respective Troubles. It’s like a greatest hits of Troubles we’ve seen before, including Danielle’s electrical trouble (same as her sister), Kirby’s ability to see how people are going to die (same as his aunt Vanessa’s), the premature ripening Trouble, a person who generates acid, and a man who creates bubbles, one of which kills him when it goes into his IV. Palak’s Trouble was triggered by Charlotte scrutinizing the reports he’d fabricated to mask the Troubles.

King references: A man in a bear suit appears in the deleted prologue to The Shining and in Kubrick’s film adaptation. Vince goes to Bangor, Stephen King’s hometown, to browbeat politicians.

11-12) Reflections / Chemistry

Trouble: Samantha’s self esteem Trouble causes people to undergo physical manifestations of how they feel inside. A woman unable to hold it together financially literally falls to pieces, for example. Duke releases a Trouble that turns the inside of his cabin into an oven.

King references: The Tart Half bakery calls to mind The Dark Half. Guard member Kirk’s last name is Bowers, like Henry Bowers from It.

13) Chosen

Trouble: Duke’s Trouble kicks into high gear and he starts leaking them one at a time without any control. A woman destroys everything she touches. Joe Sena’s trouble traps people—cops in the armory and kids on a sinking boat. It’s triggered by his fear for his children.

King references: The notion of parallel worlds that developed independently is a hallmark of the Dark Tower series. Audrey is quite literally “daughter of none,” as was Mia in the Dark Tower series. According to the producers, the scripts says the woman with the exploding Trouble “screams like Carrie at the Prom.” The fog bank that rolls in at the end of the season is reminiscent of The Mist. The sinking boat is the Lee Lee Bett, the same name as a fishing boat from The Colorado Kid.

1 thought on “Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #183 (Haven part 5a)”

  1. Just read all of the storylines for Haven and thoroughly enjoyed recalling the King references some of which were long forgotten.

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