Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm In The Mood For A Few Episodes of Haven (I'm a Goddamn Hippie and Oh I WILL SPOIL EVERYTHING)

So apart from all the stuff I've already said about Gotham I have this fear that it will be just another cop drama but with a Miller skin and I'm tired of those.

There is already a television series based entirely on the meta joke that by now most of these things look and feel the same.

Do I really have to make the case again? I dunwana.

If the show really wants to work it's going to have to really inject the spirit of comics into the cop formula rather than the other way around.

But really that's not my problem. At this point I'm starting to hate these kind of shows and their good-evil, black-white binary morality scale.

I get it. The law is the law. More often than not it's the best tool we have to deal with a lot of these issues. But my view is that the law and law enforcement isn't in the morality business. Or at least shouldn't be. The question of the day is how do you get to the best possible place.

That's justice. Healing rather than hunting.

Most of the time the law makes the assumption that you are fully responsible for you're actions. Most of the time that works as a decent postulate. But there are times when it doesn't. We aren't too far removed from a world where child prostitutes could be prosecuted.

That's not where I'm headed with this but it demonstrates my point.

One of the reasons why people loved The Wire so much is that is was a crash course in sociology describing how societal pressures can push people into making unsavory life decisions and largely avoided that good guy-bad guy binary all the while not letting people wholly off the hook for their decisions.

But this isn't about The Wire. This about another, "cop" show that seems to get it.

Let's talk about Haven.

Haven is a paranormal cop show. But with a twist. It uses the various "powers" as a metaphor for various types of mental illness.  How do you get to a good place when people aren't fully responsible for their actions.

For instance the first episode deals with a woman whose "episodes" which are normally manageable are getting more and more out of control after her grandmother dies. She accidentally kills a guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  She doesn't even realize she did it. It takes a while for everyone to figure out she's "causing" the problem of the week and why since she normally seems to have a handle on things and only about three of the cast know about her issues, and moreover feel her secrets aren't for them to tell. Out of death, jail, or counseling which feels the most right?

She can "control" the weather. Note the quotes there. It mostly happens when she's stressed or panicked and she doesn't generally realize when she's doing it.  She doesn't know that even the condition of being more wired than usual can make bad things happen.

Everybody has bad days but her bad days are more than that. And it's not her fault. It's just how things worked out.  At least that's how the show frames it.

Her issues directly parallel her friend's PTSD. The entire episode is getting these two people in a place where they can help each other live

Damn near makes me want to cry.

The next episode is about a kid, Bobby, who reality warps when he sleeps. The entire point of sleep is that it's when your head can safely be out of control.  When you can deal with whatever problems you have without fear or guilt.

Unlike the last episode he knows. He knows the damage that can happen when things go wrong. And so he doesn't sleep.  He figures that will give him more control when in reality it gives him less. Everything that would normally run through his head at night goes 24/7 and he can't stop it when micronaps hit.  So what is running through his head?

His foster father is kind of an ass. The Rev's adult daughter has been secretly preparing to leave and Bobby is afraid his mother figure will leave him alone with the angry drunk. Who by the way becomes a central antagonist later in the series.

At least that's the problem at first. When Bobby was a kid, well more of one, he thinks one of his episodes may have caused the car accident that killed his birth parents. The show frames that as more survivor's guilt, but things go more and more wrong he becomes more and more afraid of history repeating itself.  He tries to do everything he can think of to solve the problem on his own but it doesn't work. I-pods and caffeine drinks.

There is a solution to the problem. A way out.

Get the kid to talk to someone and get some rest.

The next episode gets a little more complex and overt about the metephor taking place mostly in a modern mental hospital.  I'm reluctant to speak on that other to say it feels honest. And heartbreaking and honest. Did I say honest.  It's about feeling powerless watching someone you care about lose who they were and trying to accept and do right by who they are.

At the hospital one guy's power accidentally manages to invert psychosis. The show starts with the patients miraculous recovery and a raving doctor. Afterwards the guy has to make a choice. Save his wife's mind or let her go for the sake of the town.

Each time she comes back she knows that the method which she comes back is hurting people and also that in the end its temporary. I have problems with the end which I won't spoil but over all it's a episode worth watching.

From there most of the crimes of the series are unintentional and the question of the day is how can the characters' "troubles" best be managed and in some cases utilized so they can live as close to a normal life as they can.

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