In the fan world for Syfy’s supernatural series HAVEN, a hot and heavy debate has raged for over the past 3 seasons over whether Audrey Parker’s (Emily Rose) heart should be won by the bad-boy smuggler Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour) or the good-guy police detective Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant). For the better part of the first couple seasons, it was a genuine toss-up between the handsome heroes and yet as the second season came to a close, it seemed like Audrey had finally made up her mind and chose Nathan.
However, the third season has shown in the first few episodes, that there may be a change of heart or rather a shift in the tug-of-war. So what exactly changed?
For one, Audrey did. She found out that her time in Haven may be coming to an end rather rapidly as she could literally disappear from the face of the planet in 46 days. When one’s fate is put on a short-leash, one’s perspective, goals and the things one values changes. Audrey was no longer thinking of settling down in Haven and pursuing a long-term commitment; she had to be realistic about the time she had left. She then closed her heart to Nathan and set him free. She would always care about him, but should she ask that he commit himself to a woman whose days were rapidly coming to a end?
But it was not just Audrey that changed, so did Duke and Nathan. In the 6 months since Audrey had arrived, both had seen significant transformations in their own lives.
Nathan’s adoptive father Chief Wuornos died, leaving Nathan heir-apparent to managing the local police force and entrusted with thwarting a very dangerous lynch mob deadest on eradicating all the “troubled” folk in Haven. Thus, Nathan went from a passive participant, angry at the whole world for his own “trouble” – which meant he could not feel anything to the touch – to his ecstatic delight in discovering the one person who he could feel: Audrey. It felt like destiny had given him a gift and Nathan cherished it. Surely the fact that he could feel her meant she was his destiny split-apart, a soulmate with which he could plan his future. It gave Nathan the confidence to step-up and take charge of Haven’s police force and the courage to take the first steps towards a romantic relationship with Audrey.
However, Duke has simultaneously had an interesting journey of his own. He went from being a carefree, devil-may-care observer to finding out that he had not escaped Haven’s “troubles” and that his family’s curse was to reap the “troubled” – for, by killing one “troubled” person, he could set the rest of their family linage free from their particular affliction. It was a terrifying for Duke to learn that he could be the savior of the “troubled” or a blatant killer depending on how he chose to use his special ability. Duke had already shown an inclination to willingly stepping up when there was a problem to be addressed or when Audrey needed him; but this new revelation put Duke front-and-center in Haven’s “troubled” world. It also made Duke a natural ally or tool for Audrey to exploit.
Yet the one truly remarkable thing in both these relationships is how each of Audrey’s would-be-suitors reacted to the shift in their lives.
Nathan’s natural instincts are to withdraw and keep things to himself, as he is used to being secretive and protective out of fear of rejection and emotional pain. So when Audrey pulled away, turning down his invitation to join him on a date, Nathan retreated into his protective cocoon shell once again. He also returned to his distrustful behavior by not telling Audrey what he was doing as he made plans to infiltrate The Guard; and spurned Duke’s overtures of friendship as well
Duke, on the other hand, is more inclined to simply confront what bothers him and to engage with people, even if it means he may face rejection. Duke also did not retreat and hide from Audrey after she had ruthlessly called upon him to kill a man to save a multitude of children; instead, Duke was right there, in her face, trying to prove that he was not the killing-machine Nathan feared had been unleashed. Then, unlike Nathan who may or may not be addicted to the fact he can feel Audrey, Duke does not seem to revel in the fact that he can be super-charged when he comes into contact with blood of the “troubled.” He keeps measured control over the feeling knowing full-well, that it only comes from the blood of others.
Further, Duke does not hesitate to seek Audrey out whenever he can – whether it is to confront her about something he disagrees with to simply let her know immediately a vital piece of information he feels she needs to know. Duke wants Audrey to be a part of his life and takes every opportunity to include her as much as possible. He does not want to keep secrets from her or to operate behind her back, he just wants to be around her and be a part of her life – for as long as he can.
But with Nathan, he is also driven to help and protect Audrey, but is keeping lots of secrets from her, particularly with regard to The Guard and Nathan’s strategy of wooing Jordan to gain her trust and favor and, hopefully, get closer contact with the Guard to track down the Bolt-Gun Killer. Why all the secrecy Nathan? Is it perhaps because he knows that Audrey would not look favorably upon his tactic of manipulating Jordan (Kate Kelton) through a romantic connection? Nathan maybe racing against the clock in his own way to save Audrey, but in the process he is also pushing her farther away.
And perhaps right into Duke’s waiting arms. Audrey is a strong and secure woman, but anyone can crumble under the weight of constant stress and worry – which is what Dr. Callahan (Bree Williamson) sees and is perhaps why she is hovering so closely by. She senses Audrey’s internal struggle and pain and the need for someone to be there for her right now. It is also something that Duke senses and why he is making a point to be in Audrey’s life now, more than ever.
Nathan and Duke are both finely attune to Audrey and desire to save her and protect her. Yet only one is currently making himself an integral part of her life right now. Duke innately knows that just being there is what Audrey needs – and she has unconsciously picked up on it. In the most recent episode when Duke’s life was threatened, she did not think that he was perfectly capable to protect himself, which he is; she thought that she had to be the one to protect him. So why? What drove Audrey to insist that Duke stay the night at her place where she could keep watch over him?
Audrey’s specific gift is she is an empath. She feels other peoples pain and intuitively senses how to reach out to them when they are in pain. It was not really Duke’s pain or worry that she sought to ease, but her own. She has sensed his ability to sooth the raging worry in her heart and mind just with his presence and the loss of him would be too painful to bear. So she is insisting on keeping him close, not for just his protection, but to protect her own fragile heart. She could not bear to lose him as she is counting down the last of her days. She has already let Nathan go, but she cannot lose Duke too. To him, she will hold on tight for every second she can.
So the answer is not that Duke is a better man than Nathan; but rather that Duke is the better man for Audrey right now. She needs him. She craves being around him. There is something about Duke that soothes her soul and he is her addiction.
It may not always be that way, but for now, Duke is the right man for Audrey Parker.
Where to find this article:
Eric Balfour and Emily Rose interview at NYCC: