At the end of Season 4, William (Colin Ferguson) had revealed to Audrey (Emily Rose), that the two of them created the Troubles 500 years ago and he also helped force Audrey's original personality, Mara, to the surface to once again take control of her body. By the time the season closed, all of the main characters, including Nathan (Lucas Bryant), Duke (Eric Balfour), Vince (Richard Donat), Dave (John Dunsworth) and Jennifer (Emma Lahana) are in a cave under the lighthouse as William and Mara force Jennifer to open a hole between this world and the one where William and Mara came from. Season 5 kicks off with William gone and everyone else ejected from the cave just before the lighthouse crumbles (again).
The first pair of episode of the season, "See No Evil" and "Speak No Evil" have the characters attempting to deal with the immediate aftermath of what they just experienced. Mara is in full control of her body and everyone who knows is trying to find her and lock her up. Duke is trying to find Jennifer, but will have to come to terms with the fact that she is gone forever, while Vince has to help carry Dave out of the woods with a nasty injury to his leg.
Most of this season's 13 episodes (yes, even though it is only a half-season, Volume 1 contains just as many episodes as any other season in the series), are about Mara and attempting to put Audrey back in control. Before Nathan finally gets a hold of her, we see Mara searching the town looking for more thin places between worlds, a hole she calls a "Thinny" (a term Stephen King's Constant Readers should recognize), but each one she comes across appears to already be sealed. When Nathan does finally capture her, he tries everything he can in order to bring Audrey back, only to learn that the best way to achieve that goal is to treat Mara like the kind, sweet Audrey they all know and love.
Meanwhile Dwight (Adam Copeland/Edge) has both The Guard and the police force looking for both Mara and Nathan since Nathan promised to turn Mara over to them when he caught her. Nathan refuses, since he knows that a lot of people would want to harm Mara for what she did to the town, even though Dwight promises that they want her in custody so that she can cure the townspeople of their Troubles. At the same time, Duke is having problems of his own. Mara explains that all of the Troubles the Crocker family has been curing over the centuries are all contained in Duke and he is about to explode. She convinces him that the only way to relieve the pain is to release one of the Troubles. Duke uses his knowledge of the curses his family has cured to bleed off (literally) a fairly harmless, and funny, Trouble - he starts speaking gibberish.
While the mess with Mara is a main focus this season, there is still the issue of Troubles getting activated and the characters having to stop them before they get out of hand. One such Trouble causes people affected to switch bodies. I am always a fan of the sci-fy body-switching trope. It is always a pleasure to see actors play another well-established character and mimic their mannerisms. In this case, seeing Dwight and Gloria (Jayne Eastwood) swap is great as Copeland has to take on the personality traits of the older medical examiner and Eastwood has to become the much more stoic police chief.
Also, in an unexpected twist, a CDC doctor arrives in Haven when a strange infection comes across her desk. At first, it is everything Dwight can do to keep Dr. Charlotte Cross (Laura Mennell) in the dark, especially when a disease sweeps across the city activating Troubles, but he eventually shows her what the city has to deal with. A lot of people, especially Guard members, don't trust Cross at first, but when she starts to isolate genetic markers related to the Troubles, it looks like she might actually be on the way to a cure.
Meanwhile, Dave and Vince's story stays somewhat disconnected from the rest of the town this season. The brothers find themselves having to face the fact that they weren't completely honest with each other over the years and Vince is not only determined to find out where Dave came from, but also why it looks like everyone who went into the cave was there for over an hour when it felt like only a few minutes. Interestingly enough, while the rest of the characters are focused on Mara and the havoc she is wreaking, it looks like they are starting to uncover the details that will be important in the show's final 13 episodes.
Haven: Season 5, Vol. 1 comes with a few special features that should entertain any fan of the show. There are two short films under the Haven Origins moniker. One is about a pregnant woman fleeing her home town because she has been accused of being a witch and being saved and brought to Haven, the other takes place during the war of 1812 and shows a Native American with a powerful ability being used as a weapon, that is, until he escapes and finds his way to what will be Haven.
Season 5, Vol. 1 also contains a short featurette for every episode. These are all collected together and can be watched either individually or back-to-back. They are only a few minutes long each, but they total almost 50 minutes of extra content.
With the series wrapping up, Haven: Season 5, Vol. 1 feels like a pivotal step to getting all of the characters where they need to be in order for whatever will happen in final episodes to take place. While a lot of characters find themselves, more or less, back where they were before some of the more recent conflicts, some new characters appear and some older ones leave. While I can't say this release is a must-buy, any fan of the show should at least run through these episodes before watching the final half-season.