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Darling, Stand By Me: Ravenswood “My Haunted Heart” Review

By on February 5, 2014
Pictured (L-R): Phil Austin Taylor, Luke Bendward -- Photo by: ABC FAMILY/Patti Perret

Pictured (L-R): Phil Austin Taylor, Luke Bendward -- Photo by: ABC FAMILY/Patti Perret

For the first time since the premiere, Ravenswood delivered an effectively (and excitingly!) shocking episode, with a comfortable cliffhanger that left us with just the right amount of intrigue.

“My Haunted Heart” saw the return of Hanna to the creepy town, putting Caleb on edge. Her arrival offers Miranda an opportunity to get to know the little liar better. While Caleb spent a good chunk of the episode explaining the “condition” of Miranda and the town,  the other three were busy digging up clues, walking with ghosts, and seeing visions of the past.

The result? Miranda works out some of her feelings regarding Caleb, he has a renewed faith in his relationship with Hanna, the three find out who killed the Matheson’s father… and then Remy gets hit upside the head and dragged away by Dillon. The entire crew has to go after her, but their rescue mission plays right into the hands of the pact demon Abaddon. Ultimately the teens must fight (with a little assistance) for their lives.

What really sold this as a finale was the final 10 minutes. It was in these moments that all of the season’s build up suddenly meant anything. All of the scare and the mystery had a purpose, if only to play on the potential for an expanding mystery. The episode was busting at the seams with game changers and it was hard not to wonder why the show wasn’t playing this game all along. It does after all come from the creators of Pretty Little Liars – a creative group that has built a TV empire on this sort of thing.

During the episode we discover that the Matheson’s mom didn’t kill their dad. It was Dillon, who also managed to lure the group to the abandoned church with plans to hand them over. Little did he know Abaddon still expected to collect on his soul. He gets it too as Dillon runs from the church and seemingly gets hit by a train. But back to the five and why all the hoopla to get the group all in one place. We have Mr. Collins to thank for an answer to this. He shows up all heroic like and between a word battle with Abaddon and stopping Miranda from coming back to life, he breaks down that for the curse to work all five teens have to die at the same time. He also expounds on his relationship to the curse and as quickly as we understand it, he rejects it.

Collins tells the demon that he serves him no more, revealing that Abaddon has something to be scared of outside of himself, then breaks a glass jar to release part of that something.  Mr. Collins has been a perceived enemy the entirety of the season, but here we see him become a good guy. It’s a look that suites him well. Hopefully when the show returns we’ll be privy to more of this version of the undertaker.

In the episode’s bigggest shocker we learn that part of what Abaddon fears is old Caleb Rivers. Maybe you didn’t gasp, but it was worthy of that response. Not only did it further solidify Caleb’s connection to the town curse, but it opened the door to some potentially interesting Supernatural drama. Doppelgangers can be fun, but reincarnated love smells like teen spirit and that’s what a show such as Ravenswood is about, right? Plot twists, (scary) fun and good old fashioned teen drama.

Pictured (L-R): Merritt Patterson, Brett Dier -- Photo: © 2014 ABC Family

Pictured (L-R): Merritt Patterson, Brett Dier — Photo: © 2014 ABC Family

It should be noted that for as much time was spent on mystery and scare, this series failed to spend significant time in that teen drama genre. Some of its best and most emotionally connecting scenes of the series and finale happened within this space, too. We see it as Luke comforts Olivia when they are watching the death of their father, Caleb fighting for his relationship with Hanna, and Miranda saying hello to romantic fate with old Caleb.

As previously mentioned the series has done scare well, but it has fallen a bit short in the “stakes” department. It performed pretty decently with it in the finale, particularly when it came to Hanna and her presence in the town. One of the scariest moments of “My Haunted Heart” was when Hanna was being led away by Max. It felt like the season’s earlier episodes all over again. Lives were actually in danger. In a show that has Final Destination vibes all over it, this is something that should be executed consistently and well. It hasn’t been, so it was nice to see the show can do it if it wants to.

Finally, while flashbacks haven’t always been the most interesting on the show, they –  like these “visions” – have been used sparingly despite how necessary they are. If the show spent more time having our characters interact with the supernatural world (perhaps even controlling it?) instead of being scared by it all the time, interest in the main plot would increase tenfold. The series finally has the characterization and relationship building down. The team work, as well as the emotion investments (and believeablility) were great this episode. But Ravenswood still feels like a sinking ship and to stop it every episode needs to be as gasp worthy as this finale.