I'm have conflicted feelings on the character of Jennifer Mason. A lot of it was because she kind of got in the way of the OT3 vibe which made me a bit ambivalent about her, and I don't particularly click well with Duke/Jennifer, because it tends to be rather more fluff-focused than I like (whereas Audrey/Nathan still retains the fact that they are cops with their dual obsession to be upon work
). I'd have liked to have embraced her as part of an OT4, there was potential for that, yet the writers chose to
split and keep her apart first from the potential Duke-Nathan-Jennifer trio that was budding in the first two episodes of season 4, and then from an Audrey-Nathan-Duke-Jennifer ensemble, preferring instead to limit the majority of her interactions to romantic ones with Duke, or cracky/friendly ones with the Teagues. Jennifer and Audrey rarely got to exchange any words (annoying) and Jennifer and Nathan... actually had a really interesting kinda-crazy-in-different-ways, totally rubbing each other up the wrong way, type interaction, but it saw limited screentime. In the main, season 4 opted to split the characters into two pairs rather than a true ensemble, with Jennifer being the much more isolated spar of the four, since Duke still continued to have more interactions with Audrey and Nathan.
Squared and Fortress (and even The Man Who Talked to Cats) exist in a way as an attempt to address the isolation of Jennifer, I guess? Because yeah, when it begins to feel like you have a female character whose supposed to be the 4th or 5th lead but gets little interactions except with a romantic interest male lead when there's this whole other ensemble around -- because she's kind of isolated with Duke on one side for any interactions of note -- that is not so good to me. Though the whole Jen and the Teagues thing was immensely cute. And then there's these lovable lil' critters (right):
Canon never did explain if Jennifer was the only one who saw them because of reasons or if there were other sightings, or if Audrey would have seen them if she'd not been preoccupied elsewhere. In fact, canon explained nothing about them whatsoever, and they've never appeared again. Come on, I wanted these things to be a nifty Haven mascot!
There are a bunch of things about Jen's character that were great -- the kookiness and crackiness that seemed to be inherent in a lot of the material given to her being the major one for me. The FREAKIN' CRABS being the obvious example of this, but the slightly daffy colourful outfits (and glasses!), the Poohsticks, the fact her powers came from a book and she'd read Harry Potter, the fact that she spends most of one episode upside-down... Yeah. I can grow to love that. The implication being that these things attach to her character because of her being slightly off kilter in the way she thinks, the visions and fear of going crazy, the hyperactive bubbliness, and the sort of joy
in the kookiness and the wacky and... just look at the picture of her upside-down. And lovin' the Yoga and the funny hats and the checking out Duke's ass. Yep, I dug that aspect, it was different than the usually bubbly-nice-girl character type, and that they showed her facing her up to her fears and coming to Haven and accepting that the crazy stuff was going to be happening all around her.
I don't know that it's even worth saying anything about the fact that Haven killed off yet another female character, except... okay, the claim from the show is that the actress wanted to leave, which implies there would have been a role for Jen in season 5, so actually I do have things to say about this.
Because I'm not quite sure where they'd have gone if they HADN'T killed her off... or if the actress hadn't left at least. Because the only way I'm seeing season 5 working with Jennifer still around is if she either split up with Duke -- in which case what would they give her to do; what would her plot arc be? They pretty much sealed her to his side in season 4. I can't see her working at Dwight's side, or Nathan's, putting up with any of the stuff they were doing... perhaps the Teagues again? -- or the other option would be if they killed her off anyway and she spent season 5 as some kind of ghost attached to Duke
. Maybe that's me being weird, but I was racking my brain for how you could get this plotline where Duke is so isolated and lost as to turn to Mara and be used by Mara if Jen was around, and the one that clicked was if the gravedigger Trouble kicked in -- he kind of "buried her at sea" in 5.2 and might have been intended for that burial to be something more actual in the hypothetical season where the actress stayed -- and she was sort of there but forever out of reach. Which would transfer her role in season 4 from isolation from the other characters by the narrative into a LITERAL isolation from anyone but Duke in season 5. And that makes a lot of sense to me. Eventually, Duke's frustration and grief mounts up and he ends up seeking the physical solace in Mara that Jen can no longer give him, and Jen's left to watch his downfall and be unable to do anything.
Maybe there's a fic in that. I don't primarily write Jennifer fic unless a request lands on me. But I think it would be interesting.
Given that there are all these interesting aspects and possibilities to this character, short-lived as she might have been, what bemuses me is the sentiment I hate that Jennifer died... Poor Duke.
Which, really, seems to be the sentiment of a good chunk of the fandom. Not grieving for Jennifer's possibilities, but Duke's loss. Not a distinct female character, but a relationship. Maybe that's another reason why Dukifer fails to quite click with me? Because so many people picked up the interest in the 'ship and how good she was with Duke, and not the character per se? I tend to be characters-first, and my interest in the relationships an extension of my interest in the characters. But either way, much as I like Duke, I think poor Jennifer for being dead
is probably the more apt expression?
Anyway, this has become a probably nonsensical, rambling thing (hi! I am back from camping! And I feel like zzzzzzzz all the time now), but at least there were pictures. I need to rewatch season 4-5, and rewatch in general, so I apologise for any canon screw-ups.