Jordan has been such a problematic character as she’s continuously tread the fine line between exciting and interesting character in her own right – and in being a secondary character, sometimes having to exist for the purpose of serving the character arcs of the main characters, namely, Nathan.
The problems seem to occur most frequently when the context of Jordan’s actions and motivations seem to take a backseat to the primary characters and story – which is fair all things considered.
In the season 4 opener the thing that stood out to me in the first few minutes of the episode was how Jordan was reintroduced. Even with the context from previous seasons she came off so thinly drawn, a spurned ex who has it out for Nathan because of a relationship that went south. For me this was compounded as the scenes took place with a rather hapless Jennifer and contrasted with the scene of Lexie in the Bar(n) who at this point seemed like she was going to be wholly characterized by her sexy shots and desire for a good man. This was a whole lot of introducing the women in the context of men for me to comfortably digest.
What seems to me is that the fine line with Jordan that was so hard to execute (and when it was right it was so damn on) was the fact that to her this is all so personal. Yes, she had a relationship with Nathan that ended in a bad way and that hurt. But more than that, Nathan truly, substantially damaged her quality of life (and that of many others), when he shot Agent Howard and destroyed the Barn.
In many ways, even when we see the people of Haven afflicted with troubles week after week, it isn’t personal. Most of the time we just met these people and we don’t really hear, or think about them long after they’ve left our screens. Jordan makes it personal. She has a trouble that has left her alone and isolated and for her, Nathan took away her chance at ever living normally again, having the chance at human contact without inflicting pain on another person. This wears on a person, it cuts deep, and damn if Kate Kelton doesn’t sell it.
People are not always rational, especially when their one chance at normalcy has been taken away from them. And there is a challenge in balancing a character who is exhibiting this state of being. While Jordan’s deepest motivations are clear, and consistent with her story and character, in many instances, Jordan isn’t afforded enough screen time to properly explore how she is reacting to a deeply personal loss. Often times, her irrational acts, particularly her staunch belief that killing Nathan is the only acceptable way to deal with him, can lead to the perception of her as the vindictive ex.
She goes against the grain of almost every other identifiable character on Haven, again making it difficult to place her as she tumbles out of control. As the audience, we don’t see any other character that we can relate to explain, or understand Jordan’s point of view, making it more difficult to access.
Although last week’s episode, “Countdown”, was Jordan’s unfortunate swan song, her real stand out moment of the season was truly a turning point. In episode 3, “Bad Blood” when she calls out Nathan on all the shit that he’s caused. We return to a post-barn Haven that is in shambles and getting worse because of the troubles. With Audrey MIA, no one has been there to keep Nathan in check in a meaningful way – in that scene on the floor of the police station Jordan lays it out. This is personal, it affects her life, and the lives of nearly everyone in Haven. Nathan’s guilt is deserved and so is the anger of the town.
She spells out the fallout of Nathan’s actions in a way that before this, the show could only really express in the form of abstract tragedy. Jordan brought life, a face, and a true fighter to the troubled people of Haven. Even if we weren’t always on her side she brought so much value to Haven. Her death hurt. Although she was not technically brought down by the troubles, the troubles were her downfall as she fought to end them. Her death felt like a huge defeat on the road to normalizing the town, and finding a way through.
I do wish Jordan had an exit that left room for a return of the character. To borrow a phrase from Jo, gloves off to Jordan, and the wonderful Kate Kelton who brought so much life to such a complex character. We hope to be watching her awesome in something fun soon.