ORBzine - Forever TV Review

Forever



Season 1

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 1] Pilot
Shown 22 Sep 14

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) is Medical Examiner of New York City. Although he is not actually a Police detective, he spends his time exceeding his authority and working as a semi-official consultant for the NYPD. Yes, he is an unconventional investigator who solves crimes. Just like Sherlock or Elementary, or long-running mainstream shows like Castle (starring Nathan Fillion from cancelled SciFi show Firefly ) and Bones (with David Boreanaz from cancelled SciFi show Angel ). Yes, generic cop shows can run for a full decade while a well-written SciFi genre show is lucky to finish a single Season.

So what makes this show different from all the other generic cop shows? Henry is an Immortal, like in Highlander . He is two centuries old, so he has flashbacks to memories of events relevant to the story at hand. Also, he is unkillable by conventional means. Useful skills for a consultant detective. And like Mick St John in Moonlight he uses his superpowers against normal (defenceless) people, as opposed to Angel (who fought other vamps, who had the ability to defend themselves).

Henry is aboard a subway train when it crashes. The detective in charge of the investigation is Det. Jo Martinez ( Alana de la Garza ), who looks like a supermodel and was an Assistant District Attorney in Law & Order. Ever since X-Files it has been standard practice to pair an unconventional male with a gun-toting female. Rizoli and Isles has females in BOTH roles, but it is the exception. She knows that there is something unusual about Henry, but eventually narrows the list of suspects to Lee Tergesen ( Weird Science ).

If the supporting cast look familar, it is because they have been in these kind of shows before. Abe (Judd Hirsch - Independence Day ) is Henry's son, but he was also the father figure in Numbers. Lucas Wahl (Joel David Moore - Julia X ) is Henry's assistant, but he was also an engineer in Medium .

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 2] Look Before You Leap
Shown 23 Sep 14

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates the case of a young woman who apparently jumped off a bridge. Henry does not believe it was suicide. He harangues the Police into making a deeper investigation, even though his job is only to provide cause of death (drowning) rather than the motive of the death. He then procedes to investigate on his own, and uncovers a key piece of evidence that is thus inadmissable in court. Not content with evidence tampering, he confronts a murderous suspect without having any police backup!

What sets this apart from the average cosy/Police procedural mash-up is the fact that henry is not afraid of being killed by the murderer, merely of being killed in front of a CCTV camera!

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 3] Fountain of Youth
Shown 30 Sep 14

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates the case of an old man who apparently dropped dead during a mugging. It turns out he had the body of a much younger man, but his brain had large holes in it. The obvious answer is Creuzfeld-Jacob's Disease (CJD), linked to prion diseases like Bovine Spongiform Encepalopathy (BSE), Scrapie and Kuru. However, Mad Cow Disease has not been in the mainstream mindset for two decades, so nobody thinks of it.

The theme of the episode is man's fear of aging. The dead man was a client of an anti-aging clinic, like the one in a recent episode of Grimm (Season 5) . Henry and the lady cop investigate. Also, Henry's son Abe (Judd Hirsch - Independence Day ) has begun to feel the effects of aging. He wishes he were young enough to go skateboarding, and even says Youth is wasted on the Immortal.

Henry's flashback is to the year 1906, when he is practising medicine in New York City but despairs over quack cures like radium and electrotherapy.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 4] The Art of Murder
Shown 07 Oct 14

A ninety-one-year-old woman is found dead in an art gallery.

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) once met the victim, when he and his fiance Abby visited the art gallery. Despite all his skill and knowledge as a Medical Examiner, it is actually the flashback that provides the clue that solves the mystery.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 5] The Pugilist Break
Shown 14 Oct 14

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates a man who was found in a drugs den, apparently overdosed. However, the victim was reformed and was a positive role model to kids in the community.

The obvious suspect is a rich property tycoon who is trying to gentrify the neighbourhood. Henry has flashbacks to a century ago, when he was a doctor in the same neighbourhood. The slum landlord was to blame for everything, because he cut his costs and did everything on the cheap. In an insane leap of logic, the new landlord (who wants to invest money and make the place less slum-like) must also be guilty in Henry's opinion.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 6] The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths
Shown 21 Oct 14

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) gets called in on a case of a body part delivered through the post. It is a heart instead of half a kidney, but the killer is making an homage to the works of Jack the Ripper. Henry does not understand how a copycat could do such an accurate job. This is despite the fact that the killings are the most written-about in the history of serial killers, and that photographs were taken of the crime scenes and bodies!

Henry's mysterious caller lends a helping hand, so to speak. This also makes him a suspect. Henry has fashbacks to London, 1888, when he was called in to investigate the killings. Apparently the mysterious stranger was in town at the same time. Also, the copycat is inspired by a comic-book about a mythical demon who inspires serial killers. Could this rival Immortal be inspiring killers for a cheap thrill? Not unlike the HH Holmes pastiche ghost in American Horror Story: Hotel .

This is an example of some of the worst amateur detective fiction so farm. Henry sees the killer in the crowd outside the first crime scene, but does not recognise the face later. Then he gets his son Abe (Judd Hirsch - Independence Day ) to harrass a rival antiques dealer, The Frenchman ( Rosalind Chao ) for a ledger that may lead them to the killer. However, as the lady cop points out the stolen ledger is inadmissble evidence. And finally, Henry gets himself targeted by the killer. Luckily he has a superpower of being unkillable.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 7] New York Kids
Shown 28 Oct 14

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates the death of a young man from a wealthy family. It turns out that, ten years previously, he and his school-friends were involved in a I Know What You Did Last Summer hit-and-run incident. The lady cop is angry that the kids get lenient treatment for an accident. She ignores the fact they they were tormented by a lifetime of guilt for something that was entirely unintentional.

Nobody in the story is allowed an altruistic motive. Even an apparent vigilante is nothing more than a greedy blackmailer.

The subplot is about the lady detective. She had to discharge her weapon in the previous episode, and now her boss is worried that she might become gun-shy. Also, at one point Henry asks to borrow her makeup compact mirror. She does not have one, and Henry acts as if she would be unlikely to have one. However, the actress is obviously professionally made-up in every single scene! In fact, she has such a supermodel appearance that she makes Angie Harmon look as scruffy and unattractive as Rizzoli was meant to be!

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 8] The Ecstasy of Agony
Shown 11 Nov 14

A man has been murdered. The last person to see him alive was his Dominatrix, Iona Payne ( Hilarie Burton ) and the cause of death matches one of her toys. The case seems open and shut, especially to the straight-laced and unimaginative cops. However, Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) is interested in learning more about her.

Henry's flashbacks are to his first return to his first wife in 1815. She accepted that his friends had been mistaken about his death, but she will not take his explanation as lightly.

Back in the present day, Abe (Judd Hirsch - Independence Day ) has a relationship of his own - with his ex-wife ( Jane Seymour ).

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 9] 6 A.M.
Shown 18 Nov 14

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates a man whose body was burned in a car. The victim was involved in the African-American music scene. Unfortunately Henry thinks that all Twentieth Century music sounds alike. However, his son Abe (Judd Hirsch - Independence Day ) is a big fan because the next-door neighbour gave him piano lessons. Where Henry's wife was at that time is not explained.

The police procedural aspect of the show is terribly done. The cops are told where a key piece of evidence is, but they do not even bother to search for it. When they finally find it they do not check to see if it is usable. The obvious suspect is a rich music moghul (James McDaniels - Sleepy Hollow ). Will there be a surprise twist?

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 10] The Man in the Killer Suit
Shown 02 Dec 14

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates the case of a young man found dead wearing an expensive suit of clothes. It turns out that Henry is an expert in the work of the man's tailor. Yes, that is how he solves the case this week - through his shopping habits, not through his superpower of never dying!

The flashbacks are to 1957, when Henry was shacked up with his nurse wife. Their adopted son Abe was making friends his own age, and living happily. Unfortunately Henry gets recognised by a US Army veteran who saw him get killed on the beach at D-Day. This means Henry and the entire family must move house ASAP before they draw any more unwanted attention. Unfortunately this means Abe never got to keep in touch with his friends.

In the modern day, Abe attends an old friend's funeral. His motive is to meet up with the grieving widow - Blair Brown .

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 11] Skinny Dipper
Shown 09 Dec 14

This story starts like normal episodes, with events surrounding the main murder that Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates. However, it then follows with the Alias style cliffhanger from the end of the previous episode.

Henry is stuck in a cab, and the driver is his mysterous stalker. The stalker shoots himself in the head, and then evaporates just like Henry does when killed. Presumably he does not appear in the nearest body of water, like Henry does, because Henry drowns a minute later and when he gets reborn there is nobody else around. Also, Henry's clothes evaporate when he dies but he is reborn naked. This is of specific note this time, because he drops his Victorian pocket-watch in the cab before he drowns. This way, his watch is preserved and does not evaporate. However, Henry revealed in the previous episode that he gets his suits from an expensive tailor. Since his suit evaporates every time he dies, Henry must have to buy a new one every month or so.

Henry is arrested for skinny-dipping in the East river. The NYPD force Henry to start seeing a psychiatrist (Burn Gorman - Crimson Peak ). This proves useful, because the suspect in the murders has a strange obsession. But will the cops believe Henry is being framed by a stalker?

Given that the killer is using a sword to kill people in New York City, the Assistant ME makes a pop-culture reference to Highlander . Naturally, Henry totally fails to understand it.

The flashbacks are to Henry's time in the Asylum, back in 1812. The doctors decided to use hydrotherapy, now known as water-boarding.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 12] The Wolves of Deep Brooklyn
Shown 06 Jan 15

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) has taken a few weeks off after the events of the previous episode. To pass the time he has started to autopsy dead rats in his basement. However, he returns to duty when the dead person is the son of Abe's friend.

Abe becomes an amateur detective this week. He teams up with another old war buddy, a locksmith. Together they break into the main suspect's residences and steal lots of secret documents. However, as Henry points out, the evidence would not be admissable in court. Well, at least the show acknowledges the existence of court procedure - even if they only do it when it is convenient to the plot.

The flashbacks are to the Sixties, when Abe was conscripted to serve in the US Military in Vietnam. Both Henry and his wife are against the idea, because they both served in World War Two. Of course, this is the kind of revisionist anti-war attitude that is popular these days. However, teenage Abe saw it as an act of patriotic pride.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 13] Diamonds Are Forever
Shown 13 Jan 15

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates the death of a young man suspected of a diamond robbery. The robber was killed down the street from the home of Det. Jo Martinez ( Alana de la Garza ). Also, he was given a plea-bargain deal by her deceased husband, a District Attorney. Nobody puts this together until Henry does some off-the-books investigating, and discovers that the dead man went to her house to find her husband.

The flashbacks are to Henry's time in the Asylum, back in 1816. He was transferred to a prison, presumably because years of water-boarding had made him incureable. The theme of the story is that the cops regard convicts as being incapable of redemption. Not only is this ironic because not only does the dead man's story mirror Henry's incarceration, the jewelry-store heist uses the hammer technique made famous by Eddie Bunker (AKA Mr Blue) in No Beast So Fierce.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 14] Hitler on the Half-Shell
Shown 03 Feb 15

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates the death of an old man in a home invasion robbery. It turns out the victim was the son of a Nazi officer who confiscated artworks for the German government, and the motive of the murder was to steal some priceless works of art. The assistant ME makes a reference to Indiana Jones - and for the second time, Henry fails to get a pop culture reference.

Henry's stalker Adam (Burn Gorman - Crimson Peak ) gets involved in the case. It turns out he was in Auschwitz at the same time as Abe, Henry's adopted son. Dr Josef Mengele was very keen on discovering the secret of Adam's immortality. Adam's own interest is in a Roman dagger that the Nazis confiscated from him. He may also be willing to trade the secret of Abe's ancestry, but Henry is an arrogant git who refuses to negotiate with a murderer.

The irony is that, before his own death, Henry's father was a slave-trader. Ioan Gruffudd once played William Wilberforce, a famous Abolitionist, so the anti-slavery stance comes easy to him.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 15] The King of Columbus Circle
Shown 10 Feb 15

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates the death of an old man found on a park bench. The cops think it was natural causes, but Henry recognises the man as an old patient. The victim was the exiled King of a small Eastern European country.

Henry and his wife Abigail honeymooned in 1955. They left Abraham with Abigail's parents in Oxfordshire, then traveled from Budapest to Istanbul on the Orient Express. En route Henry had to perform an emergency apendectomy on the young Prince.

The King was poisoned with Polonium, which Henry identifies as the same radioactive element that killed a Russian exile in London. Likewise, the country itself has Russian as its official language. The obvious conclusion is that it is a high-level political assassination. Instead, Henry wastes his time looking for a petty domestic motive.

The theme of the episode is bloodlines and ancestry. After the previous episode, Abe is now obsessed with his family tree. In comparison, the King's fate may have been sealed by his own family. However, Henry never fathered any natural children so he has no blood descendants.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 16] Memories of Murder
Shown 24 Feb 15

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates the death of a young woman found dead in Seventies clothes.

The victim was a student at the local University. It turns out that her lecturer was Henry's favourite Dominatrix, Iona Payne ( Hilarie Burton ), who was also a suspect in a previous case. Another familiar face is the victim's flatmate, Jennifer ( Emily Kinney ).

The victim was involved in a recreation of the best day in someone's life. Henry remembers the Seventies in a different way. He took his wife out to dinner in a fancy restuarant, and the same fate befell them as did the author Raymond Chandler. The staff noticed that there was an apparent age difference between the couple, and assumed that the older lady was Henry's mother instead of his wife!

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 17] Social Engineering
Shown 03 Mar 15

A computer Hacktivist publicly shames a corrupt politician. The next morning, the hacker is found dead. Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) and the NYPD investigate. Actually, the Cyber-Crimes team investigate.

Henry thinks back to 1865. He was a doctor in London, although he was still using his original name. His name and face got him recognised by an old acquaintance, and it all ended badly. This explains why he moves location regularly every few decades, but not why he has never grown a beard, changed his hair colour and assumed an alias.

Abe, on the other hand, actually did have a beard in the Sixties. He was an anti-establishment protestor. This must have been after his tour in Vietnam, although when he got drafted he seemed to think that inglorious defeat was his duty to his country.

The main suspects are other Hacktivists. They hack the computer records of everyone involved in the Police Investigation. This means that Henry is subjected to some blackmail. Will his high-and-mighty moral code allow him to assist a fugitive in order to save himself and Abe? After all, he forged a medical degree from Guam when he could just have gotten one from a Degree mill instead.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 18] Dead Men Tell Long Tales
Shown 24 Mar 15

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) investigates the murder of a salvage expert. The victim had recently discovered the wreck of the Empress of Africa - the slave-ship that Henry was first killed aboard.

The suspects include the millionaire who financed the expedition - Cuba Gooding Jr ( Chill Factor ). He flirts with Detective Jo, and she agrees to date him. Who can blame her, since Henry has an unhealthy attraction to the Dominatrix?

The flashbacks are to Henry's time on the slave-ship. In the pilot episode, he was murdered when the Captain panicked and tried to prevent a cholera epidemic. Now we are told a completely different version of the story. Apparently Henry planned to free the African convicts and let them conduct a bloody mutiny. Rather than do it in good weather he did it in the middle of a storm. Small wonder that the ship sank!

Henry's stalker Adam (Burn Gorman - Crimson Peak ) gets involved in the case. Specifically, he has an interest in the pistol that caused Henry's first death.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 19] Punk is Dead
Shown 31 Mar 15

Detective Jo goes on a date with the millionaire who was a murder suspect last episode - Cuba Gooding Jr ( Chill Factor ). They go to her favourite 1970s punk club, which he has bought and is about to demolish. Luckily it becomes a crime scene when, just as a homicide detective is standing in the middle of the room, a mumified corpse is discovered hidden inside one of the walls.

This has already been used as a plotline in CSI, and it is a standard plot-of-the-week for Cold Case. However, the show's B-story soap opera subplot is part of the Season Arc. Henry thinks back to his wife Abigail, who disappeared about the same time as the mumified woman. The flashbacks feature a young Abe (played by David Krumholtz, who played the son of Judd Hirsch in police procedural Numbers). Henry became obsessed with Abigail's disappearance, but Abe wanted to help him get over the incredible loss.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 20] Best Foot Forward
Shown 07 Apr 15

A ballerina goes missing. Well, most of her does - her severed foot is located. Can they find out who took the rest of her?

Detective Jo is invited to go on a trip abroad with the millionaire Cuba Gooding Jr ( Chill Factor ). This reminds Henry of his time in Paris in the 1920s. He had a lady friend who was a sculptor, but she used heroin to inspire her art.

Abe has a clue about the location of his mother Abigail. Rather than involve Henry he gets the lab assistant to help out.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 21] The Night In Question
Shown 21 Apr 15

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) finally goes looking for his missing wife. She left him in the 1980s, when she was seventy years old. But when Henry finds the house she was living at, he also finds a shallow grave in the garden.

This is basically a Cold Case story, where the investigators check witnesses and records from decades earlier. Henry's special skills of death-expertise, immortality and eternal life are not used.

Luckily, there is an epilogue that involves the show's actual story arc. Henry has an arch-enemy, Adam (Burn Gorman - Crimson Peak ) - who will play a major role next episode.

Forever Forever [Season 1, Episode 22] The Last Death of Henry Morgan
Shown 05 May 15

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd - San Andreas ) wants revenge on his arch-enemy, Adam (Burn Gorman - Crimson Peak ). Unfortunately, in this universe the only way to kill an Immortal is to use the weapon that caused their first death. This is why Henry keeps the pistol that shot him under lock and key. He should probably keep the original musket-ball too, but he probably has not thought this through.

A nearby museum curator discovers an ancient Roman dagger. Presumably this is the one that Forever [Season 1, Episode 14] Hitler on the Half-Shell Soon she is dead and the dagger is missing, so the NYPD investigate the case. Henry is preoccupied with the funeral of his wife Abigail, and even has a flashback to the first time she saw him die and get reborn. This explains why they were so desperate to move to a new continent and set up home in a dodgy tenement in New York City.

John Noble ( Fringe ) identifies the Roman dagger as one of the weapons used to kill Julius Caesar. This was used as a McGuffin in 666 Park Avenue , but at least this version looks appropriately weathered and rusted. By incredible coincidence, this is also the dagger that originally killed Adam the arch-villain. And of course, Adam will kill anyone who tries to get their hands on it before him.

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Forever

Forever Forever [Season 1 , Episode 1 ]
Shown th October 2015 [Wednesday]

Reviewed in our special supplement Forever

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