Forever: Aspire to Have Your Abduction Noticed

Illustration for article titled Forever: Aspire to Have Your Abduction Noticed

Forever is starting to feel like a show that's been on the air for a while. It's settled down so quickly that you can already describe a "typical" episode. Luckily for Forever, a typical episode isn't bad. It's just nothing special.


Spoilers ...

One feature of a typical Forever episode is the hilariously misleading episode promos:

You're like the kid that cried wolf, Forever. If you advertise every episode as one where Henry's secret almost gets exposed, I'm not going to believe you. In case you were worried, no, Henry is not shot dead in front of Jo this week.

Another feature of Forever is the typical procedural plot. This week, it's the murder of a man who did nothing but good works his whole life but is harboring a dark secret. Of course he became a saint to atone for sins of the past and they caught up to him. That's how these shows work. In last night's episode, a doctor who founded a free clinic and gave all his income to charity was wracked with guilt that he and all his other rich, privileged friends killed someone in a hit and run right before high school graduation.

The guilt was so strong in the doctor (and none of his other friends because, again, there's only ever one weak link in conspiracies to cover up murder) had the date tattooed on him in GIANT FUCKING ROMAN NUMERALS. I'm frankly shocked it took them so long to figure this out, given that clue.

The third thing this show does as often as it can is throw out a red herring that plays right into that standard procedural plot. In this case, it was another cliche. The victim wasn't murdered by his friends in order to keep the secret. He was instead murdered by the guy who saw the hit and run and has been blackmailing him for years. (This revelation brought to you by another Forever trope: Henry solves the case by flashing back to a piece of evidence he saw for a single second earlier in the episode.)

And, in the only thing that makes this show a supernatural procedural rather than just another "quirky outsider helps cop solve crimes" show, the other trope: The flashbacks in time to events in Henry's life either directly related to or very tangentially related to the main plot. This week, I'm completely confused about the reason for the flashbacks. I think it was because Henry decided to let a man die rather than be exposed? Kind of like the high school kids in the main plot? It's the least clear the show's ever been. I think it was because they'd rented out the old timey New York set for the week and had to use it.

Illustration for article titled Forever: Aspire to Have Your Abduction Noticed

And the other two Forever tropes we hit this week: Shenanigans and heart-to-hearts with Abe and Lucas being the boy king of the M.E.s. Abe tells Henry his deepest darkest secret, which also involves cowardice and valuing yourself over others. I get that this was supposed to be this week's lesson, but the real lesson this week was delivered by Lucas.


Lucas says to Henry that he's not sure anyone in his high school would have noticed if he went missing. And Henry, being the socially well-adjusted immortal that he is, says, "Look how far you've come! To someone who ... would ... be ... missed." Henry is the least comforting person ever. It's probably good that he decided that he couldn't be a treating physician anymore. His bedside manner is permanently set to "bewildered by other humans." That's the real reason, not that he didn't want to prioritize his secret over his oath.

Later, Lucas asks the assembled cast if they'd notice if he was abducted. And this is treated as weird, but Henry's "comfort" probably left him wondering for hours. Once again, Henry does not help, snapping out, "I already told him we would!" And thus is Forever's true message delivered: Pray that, if you are abducted, someone will take notice.




Just a minor point here, but one that bugs me for some reason. If Henry really does have that good a memory, wouldn't he be pretty well doomed to be a total basket-case, probably long before we ever met him.

Think about the weight of history he would be carrying around with him if he were really unable to forget anything. All the trauma, great and small, the highs that will never come again, the lows you can never really get out of your head...

The only way most people can get through even a few years of life is because our memories are so faulty and easily overwritten. If you really have perfect recall of all life's experiences, I just don't see how that doesn't drive you insane.

And yes, I know that memory is sort of the fuel that drive's this show's engines, but still...