This review contains spoilers.
1.10 The Man in the Killer Suit
The latest Forever story suits up to prove the pen is mightier than the sword.
It’s always a curious thing when crime shows cover identity fraud, because by definition everyone involved in the performing side of a TV show is doing exactly that. That’s the subject this week, when Henry is called to unravel the untimely death of an English noble, only to discover he’s neither of those things.
There’s a repeating narrative thread from the outset about how a man’s suit can present him in a specific way, selling an idea, and it’s woven right through the story. There is also an early parallel drawn between the fraudster and Henry, who is hiding his true identity from the all of people he works with. The flashbacks neatly dovetail into a subplot about Abe going to a funeral to meet his first love, and the reason that she married his friend and not her now deceased husband.
These glimpses of Henry’s post war years serve to remind regular viewers, that although his wife was a critical part of his past, we’ve not yet been given an explanation of what happened to her. It’s probably not a happy story, but is it being held back because it relates to the appearance of Henry’s equally immortal nemesis? Maybe.As for this story, it does the twisty-turn thing that a number of Forever plots have worked, where you’re given a suspect that is dismissed early on and then resurrected later, only to be dismissed again.
It’s generally lightweight stuff that gives some excellent opportunities for the main cast to show off how relaxed they are with their characters by this stage of the season. In fact I’d go as far as saying that everyone involved seemed much more chilled, knowing they’ve a full season ahead. The writers seem equally confident, and The Man in the Killer Suit has by far some of the best dialogue so far. At least three lines elicited audible chuckles from this reviewer, a record unbroken by any of this season’s ‘comedy’ shows.
I especially liked a very dry line that Lorraine Toussaint (Lt. Joanna Reece) had where, after interrogating Henry, she remarked that “I’ve got to learn to stop asking you questions.” There’s also a marvellous one with Lucas, where he talks about the ‘ah-ha moment’. What Forever does well is clever chat, and it brings the characters to life when they do it so well.
This very much harks back to episode four written by Chris Fedak (writer, producer of Chuck), though this one was penned by Cameron Litvack, previously credited as a producer of the modern V series. While on the subject of writing talents, I’ve noticed that Chris Fedak has co-written the very next episode with another Chuck producer Phil Klemmer. That builds some anticipation of the episode in advance, given their respective track records, and Fedak’s previous contribution.
If there can be a criticism of this story it’s that it pitches some excellent creative talent at the screen but then rather underutilises it. As this show has evolved I’ve been very impressed by some of the acting quality that they’ve attracted to appear in it. In this story we get two really good actresses neither of whom gets enough screen time to justify their inclusion.
One of these is the excellent Laura Fraser, playing Patricia Bedard, architect of the nobility fraud. A recent Breaking Bad alumni, she’ll always be for this reviewer the feisty female blacksmith who armours Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale. She’s in it for a blink, and so is the wonderful Blair Brown (Fringe) who can light up any scene like a battery of 100w light bulbs. She gets a tiny scene at the end as Abe’s lost love, and it was a pitiful glimpse of an exceptional actress.
I can only hope that they contracted her knowing that they’re likely to bring her back in future stories. There could well be some mileage in doing that, because presumably she’ll remember what Abe’s father looked like and disturbingly still does.
There is only one other aspect to talk about, and that’s the curiously tacked-on cliff hanger ending where Henry discovers that immortal sociopaths often moonlight as cabbies, an idea that Judd Hirsch might relate to. Just before this we get yet another hint that Henry wants to confide in Jo, a still ongoing hook the show is running.It’s inevitable that she’ll find out, but will it be Henry who tells her, or will his stalker that unleashes his secret?
This story was more than watchable, and I’m really looking forward to Skinny Dipper next week, before the show goes on a festive hiatus.
Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, 6 A.M, here.
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