Forever episode 11 review: Skinny Dipper

Henry takes the plunge before Forever goes on a well-earned mid-season hiatus. Here's Billy's review of Skinny Dipper...

This review contains spoilers.

1.11 Skinny Dipper

Due to the writing credits on this story, I’d anticipated that it would be good, but it actually exceeded those expectations in most respects.

But before I talk about what I liked, I’ll warn you that I’m also going to discuss the identity of ‘Adam’. So if you’ve not seen this episode, I’d watch it before reading on.

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Skinny Dipper dovetails directly into the final events of The Man In The Killer Suit when Henry is abducted by ‘Adam’ in yellow cab. Actually, it goes back a little to explain how he got the cab, and what unfortunate things happened to the driver. Adam shoots himself in the head, and disappears, and Henry drowns in the cab, to reappear elsewhere in the same river.

I did wonder for a moment if this was a trap where he’d die repeatedly trapped in the cab, but they didn’t play that card. He was, however, arrested for swimming naked in the Hudson for the nth time. (It did strike me that all sorts of amazing and horrific things go on in the five boroughs where the police aren’t present or even aware, and yet he goes for a swim and he’s always greeted by New York’s finest when he comes out.)

With the death of the cabbie, Henry is caught in a dilemma of wanting to stop Adam (if that’s possible) and keeping his secret safe. Abe’s plays the part of the audience in this episode, in that he wants Henry to confide in Jo, but he’s not quite ready to do that. I do wonder exactly how many people need to die before that threshold is crossed, but I guess we’ll find that out in due course.

Henry’s second arrest for gross indecency is stupid, and he could countersue, because he’s not naked and there are no laws saying you can’t wear shorts in New York in the winter. But that puts him on track to see the Police department shrink, which is where things went slightly went wrong for this reviewer.

It wasn’t the mild inspiration taken from Hannibal, but that they presented the excellent Burn Gorman (Deadwood, Game of Thrones, Pacific Rim, The Dark Knight Rises) in what appeared initially to be a minor role. He’s already been slotted for Pacific Rim 2 and has a reputation that possibly eclipses Ioan Gruffudd’s, so alarm bells rang in my head immediately.

When the ‘killer’ turns up at the antique shop and he’s someone who I didn’t immediately recognise (no offense, Edoardo Ballerini) then the mystery was undone long before the blatant reveal. Actually it was blown long before that, but I kept holding out hope that it wasn’t so obvious or that I’d over analysed.

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Yet did that really mess up what was an interesting and strongly paced story? No, it was generally good throughout, and seemed to genuinely hold out the possibility that Henry might confide his affliction with another. I think that will be held out for the season finale, to see if they can twist a second season out of this, but an earlier reveal might be less predictable.

What I don’t really want to see happen is that this turns into Hannibal-lite, with Burn Gorman going on some sort of death spree to see what hell he can turn Henry’s life into. He’ll obviously return, but Henry’s real nemesis is his own set ways I’d suggest. The whole point of Jo’s character should be to unlock the person that Henry Morgan once was, before he became obsessed with death and dying, surely?

Whatever the viewing figures say about this show, I never sit down to it thinking ‘there goes another 42 minutes of my life’. And, given some of the productions I’ve reviewed on this site, that’s saying something.

According the promo that ABC is flaunting, Henry and crew will return on January 6th, when they’ll be joined by Billy Baldwin channelling the Wolf of Wall Street. If that doesn’t unplug my festive stuffed digestive system, what else will?

Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, The Man In The Killer Suit, here.