Forever episode 19 review: Punk Is Dead

As Forever's first run nears its end, will it be the last we see of Henry and co., or is there a chance it could be revived for season 2?

This review contains spoilers.

1.19 Punk Is Dead

The concluding episodes of a show can be tricky, I’ve concluded. Generally, they can either go all-out to set up the finale, or they can cruise up to the final show like it’s nothing special.

Punk Is Dead did neither of these things, instead choosing to tell a typical Forever mystery and then tack some dark foreboding on the end, quite cleverly.

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As Forever goes, it actually demonstrated well how the show has developed in terms of characters and writing, because everyone here is very relaxed about what they’re doing and the story flowed along very naturally.

I did, however, take some convincing about some narrative points, especially in regard to the Punk era. Maybe it’s the odd recollection of the writer, but the idea that Punk happened in the early eighties is way, way off, by at least five years. It was a mid-seventies thing that would make most of the cast far too young to recall it at all. But worse than that, they try and sell the idea that Mike Hanson was in a band, but this actor was born in 1996, so he’d have missed this musical style completely too.

As someone who was there, the rejection of everything establishment other than drugs, money and early hearing impairment seems more than mildly childish in retrospect, but I digress. Forever proves some people can get nostalgic about Punk, even if as a rebellious teenager it struck me as a wholly music industry-inspired idea of anarchy.

What didn’t disappoint was that for once, Lucas got a decent slice of the dialogue, and they actually managed to give him some good lines. The idea that Lt. Joanna Reece (Lorraine Toussaint) has now worked out what an asset Henry is, and the possibilities opened up because he’s not under her direct control was well presented.

This leads to a nightclub where Lucas and Henry are utterly out of their comfort zone, but right on the scent of their potential killer. This is all by-the-book sleuthing that Forever does well enough, where early on you are presented with a collection of characters one of which is ultimately revealed as the killer.

The counterpoint of this story is that it has parallels with what happened to Abigail, as rather than dying of old age as was hinted earlier in the season, she disappeared. This fits much better with a very early review I wrote where I predicted that the conclusion of the show, or the season in this case, would pivot around what happened to her. That was a rare nail I patently hit on the head, and I’ll be as bold to say that it also undoubtedly has something to do with Adam.

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The character I’m getting really curious about is Isaac Monroe (Cuba Gooding Jr.) as with the exception of Miss Whiplash, he’s the only guest star who has made a return all season. His performance this week was thankfully toned down a little, though watching him with Jo made me wonder if there is something else going on here that’s about more than making Henry jealous.

The show has promoted the idea that Henry and Adam are unique in the world, but what if immortal people are all over the place, and Isaac is another? I noted that when he told the story about his brother he didn’t provide a date for when that happened, and maybe it was a very long time ago? I could be wrong, but I suspect that his interest in Jo has an extra dimension, and possibly a connection to Adam.

In terms of epic performances this week I’d like to call out, there is only one candidate and that’s the superb David Krumholtz playing the 1984 version of Abe. He got his impression of Judd Hirsch just about perfect, to the point where it was quite mesmerising. This provided a perfect platform for the reveal where Abe kept all the research Henry did when Abigail went missing, which he’s kept intact.

This, in retrospect, seems a strong set-up for the season end, which it is now obvious the writers have been building from the very start. Personally, I hope they get the immortality reveal out of the way before we get to the last episode, as that would be a little cheesy. If they can get over that hurdle early, then the audience will have no idea how this is all going to end.

Last week’s show only managed a 0.9 rating for 18-49 category, which is its lowest yet, practically sealing its fate in solid concrete. There is an online petition to keep the show going. And I’d sign it myself if I thought TV execs gave a damn what the public thought.

But, on the upside, for a long time Forever’s first season was listed as having 20 episodes, though I’d since discovered that, according to IMDB, it has 22. So if correct this isn’t the penultimate story, and we’ve three more to go.

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Forever isn’t done yet, but it is rounding the final bend with enough gas to get it to the finishing line I hope.

Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Dead Men Tell Long Tales, here.