This review contains spoilers.
1.2 Look Before You Leap
It was hard not to be mildly disappointed with the first regular season episode of Forever, because Look Before You Leap seemed very mechanical for the most part. The charm evident in the pilot all but vaporised, and we were presented with a by-the-numbers case that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in an eighties cop show.
What we really wanted to see was the relationship between Detective Jo Martinez and Dr Henry Morgan to develop, but it just didn’t. Jo simply sees Henry as a fast track to detecting results and drags him around like her favourite accessory. It didn’t help that they introduced a new superior for Jo in the form of Lt. Joanne Reece (Lorraine Toussaint), who was the same needing-to-be convinced character we’ve seen in a million cop shows before.
As a genre, detective shows are well defined, but following the template so exactly is very concerning, especially when you’re trying to build an audience.And, there’s equally no good reason why this show should try and emulate CSI when presenting a DNA match. I can assure everyone that real DNA matching software doesn’t show a moronic graphic of two helix strands merging into one, like it was written by the team behind Candy Crush Saga. I blame CSI for this rubbish being considered acceptable, but Forever doesn’t need to repeat those mistakes, surely?
There were plenty of things wrong, and I could fill this review with them, but there were some parts I rather liked too.
Very early on in the story they filled in the massive blank they’d left in the pilot by not explicitly explaining what happens to Henry’s body when he’s killed. OK, it wasn’t anything more special than he disappears, but it did seem an oddly missing piece of the jigsaw. This was then used later to provide a fear that Henry has of his disappearance being caught on camera. But then as was explored right at the end of the story, his nemesis has been watching and presumably recording his activities for some time, so this footage already undoubtedly exists.
Another hint of plots yet to come were the interactions between Henry and Abe, where the loss of his wife was discussed as if there was the possibility of bringing her back. If the power can be transferred, then that might make for some interesting stories, and a motivation for him to keep living, perhaps. Jo wants her dead husband back too, and I can see there’s an obvious connection there. That all hinges on her finding out about his power soon, because if he manages to keep it secret from her for the whole season this could become very dreary indeed.
The revelation that ‘the fan’ has been alive for a couple of millennia was interesting information, though how relevant this might be further down the line seem muddy, as does what he wants with Henry.
Overall, the second outing for Henry Morgan did have issues in trying to be less like Quincy M.E. and enough like something new and different. It was never really clear exactly what happened on the bridge, and the Holmesian explanation of the man with the axe in his head seemed fanciful at best. Those behind the show have employed some really gifted acting talent, and they need to deliver them some scripts that stretch them and break this out of the so many moulds it seemingly wants to fill.
Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Pilot, here.
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