Forever episode 22 review: The Last Death Of Henry Morgan

Forever bows out of its first (and possibly only) season with a finale that truly lives up to the show's promise. Bravo...

This review contains spoilers.

1.22 The Last Death Of Henry Morgan

Most TV shows lay down their basic premise early on, like a Blackjack bet, and then push more coins on as the season progresses. We’ve all seen enough shows to realise that there is a payoff coming, even if there are multiple hands and you’re never quite sure which one will win.

As conclusions go, Forever‘s finale wasn’t half bad, even though they really only gave themselves 42 minutes to wrap up lots of plot threads.

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Given the very short timescale the episode was extremely tightly written, and managed to nail both of the big issues: Adam and his secret. But it also explained how Abigail found out that he was immortal, and the significance or otherwise of the gun.

But beyond that, they also skilfully managed to insert a character moment for all the critical players, some of which seemed singularly overdue. The one they gave Lucas hinted at the character he could have been, had the writers not pigeon-holed him as a nerd so mercilessly from the outset. There was always more to Lucas, and for just a second we got to glimpse that character.

The story, as it was, centred around Henry trying to protect Jo from the game Adam is playing, and the Roman dagger that he’d very much like to own.This was a continuation of the plot that saw Adam return the pistol that shot Henry to him on a wholly presumptive basis that the weapon might undo the magic it performed previously. I said when this was originally mooted that it was a red herring, and it ultimately turned out to be exactly that. Why Adam would assume this based on no evidence whatsoever, I’ve no idea, but then he has gone a little mad? Maybe at one point they were going to make Adam actually Julius Caesar, but as was mentioned by the epic John Noble in his brief cameo, there were a good number of daggers involved in that death.

(Incidentally, a nice geek side order to that is that the death of Julius Caesar is so well documented that we actually know where all those daggers went in, as afterwards the Romans made a statue showing where all 23 wounds were.)

But, back to Forever.

The dagger diversion is all a bit silly really, because based on the condition of the weapon I found it very hard to accept that it could make the curator bleed or even be recognised by Adam as the one that killed him. Maybe it was, or maybe it wasn’t, in the end it didn’t really matter. What was important was that he’d managed to convince Henry it might be, and manipulate him to the abandoned underground station for their final confrontation.

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This was sadly wrecked by some very basic misunderstanding on the part of the creative team about how 17th century firearms work.

Adam has the pistol (I’ve no idea how he got it from the safe), and fires it in the air to get Jo’s attention on the platform above them. He then re-cocks the single shot pistol and uses it to shoot Henry! Sloppy isn’t the word really, but then Henry probably wasn’t prepared to wait for the two minutes it would take to reload that gun. Having watched it through a few times on the PVR, I can only assume that those involved thought that in the drama of the moment people just wouldn’t notice.

Henry is mortally wounded, yet he’s able to deliver his very clever coup de grace that leaves Adam alive yet entirely paralysed. He’s not dead, but he’s neutralised, for now. It’s a nice moment, because Henry might die, die in front of Jo or live again. How Abe knew to head to the river, I’ve also no idea, but he’s there to collect Henry reborn once again. Disaster averted, problem solved, almost.

At this point, given the viewing figures, I was very concerned that Jo would never know his true story, and that it would all end with the biggest point unresolved. But I should have had more faith really, because the photo that Adam took from Abigail, showing the two of them and the baby Abe came back into play. Jo is to be told, and our story is done. Well, except it does leave it sufficiently open that should someone at ABC find it in their hearts to continue the show it’s not impossible.

As a person who has written 22 episodes of reviews, I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if they did, because Forever had enough charm and strong actors that I never wanted to fast-forward through it. Matt Miller has pitched a second season to ABC, and according to him they weren’t dismissive.

Only time will tell, but I’ll be delighted if they do and not shocked if they choose not to renew. If it’s the latter, those behind the show gave something of a master class, muskets aside, in how to conclude a show without breaking the tone or style that they’d maintained throughout.

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