Forever episode 3 review: The Fountain Of Youth

Forever trundles along entertainingly enough in its third episode, but needs to stop patronising its audience. Here's Billy's review...

This review contains spoilers.

1.3 The Fountain Of Youth

It’s not taken long, but I’ve started to worry about Forever, because of a few odd idiosyncrasies it’s manifesting. The one that’s most striking is that it can’t seem to let five minutes go by without someone making a comment to Henry about living forever, whereupon Ioan Gruffudd is called on to make a knowing look. Once an episode I’d accept, but repeatedly? I can only conclude that those writing it aren’t confident that their viewers will remember the main tenet of the show for longer than a few minutes, and therefore need to keep banging that drum to keep them in the loop.

That’s a shame, because the idea behind this particular episode, i.e. the search for immortality, was a strong one. And, it gave Judd Hirsh some classic comedy screen time, and that’s something worth celebrating.

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What we were given was a follow-the-breadcrumbs detective story, where using his powers of observation, Henry is able to crack the case. What was unique about his approach this week was that it didn’t involve him dying, at all. Given how many times he’s died so far, I was wondering if credibility was going to rapidly be stretched beyond all reason with him dying. But thankfully they’ve put a temporary stopper in Henry being the most unlucky person in New York, ever.

Talking of the city, I did enjoy the scenic shots of the Big Apple, often in time-lapse, that gave the personal events a bigger backdrop. It was a minor point, but if you’ve got great scenery it would be foolish to ignore it.

The only problem I have with the sleuthing is that those editing and writing just can’t help aping Sherlock, often in ways that seem quite anachronistic. In the scene where Henry decodes the street, based on the body evidence. This was an obvious ‘Sherlock’ moment, so why did it need the stringed instrument (is it a Guzheng?) soundtrack to hammer than connection home? Again, I wish those behind Forever would be slightly more respectful of those watching, rather than assuming we all need a nudge each and every scene. After three episodes we get it, he’s Sherlock with an unlimited lifespan!

Where I have fewer complaints is that this story did introduce a few new overtones, and progressed the relationship between Henry and Jo a little. He clearly likes her, and the suggest is that if he can get over his obsession about working out how to die, then maybe she can leave her past behind too. It helped that they left ‘the fan’ out of these proceedings, and the flashbacks about consumption were also revealing.

The resolution of the murder/fraud/medical malpractice story did hint that at some point Henry is going to get killed in front of Jo, blowing that secret, but not any time soon I suspect. At this time she seems remarkably disinterested in how he survived the train crash in the pilot, as long as he helps her solve cases.

As for the other characters, they’re evolving Abe nicely as being Henry’s mortal component, forever reminding him that while he might go on indefinitely, everyone else is on the clock. I really wish they’d do more with Lucas (Joel David Moore), as presumably he has a life beyond dismantling the recently deceased. He had a big film role in Avatar, so we must assume he’s do more than misplace bodies in this show.

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Overall, the third episode of Forever wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t especially compelling. Having watched some of this seasons new shows, like Gotham, which are really good, Forever might have trouble securing a back half or second season if it doesn’t up its game soon.

Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Look Before You Leap, here.

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