Forever episode 9 review: 6 A.M.

Forever's ideas are good this week, but the attention to detail leaves a lot to be desired. Here's Billy's review...

This review contains spoilers.

1.9 6 A.M.

I’ve commented previously about how New York plays a major part in Forever, like it’s an extra uncredited character. In 6 A.M. they take that analogy a little further, by using New York’s associations with Jazz as the connection, while trying to make some interesting parallels about being passionate about the music of your youth.

A young man declares he’ll prove an injustice and ends up barbequed in his car for his troubles. He’s the son of a failed jazz musician, and all the clues lead back to a famous track, 6.A.M., that’s attributed to another long-dead performer. As with a few of the previous murder mysteries, this story is less about the actual resolution of the crime, and more about the journey. Especially, how it relates to Henry and Abe, and their widely different musical interests.

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Abe loves jazz, because he grew up in the 50s, and Henry doesn’t because he grew up 170 years before that. The disparity of time isn’t the relevant bit, it’s that each generation has its backing track, and they don’t generally overlap. This is a fine excuse for some nice exchanges between Henry and Abe, showing how their attitudes, roles and apparent ages are reversed. As fun as these are, I find it hard to accept that you could live in New York for over the past fifty or more years and not have ever heard of Dizzy Gillespie, but that’s what we’re sold.

Amongst the sleuthing, gory autopsy stuff, and time-lapse of the Big Apple, Lorraine Toussaint (Lieutenant Joanne Reece) gets to insert her dry personality into proceedings, and poor Lucas (Joel David Moore) is treated like the bore he’s becoming.

Like a familiar piece of traditional jazz, there’s a comfortable slippers aspect to proceedings, where you know things will work out in the end, if only we give them 42 minutes.

Where things sort of unravel is when you start thinking about the dates and times that the story infers, and they just don’t add up.

Lucas tells us that the evidence-critical tape pre-dates 8-track, which I recall was the mid-sixties. And, the jazz flashbacks are set in the mid-fifties. One might reasonably conclude that 6 A.M. was written in roughly 1960. That would make his daughter 54, or 25 years older than her brother. And Tia Dionne Hodge who plays Ella isn’t remotely that old even if her IMDB bio leaves her exact age out.

As if to highlight how little thinking went on about how these things fit together chronologically, Jo hands Henry a copy of Izzy’s driving license, declares he’s 29, where the birth year on the document states he’s 31! That’s pretty sloppy.

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But actually going back to the theme being the music of our youth that doesn’t fit well either. When Henry returned to England and was put in a mental institution Frédéric Chopin was 5 years old, and his music wasn’t popular until the 1830s, when Henry would have been in his fifties, as he was born in 1779. And, to be totally pedantic Chopin came after the ‘classical’ era, he’s a Romantic, and Mozart would have been the real music of Henry’s youth.

So while I really liked the ideas behind 6 A.M., those behind Forever need to try harder in the historical beats, rather than just trying to wing it, jazz style.

Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, The Ecstasy Of Agony, here.

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