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Forever - Look Before You Leap - Review

Forever’s second episode, “Look Before You Leap,” was once again written by series creator Matt Miller and was directed by Sam Hill. Hill’s other credits include Believe, Almost Human, CSI: NY, and CSI: Miami where he also worked with Alana De La Garza (Jo). The second episode was stronger than the first and the show seems to be quickly finding its rhythm. The first episode garnered decent ratings with a total viewership of over 8 million. It will be interesting to see what the ratings are in this arguably tougher time slot up against Chicago Fire and Person of Interest. If you like the show – start spreading the word. I’ll be interested to see what the DVR numbers will look like for the show too. 

The show seems to have settled into what will be its basic format. A quick voice-over sequence to bring new viewers up to speed about Henry’s (Ioan Gruffudd) condition and then a quick teaser of the murder of the week. I suspect some cases will begin in the morgue, but now that Jo has Lt Reece’s (Lorraine Toussaint) blessing to use Henry to solve cases, I suspect we’ll start to see more cases begin in the field. 

So far the show has been inventive and clever about finding ways to weave in Henry’s condition. There were just so many opportunities for him to fall off the bridge, and after he described what happens when someone dies that way, I was squirming in my seat almost the entire time he was out on the ledge. It was both a shock and funny for him to end up getting hit by the car! Clearly, it’s a good thing that he’s immortal because he’s terribly accident prone!

I really liked how they played with Henry’s fear of having his secret exposed during the climax when Paul (Dave Quay) is holding the knife to his throat. If Henry were to have his secret revealed, it would no doubt ruin his life. I loved Hanson (Donnie Keshawarz) telling everyone that Henry kept telling him to shoot Paul and then declaring, “This guy is definitely going to get himself killed!” Well done, Hanson – you’re right for once! That said, I hope every episode doesn’t have a close call with people – and especially Jo – finding out his secret. That needs to go on the back burner for a little while at least. 

It’s clever plotting to have Abe (Judd Hirsch) be the one to help Henry track down the “Fan.” It keeps movement on that front and helps to give Hirsch more to do. And of course, Abe is the perfect man for the job given his expertise in antiques. And we learn that the Fan is a very, very old antique – a 2,000 year old antique if we can believe he is telling Henry the truth. It wouldn’t seem very logical for the Fan to risk exposing Henry, however, when he could become exposed himself. You’d think he might want to be friendly with the one person who he could form a “long-term” relationship! 

We also see a picture of and have another reference to Jo’s husband. I’m pretty sure that I recognize the actor playing him. I had to wonder if her husband might, in fact, turn up as the Fan… but it’s more likely that he was simply the victim of some Washington based plot. 

One of the things that I quite liked about this episode is the way that the title resonated with the theme. “Look Before You Leap” is an obvious reference to the victim’s “jump” from the bridge, but it also refers to making sure the way is clear before you take a new path or that you know what you are getting into before you take a new path. In this episode, we see Henry make some conscious decisions to change how he interacts with people. He decides he will actually engage with them. We also see Henry and Abigail (Mackenzie Mauzy) do this in the past. Henry makes the decision to let Abe and Abigail into his life.

Henry tells Lucas (Joel David Moore) that he avoids emotional scenes and that’s why he never talks to the families at the morgue. However, Henry does in this instance and subsequently promises to find the killer – much to Jo’s annoyance. Henry’s aloofness is in direct contrast to Abe, who we see pursuing relationships and engaging with life. He tells Henry that emotional commitments are the meaning of life. I loved that he sends Henry off for the evening because he has date through E-Harmony! I also loved that we get to see a picture of Hirsch circa his Taxi days as his profile picture!

A similar scene plays out in the past as Abigail persuades Henry to take a chance on their relationship. She tells him that “Live is about the journey no matter how long it lasts.” Better to be happy for a day or a few years than to exist cut off from the rest of the world. It’s clear that the loss of Abigail has hurt Henry deeply. Gruffudd is doing a great job slowly thawing Henry out and showing us his various layers. I loved him trying to tell Jo about the brownstones and her telling him she wasn’t interested in a history lesson. 

How Henry solves murders is quite clever and therefore amusing. I loved him pointing out that the guy with an axe in his head was an accident whereas the woman who had committed suicide was actually the murder victim. I hope they include at least one ridiculous death in each episode! I also loved Henry’s deduction that she was having an affair with Browning (James McCaffrey) based on a number of clues, but sealed by a scarf. I adored Henry’s remark “as a scarf man…” Yes, Henry, I’d noticed you are a scarf man!

I think the show has set itself up well with an excellent mix of humor and mystery. The weekly crimes should be nicely balanced by Henry’s cat and mouse relationship with the Fan, and we will no doubt learn more about Jo’s husband in due time. I liked this second episode even better than the first. What did you think? Let me know your thoughts about the episode and the show in the comments below.