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Forever - The Night in Question - Review



The penultimate episode of Forever’s freshman season, “The Night in Question,” was written by Phil Klemmer and directed by Michael Fields, whose other credits include Gossip Girl, Veronica Mars, and Law & Order: SVU. I have to admit that I’ve been enjoying the season so much that the end of it really snuck up on me and caught me unawares. How can there only be one episode left this season?! Now, the real tension is created as we wait to find out if we get that second season.

It’s a risk for any series to present an on-going storyline, many viewers want to wait for the entire season – and a renewal – to make sure they aren’t left hanging. Forever also created a bit of a risk by having the two leads both be emotionally cut off as the series begins. It’s been a joy to watch both Ioan Gruffudd (Henry) and Alana De La Garza (Jo) bring these characters to life and to watch the writers bring them together. Gruffudd delivers a magnificent performance in this episode. It’s the one you want people to watch to get them hooked on the show.

In addition to Gruffudd’s performance, there’s a good mystery at the heart of the episode. Abe’s (Judd Hirsch) investigation leads them to Abigail’s (Janet Zarish) last known whereabouts in Tarrytown. Henry is ecstatic to finally have a lead and talks like he thinks they will still find her there, but Abe points out she was in her 70s when she left in 1985. Henry then worries that she may have simply forgotten about them, but Abe tells him that’s not the mom he remembers. Gruffudd does a wonderful job portraying all of the emotions that Henry experiences in the episode from hope to anger to fear to acceptance. Though it’s clear that acceptance is qualified.

Henry sets off with Abe, and it’s hilarious when Abe won’t let Henry drive – he’s either terrible or simply reckless. Though given his interest in fast cars – he recognizes Judge Graves’ (Tim Guinee) Alfa Romeo Spyder immediately and knows the paint has been changed – I’m assuming Henry likes speed! And let’s not forget how much Abe enjoyed the car chase back in “The Man in the Killer Suit.” Hirsch and Gruffudd once again play off of each other perfectly. Abe seems to be handling finding out about his mother better than Henry and is there to support Henry, but there are lots of moments when Abe’s own anxiety and sorrow come through too, as he looks to Henry for reassurance.

They track Abigail to the cottage she was renting and Henry is immediately drawn to the winter roses that the Abigail planted. He remarks that their poison killed Alexander the Great. History and death are never far from Henry’s mind. But this also leads him to a flashback of he and Abigail (Mackenzie Mauzy) arriving at their apartment in New York, which is very run down. Abigail looks worried, but Henry produces a winter rose that he’s kept alive on the voyage to America for her. The rose is a wonderful symbol for their love, but unfortunately, Henry is unable to keep Abigail alive in the same way.

Henry discovers a grave and a body, and there’s a nice moment between Abe and Henry with Abe standing behind Henry that really resonates with Abe as the child. The other moment in the episode that really resonated with that relationship for me is when Henry demands a moment alone when he realizes that Adam (Burn Gorman) is the motorcycle rider. Abe acquiesces to leaving the room just like a chastened child – it’s another terrific performance by Hirsch.

The body in the grave turns out not to be Abigail, of course, but Belinda (Valerie Mucdek). Gruffudd is excellent in this scene as we see what torture it is for him to go through the autopsy. He even gets Lucas (Joel David Moore) to perform it. Another wonderful scene between Hirsch and Gruffudd as Henry brings the news to Abe that it’s not Abigail follows the discovery. However, Henry’s return to the obsession that had Abe worried after Abigail’s initial disappearance is back in full force as he swears to Abraham that he’ll find out what happened even if it takes him the rest of his days.

Jo, meanwhile, proves why she’s a good detective – and possibly a little blinded where Henry is concerned. She initially worries that he’s taken time off because of her and her almost declaration in the last episode. She finds out about the search for Abe’s mother through Lucas – who apparently can’t lie to her either! Jo concludes that Abigail must have been running from Abe’s father. However, she does realize that Henry is acting completely out of character and presses him on why this case is so important to him, and in fact wants to know what Abe’s mother is to him. Clever woman.

Jo confronts Henry about going to Lucas instead of her, and he tells her that it was Abe who went to Lucas and assures her he would have come to her. He tells her, “There aren’t many people I trust in this world. You’re in rare company.” She replies, “Good. I was afraid I’d made thing a little uncomfortable the other night when I showed up…” And then Gruffudd finally turns on the charm and the sexy as he replies, “It would take a lot more than that to make me uncomfortable.” The two exchange a look that speaks volumes about their mutual attraction.

Jo and Henry follow Belinda’s trail through Nurse Bertha (Michelle Hurst) to Judge Graves. However, this causes too many waves for Lt Reece (Lorraine Toussaint) to ignore and she shuts them down. Even though we don’t get a lot of Hanson (Donnie Keshawarz) in the episode because he’s taking a family ski trip – which he’s not happy about and only booked because he thought Jo would be away – he still plays an important role in stopping by the hospital to get the motorcyclists file, which is missing and later suggesting that a cop could have been in Emergency with a gun and no one would have noticed. I’ve been really happy to see the development of Keshawarz’s character from the simply lazy, bumbling cop stereotype to an important member of the team.

I loved the scene in which Lucas shows up with dirt from the grave. First we see Abe telling him, “I don’t deal in stolen antiques…. What have you got?!?” and then there’s a nice play on “dirt.” Henry then lets Lucas into the inner sanctum and reveals his own lab in the basement – which Lucas immediately dub a lair – as in crime fighting lair: “You have your own lair. You’re a beautiful man. Just when I thought you’d peaked, you take it to a whole new level.” And the look Gruffudd gives him is priceless!

While Lucas looks through the soil, Henry finds a book of poetry in the box of things they got from Abigail’s landlady (Donna Mitchell). He finds a book of poetry that takes him back to Abigail reading him “When You Are Old” by Yates as she makes love to him. It’s a wonderful symbol of their love – and their naivety. It reminds us – and Henry – of how strong their love was and their commitment to staying together. It also brings us back to those few people that Henry trusts.

As Henry is lost in the past, he drops the book and discovers the letter that Abigail had written in April of 1985 and then never had the chance to post. In it, all of Henry’s fears are laid to rest. She never stopped loving him and was prepared to put their family back together. The relief quickly turns to grief over what could have been. Abe later has to tell Henry to stop wallowing in what might have been. However, Henry’s state of mind over the letter helps to explain his reaction with Graves.

We see Henry absolutely lose it when the soil turns up a tie pin and he confronts Graves. He lies and says he doesn’t recognize it, but the Princeton crest takes him right back to Graves. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen Henry quite that angry before. But by the time the security guards drag him away, he’s practically in hysterical tears as he begs, “What did you do to the nurse?”

Henry lands in jail, and Jo confronts him about his behavior. This is not the Henry that she knows. She is familiar with the much more guarded, careful, and reserved Henry. This really provides a great contrast to Adam who we’ve seen as cold and reserved – cut off from all those he will outlive. Yet, we see Adam’s shell cracked in this episode too. In the flashbacks, Adam is desperate to save Abigail – but his passion is born out of his desire to finally not be alone in the world, to finally be able to connect with someone like himself. It’s the ultimate catch 22. If Henry cuts himself off from potential love, he spares himself the heartache he feels in this episode but risks becoming Adam.

Graves confesses to his part but in the end, has no part in either Belinda’s murder or Abigail’s disappearance. The letter ultimately leads them back to the root cellar and Hanson’s tip off helps with the bloody uniform to prove Sheriff Vance (Boris McGiver) killed Belinda. Henry is willing to die – and ever risk Jo and Vance discovering his secret – in order to find out what happened to Abigail.

I loved that Reece once again calls on Henry to “unofficially” question Vance. Henry is able to deduce that Abigail left in her car and that it didn’t make it past the landlady’s house. He and Jo head back to Tarrytown.

 
      I loved the shot of Henry running headlong down the hill to the crashed car, and then Jo standing at the top holding back the cop to give Henry a moment. It's beautifully shot with Henry descending into his past and Jo keeping the present at bay. She hasn’t forgotten that this woman means more to Henry than just Abe’s mother. In a flashback, we get the “forever” of the episode when Henry tells Abigail, “I will always love you. Forever.” The big question is whether having closure on Abigail will cause Henry to remember the agony he’s experienced over losing her or whether he will remember the joy of having someone to love. Clearly, this is going to have an impact on any relationship with Jo going forward.

Abigail’s autopsy is painful. Henry stands – almost on guard – at the head of the table with Abigail spread out in front of him. Henry has painted a picture of what he wanted to happen – he’s unable to read the clues as he usually does, and Lucas is forced to correct him. Abigail didn’t die by coming through the windshield. She took her own life. But her sternum wasn’t cracked by the steering wheel – it was broken when someone tried to save her by performing CPR.

Henry puts it all together – and sends Abe away so that he can call Adam alone. This scene is beautifully shot and acted. Henry is furious at Adam, but Adam didn’t mean to harm Abigail, he was simply desperate to get to Henry. He tells Henry the whole story – how he begged Abigail to kill him and told her he was immortal. She wasn’t surprised and believed him, so he knew she must know another. This was actually the one bit of the plot that bothered me. Did Adam go around telling people all the time? We know he didn’t, so why tell Abigail here? In the end, he takes care of himself – ironically with the CPR paddles. Had Adam’s removal from the living caused him to completely lose all of his social skills? Everything he did was easy for Abigail to construe as him being a danger – he threatens to harm Belinda if Abigail doesn’t leave with him for instance.

Adam tells Henry, “I know you think I’m a monster, but I tried to save her.” Of course, he was trying to save her for purely selfish reasons. Henry can only feel guilt that Abigail died trying to protect him and keep his secret, believing Adam only meant him harm. Adam has the final word: “A good woman is hard to find.” But has Henry managed to find not one but two such women in his life? I wonder if the teasers for the final episode are Adam trying to force Henry’s hand to have to trust Jo with his secret, thus making up for taking Abigail from him? I love Burn Gorman, so I hope he will be back for a second season, and I’d love for him to become an ally.

Gruffudd is simply amazing in this episode and we end on his devastated face. In fact, unlike every other episode, this episode does not feature the voice over that we’ve come to know and love at the beginning and end of each episode. Instead, the episode is bookended by Henry’s face. We begin with him hopeful and happy over the discovery of Abigail’s trail, and we end with him utterly devastated by what he’s learned. I doubt that Abigail would see the events in the same way. I’m sure that she would see her sacrifice as worth it for their love and for Henry, but Henry clearly sees that he is responsible for her death.

What did you think of the episode? Are you excited for the season finale? Of course, this show is still on the bubble, awaiting renewal or cancellation. Regardless of less than blowout ratings numbers, Forever has been a steady performer, consistently doing the same numbers live and by DVR. All the promotions are calling this the SEASON finale though. Much of its renewal chances will likely rely on what else ABC has for the schedule. Having Gruffudd on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week is a good indication the network still has faith in the show. It’s possible that if Castle were to be cancelled – as a more mature show, its budget would be a lot higher than Forever – even though its ratings are better, it could open a space for Forever. It’s also possible that Forever could move into Castle’s LA filming spot, also saving on the budget. On the not optimistic front, Hirsch has signed on for Independence Day 2. It’s possible he would be able to film both depending on the scheduling, but it’s also possible he’s moved on. On the other hand, Hirsch is likely not cheap and sadly, it could save bottom line budget for Abe to die. And of course, this is all speculation on my part!

Heading into the finale, it’s important that ratings stay strong. Why not try to convince friends and family to try the show? Or try it again? Lots of time left to let ABC know the show is loved. Look for the actual yes/no announcements at ABC’s Upfronts – and look for travel plans from any of the cast heading to New York – on May 12th. To join the fan campaigns check here. Remember to tweet, especially during – or after if you can’t do it and watch! - #Forever and #RenewForever.

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Forever, Defiance, Bitten, Glee, and a few others! Highlights of this past year include covering San Diego Comic Con as press and a set visit to Bitten. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.

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