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Throwback Thursday - Forever - The King of Columbus Circle





Throwback Thursday is a weekly article in which we look back at our favorite TV episodes from the past.


Original Air Date: Feb. 10, 2015
Director - Matt Barber
Writers - Matthew Miller and Phil Klemmer

Previously on Forever - Nemesis Adam left Abraham a clue to his birthparents and Abraham finds their names, which allows him to start learning about his birth family.


This Throwback Thursday is a bit different for me because I usually try to showcase a variety of tv series. Instead, this episode is a continuation of the episode of Forever, I most recently reviewed. While it is not a two-parter, per se, it does continue the storyline of Abraham finding his long-lost relatives and says a lot about what it means to be family and what it means to be home. Who makes up a family? Is sharing a bloodline important? Should kids be held responsible for the sins of their fathers? It’s this depth of questioning that transforms a typical crime case into one of my favorite episodes of Forever and ends with one of my favorite scenes in all of television. So, please pardon me for sticking with the same show, but I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane with me.



The episode opens in line at the fictional Urkesh embassy, where a man is trying to get a visa. When asked why, he says that he wants to go home to die. He ends up being the exiled king of Urkesh, which causes quite the stir. Later, he sits on a park bench feeding the birds, when he clutches at his chest and slumps over dead. Back at Chez Morgan, Henry and Abe are having breakfast, together? They sit at the same table but do not interact, both reading. Henry inspects the newspaper while Abe peruses the phone book. They still make those? It’s good to know that it’s not only phones and social media that cause people to completely ignore each other while eating. Apparently, older news sources did the same. Henry finally looks up and questions the phone book, snapping Abe out of his reverie to talk about his search for any living relatives. Abraham: “Wait a minute. No, no, no. I’m the one who’s being thoughtless now.” Henry: “Don’t beat yourself up. I’m used to being ignored at the breakfast table.” Abraham: “No, no, what I mean is I don’t need a family tree to tell me who my real Pops is.” Henry: “Oh, nor I, my real son.” It’s a sweet moment to open, causing Henry to ponder the meaning of family in a voice over. VO: “Why do we feel compelled to trace our roots? Those names in the family tree are just that, names, and yet the kinship we feel to them is powerful. Does the fact that we’re rooted in history make us feel more secure in our present? But what if our family trees are more like vines, twining aimlessly throughout the ages?”
 
 

Henry is called from breakfast to inspect the dead body. Hanson and Jo think that it’s a natural death and a rookie got too eager when he called it in as a homicide. Good thing the rookie did. As Henry examines the body, he sees an old, jagged scar on its torso and flashes back to his honeymoon with Abigail. They are vacationing on the Orient Express, when a knock interrupts their discussion of whether to have a baby or not. Abigail is pro-baby, but Henry feels that another child would only lead to considerable heartache since he is immortal. An imposing man is at the door and claims that a child is sick and needs a doctor. They both rush to the boy, who has appendicitis. Henry realizes that they will have to remove the appendix on the train, because the boy is in acute distress. It’s the scar that leads Henry to conclude that the boy on the train and the dead body are the same person. His flashback ends when the king’s wife, Zarina, rushes into the morgue to identify her husband’s body. Henry offers her support in Russian, which prompts Jo’s interest. Jo: “I don’t get it, Henry. A person would have to live 10 lives to pick up everything you have.” Henry: “Or just one very long one.” Ha!

 

While Henry investigates if there is a crime, Abe launches his own investigation into all possible relatives. He sets up a huge board in his shop that lists everyone he’s found. When Henry joins him, Abe is eager to share how far he has progressed in such a short amount of time. Abe: “Hey, what if I turned out to be related to someone really famous? You know, like Charlesmagne or…uh, Napoleon or George Washington.” Henry, deadpans: “I don’t believe any of those gentlemen are Jewish.” Ha! It’s funny so much more for the delivery than the words themselves. This doesn’t dampen Abe’s enthusiasm, though, until Henry starts reflecting on his flashback with the king. He questions whether Abe ever thought about having children, but he has no regrets in that department. Henry: “Do you ever think about your legacy?” Abe: “What do you mean? An heir? Now, why would I need an heir? I have you so part of me, spiritually, will go on forever.” Henry: “That’s very sweet of you…I think.”



The mood grows somber until Abe questions why Henry pocketed a ring from his store. Abe exposits that Henry gave him the ring after Abigail and he came back from their honeymoon. Let’s just say young Abe was less than pleased with his stay on the family farm. The king of Urkesh gave it to Henry for saving his son with the appendectomy. In the present, Henry takes the ring back to Zarina, explaining that he deals in antiques and thought it should go back to the original family. Zarina states that they were never able to have kids but that Armen had a happy life away from the pressures of being king. His only wish was to return to his homeland before he died. They chat some more about his cancer, but Zarina claims that he did not get radiation treatment for the disease. Alarm bells go off in Henry’s head as he realizes that the king was poisoned. He races back to the lab but the body is being taken away by the Urkesh government. Getting Lucas to halt the elevator, he takes a Geiger counter to confirm the radiation. After claiming that the elevator is now irradiated, the men who came for the body are quite fine leaving it with Henry to do the autopsy. Lucas updates Jo on the new findings. Henry: “Kings aren’t murdered. They’re assassinated. Well, what are you waiting for? We’ve got work to do.” Lucas: “I think I’ll take the stairs.” Good thinking, Lucas!
 


Later, Jo and Henry interview the Urkesh consulate. Jo cautions that they need to be tactful, but Henry has no diplomatic finesse. When he doesn’t like the consulate’s answers, he messes with a priceless vase and gets them kicked out, only to find the diplomat waiting for them by a food truck. He did process the visa, since the deposed king gave him a large diamond to expedite things. Jo: “A diamond the size of a grape. It sounds less like assassination and more like good, old-fashioned greed.” This prompts Henry to flash back to the Orient Express again. He and Abigail start with foreplay when they are interrupted again. The king personally thanks them for saving Armen’s life and proceeds to invite himself and his entourage in for a huge feast of yak shank. Back in the present, Hansen and Lucas fill Jo and Henry in on Armen’s last meal so they go to the restaurant. They find out that the owner was tortured as a kid by the Urkesh royal guard so there’s no love lost there. They also find an irradiated bowl. Formal interview time. Guy: “If I knew he was heir to the throne of Urkesh, you think I would have poisoned him like a woman?” Hanson: “No need to get sexist, pal.” Guy: “I would have stabbed him in the heart with a knife and told him to rot in hell for what he did.” Hanson: “What exactly did he do? The guy was just a kid, the same age as you were, when the revolution went down.” Guy: “He had his father’s blood in his veins and my people’s blood on his hands.” Yikes! The sins of the father…



Jo and Hanson learn that Armen was arguing with a young woman right as Henry and Lucas find a club stamp on Armen’s hand. Off to the Gilded Cage, they go. Lydia, the cocktail waitress, tells them that she grew up in foster care but Armen showed up recently and claimed to be her father. He showed her huge diamonds, which she thought were fake, and wanted her to accompany him to Urkesh. He also said not to tell anyone about him because his wife would be upset to learn of Lydia. Jo and Henry confirm that Armen was telling the truth, but this changes nothing in Lydia’s life. Her break is over and she has to go back to work. Lydia: “And an orphan all over again.” Lydia’s predicament continues to eat at Henry. Abe: “Hey, what’s wrong?” Henry: “I just worry that your mother and I deprived you.” Abe: “Of what?” Henry, pointing to Abe’s board: “That, family. All the aunts and uncles and cousins on the Morgan side whom you never met.” Abe: “Well I never met them because my dad was immortal. It would have made family reunions a bit awkward, wouldn’t you think?” Ha! Good point. He says: “No, no, the 3 of us were all the family I ever wanted.” Henry, presses on and Abe asks if Abigail and he ever wanted other kids. Henry admits that there was a time when they thought about it.



Flashback - After their royal meal, Abigail falls asleep on their bed while Henry and the king stay up talking. The king gives Henry his signet ring, passed down for generations to the next king, but Henry demures. Henry: “No, your son should have this.” King: “I don’t wish to burden my son. You know what I wish for him? That he grows up to be something other than a king. That’s why he’s leaving Urkesh.” Henry: “And you?” King: “I will return to face whatever fate awaits me - a sacrifice I will make happily, knowing that my son may follow his own dreams, whatever they are. Isn’t that what every father wishes, and mother?” It’s hard to reconcile this concerned parent with the tyrant whose guards torture children. Still, his wish came true. Armen had a good life, although the rest of his family was killed in Urkesh. Unfortunately, his wife is now the prime suspect in his death. She is visibly ill when they interview her a second time. Jo and Hanson mention Armen’s affair, which she knew about 25 years ago. She did not know that he had a daughter, though. She vehemently denies killing him, stating how depressed she was when she thought his bloodline would end and that she married Armen for love, not a title or riches. Partway through proclaiming her innocence, Zarina collapses and Henry, FINALLY, realizes that she’s been poisoned, too. With some MacGyver-ing, he pumps her stomach and she lives. My extensive knowledge of radiation poisoning, learned completely through NCIS, makes me skeptical since if she is already showing symptoms, she should be a goner. However, Jo, Hanson, and Henry are more concerned with figuring out the murderer, who slopily left inky fingerprints on the door. The ink is the same color they use for visas at the Urkesh embassy.



Back to the consulate they go, and he shares the killer’s info in a roundabout manner. Asif Karimov wants to kill the entire royal family because the royal guards killed his parents when he was a kid. The consulate also shares that Lydia applied for a visa, saying she was the king’s daughter. Not smart when everyone seems to hate the royal family! Jo and Henry realize she is now in danger, but their warning call comes too late. Asif is already in her house. He goes to kill her, but is stopped by a baby’s cry. Lydia fights valiantly for her child but Asif knocks her out and proceeds to the baby’s room. He pulls a gun on a baby! What kind of sick is that! Luckily, Jo and Henry enter before the child is harmed and a pursuit through the house proceeds. Henry saves the baby, Lydia wakes up in time to warn Jo, Asif shoots Lydia, and Jo shoots Asif. In the ambulance, Lydia is bleeding out. She tells Henry that she does not want her baby to be an orphan like she was, and Henry, flashing back, gives her the same advice she gave a young Armen. He tells her to take courage because she’s the daughter of a king. She lives and as she sleeps in the hospital, Jo comes in with her baby. Jo: “I told Child Services I’d look after him until his mom wakes up. What?” Henry: “Nothing. I’m just used to you kicking down doors and shooting perpetrators.” Jo asks Henry if he ever wanted kids and he flashes back to the Orient Express, where he agrees to have a child with Abigail and they proceed to have sex. Henry says sadly, “Fate had other plans.”



He returns home, tired and a bit down, but Abraham waits for him, all excited. He insists that Henry listen. Henry: “So what? You’ve discovered some intriguing long-lost ancestor?” Abe: “Yes. Guess who.” Henry: “Please, I’m not in the mood for any guessing games.” Abe: “You.” Henry: “What do you mean?” Abe: “You, Henry. I’m related to you.” Henry: “But how’s that possible?” Abe: “We have a common ancestor, which means we have the same blood in our veins - well, at least a drop or two.” Henry: “Are you certain?” Abe: “According to my research, 200 years ago, a child was born out of wedlock to a gentleman by the name of Dennis Longworth. There.” Henry: “My uncle Dennis.” Abe: “What? You knew him?” Henry: “I would hardly call him a gentleman. The man was a cad and a scoundrel and died in a duel, shot in the groin. Not coincidentally. But who cares? We’re related.” Abe: “Isn’t that the greatest news you’ve ever heard in your life?” Henry: “It’s truly wonderful!” Abe, ushering them both in front of the mirror: “Take a look. We have the same cheekbones.” Henry: “How did I never see it before?” Their joy in the knowledge is tangible. They’ve been family for over 60 years and yet, this tenuous blood connection is still meaningful to them. It’s important to them both that Abraham’s lifelong search for his biological family still includes his adopted family.



As the episode closes out, Henry’s voiceover muses: “The truth is, each of us is related. It’s just a question of how far back you trace your family tree. Deep down, all of us have shared blood in our veins.” In the end, we’re all family if we choose to be. The closing vignettes prove that. Lydia wakes in the hospital to find Zarina holding her baby, the family signet ring around her neck. She looks on the baby in love and claims that the ring will be his one day. In one statement, she has claimed the family her husband kept from her and has made Lydia her family, an orphan no longer. Back at the morgue, a different kind of family breaks bread together. Lucas, Jo, and Hanson have ordered the yak stew in honor of the king. Lucas: “Yak stew.” Jo, sniffing it: “No.” Lucas: “There is a reason they call it yak.” Bwah! Still, it is the ending scene that wins the day. As Abe sleeps on the couch, the voiceover reminds us that everyone is important and children remain our children, no matter how old they get. Henry tucks a blanket around Abe and kisses his forehead, just as if he was a child. It’s odd since Abe looks so much older than Henry, but it is the perfect symbol of their relationship. Abe will always be Henry’s child, his family, and that is a true legacy of love.
 

My original review of this episode for Last Week in TV: 


By far the most touching episode of the week, Forever had me on the edge of sniffling with happiness. Without a doubt, the character interaction between Henry and Abe has been the best of the TV season. They are the show. In this episode, Abe is happily trying to find his long-lost relatives, now that he finally knows his birth name and that of his parents. He tracks them down through the phone book and reaches out on Skype. All this has a curious effect on Henry, who is launched back to memories of his honeymoon with Abigail in which they saved the life of a prince. When said prince becomes his latest homicide victim, Henry ponders the value of blood relations. He doesn't begrudge Abe's joy at finding a new part of himself, but it does make him more wistful and reflective than usual. Abe on the other hand takes time from his gleeful search to make sure that Henry knows that no matter who he finds, he always knows that Henry is his dad and that will never change. It's a sweet reminder of exactly why this relationship works. Even wrapped up in their own worlds, they recognize what the other is feeling and are considerate of each other's needs. It is a delightful change from most father-son dynamics on TV over the last few decades. It's also what makes the ending so special. When Henry, weary from the case, comes home to an ecstatic Abe, he expects to find tales of another relative Abe has found. The overwhelming joy in both of them when he finds out that he is actually related to Abe, even distantly, is a scene of pure, unadulterated pleasure. The viewer can't help but get swept up in their delight. Add to this a case of the week that also tugged at the heartstrings and a happy ending for the surviving royal family and this is the best episode of the week.


Grade: A-


Episode Awards:

Best Reason to Watch
- Henry and Abe as always
Best Scene - Henry and Abe find out they are distantly related
Best Aww Moment - Henry covers Abe up with a blanket and kisses his forehead
Second Best Awww Moment - the Queen meets her grandson for the first time 
Biggest Evil - I don't care what psychological scars you have. If you even think about shooting a baby, you are evil. Pure evil.
Best Reaction - Henry to getting bear hugged by the King of Urkesh
Biggest Buzz Kill - Jo tells Henry they called the guy's doctor after Henry compliments Hanson 
Best Synchronized Eating - Henry and Abe are Olympic caliber
Biggest Hmm - Are Jo, Hanson, Reece, and Henry the only people on the police force? Why not call for the closest police officers to race to Lydia's if you know someone is attacking her?
Biggest Stock Villain - King's guard threatens Henry to save the prince
Best Reaction - Henry says everyone on the elevator is being irradiated and Lucas eats a chip



Best Quotes
-
1. Henry: "Don't beat yourself up. I'm used to be ignored at the breakfast table." Abe: "No, no. What I mean is I don't need a family tree to tell me who my real Pops is." Henry: "Nor I, my real son."
2. Henry: "So what, you've discovered some intriguing long lost ancestor." Abe: "Yes. Guess who?" Henry: "Please, I'm not in the mood for any guessing games." Abe: "You." Henry: "What do you mean?" Abe: "You, Henry. I'm related to you."
3. Abe: "Henry, what's wrong?" Henry: "I just worry that your mother and I deprived you." Abe: "Of what?" Henry: "That. Family. All the aunts and uncles and cousins on the Morgan side, whom you never met." Abe: "Well I never met them because my dad was immortal. Would have made family reunions a bit awkward, don't you think?"
4. Henry: "Your father was a king. The last King of Urkesh." Lydia: "But that would make me…" Jo: "A princess." Lydia: "And an orphan. All over again." Manager: "Yo Lydia, break's over." Lydia: "Sorry, looks like this princess is back on the clock."
5. Lucas: "So what are we looking for, huh? Lipstick on the collar. Hickey on the neck."
6. Abigail: “What changed your mind?” Henry: “Instead of just thinking about me and some future heartbreak, I realized that you’re here now.” Abigail: “Yes, I’m here now.”


Screencaps by Kiss Them Goodbye


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