Warning: Spoiler Alert
“My name is Henry Morgan. My story is a long one. It might sound a bit implausible. In fact you probably won’t believe me. But I’ll tell you anyway, because beyond all else, I have lots and lots of time.”
That’s the way that Dr. Henry Morgan entered our lives last September and introduced us to the ABC freshman series “Forever.” The show’s first chapter concluded Tuesday, wrapping up a bunch of loose ends quite nicely and giving the fans a cliffhanger ending, whetting our appetites for the second chapter. Some time between the series premiere and the first season’s conclusion, millions of viewers got drawn into the tale of a man whose life stretched for well over 200-years, altering their schedules if needed, to be in front of their Televisions, Tuesday nights at 10:00 pm.
Why did so many TV viewers lose their hearts to Forever? Because in an era of cookie-cutter series, this show blazed its own direction, becoming something quite special in the process. The Television highway’s littered with series, that sounded great on paper but couldn’t transfer the concept to the small screen. The formula for great entertainment in any of the visual mediums is quite simple in principle, but very tough to execute. It all comes down to great writing and acting, everything else is just frosting. If you baked a lousy cake, the best frosting on the planet won’t make it taste good.
Series creator Matt Miller and his writing staff, took a great concept about a man that regenerated each time he died and made the viewers care about him and the people that filled his universe, in the past and the present. Ioan Gruffudd, the actor that brought Morgan to life, could have portrayed the NYPD Medical Examiner as a Sherlock Holmes knockoff, but he made Henry his own. Incredibly charming and frustratingly stubborn, Morgan became a flesh and blood three-dimensional character, as audiences winced each time he got hurt and cheered when he was victorious.
Surrounded by a stellar cast both in the present and the past and a story that drew its viewers deeply into the characters lives, fans looked forward to returning each week. Combining aspects of procedurals, fantasy, history and an epic love-story, Forever defies simple categorization as it takes the best aspects of all those genres, resulting in the best new network series, in the 2014-2015 television season.
The episode begins in the backroom of a New York City museum, as a female employee grabs a box of ancient artifacts off a shelf. She takes out a piece of clay pottery, then reaches into the box and cuts herself. As her finger starts to bleed she sees what she got cut by, an ancient dagger wrapped in a cloth.
The scene shifts quickly and we see the young woman dead on a New York City street, with Detectives Jo Martinez and Mike Hanson on the case, joined by assistant Medical Examiner Lucas Wahl. Lucas comes up with some improbable theories about the homicide, Jo says they should wait for Morgan to arrive. She’s told that Henry’s got the day off, to attend the funeral of Abe’s mother.
Henry and Abe standing in the water’s edge with Abigail’s ashes in an urn, Abe gives a tribute to his mother saying to him she was an angel. He asks Henry if he has anything to say and Morgan says she saved me, but I couldn’t save her. He says he keeps thinking about her final moments, trapped by Adam and feeling terrified.
We have our first flashback of the evening, as we travel back to London in 1945 as Abigail and Henry are just getting to lean about each other. She sees the wound on his chest, he says he caught a stray bullet early in the war. He then sees a cigarette burn on the back of Abigail’s neck and demands to know who scarred her. He then begs her to let him protect her.
Returning to the present he tells his son that Adam will pay for what he’s done, but Abe tells him that Adam’s immortal so Henry can’t get revenge. Morgan replies that revenge is a long game and all he has is time.
Henry’s back at work the next day and Lucas gives his interpretation of the autopsy results. Morgan then shows his assistant what he failed to notice, a shallow cut on her neck that looks to have come from a bread knife and a deeper cut. He then notices her infected finger, that got cut by the dagger in the museum and the white powder on her hands, usually found on museum employees. Hanson says that a missing persons report just came through that matches the victim, Blair Dryden a 27-year-old museum employee.
Henry and Jo head to the museum to meet with the head curator Diane Clark and she takes them back to where Blair worked. Through the use of a blacklight, Henry discovers where Dryden got cut, then they see the outline of the dagger on the cloth. Apparently Blair had the dagger in her possession and got killed for it. Henry suddenly realizes that the dagger is the one Adam’s been searching for and excuses himself to go home and talk to Abe.
Morgan tells Abe about the dagger and about Adam’s theory and Abe makes the connection that if the dagger could kill Adam, then the pistol that killed his father for the first time, might end Henry’s life. He immediately puts the gun in the safe, then he tells Henry that he needs a companion. He says that he’s not immortal and Henry needs a confidante, for after Abe’s gone. Someone to share his secret with.
Martinez and Morgan get a tip that Blair may have visited author and artifacts expert Aubrey Griffin before she hot murdered. The famed archeologist is now confined to an electric wheel chair. He tells them that Dryden visited him regularly with items from the museum to get identified. He says that she’d been there the night she got killed with the dagger that supposedly was involved in the murder of Julius Caesar.
Griffin tells the pair that legend has it that Caesar’s Dagger’s surrounded by death and kills all those who come in contact with it. He then bemoans the fact that he allowed Dryden to leave his apartment unaccompanied at 10:00 pm. Jo asks why she stopped by so late and he told her she had dinner with her fiancé.
Jo and Mike interview Dryden’s fiancé and it turns out that his best friend Xander, pretended to be a mugger and took the dagger without hurting Blair. Morgan, Martinez and Hanson head to Xander’s place and find him tied to a chair, close to death, his face and torso covered with long cuts from a knife. The two detectives split up to search the place and tell Henry to stay in the room. Xander gasps for air and Henry attempts to save him, but Adam comes out from the shadows and tells Morgan that he’s too far gone to be saved.
He says the guy told him he didn’t have the dagger and Adam’s search after torturing him proved he was telling the truth. Adam hears Martinez returning and tells Morgan to stay away from his dagger, then he ducks into another room. Jo come back and starts to head for the room that Adam’s hiding in but Henry goes in first. Adam slits his own throat with a blade and disappears before Jo can get in the room. She berates Henry for his actions, saying she nearly shot him.
Back at Abe’s shop, Morgan tells his son that he needs to protect Jo from Adam even if she ends up hating Henry. He says that he needs to get the dagger and kill his nemesis. Abe says that Henry’s not a killer and if he attempts to take that route he’ll lose.
We’re back in London in 1945, as Henry approaches another British soldier and asks him if he’s Johnny Haygood. The guy says Henry must be Abigail’s new boyfriend and Morgan tells the soldier he better stay away from her or Henry will take care of him. Haygood then stands up and towers over Morgan by about eight-inches and asks Henry if he wants to take it outside.
The two men start fighting outside the pub, with each of them hitting the other in the face. Abigail arrives and calls for Henry, just then Haygood pulls a knife and pushes it deep into Henry’s abdomen. When Morgan falls to the street, all disappear except for Abigail who cradles him in her arms. Henry repeats that he’s sorry and she won’t understand, then takes his last breath and disappears. She sits there alone and calls his name.
Back at the precinct, Lucas tells Henry and Jo that there’s a connection between Blair’s and Xander’s murders. He then points out the welts formed on Xander’s skin underneath the blade marks. He also tells the pair that the same white powder from the gloves was on Xander’s body. Jo and Henry head back to the museum.
As Jo starts to talk with the curator, Henry notices that the burly guard on duty’s wearing gloves and carrying a telescopic baton. Martinez says they’re going to offices to check out suspects but Henry says he’ll join her in a bit. He then follows the guard back to the locker room as his shift ends, but the guard realizes Henry’s following him and ambushes Morgan, beating him with the baton. Jo arrives shortly after with he gun pointed at the guard, Henry thanks for her help.
After they get the guard in custody, Martinez asks Morgan if he’s trying to sabotage this case. He tells her he believes in the curse of the dagger and he’s terrified she’ll get killed. She rolls her eyes and walks away. Hanson tries interviewing the guard, but he remains silent. Henry notices he’s shaking and then notices the guards bloated and his skin tone’s bad and says the man suffers from kidney failure.
Mike takes a break from the interrogation and Morgan pours some antacid into a cup of coffee, hands it to Martinez and says perhaps the friendly approach would be more effective. She gives the guard the coffee, which he takes a drink from and asks him about his boys. Now the guard starts talking and Jo asks him about the blade. The guard says he wants his lawyer, then grimaces and falls to the floor. Henry runs in and says he’s having a heart attack and tells Jo to call for an ambulance.
Henry tells the guard he’s dying but that Morgan can save him if he tells him where the dagger’s at. The guard whispers into Henry’s ear and Morgan tells the EMT’s that the man’s suffering from a magnesium overdose, then tells Jo he’s late for a dinner engagement and leaves.
Morgan heads to Aubrey Griffin’s place and the archeologist dryly says that the security guard ratted him out. Henry asks Griffin why he’s so obsessed with the dagger and Griffin produces the journal of Joseph Mengele. He says while reading about Mengele’s heinous experiments, he discovered that one of the patients kept returning to life. When he died he’d regenerate in a nearby river. He says that the patient attributed his regenerative powers to the dagger and Griffin wants to meet this immortal.
Suddenly they realize someone else is in the other room and Griffin hands Morgan the dagger. He stands by the door ready to stab Adam, but it’s Jo who opens the door. She tells him to give her the dagger, he asks her to trust him and she replies not anymore.
She drives him back to Abe’s shop and asks him what she means to him. Henry says she’s his friend and partner and he feels very strongly about her. She then says that he’s frustrating and confusing, but he taught her to look at life differently and how to feel again. She then tells him to leave the car and once he steps out she drives away.
Henry heads to the station and asks Lucas to get him the dagger out of evidence, but Wahl says that Jo already told him that if he takes the dagger he’ll get fired and possibly prosecuted. He then tells Henry to go to his office and take care of his paperwork. Morgan starts to question his assistant, who forcefully tells him to do his paperwork.
Henry heads into his office and sees the dagger on top of his pile of papers. He comes out to the lab and thanks Lucas, Wahl tells him that he considers himself lucky to be so close to greatness every day. Then he says that commands are not constraints, Morgan asks Lucas if he just quoted Milton and Wahl says he looked up the quote to seem smart. Morgan tells him he’s very smart and leaves to go meet Adam.
Henry takes the subway, unaware that Jo’s following him. However he loses her by using a construction passageway. Adam tells Morgan he’s very glad to see him, Henry pulls the dagger from his coat and drops it on the ground in front of Adam, then says goodbye. Adam says that Henry can’t walk away without playing, then fires the pistol that first killed Morgan into the air.
Henry sneers at his nemesis, asking him if Adam thinks he fears death. Adam smiles and says that Morgan’s greatest fear’s that his secret will get revealed. He shows Henry a picture he took from Abigail when she took her own life, it’s Henry and Abigail in the late forties with Abigail holding Abe. He then asks if Henry realizes Martinez followed him on the subway. He says that if she didn’t hear the first shot, she’ll certainly hear this one and fires a bullet into Henry’s heart.
Morgan falls to the ground and Adam says when Jo arrives she’ll either find him truly dead, or watch him disappear. Henry motions for Adam to come close to him as he wants to tell him something. He struggles to get the words out, but he says he’s not a killer he’s a doctor. He then stabs a syringe into Adam’s neck. Adam gets to his feet and staggers to the subway platform. Henry vanishes just before Jo arrives, but she sees his watch on the floor.
Adam has a seizure in the subway station, then falls to the ground. He wakes up in a hospital, with a doctor and Morgan standing over him. The doctor tells Henry that Adam’s suffering from locked in syndrome, he’s completely paralyzed as are his muscles, but his brain’s functioning perfectly. Henry asks if Adam can understand them and the doctor says he can and the condition could last Adam’s entire life. He walks away and Henry leans in and tells his nemesis not to worry, they’ll find a way out of this. After all they have eternity together.
We return once more to 1945, as Henry sneaks into Abraham’s window to say goodbye to his son. Abigail walks in and Henry tries to explain things, she touches his face and says you poor man, then she hugs him tightly.
Back in the present Abe and Henry are playing chess, when Martinez knocks on the shop door. Henry answers it smiling and asks if she’s arrived with a new mystery? She says maybe then hands him his watch, he thanks her profusely telling her it got stolen and he was about to file a report. She says she thought he’d say that, then asks him to explain the picture of Henry, Abigail and Abe she also found.;
She says to Henry that she hopes he can explain the photo and Henry just stares at the picture. Abe says tell her and Henry says it’s a long story.