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'Forever' recap: Brain power!

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “Fountain of Youth” | Aired Sept 30, 2014

Congratulations, Dr. Morgan! Henry has officially made it through a whole episode without dying. This is a major development, and a very good one in terms of the staying power of Forever. “Fountain of Youth” proved that there is more to this show than the template laid out in the previous two episodes. Not only did Henry manage a non-death this week, but the 2,000-year-old mystery man also took a break from his harassment of Dr. Morgan. Instead, this episode wisely focused on Henry’s history, his life as a father, and his developing relationship with Jo. Let’s recap, shall we?

The dead man on Henry’s table this week is Bill Sale, a 67-year-old with the body of a 30-year-old and the brain of a 100-year-old. Nothing is showing up in the toxicology report, but clearly something isn’t right. In the minutes before his death, Bill was mugged in Chinatown and his briefcase was stolen. He died while trying to recover it. Detective Martinez is able to track it down and finds in it $7,000 and a business card for a facility with the slogan “Youth. Vitality. Vigor.” Jo and Henry head downtown to figure out what Bill was doing there, and spot a woman who looks as out of place in the neighborhood as Bill would have. They follow her. She leads them into the offices of Dr. Frederick Gardner. TV screens line the lobby, and Dr. Gardner appears, asking this simple question: Do you want to live forever?

When Jo and Henry question the doctor about his product, they learn that patients spend thousands of dollars for his Aterna serum in order to feel be young again. When Dr. Morgan suggests the possibility that the product killed someone, Dr. Gardner assures them that he takes every measure to make sure that his product is safe. If it were dangerous, he wouldn’t be taking it every day.

Henry can tell that Dr. Gardner has had some plastic surgery, and Jo has a hunch that the work he’s had done was part of an attempt to change his identity. Using stealthy detective skills, Jo snags a set of Dr. Gardner’s prints, and Henry grabs a sample of the Aterna from a patient. While Henry is studying the serum to see what’s in it, Jo discovers that she was right. Dr. Gardner is actually Mr. Harold Price, and he fled Florida after two people died at his wellness clinic. Time to pay the man a visit.

Jo and Henry head out to see the “doctor,” who is partying in the Hamptons. (Henry momentarily panics when Jo tells him to pack his swimsuit. It seems for a second that she knows about his water rebirths.) When they arrive, they tell Gardner/Price that they are going to need to take him down to the station. He goes upstairs to change—but never makes it back down. While upstairs, he is stabbed in the chest with a scalpel and killed.

Meanwhile, back at the medical examiner’s office, Lucas has somehow misplaced two John Doe corpses. He is frantically trying to figure out what could have happened to them when Dr. Morgan comes in with Price’s dead body. They discover that his brain has the same holes in it that Bill Sale’s did. Dr. Morgan remembers a friend of his from 100 years ago who was infected with tuberculosis and, in thinking about how TB rots healthy tissue, concludes that the Aterna itself must be infected. The problem is that the infection he believes is in the serum can only be found in neurotissue. In other words, they are making this stuff with human brains. But whose? Oh. Lucas, we know what happened to your John Does.

Henry has Lucas run through his morning on the day of the last disappearance. They realize that Anton, the EMS guy, brings Lucas a doughnut whenever he delivers a body in order to distract him from the fact that he’s taking another one out with him. (Lucas, you probably need to eat more sugar if eating a doughnut is so momentous that it distracts you from someone stealing a body from your office.) They track down Anton; sure enough, he has one of the Jane Does in his truck and her brain has been removed.

Jo questions Anton and, with Henry’s help, realizes that he does not have the science skill needed to be making the Aterna. Before they have a chance to explore who the brains behind the operation might be (get it?), an officer brings them a list of all the Aterna patients, who will need to be notified of the drug’s dangers. Henry sees Abe’s name on the list, and immediately bolts from the station. The highlight of this episode was watching Henry throw it into dad gear. Because of the age reversal, it’s a bit tough at times to buy Henry as Abe’s father. For the first time, as Henry worries that Abe has taken this deadly concoction, his paternal side really comes through. In a particularly touching moment, Abe explains that he never took Aterna, but he’d gone to the clinic to learn about what it was, because he’s terrified by the thought of leaving Henry with no one to take care of him.

When Abe mentions meeting the chemist while at the Aterna clinic, Henry realizes that Price’s girlfriend is the one making drug. Turns out she is actually Anton’s sister, and together they have been working for “Dr. Gardner.” Brother steals the bodies; sister makes the drugs. Jo and Henry track her down to a subway station and find her as she’s contemplating jumping in front of a train. She is horrified that the Aterna has been hurting people and blames herself, even though Gardner forced her to do his bidding under threat of deportation. As she’s about to jump, Henry grabs her and tackles her to the ground. “You’re too young to die,” he whispers in her ear.

Final Thoughts

  • Dr. Morgan’s observation skills don’t make sense, and they weaken the character. It’s a fascinating and logical notion that living forever would allow a person to amass a large arsenal of knowledge. So it would be far more interesting if Dr. Morgan’s contribution to these cases was based solely on what he’s learned from being alive for 200 years (think Slumdog Millionaire). Instead, he has these superpowers that often come across as creepy (I couldn’t help but notice in the two seconds I’ve been standing here that you have a magazine in your purse that is addressed to a “Mrs.” and yet you are not wearing a wedding ring.) Immortality does not actually provide an explanation for why he is able to come to these conclusions. And don’t even get me started on his description of Jo’s face.
  • Henry briefly mentions that he thinks he may be getting closer to finding the secret to his own death. He’s stayed dead longer in some instances than others, and he’s going to explore the specifics of each one to find clues that could help keep him dead forever.
  • Abe!! It’s great that you want to try something new—this whole show seems to be based on the concept of really living, not just “not dying”—but for goodness’ sake, find a parking lot! First time out on a skateboard, and you decide channel the X Games?! Crazy.
  • Another positive shift in this episode: Jo is much more competent and feels like Henry’s equal, rather than some idiot who reads every crime scene wrong and needs her M.E. to solve her cases for her. Alana De La Garza is too good to be reduced to that, and I am glad to see her doing more.
  • Oof. I’m not necessarily a fan of an eventual romance between Jo and Henry, but Ioan Gruffudd is beyond charming. He also makes the most incredible facial expressions.

Forever, rated TV-PG, airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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