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'Forever' recap: The past is catching up with Henry

Season 1 | Episode 4 | “The Art of Murder” | Aired Oct 7, 2014

When you live forever and you’re employed as a medical examiner, you’re bound to see a familiar face cross your table from time to time. In “The Art of Murder,” that’s exactly what happens to Henry. The deceased is Gloria Carlyle (Kathleen Chalfant), a bitter old woman and one of the wealthiest in the city. When she is found dead during an event in her honor, the detectives are called in to investigate this very high-profile case. To Jo’s dismay, it is Lucas—not Henry—who shows up from the medical examiner’s office. With a case as important as this one, Jo needs her best M.E. So where in the world is Henry?

Well, Henry is back at the M.E.’s office contemplating the death of Ms. Carlyle, to whom, he explains, he “owes a great debt.” Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that Henry met Gloria (played in her younger iteration by Janie Brookshire) over half a century ago, when he and Abigail were young and in love, and Gloria was throwing a party at an art museum. Henry and his then-girlfriend sneak in and make the acquaintance of Gloria, who offers Henry the unsolicited advice to marry Abigail. True love is a terrible thing to waste, and since they are clearly in love, he should stop making excuses. Henry had been avoiding marriage because it always seemed unfair, given the discrepancies in their mortality. But with Gloria’s words in his head, Henry takes the plunge, and has been grateful for the push ever since.

Henry cannot go to the museum where Gloria is found (too many memories from the night they met), so he sends Lucas in his stead. Lucas is visibly nervous from all the responsibility, and inexplicably shares details of the case with a stranger who asks him about it. Unsurprisingly, she is a member of the press, and prints a story confirming that the medical examiner is classifying the death as murder. Ms. Carlyle’s family is livid with the lack of confidentiality, and kick Henry (who shoulders the blame for Lucas) off the case.

Jo still wants Henry’s opinion on what happened, even if he doesn’t have a body to examine. She convinces him to go with her to the museum, where he makes his most absurd observation to date regarding the shoes the victim is wearing (“They look like fall of ’61”). Henry explains to Jo that figuring out what the victim was doing directly before death often reveals the secret. Tracing Gloria’s footsteps, Henry concludes that Gloria’s bruises were caused by a fall down the stairs. The location where she was found suggests she had crawled, in pain, halfway across the room. The only explanation Henry can think of is that someone was pursuing her.

Henry and Jo then examine different possibilities. First, they assume that Gloria was killed by her granddaughter’s boyfriend. Video surveillance shows he followed her into the gallery where she died. But as he describes his interaction with her, Henry realizes she was having some kind of stroke when she went down those stairs. He then concludes that her son, Conrad (Jack Gilpin), was taking medication that could have induced her symptoms—but when it is revealed that he had been taken out of the will, his motive disappears.

When the will is finally read, we learn that Gloria’s nurse, Marta (Erika Rolfsrud), stood to inherit Gloria’s entire fortune. During her interrogation, Marta shares that she built a fire for Gloria the night she died. Suspicious, Henry goes to the house and finds that the fire had been used to burn a love letter that was signed “FC.” In another flashback, Henry recalls a painting Abigail noticed at the museum. It hung among the Degas and Monets, but it was by an unknown artist: FC. He also recalls Gloria’s admission that she had someone special, but he wasn’t able to be at the gallery event. It was clear she wasn’t referring to her husband.

The last piece of the puzzle is the autopsy, which shows that Gloria had little time to live. Henry puts together all the pieces to come up with the fact that Gloria actually committed suicide. She took the drugs on purpose, with the plan of dying on her own terms, in front of her beloved’s painting. But when she was stopped by her granddaughter’s boyfriend, it threw off her timing. The drugs began to take effect and she fell down the stairs. Henry’s major error early on was assuming that fear was the only thing that would drive a woman in that much pain to drag herself across the floor. In reality, it was love. Gloria used all the strength she had remaining to get to FC’s painting.

Final Thoughts

  • The flashbacks are the best part of this show. I love when Henry’s conclusions are directly based on knowledge gleaned from a flashback. I still really wish he’d stop knowing absurd things (I’m telling you, the shoe thing slayed me), but it’s great when Henry makes a historical connection that helps him solve the case.
  • It’s time for Martinez to prove Henry wrong. Henry makes mistakes in every episode. As he collects clues, he’ll often come to an erroneous conclusion before eventually figuring it all out. It’s getting exhausting that Jo is always made to look like a dummy. She’s a competent detective. How about having her use her detective skills to draw conclusions that are different from Henry’s and that, at least sometimes, are actually the right ones? This would serve two purposes: 1) It would allow for the female lead to be depicted as smart and good at her job, and 2) It would make the show a lot less predictable. Right now we’re just watching Henry as a one-man show. This would add an important dimension, if both Jo and Henry were doing the heavy lifting of case-solving.

What did you guys think? Sound off in the comments! I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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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