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'Forever' recap: Oh, rats!

Season 1 | Episode 5 | “The Pugilist Break” | Aired Oct 14, 2014

Five episodes in and I’m just not sure what to do with Forever. Each week there are moments that are endearing and intriguing and give me a glimpse of what the possibilities are. These moments, however, are mostly swallowed up by the one-note plot and predictable storytelling. What is most frustrating is that I really like these characters. There is so much to explore—Jo’s grief or Henry’s relationship with Abe, for instance. Every Tuesday, I get my hopes up that this is going to be the episode that really breaks through and starts making use of the talent.. And so far, each week, I’ve been disappointed. I’m not giving up, though. As long as people keep watching and the show stays on the air, I’ll keep showing up and hoping it finds its rhythm. I’m definitely always entertained. Here’s what happened this week:

Our dead guy is Raul Lopez, a reformed heroin user and current mentor at a local rec center. He is found with a needle in his arm, leading Hanson to grotesquely refer to him as ADJ—another dead junkie.  Henry is horrified by this and makes it a point to remind Hanson that no matter the circumstances of death, every person has a name. Are we supposed to loathe Hanson? Because I do. At the crime scene Henry makes note of the damage done to the body by rats, as well as wet rubber stuck to the soles of the victim’s shoes, strange marks on the wall, and blunt trauma to the head. He also notices that the syringe missed the vein. Based on these pieces of evidence, Henry concludes that Raul’s body was moved after his murder and he believes that whoever killed him stuck the needle in him as well.

Henry believes the key to cracking the case is discovering who sells the heroin that was injected into Raul. He is frustrated that the toxicology report is going to take too long so he takes it upon himself to go back to the apartment where the body was found in search of the bag the heroin came in. He drags Lucas with him and then, while there, it occurs to him that the rats that ate Raul would have the heroin in their systems, too. Henry is then inexplicably unkind to Lucas as he forces him to catch the rats. I recognize that he’s the boss, but I thought he was particularly mean in this exchange. Henry then goes to hunt down the heroin dealer to ask him a few questions about Raul. He learns that Raul hasn’t bought heroin since he got out of jail and moved in with his girlfriend. Henry then has the brilliant idea to buy drugs from this man to test them against the samples they find in the rats, and instantly there are cops pointing their guns. Henry winds up at the police station and is met by Reece, who cannot believe someone could be so stupid as to legitimately purchase drugs as part of research. Then she sees the rats Lucas has collected and decides the drug purchase wasn’t so bad.

Jo and Henry’s first conversation is with Raul’s girlfriend. Henry makes one of his least creepy observations to date—he deduces that the woman’s engagement ring suggests an upcoming wedding—and then explains it in the most disturbing way possible (skinny fingers? recent diet? what??). She tells them that the last time she saw Raul he was having a fight with someone on the phone.

As Jo and Henry question locals around the neighborhood, they learn that Raul was very vocal about his opposition to developer Tommy Delgros’ plan to tear down the rec center to build condominiums. Fabian North, the manager of the rec center, tells the detectives that Raul was trying to rally the other local business owners together to convince them not to sell. When Martinez and Morgan talk to a bodega owner, they learn that some people didn’t see the neighborhood the same way as Raul. After decades of being open every day of the year, being held at gunpoint, and having his store robbed more times than he can count, he’s ready to accept the generous offer Mr. Delgros was making.

A trip to the new playground Delgros is building leads Jo and Henry to realize it is where Raul was murdered before he was moved to the apartment building. They locate Raul’s cell phone and when they dial the last known number, Delgros’ phone rings in his pocket. What follows next is Jo and Henry following the clues, putting together their case, brick by brick. What they finally piece together is that Fabian accepted money to try and convince other owners to sell. When Raul found out, they had a fight, and Raul threatened to tell everyone about the bribery. Ultimately, Delgros paid off the bodega owner to kill Raul to stop him from ruining the deal. Henry and Jo hunt him down, and find him just as he’s about to kill a boy who knew he murdered Raul. Henry screams and stops him from shooting. The man runs as Henry follows him. Just as he points his gun in Henry’s direction and prepares to shoot, he is hit by a garbage truck and killed. Henry tries to get more information from him regarding who hired him to kill Raul, but he dies before he can tell them anything.

All through the case, Henry is having flashbacks to a time when these exact buildings were tenement houses and he was there taking care of poor families being forced to live in squalor. Delgros reminds him of the old tenement landlord and we discover that one of the hardest things for Henry about living forever is having to watch the same misdeeds occur over and over again. Abe doesn’t think we’re destined to repeat history, though he doesn’t have any thoughts as to how we can avoid it. After all, he’s only been around a measly 70 years.

Final Thoughts

  • Henry seems to be on a mission to right some of the wrongs of his past. He has guilt over things he was unable to accomplish (saving the boy in the tenement house), and he is determined to do better the second time around (saving the boy in the basement of the bodega).
  • My favorite scene in this episode was the last one, when Jo joined Abe and Henry for dinner. The best part of this show is when they are away from the case, and we get to see a little bit more of who these people are. You’d think Henry and Abe would be a little chiller about explaining how they know each other.
  • I figured out what really bothers me about the Jo/Henry dynamic. It’s that Henry doesn’t listen to Jo when they are on police business. I get that he’s the one with the weird power and I’m willing to accept that he’s going to do more of the discovering and solving because of it. But it’s so frustrating and disrespectful that she’s constantly giving him orders that he just completely ignores.
  • What happened to the stalker who knows Henry’s secret?

What do you guys think? Are you still loving it? Are you getting frustrated like I am? Let me know in the comments!

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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