Last of the Latin Lovers: A Review of Forever Season 1, Episode 2 “Look Before You Leap”

Posted: September 24, 2014 in Forever, Reviews, TV
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Episode: 102
Airdate: September 23, 2014
Directed by: Sam Hill
Showrunner: Matthew Miller
Written by: Matthew Miller

The two-night premiere of ABC’s new series, Forever, concluded tonight with Henry Morgan [Ioan Gruffudd] working on a new case with Detective Jo Martinez [Alana De La Garza]. Since exonerating himself of murder in the opener, it is implied that the two have now formed a working relationship. Despite the end of last night’s episode suggesting that tonight would be about a rare missing sword showing up in a dead guy’s chest, the story had no relation to yesterday beyond the relationships already established. Click through for my review of the episode.

<<Spoiler Alert: This review of Forever Season 1, Episode 2 “Look Before You Leap” will contain discussion of plot events in the episode. Click through if you dare.>>

The main plot tonight follows the apparent suicide of a young graduate student. Upon examining her body, Morgan declares her to be a murder victim, even though all the obvious evidence points away from this conclusion. Martinez wants to follow-up on Morgan’s hunch – it’s implied that they’ve now been working together for a while, and she trusts him. However her boss, Lt. Joanne Reece [Lorraine Toussaint], tells her to write it off as a suicide, and concentrate on more pressing cases.

Between pressure from Morgan, pressure from the dead girl’s parents, and pressure from her own conscience, Martinez ends up going against her Lieutenant’s orders, and soon enough they begin to turn up some rather suspicious circumstances. We meet the professor with whom she was working on a paper discussing a Latin codex – a piece of writing with multiple layers of text – and Morgan quickly deduces that they were doing more than writing together. But nothing is as it seems, and before the episode is out, there’s a second murder to deal with, and Morgan goes through another death and rebirth once as well.

In the secondary storyline, Morgan is contacted twice by his mysterious stalker. The first time is via a small present containing a note, a note written on paper taken from a hotel Morgan stayed at in Italy following the war. Abe’s expertise with antiques helps him gather information on the paper’s watermarks, and this knowledge leads to another of Morgan’s flashbacks, as he recalls almost leaving the woman he loved behind, before she came running out to stop him. His stalker/secret admirer is really going out of his way to get Morgan’s attention, but still refuses to meet face-to-face. In a tantalizing bit of information, he calls Morgan young at two-hundred years, and then tells him he’s been alive for two thousand. Predictably, he tells Morgan to call him Adam. This could have been a groaner for the audience, save for the fact that Morgan rolls his eyes for us – this saves the moment, and allows us to sympathize with the protagonist.

The relationship between Morgan and Martinez appears to have settled in to a routine. While we didn’t see the intervening cases that are implied, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s like they’ve gone from mildly combative and distrusting, to mildly combative yet supportive, which is a good place to be. Martinez shows a willingness to question Morgan’s findings, but the confidence to trust him when push comes to shove.

Morgan’s relationship with Abe was also developed a bit tonight. The big reveal with Abe yesterday – that he is basically Morgan’s son – was well done, especially with the added touch of Morgan walking behind him and kissing the apparently older man on the head, much as a father would do with a son. Tonight they mildly bickered, Morgan mocking Abe for the picture he’s using on eHarmony, and Abe complaining that Morgan chose a bad time to die, as it interrupted his date. But it is clearly the bickering of family who love each other.

The only other continuing relationship that Morgan has is with his long-suffering underling, Lucas [Joel David Moore]. It appears that this will largely be played for laughs, which is something that should balance the more serious aspects of this at times dark procedural.

The darkness is largely due to Morgan’s focus on and comfort around death. The commentary he gives on how exactly someone who jumps from a bridge dies is graphic and sounds painful – he claims it’s in the top twenty most painful ways to go – and as he clinically describes how the pelvis shatters, piercing the internal organs, and disabling a person from surfacing, makes it feel all but certain that Morgan is about to fall off the bridge he’s examining for clues in the young woman’s murder. Of course, that isn’t how he ends up dying in this episode, although it is on the bridge.

Overall, a good second episode. The characters seem more comfortable and familiar with each other. There is some minor tension between Morgan and Martinez, but not of the sort that’s likely to blossom into any kind of complicated romantic relationship. This is refreshing – men and women who partner professionally in television shows should more often be shown as,in fact, professionals who can work together without necessarily having to fall into the sack.

Tonight’s Deaths:

  1. Only one tonight, compared to three in the pilot (subway crash, guinea pigging with poison, combination gunshot and leaping from the roof of Grand Central Station). While it looked and sounded like Morgan was going to fall from the bridge the murder victim was thrown from, instead he ended up being hit in the head by a three-ton delivery truck when he was trying to pick up a carabiner that he dropped on the road. He rated it as the twenty-second most painful way to die he has yet experienced.

Steve’s Grade: B
A solid second episode for this new show. Gruffudd’s Morgan is charismatic and likable, and his relationships, professional with Martinez and familial with Abe, are both developing nicely. So far, Forever is heading in a good direction.

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