Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Forever, Season 1, Episode 5: The Pugilist Break

We have a troubled boxer who is troubled

And 3 days later his horribly mangled body (with a needle in his arm) is found by people wanting to buy an apartment. That estate agent has a tough job ahead of her.

To the antique shop where Henry is duly outraged at Abe planning to sell an antique to someone who he considers unworthy (given her plans, I have to agree and think tarring and feathering may be required).

Jo shows up to grab Henry for a case (I’m sure there are other medical examiners in the city, Jo. Can she not solve murders without him?) and complain about his lack of mobile phone (Henry’s age is showing).

To the neighbourhood where Jo reflects on its improving crime statistic (the estate agent mentioned a lot of gentrification going on) and Henry indulges in a century old flashback and how some things don’t change or get better.

Examining the body, Henry takes exception to Hanson’s dismissal of the body as a “dead junkie”. After investigation and getting back to the lab, Henry confirms that the man was murdered and was injected after death (it’s also heavily implied that without Henry being assiduous, everything would have been ignored and the man would have been written off as a dead drug user).

Faced with frustrations over a delayed toxicology report (too much backlog) and general police disinterest, henry ignores Jo’s advice (that he can’t get personally invested and put too much into the job without burning out) and returns to the crime scene to investigate. Setting poor Lucas to catch rats, Henry has another flashback (to a time when immigrants dying were similarly dismissed and ignored) before finding a drug dealer who knew the dead man, Raul. The dealer insists Raul no longer takes drugs so Henry moves to the next plan – buying heroin for comparison

And is caught by a very inconvenient patrolling cop. Henry gets to explain what he was doing to LT Reece. She’s not impressed. And less so by Lucas bringing a cage of rats to the station. Still it seems to at least delay consequences so Henry and Jo can interview Raul’s fiancĂ©e and confirm that he wasn’t taking drugs and was mentoring kids to try and stop them taking drugs; and that he argued with someone on the phone

More investigation (and Lucas being attached to a rat) leads to finding Raul’s ring and that he recently punched someone before he died. To the Rec Centre where Raul volunteered to speak to Fabian who runs the place – he reveals that Raul was loved by everyone except a man called Tommy Deverell, the man with money who is trying to gentrify the area and tear down the Rec Centre. Henry notes that Fabian has a cut from a punch above his eye.

Henry has some more flashbacks about immigrant abuse after talking to one of the kids Raul mentored before heading out with Jo round the neighbourhood; learning she grew up somewhere very similar. Stopping at the local store, they find the bodega owner is pretty eager to sell up and considered Raul somewhat idealistic.

They go to the building site looking for Deverell and Henry does his observation thing to guess they’d found the location where Raul was when he died. They also find Raul’s phone – through rather unorthodox methods (tough phone). Calling a number on that phone makes Mr Deverell’s phone ring

To the police station for an interview which Henry quickly turns into a rant against gentrification. They don’t actually ask any real questions relevant to the crime. Reece also warns Henry that, with Deverell’s wealth (and the chances are he didn’t do the murder himself but got someone else to do it), they’d need a water tight case before charging him.

Which leads Henry returning to Abe’s shop to lament how the same misdeeds happen over and over again. Jo interrupts musings to bring Henry to watch a suspect. Yes, she’s taking Henry on a stakeout.

They watch their suspect get a package from Deverell and drop it in the Rec Centre. They investigate and find that he dropped a lot of money in Fabian’s locker – and Henry conveniently reminds us that Fabian was the one with the key to the centre. They bring in Fabian and by waving a body in front of him and threatening DNA he admits that he was punched by Raul when he agreed to take money to convince people to sell - but that he didn’t kill Raul.

A flashback, a failed attempt to get Deverell to confess on tape and Henry failing to earn the trust of the kid Raul mentored later Henry has inspiration that the kid probably witnessed the murder or the body being dumped. They run to look for him and find the kid’s bike – but the kid has disappeared. A couple of quick logical progressions and a red herring later they discover he’s been kidnapped by the guy who runs the bodega.

They chase the man, have a brief gunfight – and the man runs out in front of a large lorry.

Henry is not amused by the result – sure they got Raul’s murderer but not the man who hired him. But they have managed to get Deverell for bribery – since Fabian was a city council candidate. In addition, the bad press meant that no-one wanted to sell to him so his project has been stopped – except the playground which had already been started.

Henry invites Jo to dinner and she finally asks how Abe and Henry know each other which confuses them (c’mon guys, you don’t have a cover story? And I would have thought passing Abe off as Henry’s father would be the best bet). They settle with Henry’s dad being Abe’s business partner who left Henry half the business.

We had a lot of messages about gentrification here which was pretty good – but also pretty convoluted. It was a good message and a powerful message and it was rammed in there with a crowbar and zero attempts at subtlety. Still a good message

Equally we had a good message about the disposability of the underclass and how, while that underclass may change, the fact remains the same. There are people we consider disposable, whose deaths do not matter and are not worth attention. And there are people with wealth and power who can run roughshod over people in general and these people in particular.

Again, important, powerful messages, again wielded with all the subtlety of a falling anvil.

From a Fangs viewpoint I’m also veering off the show. Not because I don’t like it – but because the “supernatural” elements of the show are minimal at best, especially as we’ve had 2 episodes now where Henry’s immortality has been pretty much irrelevant. Without the storyline of the other immortal and exploration of his supernatural nature, we’re not sure how much this show is a good fit for Fangs for the Fantasy.