Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Forever, Season 1, Episode 10: The Man in the Killer Suit

So we have two very very rich people getting married, one of them a British Viscount Colin who is very uncomfortable about the over-the-top lavish engagement party his American wife (Emily)’s father is throwing. Nor does he particularly want to get married in his family’s castle.

Then poor Colin gets himself murdered so that solves the wedding arguments. Jo and Hanson arrive and though it’s Henry’s day off, Hanson thinks they have to call him given the dead noble in the middle of Central Park.

Over to Henry and Abe who knows just how to push Henry’s fussy buttons (he doesn’t like microwaves) and a Sunday breakfast of Henry (an antique dealer) combing through the obituaries like a vulture – and he finds the name of an old friend from a long time ago. All the domestic bliss is interrupted by Jo’s call.

Henry arrives on scene and explains the difference between nobility and royalty and examines the odd wounds. Jo finds it odd he was walking in Central Park in the middle of the night and that he was murdered but not robbed while Henry, pulling out an encyclopaedic knowledge of the nobility, is suspicious because there ISN’T a viscount Cavendish. Hanson confirms this after contacting the British Embassy.

On the slab they discover the dead man was a natural blonde but dyed his hair. He also finds several gravel-embedded scars, gold in his wound (yes gold) and through some (I suspect dubious) mouth analysis conclude the man was actually American. Helpfully his suit had super-duper rare stitching that could only come from one tailor. Henry’s.

This adds a little more to Jo’s information on Henry since the tailors should be beyond Henry’s price range. Through the tailor they learn about Colin’s engagement and fiancée while Henry decides to stare at a complete stranger’s legs (he has matching scars) and completely fail to explain why he is doing so. The scarring is from riding  a bike (a “chain scar”) and the bike messenger recognises Colin – or Dwight as his real name is.

Jo and Hanson discuss Dwight’s past with Lt. Reece and basically cover that Dwight is a very poor man and Emily, his fiancée, is a very wealthy lady. They call Emily in and it’s quickly clear she has no idea about Dwight’s hidden past. They do find a torn up cheque in Dwight’s pocket – for $1,000,000 from Emily’s father.

Henry (for some reason) and Jo go to see Emily’s father, Norman (and have a brief discussion in which Henry is, obviously, very sympathetic about Dwight’s desire to re-invent himself and points out the fact the cheque was torn up suggests a motive other than money). Norman slips and refers to Dwight as being from Oklahoma – which no-one told him. Henry does his Sherlock thing to describe, in detail, a fight between Norman and Dwight

To the police, with a lawyer and Norman insisting that, yes, he hit Dwight with a golf club but, no, he didn’t stab him. It doesn’t help that his lawyer is a corporate lawyer who has absolutely no business representing his client in a police station. Apparently Dwight confessed all to Norman, planned to confess all to Emily and run away with her if she’d still have him – Norman also has an alibi which is predictable because we’re only half way through the episode.

Obligatory red herring duly dismissed, they re-examine the body they find the clue they inevitably miss the first time round – that the wound from the golf club had been treated and Dwight had help. They also ask exactly who helped Dwight pull off the act – how does a poor guy from rural Oklahoma do a decent job of imitating a British aristocrat and afford an expensive suit? They do some checks on the shop where he bought all his stuff and find everything he bought he got with an employee discount –the employee being Patricia (the wedding planner at the tailors they already met). They also find a gold pen that could have been used in the stabbing

Off to Patricia’s house where they find lots of how-to etiquette books and a blood stained cloth and a photo of Dwight pre-Colin transformation. New theory is Patricia killed Dwight because he fell in love with Emily rather than going with the original plan and running with all Norman’s money. Also, of course, leaving her for another woman after she put so much work into training him.

Back to the police station and a convenient video of Patricia training Dwight and them clearly being in a relationship.

Side plot: Abe goes to Lyle’s funeral with lots of fun interaction between him and Henry. Abe goes to the funeral to meet a woman. Who turns out to be the widow (Henry takes exception to Abe flirting with his friend’s widow on the day of the funeral).

At this funeral Henry spots Patricia (Dwight’s funeral happens to be happening at the same time) and calls the police to let them do their job while staying out of it. Hah, no, of course he doesn’t. He and Abe follow her and he calls Jo from the car.

Patricia is arrested (Lt. Reece has her brief moment of fun with Henry) but we still have time for another twist. Patricia protests her innocence and they learn that Dwight was stabbed in the same place where he proposed to Emily. They do a little re-enactment (poor Lucas) and conclude that it’s unlikely Emily would have been strong enough to inflict the wound with a pen. And she has an alibi (running joke that Hanson keeps coming in with answers that Henry has already figured out. Though he has evidence, Henry has conjecture)

Speaking of conjecture – Henry decides someone else killed Dwight in order to keep Emily around (yes, this is where we’re getting hell convoluted). And they arrest Emily to set a trap.

Yes, a trap for the corporate lawyer who, that night, goes to where he buried the pen near where he killed Dwight to see if the police have it. They didn’t before, they do now. The lawyer, Peter, was in love with Emily (as Henry explains) and killed Dwight for her sake. They also give Emily some hope by telling her Dwight really loved her because AWWWWWWWW. But how is she supposed to love him? She has no idea who he is as a person!

Time to tie things up – with Abe having a meeting with said widow. And Jo again noting how secretive Henry is about his past.

Random-forced-theme: pretending to be someone you’re not with little anecdotes from Lucas which of course also is very pertinent to Henry; we get flashbacks of him dying his hair grey to appear older rather than having to move (as he did, frequently). This includes a time when someone recognises him as having died but still walking around and no older. He had to run – something Henry and Abigail were very used to (and gives Henry insight on the case – how one prepares to run and hide) though there’s pathos over how it disrupted Abe’s childhood – and broke his friendship with Lyle (the man who died).
Oh, one last thing – Henry gets in a taxi – and it’s driven by the mysterious immortal Adam who kidnaps him. AT LAST META!

I can understand why Henry would be socially behind the times and maybe seem formal or out of date or have anachronistic hobbies/modes of dress etc. I cannot understand why he would be so socially inept. Henry is ancient – that may make him out of date but it also means he has a long long long experience of dealing with people, far more so than everyone else. Why would Henry think it ok to just stare at the legs of a complete stranger? This is one of the things Forever frequently trips up on – they have the template of Genius Solves Crime While Socially Inept – but they’re just applying the template not the WHY of the template. The actual details of why Henry is a genius/socially inept are lost leading to these ill-fitting scenes, because Forever doesn’t care enough about its underlying premise as more than a vehicle to peddle the very very very repeated template.

Are we expected to believe the police DIDN’T have someone at Dwight’s funeral? C’mon – this show’s insistence in forcing Henry into every role when Jo or Hanson could easily have done it is ridiculous. It’s another problem with this show – utter refusal of to make use of the rest of the cast. Which is especially bad because literally every member of this cast could be so much more.

It’s clichéd, it’s formulaic and it suffers from not advancing its own concept enough – but it’s not BAD for all that. But I am very very very desperate for the next episode to actually advance things – but is it too little too late to stop cancellation?