Forever RECAP: Cliches never die (S1:E1)

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FADE IN:

INT. ABC HEADQUARTERS

A couple of nervous-looking ABC suits—Mr. Trend and Ms. Truth—are chattering in anxious whispers with two producers from Warner Bros. TV—Mr. Trope and Ms. Twist. (The names have been changed to protect the guilty.)

MR. TREND:
OK, people. You all know why we are all here today. ABC is in the cellar. NBC and CBS are crushing us in the ratings, and the only reason why FOX isn’t whipping our asses too is because they poured $50 million into that pathetic pile of crap, Utopia.

Everybody at the table chuckles.

MR. TREND:
Here’s the deal. We’ve got to come up with a new hit – fast! A monster hit. A hit to save all our jobs, people! It’s gotta be hot, it’s gotta be exciting, it’s gotta be sexy, and it’s gotta be risk-free. You know what that means?

MR. TROPE:
It means there can’t be any truly new ideas. We can’t risk real innovation with so much on the line.

MR. TREND:
You got it! So, Mr. Trope, Ms. Twist, what have we got?

MR. TROPE:
We’ve got Forever.

MR. TREND:
No! We don’t! We’ve got to solve this problem NOW, or we’re all going to be working at Radio Shack!

Shocked gasps from the peanut gallery.

MR. TROPE:
No, no, I mean our new show, Forever. It’s got all the best recycled ideas in the business! We can’t miss! Get this: There’s a youthful-looking, extremely sexy doctor named Henry Morgan.

MR. TREND:
How sexy?

MS. TWIST:
Ioan Gruffudd sexy. Rrrrrrowr. And that accent!

MR. TREND:
Does he take his shirt off?

MS. TWIST:
He gets completely naked at least once an episode. With strategic camera angles, of course. To keep the censors off our backs. Yuuuuuuuummy!

MR. TREND:
OK, handsome, naked Brit. That’s not a bad start. But what is he doing? And why is he naked?

MS. TWIST:
He’s dying.

MR. TREND:
Well, that’s not going to last very long!

MS. TWIST:
But he comes back to life! He can live forever! Get it? Forever?

MR. TREND:
So this Doctor is like Doctor Who, then.

MR. TROPE:
Except his face doesn’t change so we can kill him two or three times an episode!

MR. TREND:
So like Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood!

MR. TROPE:
OR Wolverine OR the Highlander OR—

MS. TRUTH:
OK, sorry to interrupt, but I’ve got to make sure the audience can somehow buy this ridiculous idea. Why, exactly, is Henry immortal?

MS. TWIST:
He doesn’t know! That’s the beauty of it! He’s trying to find out why he didn’t die when that slave owner shot him in the chest and tossed him in the sea!

MS. TRUTH:
That slave owner?

MR. TROPE:
Oh, he’s over 200 years old. In the first big scene, he’s examining a sick black guy on a ship bound from Africa, and when he tells the captain the guy just has a minor fever, the captain says the slave is property, that he has cholera, and that they are going to throw him overboard. So Henry fights back, and the captain shoots him!

MS. TRUTH:
But why would the captain call in a doctor when he had already decided to kill the slave?

MR. TROPE:
So we could see Henry die for the first time!

MS. TRUTH:
Wait… didn’t I see that in another show a few years back? What was it called? New Amsterdam?

MR. TROPE:
Never heard of it.

MS. TRUTH:
That’s because it only lasted eight episodes.

Awkward silence.

MS. TWIST:
But… but this one is going to be a huge success! We’ve put a new, fresh spin on it! NUDITY!

MR. TROPE:
Every time he comes back to life, he’s naked in a river or something, freaking out whoever passes by. Funny, funny stuff.

MS. TWIST:
It’s so Time Traveler’s Wife! Something for the ladies!

MR. TREND:
OK, so what does this doctor do when he’s not dying and running around naked?

MR. TROPE:
He’s solving murder mysteries! He works as a medical examiner in New York City, and he likes hanging around the morgue because he’s obsessed with death!

MS. TWIST:
He’s got his own hidden underground laboratory where he does all his super secret death research.

MR. TREND:
So he’s basically got a Bat Cave?

MR. TROPE:
And some amazing deductive powers. He’s lived for centuries and he’s seen a lot of stuff, so he can tell that this blonde he sees in the subway is a Russian concert cellist just by looking at her fingers and the moisture on her collar.

MR. TREND:
Like Sherlock?

MR. TROPE:
Right. So he wishes her luck at the concert, and she’s kind of freaked out.

MS. TRUTH:
Because… he’s acting like a stalker?

MR. TROPE:
Well, he’s got almost no human interaction skills at all anymore.

MR. TREND:
Definitely Sherlock. Who is Watson?

MR. TROPE:
There’s this old guy named Abe whom he’s known for years. Abe is the only one who knows what’s really going on. We got Judd Hirsch to play him.

MR. TREND:
Judd Hirsch? Man, is that guy still alive?

MS. TRUTH:
Please tell me he’s not driving a taxi.

Another awkward silence.

MR. TROPE:
We can turn it into a regular car.

MS. TWIST:
Abe’s like the father figure, the one who gives sage advice and unending loyalty.

MS. TRUTH:
But he can’t really be his father, can he….?

MR. TROPE:
No, because he’s not immortal, like Henry is. Abe is actually…

MR. TREND:
We’ll get back to that. Look, if we’ve got this handsome, sexy British guy running around naked every fifteen minutes or so, then we’ve also got to have a love interest. The whole homoerotic Sherlock/Watson subtext—

MS. TRUTH:
Which only exists in the fan’s heads, anyway.

MR. TREND:
—isn’t gonna work when the Watson is Sherlock’s father figure. So…

MS. TWIST:
Oh, of course, there’s a woman. Actually, there’s two. The first one is a detective, Jo Martinez, and she’s investigating a big subway crash that killed fifteen people… One of them was Henry!

MS. TRUTH:
Who ends up naked in the East River, I suppose? How does THAT not kill him?

MR. TROPE:
Because nothing can!

MS. TWIST:
Not even a swim in the East River!

MS. TRUTH:
So he just pukes his guts out for days.

MR. TROPE:
Henry is investigating, too, because cadavers. So he gets to carve up the subway driver. Everybody thinks the poor guy just had a heart attack, but because Henry’s got these super special powers of observation and deduction, he knows just from staring at some weird foam inside the driver’s chest that he was poisoned!

MS. TWIST:
He can also tell instantly that Detective Martinez is an alcoholic, still mourning the death of her husband. So that first meeting is awkward.

MR. TROPE:
It gets even more awkward when Detective Martinez figures out that Henry was inside the subway when it crashed! She thinks he did it!

MS. TRUTH:
Wait… why would he crash a train he was riding in? Does she know he’s immortal?

MS. TWIST:
No, she just thinks he’s creepy.

MR. TROPE:
But you know what’s even creepier? There’s somebody else out there. Somebody who knows Henry’s secret. Somebody who has been looking for somebody just like him. He calls him, sends him newspaper clippings… He knows Henry survived that crash!

MS. TRUTH:
Oh, let me guess. Henry’s mystery stalker caused the train crash. Now this sounds like Unbreakable.

MS. TWIST:
That’s what Henry thinks! So he decides he’s got to identify this guy who’s after him! Here’s another great chance to play with corpses! He gets a blood sample from the subway driver—man, that poor body looks like a Frankenstein’s monster when Henry’s done with him, it’s great—and makes Abe inject him with it!

MS. TRUTH:
Wait… if the poison’s still in the blood…?

MR. TROPE:
He’s swimming naked in the river! Again! But now he knows exactly what kind of poison it is, because he uses his super special powers of deduction to analyze the poison while it is killing him!

MS. TRUTH:
Well, that’s awfully lucky for Abe, now, isn’t it? Never mind this selfish idiot. What if he’d died for real that time? Wouldn’t Abe be charged with murder?

MR. TROPE:
But it’s all for science! And a guy willing to kill you, just to solve a case? Now, that’s friendship!

MR. TREND:
But how did Abe meet Henry, anyway? Why are they so close?

MR. TROPE:
We’ll get to that. Anyway, Abe grabs some clothes and fishes Henry out of the river…

MS. TRUTH:
And somehow, he knew exactly where to go? In the entire East River? And he got there before the cops did this time? What, are they renting an apartment right next to Henry’s Designated Resurrection Point, or something? Does this happen a lot? How has Henry not been permanently locked away for repeated public lewdness?

MR. TROPE:
When they get back to Abe’s antique shop, Martinez is waiting for Henry and takes him in for questioning. She searched his Bat Cave and found out he’s got human organs, torture devices…

MS. TWIST:
Hey, what’s a little BSDM between friends?

MS. TRUTH:
Will you be taking pages from 50 Shades of Grey?

MR. TROPE:
Martinez still thinks he did it.

MS. TRUTH:
But that doesn’t make any sense because…

MS. TWIST:
He was the person who told her the driver was poisoned in the first place!

MS. TRUTH:
This woman isn’t very good at her job, is she?

MR. TROPE:
So Henry goes back and plays with the corpse some more, and this time he finds a fingerprint which belongs to this guy called Hans, so they go to question him. But that’s not enough for Henry, oh, no, because he’s a rebel who can’t play by the rules!

MS. TRUTH:
Wait… he’s a suspect in the case, and he goes to investigate another suspect with the lead detective?

MR. TROPE:
They start investigating the grounds! Without a warrant!

MS. TRUTH:
Because that never leads to gross injustice or civil rights violations…

MR. TROPE:
And discover this guy’s greenhouse of toxic flowers!

MS. TRUTH:
Which have never before been detected by any kind of city inspector?

MS. TWIST:
So they break into this guy’s shed—

MS. TRUTH:
Still no warrant? God, Martinez really isn’t any good at her job, is she?

MS. TWIST:
And find that he’s got a Bat Cave, too! Filled with that same poison! But here comes Hans! And Martinez tries to apprehend him!

MR. TROPE:
So Hans throws this deadly aconite poison at Martinez’s hand, and Henry has to save her life by setting her hand on fire!

MS. TRUTH:
Does aconite poison actually behave at all like you’ve written in your script? And how does setting Martinez on fire cure the poison?

MS. TWIST:
Does it really matter? Anyway, they get all of NYPD down there… And we find out that the subway driver killed Hans’ wife in a different accident years ago. It was revenge!

MS. TRUTH:
Wait, I thought you said the stalker guy did it?

MS. TWIST:
And Henry’s disappointed because he thinks it means the killer wasn’t that stalker guy, but he knows Martinez needs a drink so he takes her out.

MS. TRUTH:
OK, so now he’s enabling an alcoholic. My hero. Why are we supposed to care about this guy?

MR. TREND:
Because he’s British, brilliant, tortured, sexy, and frequently naked. I smell People’s Sexiest Men covers for Ioan Gruffudd—if they can learn to spell his name right.

MS. TWIST:
He’s also REALLY polite and charming!

MS. TRUTH:
Aside from the whole “complete lack of social skills” thing?

MS. TWIST:
Trust me. So she tells him that she found his 300-year-old pocket watch on the subway, and Henry pretends a lost love gave him the watch.

MS. TRUTH:
But if he loses all his clothes every time he dies, how does he keep finding the watch again?

MR. TREND:
I bet that’s part of the mystery! Cool! Wait, wasn’t there a mysterious pocket watch in Doctor Who, too? Is it carrying his soul or something?

MR. TROPE:
We haven’t revealed that yet. All in good time. And the lost love thing isn’t really a lie. Her name was Abigail, she was blonde, and she knew he was immortal, too. She was his wife…

MS. TWIST:
Back in 1955! And now every time he sees a blonde, he thinks of her.

MS. TRUTH:
Well, I guess that’s why he chatted with that Russian blonde on the subway—wait, she died in the crash, didn’t she?

MS. TWIST:
He loses everybody he loves, because he’s immortal! Isn’t he tragic?

MR. TREND:
Excellent. He’s Sherlock AND Doctor Who AND the Highlander.

MS. TWIST:
And now Henry and Martinez can bond over their broken hearts!

MR. TROPE:
While these two are baring their souls and getting toasted, the NYPD find out that Hans has enough poison to infect everybody in Grand Central Station through the air conditioning.

MS. TRUTH:
But he already got the guy who killed his wife! Why is he slaughtering a bunch of innocent people?

MR. TROPE:
Because we need a big finale scene! So Henry and Martinez track him down on the Grand Central Station rooftop! Then he shoots Martinez! And then he shoots Henry!

MR. TREND:
Back to the East River!

MS. TRUTH:
AGAIN????!!!

MS. TWIST:
But before he dies, Henry tosses himself and Hans both off the roof! Everybody is saved!

MS. TRUTH:
Except for Detective Martinez, of course. Another love lost?

MR. TROPE:
Nah. She was only Mostly Dead and recovers at the hospital.

MS. TRUTH:
You just had to throw in the Princess Bride reference. But if she wasn’t dead, does that mean she saw Henry fall off the roof?

MR. TROPE:
Yeah, but he tells her she’s just confused because they’ve got her doped up on so much morphine.

MS. TRUTH:
Goody. Now she can have two dangerous addictions. You know, if they’d gone in with a warrant and backup from the start, they could have apprehended him at his house and avoided the whole thing.

MS. TWIST:
But what fun is that? And here’s the best part! He’s visiting Martinez at the hospital, and he gets a phone call! Guess who?!

MS. TRUTH:
(sighs)
It’s the creepy guy who is stalking him, isn’t it?

MS. TWIST:
YES!!!!!!!!!! He’s immortal, just like Henry, and they both want the same thing—DEATH! And then he says, “We’ve got eternity together! We might as well have fun with it!”

MS. TRUTH:
So who poisoned the driver? Hans or the immortal stalker?

MS. TWIST:
Does it really matter?

MR. TREND:
Two immortal beings, the only two of their kind, at each other’s throats for eternity?! Henry is a Doctor! Does this guy have a Master’s???!!!

MR. TROPE:
We don’t know yet! But anyway, that’s the whole pilot!

MS. TRUTH:
Not quite. To go back to one of my earlier questions… how did Henry meet Abe?

MS. TWIST:
Flashback! World War II. Henry is a soldier. He’s just liberated a concentration camp, and he meets Abigail for the first time. She asks if he’s a doctor because she’s just found the sweetest, cutest little baby boy… with the most adorable little tattooed number on his tiny little forearm.

MS. TRUTH:
Um… the Nazis… didn’t generally bother to tattoo the babies, I think. Babies can’t dig ditches. Not very useful in concentration camps.

MR. TROPE:
But when Henry goes home, we see that same tattooed number… on Abe’s forearm.

MS. TWIST:
Abe isn’t Henry’s grandfather figure! He’s his adopted son! TADA!

MS. TRUTH:
Just one last question: if Abe is an adult, almost 70 years old…. Why is he still living with his daddy?

MR. TROPE:
Well, somebody’s got to fish this guy out of the East River.

MS. TRUTH:
It appears to be a full-time job.

MR. TREND:
(ignores her)
I love it! It’s got mystery, suspense, passion, tragedy, nudity… And it’s entirely made up of ideas we’ve seen done before! I think it’s going to be a big, big hit! We’re saved!

A nervous-looking secretary pops her head into the room.

SECRETARY:
Mr. Trend, I’m terribly sorry to bother you, but we’ve got a cease and desist order from Pete Hamill.

MR. TREND:
Who is Pete Hamill?

SECRETARY:
He’s the guy who wrote this book.

MS. TRUTH:
What book?

SECRETARY:
(vigorously shakes the book)
It’s about a doctor in Manhattan who can’t die. He got that way when he saved a black shaman who was accused of carrying cholera onboard a ship during a deadly epidemic. The shaman made him immortal.

MR. TREND:
What’s it called?

SECRETARY:
Forever, by Pete Hamill.

MS. TRUTH:
I think it’s going to be a big, big lawsuit. We’re screwed.

END.

For more Claire Abraham, check out her website – Recapper’s Delight!

TV Show: Forever

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  • M H

    This is so wonderful I am going to start watching this show just to read the recaps. I haven’t done this since the glory days of TWoP.

  • You see! I knew I wasn’t the only one that was bothered by the Abe thing. And the warrant thing. And the thing about the slave. The writers need a lesson in research. Maybe a lesson in common sense would be good too…and yes, I’ll be watching the next episode.