'Forever' postmortem: Is Henry's secret finally out?
- TV Show
Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the season finale of Forever.
Henry’s secret is out—probably.
During Tuesday’s season finale of Forever, Henry (Ioan Gruffudd) survived his run-in with immortal nemesis Adam (Burn Gorman), who shot him with the flintlock pistol that made him ageless in the first place. The good news is that Henry was able to stick Adam in a medically induced coma; the bad news is that Adam left photographic evidence of Henry’s immortality behind for Jo (Alana de la Garza) to find. Is Henry’s secret really out? EW talked to executive producer Matt Miller about the potential second season—ABC still hasn’t renewed the series:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What came with the decision to wait for the last beat of the season to clue Jo in on Henry’s secret?
MATT MILLER: The idea was to end the season with some kind of a cliffhanger element, but I didn’t want a cliffhanger like, “Someone’s been shot and they may die!” It felt like the emotional underpinnings and the emotional tension of the show in this season was, “Will Jo learn Henry’s secret?” The season-long arc for Henry was getting over the loss of Abigail, who had been gone for 30 years. By the second to last episode, we find out that Adam was actually responsible for her death, and it brings that story full circle. Then we’re able to have our revenge episode between Adam and Henry in the final episode of the season. We have a resolution of that story, which is how do you kill an immortal? The idea is that Henry is able to put him in a medically induced coma and keep him on ice. He thinks he’s figured everything out, so for Jo to arrive with a picture of Henry, baby Abe and Abigail circa 1945, how does he extricate himself from this situation? Does season 2 begin with Henry coming clean to Jo? What does that look like? Does something happen that prevents that from happening? There’s still quite a bit more to this story.
Did you consider having Jo find out sooner than that?
No. It was discussed, but it’s one of the key points of tension in this show. I thought there was a lot of tension and story to tell without her learning that. To be honest, although Henry is odd and has a peculiar intellect and dresses oddly and all of that, she hasn’t really seen anything supernatural happen with him throughout the course of the season that would make her think something so crazy as “Henry is immortal.” Even though she was suspicious there’s more going on with this guy, she was shielded from anything mystical happening.
Is the plan to pick up season 2 right where you left off so we can either see Jo find out or how Henry avoids it?
Yes. The idea of the first episode back is a very close to [a] direct pickup of where we left off with season 1.
If Henry does come clean, is it fair to say Jo will have a fair amount of skepticism?
Yeah, it’s a tough conversation to have with someone, as we saw through the course of season 1. First he had it with his wife Nora in flashback. He told her he was immortal, and she ended up putting him in an insane asylum. That played out very poorly for him. We really wanted to close out the big mythology with that love and that storyline with Abigail in season 1, but the one piece that was still unknown was, how and when did Abigail learn his secret? We told that story in flashback in episode 22, and she saw him get killed in front of her. It’s easier to see somebody have it happen to them than to try to articulate it. We would explore both of those possibilities in the beginning of season 2.
Do you feel like Abigail needed to be dead to allow Henry to move on?
Yeah. We talked about different versions. I liked the symmetry of Adam being responsible for Abigail’s death, and that’s what began Adam’s journey to find Henry. The idea is that he started looking really after episode 21 in flashback, in the early ’80s, after realizing there’s someone else out there. After 2,000 years, what that must’ve been like to find out there’s another person out there? And that he had fortuitously found Abigail under those circumstances. We had talked about a 100-year-old Abigail, frail and dying in Henry’s arms, but ultimately this story served us a little bit better. What it does for Henry is give him closure. It wasn’t just that he had been in love and she was gone, but the circumstances surrounding why she had left always felt like something was off with him. It gave him a mystery to solve.
With Jo seemingly going to be in the know, does that open up the possibility of a Henry and Jo romance? Or is Henry fearful of opening himself up to love again knowing it can only end in heartbreak?
Right, and that’s a lot of what we’re going to be exploring in season 2. Season 1, to a large extent, was about the past, and it was about two characters that were in love with ghosts. For Henry, it was Abigail, and for Jo, it was her dead husband. A lot of season 1 was about them emotionally being able to pull each other out of that so they would be ready to move on. Season 2 is very, very much about romance.
Did you ever consider letting Lucas in on the secret first before Jo?
Yeah, you’re getting very specific into season 2. It feels like you’ve read my cheat sheet and hacked into my computer. Has there been some sort of hack I need to know about? [Laughs] All of those thoughts have been considered and discussed and are being mapped out through the course of season 2.
Was there a part of Henry that was actually scared this would be his final death when Adam shot him?
He has to go into it thinking this could be it. There’s that moment where Abe is by the water, looking as it bobs up and down and not knowing if Henry’s going to come up out of it. To keep those stakes real, we had to feel as if this could actually happen.
How will this close call affect him next season?
Henry’s in a much different place in season 2. Season 1 was about the problems with being immortal and the curse of it all. We want to look into more of the other side of the coin, which is the blessing of it and the wish fulfillment and a lot of the fun that can be had. Money, languages, food, fun, skydiving, Everest and everything else. We want to have some more fun with it.
Now that Adam is on ice, would he not ultimately be part of the second season?
Yeah, he would intermittently come into it, but let’s just say we’ll be introducing some new characters in season 2 that will reshuffle the deck and change the dynamic fairly traumatically.
How do you think someone else knowing the truth changes the series?
It depends on who that character is. And it depends on the circumstances behind them. It’s a very well kept secret between Henry and Abe, but it feels like it’s time to open up the playing field a little bit to make the world a little bit richer.
If Jo does find out, does she feel a duty to come clean about his condition to the squad?
Right, yeah, that’s a possibility. Whoever finds out, there’s a certain amount of responsibility and pressure that comes along with that, of guarding that secret.
In case Forever is not renewed, do you have thoughts on ways you could conclude this story for fans?
Like tweeting out, “Here’s how he would die!” “Here are the next couple seasons in 140 characters or less.” [Laughs] Look, we’re really proud of season 1, and the way the season ended resolves a lot of the Adam/Abigail stuff. It doesn’t end Henry’s story, but that’s the beauty of Henry’s story is that it doesn’t have an end. I don’t know that [that] would be satisfying for anyone to find out. The not knowing certain things is much more interesting specifically with his character than, “Here’s the way we can tie this up in a nice little bow.”