FOREVER Finale Post-Mortem: Matt Miller on Henry vs. Adam, Jo's Discovery, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

FOREVER Finale Post-Mortem: Matt Miller on Henry vs. Adam, Jo’s Discovery, and More

May 5, 2015 by  


[This post contains spoilers for FOREVER’s first season finale. Please don’t read this piece until you’ve seen “The Last Death of Henry Morgan.”]

FOREVER’s Henry is in a bit of a pickle.

Sure, he was able to outwit Adam and put him in a medically induced coma, but Adam may get the last laugh: Jo found Henry’s watch and an old photo of him, which led her to question what the heck is going on with her quasi-partner.

But will Henry tell her the truth? And can FOREVER be FOREVER if he does? I spoke with FOREVER creator Matt Miller about the show’s season finale twists, and what’s to come…

As you were crafting the season finale, what was the biggest challenge in trying to write the hour without knowing if the show would get a season 2?
Matt Miller: For us, we never thought about any of that. None of the creative thought process that went into the season finale — or certainly for the last few episodes we had been planning out since the beginning of the season — were relevant to “Will we get picked up? Won’t we get picked up? What do we need to tell the audience?”

The only thing we added to the finale that I really wanted to covey to the audience was Abigail first learning of Henry’s immortality affliction. I thought that was unfinished business with the Abigail/Henry story. Where in episode 21, we got a lot of closure there, but this was a missing piece to that story we wanted the audience to know about in season 1.

Given how much of the Abigail story was wrapped up, will you use flashbacks the same way in season 2?
MM: I think they’ll be used in the same way. There’s 235 years of story to tell with this guy. We didn’t tell the Abigail story in every episode — I don’t know the exact numbers, but it was maybe a third of them. We have many, many stories to tell, and we will be using flashbacks in the same structural way we did in season 1. The content may be different, because it may have a different portion of his life we’ll be telling about; different portions of that mythology.

When you were shaping Adam vs. Henry this season, at what point did you know it would end with Adam locked into a coma?
MM: He was always going to end up like that. That was designed, very early on, [because] how do you kill an immortal when you can’t? We did bring up earlier in the season the MacGuffins of the gun that was originally used to kill Henry, and the knife that was used to kill Adam. I wanted them to be sources of tension and the possibility of, “Oh, maybe we could end with these weapons.” And it was important, to me at least, these things got resolved in season 1, so in season 2…we had closure to that thread of story just to say it’s not going to be that simple; it’s not a matter of Henry or Adam finding this weapon to end the other person or their own life — you can’t get out of it that easily. So we wanted that part of the story to get resolved.

And from that, it was, well, if you can’t actually kill an immortal, how do you stop them? And the idea of a medically induced coma came into play, which felt like a fun way to put Adam on ice without actually killing.

Was there any conversations with the studio and network about how far Henry could go in taking out Adam?
MM: Not really. Honestly, studio and network, I’ll say this, have been incredibly supportive partners. No matter what happens with the fate of the show, from a creative standpoint, they have really been supportive cheerleaders, helpers in the show. There hasn’t been a story point they balked at, or they said, “That’s a little too risqué.”

It’s been a little problematic for us to never smoke when you go into the past where everyone smoked. [Laughs] The only small wrinkle we have is we’re not allowed to have people have lit cigarettes, which is a little bit inauthentic when you go into a 1940s pub. But other than that, they’ve been completely on board with everything we’ve done.

With Adam on ice, what can you say about what season 2’s central conflict/mythology would be?
MM: Well, I don’t want to give anything away too early — we can talk before season 2 premieres, and I’ll give you a little more taste of that. We certainly have ways to spice up the relationship between Adam and Henry, as well as introducing new characters into the show, and reshuffling the deck, so to speak.

Fair! One of the big moves you made is that Jo now has solid proof Henry has been lying about something. What do you want fans to take from that final moment?
MM: I think Jo’s very confused. I think she knows Henry has been lying and not completely honest all season long. What the nature of that is, she doesn’t necessarily know, and she’s obviously very confused and wants some answers from Henry. And Henry takes that moment in the final seconds of the episode, and he’s about to tell her something, certainly.

Do you know, for sure, where you’ll take that storyline in season 2? Or do you have a few options you’re playing with?
MM: We kind of have a direction we want to take it in. We sort of know, without all the details worked out. We have a general sense of how we want to take that story.

Ioan Gruffudd mentioned he felt it wouldn’t quite be the show if Jo knew the truth. Do you feel the same way?
MM: I do. I think it’s a different kind of a show at that point. I’m not going to say whether she does or doesn’t find out or exactly what happens at the beginning of season 2. But it will feel satisfying, hopefully, to the audience, and will spin the show in a way that will set the table for the direction we’ll be going in.

Where do you feel Jo and Henry stand by the end of season 1?
MM: Throughout the course of the season, it was never really designed to be a romance between the two of them, in this season. They were both in love with ghosts, so to speak. For Henry it was Abigail, and for Jo, it was her dead husband.  They were supposed to be people who were emotionally there for each other, to allow them to heal, and to get over that. And I think to a large extent, they both did that for season 1. They’re open and available for a relationship, whether that be with each other or somebody else, that’s what their place is.

They obviously had a bit of a falling out in [the finale], but the reason they had that is because Jo feels a little bit vulnerable around Henry because she likes him. And I think Henry feels that way because he cares a lot about Jo. They’re at that conflict of “Does he let her in on the secret? How does that effect the nature of their relationship and what is the nature of their relationship moving forward?”

What kind of conversations have the writers had about how far you can take that relationship before she knows the truth?
MM: We’ve definitely talked about that in the pros and cons of all of it. We will continue to do that if, and when, we are blessed with another season. We have a rough structure and a map of generally where we want to go. That said, things change all the time.

As you look back at season 1, was there anything you wanted to do you weren’t able to fit in?
MM: There were a couple of A-story plots we wanted to do, that didn’t work their way into the season. I think there’s a lot more to work in of Henry and Abe, and Abe’s childhood, that we wanted to tell. And then there’s also a lot I want to tell in a season 2 about Henry’s childhood.

How much do you have mapped out of Henry’s childhood?
MM: A decent amount. We don’t have the full span of his life, and we purposefully left big spans in his chronology in the backstory and flashbacks, to allow us room to dive into certain time periods we didn’t in season 1. We left big gaps on purpose so we could revisit it [in the future].

I can’t imagine how tough it is trying to keep track of 235-plus years of a character’s history.
MM: We’re constantly running into the script coordinator’s office and asking, “Wait, what year was this for this scene?” We have to constantly keep those balls in the air, juggling. We can’t betray any of his very, very long timeline.

You really have a great supporting cast, in addition to the fantastic work your leads have done. What did you learn from them in season 1 that might help shape how you write season 2?
MM: We have a great cast, and all the actors are fantastic and surpassed even our expectations. I think we’ll be just evolving the relationships even more. We talked about Henry and Jo, and Henry and Abe is just really rich with emotional possibilities, with that unusual father-son dynamic. Lucas and Henry, we’ve only scratched the surface of what that character is capable of with Lucas, and we want to follow [Lucas] more in season 2. The other detectives, Hanson and Reece, also. I feel they did a really great job of being supporting characters, and we want to evolve them in season 2.

At this point, ABC hasn’t announced any renewals for next season. Do you feel hopeful or do you truly not know if the show will be back?
MM: I really don’t know. I think we’re probably going to find out by Friday, which isn’t too long to wait. Trying to enjoy myself. I take writers’ meetings every day to staff up season 2. I did pitch first the studio [Warner Bros.], and then the president of the network, Paul Lee,  at ABC a little over a week ago about what season 2 would be. We gave them a fairly lengthy pitch, and they seemed very, very excited about it. It’s going to come down to a bunch of number crunching, I imagine, but from a creative standpoint, they were incredibly supportive, and they seemed really excited about the direction we were going to take it in.

What did you think of the FOREVER finale?


FOREVER: Ioan Gruffudd Previews Henry’s Attempt to Protect Jo in the ‘Emotional’ Finale
FOREVER Season 1 Finale Photos: ‘The Last Death of Henry Morgan’
FOREVER: ‘The Night in Question’ Teases
FOREVER: John Noble to Guest Star

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