The quest for immortality is a tale told countless times. Here, in the third episode of ‘Forever,’ it takes its own stab at depicting what people will do to obtain youth eternal.
Events begin with Henry coming out of his lab after hours spent researching not his own immortality, but a way for him to die. He discusses these findings with his friend and confidant, Abraham, who is more than a little bewildered by the notion. Thus begins a story of parallel ideas and beliefs.
Next, an older man is seen standing on a not quite reputable street corner with a briefcase that is quickly yanked from his grasp by a mugger. Much to the surprise of the thief, the man gives chase with speed far beyond what he looks capable of, promptly tackling and beating the mugger before gasping and collapsing dead moments later.
It is then that the body comes into Henry’s care and the mystery begins in earnest. Some sort of unknown substance is present in the man’s body. A man of sixty named Bill Sayle, with the physique of a thirty year old and the brain of someone over one hundred, we are told. Thanks to some info from the deceased’s son and a briefcase full of money in addition to an Oroboro branded business card, Henry and Detective Martinez are put onto the trail.
They discover a company called Aterna, a place that asks a simple question: ‘Do you want to live forever?’ After speaking with the head of the clinic, Dr. Gardner, they learn of Aterna’s high-end supplement that actually reverses aging and is being gobbled up by the aging wealthy of New York despite the outrageous price tag.
A series of flashbacks throughout the episode highlight a period of Henry’s life in 1909. Then, he was a physician and one of his fellow doctors fell for the tricks of a snake doctor advertising such methods as electroshock therapy and vague elixirs. Without having Henry speak a word of it in the present, the parallel here is clear: He has seen his friend in 1909 fall for ‘miraculous’ tricks and hopes Abraham will avoid the same fate.
Back in the lab, a subplot involving Henry’s assistant Lucas begins to form. Lucas is freaking out about a misplaced body and begs another M.E. for help but is promptly shot down. Henry gets to work analyzing a sample of Aterna he lifted off a female patient while Detective Martinez brings back information on Dr. Gardner, who is not a doctor at all, nor named Gardner. His real identity is Harold Price, a man without any medical experience whatsoever. Price is nothing more than a glorified salesmen whose actions lead to the death of two people in Florida.
Delving deeper into the condition Henry discovers the presence of prions. He explains these as bits of protein that does indeed reverse the effects of aging, but at the cost of slowly eating at their brains. Even worse, prions are only found in brains. Every patient at Aterna has been drinking brains and someone has been taking bodies to get access to said brains.
It is here that the subplot involving Lucas comes full circle. Henry catches wind of his assistant’s dilemma and pieces together that an E.M.T. by the name of Anton Van has been stealing bodies from morgues all over New York City. They catch up to Anton quickly, and Detective Martinez makes the arrest with a brainless corpse laying on the gurney of his ambulance.
From there they discover a list of all the patients who ever visited the Aterna offices and Henry is bewildered to see Abraham’s name on the list. After a brief confrontation Abraham reveals he did not take the medication. They proceed to discuss life and the fact that time loses its meaning in eternity. With his affliction Henry must be reminded of the beauty in the world and with their trust in one another restored, the pair head out to enjoy the life and sights of New York, ready for whatever challenge awaits them next.