overnights

Forever Recap: It’s Exhausting

Forever

Oceanside
Season 1 Episode 7
Editor’s Rating *****

Forever

Oceanside
Season 1 Episode 7
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Colleen Hayes/Amazon Prime Video

The penultimate episode of Forever’s first season opens with Oscar reading a letter from June. We don’t really need to see it to know what it says: June left with Kase for Oceanside. It certainly speaks to the state of her marriage that June couldn’t have that conversation in person. But the point is that she’s gone now, and she’s left Oscar to deal with the rubble (forever), so he proceeds to deal with the breakup in his own silent, offbeat, practical way.

Rather than lashing out, or immediately chasing June, or getting trashed with the avenues available to him, Oscar burrows into a routine. He acts as if nothing’s changed. When Matt shows up at his door, asking if Oscar’s looking to hang out, Oscar calmly, smoothly, informs him, in the midst of a conversation about nothing in particular, that June’s left him.

The reaction we see from Matt is more on par with what we might have expected from Oscar. The two men sit down to read June’s letter, and as Matt tells him that he should be freaking out, Oscar says, “I’m an adult,” and adults don’t do things like that. But after Matt spends a little too much time fixating on the sexual undertones of June’s decision to leave town with Kase (to which Oscar tries to explain that June probably isn’t queer, although sexuality as a rule exists on a spectrum for everyone), Matt informs Oscar that he’s got to do something. But Oscar declines this, too. As far as he’s concerned, the best course of action is to proceed as if June hadn’t gone anywhere at all.

But no one else shares his nonchalance: out in the world, when Matt informs Ms. Nakajima, that June’s gone, she tells Oscar, “You’re a good man, don’t worry. You’ll find someone else and be happy.” (Although later on, Ms. Nakajima adds that she hopes her niece dies so she can meet Oscar, since “she’s a lawyer, and she can cook.”) Immediately afterward, Oscar tells Matt that, moving forward, he’d like to keep things private. But it doesn’t do any good for Oscar’s demeanor: Oscar insists that he’s invested a lot in June, and he isn’t interested in giving up on her. In fact, he’s gonna go find her. And after a final intervention from Matt (who agrees to help him find a way to get to Oceanside), the pair end up meeting the oldest resident of Riverside — a (literal) kid named Josiah. Josiah tells him that taking energy from the Currents is the only way he’ll reach her, an idea that immediately repulses Oscar, despite it being the only option. The whole scene is a little predictable, and more than a little bit numbing.

Meanwhile, June and Kase arrive at Oceanside. It’s a mansion, with a number of folks ballroom dancing inside. Everyone’s dressed pretty nicely, and they meet a couple who informs them that they haven’t had new visitors in a long time. They’re given a run-down of life in Oceanside and at one point, they’re shown that they can walk underwater. At another point, for thrills, they stand in the way of an oncoming truck (a pivotal moment for Kase, considering that it was her cause of death to begin with). Once June’s seen everything that there is to see, it’s safe to say that life in Oceanside looks like the very embodiment of sadness — but it’s new to June. And it’s new to Kase. And that is really all that it needs to be.

This is, I guess, where the emotional weight of Forever should probably reside. June’s insistence on staying in Oceanside, and away from Oscar, should mean more than it does. But, at least to one viewer, there wasn’t much to root for. June and Oscar built a life together, but it wasn’t one, from what we saw, that particularly grounded us in their relationship. As a viewer, I just couldn’t care. So while the changes that befell them were certainly unfortunate, Forever didn’t give us much to fight for between them. And while it certainly made sense that June would leave Oscar out of boredom when the moment arose, there wasn’t a moment that I thought she wouldn’t find an escape hatch, or that she’d turn back once she did.

Nevertheless, in the end, Oscar makes his way to Oceanside without assistance from any of the Currents. He has several opportunities to steal some HP along the way, but being the man that he is, our dude doesn’t take them. And, eventually, despite everything, Oscar arrives at the mansion housing all of the Oceanside residents. In the midst of a party, in the mansion by the coast, he looks absolutely appalled.

And his disgust is no more palpable than when he finally runs into June.

Face-to-face, June’s shocked to see him standing there, in person. But her husband wastes no time before giving her a full read, turning his efforts on Kase when she tries to jump in. When June attempts to get Oscar to tone things down in front of the party, he reaches his most fed up, and that’s the moment he collapses, with his whole body, from sheer exhaustion.

It’s also the moment that leaves us with a few final, essential questions: Will June and Oscar’s relationship stand the stress and wear of time? And the temptation for something new? And June’s feelings of being constrained? It’s clear that something has to change for June, although what that is, exactly, remains to be seen — but the only thing left to find out is whether Oscar’s the one who’ll provide it.

Forever Recap: It’s Exhausting