The fourth of episode of Forever is, in many ways, a revitalization: the appearance of a new neighbor, Kase, played by Catherine Keener, is a shot of adrenaline that’s to the series’ benefit. Oscar and June’s monotony had begun to slowly unspool, but it’s easy to see that, left to their own devices, it could’ve been a very long time before their differences collided. June made it work with her husband for years and years while they were living. It wouldn’t take much to believe that, even in death, she would grin and bear it.
But Kase’s appearance is the first thing in a long time to upset the monotony of their days. When Oscar and June make it a point to visit her, they find that Kase isn’t terribly keen on making their acquaintance. They ask her a number of questions, and Kase dodges all of them. They leave the lady on no firmer ground than when they introduced themselves moments ago. But, because they haven’t taken the hint (or because, in their efforts to break up the repetition of their days, they can’t take it), June and Oscar make plans to return to Kase’s place. Which is ill-advised, but they do it anyway, bringing a dish of macaroni and cheese in tow.
Kase is, understandably, pissed by their reappearance. She didn’t ask for this company. She’s dead. And now … this. But Kase accepts the dish from Oscar and June, and as they try to pry into what’s going on behind her doors, she clearly shuts them out of her life. A little later, they spot her ditching the plate of macaroni and cheese, along with the dish June had made (she crafts things now; it’s how she passes the time) into the bushes.
This display does wonders for giving us a look at the ways that those who’ve died and ended up in this space have coped. Beyond that, it breaks up the monotony of Oscar and June’s days. It gives them something new to talk about. And they talk about their new neighbor incessantly. Unendingly. They decide that Kase is just adjusting to her new situation, before coming to the conclusion that she isn’t a very nice person at all, before deciding that maybe it was her job, in her past life, that had her behaving this way, before concluding that, nah, she just really isn’t a very nice person. Oscar and June watch Kase from the blinds as she makes noise and moves around her home. And while knowing that Kase is “different” from them is enough to satiate Oscar’s interest, it’s far and away too little for June. She has to know, partly out of interest, and partly because it’s something new.
And, in this way, the true antagonist of “Forever” starts to rear its head once and for all: boredom. June was bored in her life before death, and it nearly killed her marriage, but it killed Oscar instead. June was just coming to terms with the fact that she didn’t have to live a boring life. And on the cusp of coping with that realization, she died. But now, in the afterlife, boredom is serving as a hell of its own for June, and the arrival of a distraction — any distraction — looks like the only thing that’ll save her.
So of course June breaks into her neighbor’s house when she’s gone. She slips in through the back, and takes a tour. But when June hears something downstairs, she hides in a closet upstairs, and it’s a moment before she’s found out by Kase. Kase doesn’t make a big deal out of it, but apparently she goes into everyone’s houses when they’re gone. Also, she has “stuff to do.” June doesn’t press Kase on what that means, specifically (ugh), but she does ask that Kase keep her poking around the house to herself. And Kase picks up on the fact that June and her husband are going through some things, but before kicking her out of the house that belongs to neither of them, Kase gives June her word.
Even still, it’s only a matter of time before Kase comes knocking. She asks if June’s been in her house. Oscar denies the accusation, because he just doesn’t know, and when June lies, Kase calls her out. She tells her not to do it again, calling them both “fucking weirdos” on her way out. When Oscar asks June why she did what she did, June calls it “something to do.”
But it isn’t too surprising when, later, Kase knocks on June’s door for help. They talk about June, briefly, and it’s clear that our hero is still in denial about just how bad things are for her. And the pair take a dresser, and light it on fire, only to find that it returns to the apartment unscathed. June’s neighbor tells her that this is the case with all of her belongings. She doesn’t know what to make of it, but it’s true that it doesn’t bode well for June’s boredom.
At the episode’s conclusion, June returns home, entirely disillusioned. That night, she takes a bit of her own furniture into the backyard and sets it aflame. And when Oscar wakes up to find June outside, we’re privy to two realizations. The first is from June, that whatever tiny hope she had of shedding the monotony of his new life is dissolving rapidly, literally erupting into flames. The second is from Oscar, as he realizes, maybe for the first time, that if things progress at the rate they’ve been going, there’s an excellent chance that he’ll lose his wife.