- Written By: Amanda Kate Shuman
- Air Date: 3/11/2013
- Directed By: Joshua Butler
- Starring: Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Natalie Zea, Annie Parisse, Shawn Ashmore, Kyle Catlett
- Guest Stars: Warren Kole, Mike Colter, Nico Tortorella, Valorie Curry, Adan Canto, Annika Boras, Tom Lipinski, Arian Moayed
THE FOLLOWING has shortly become one of, if not the most, infuriating show on TV. Every episode seeks to pile on the threats, the violence, and the enormity of the task ahead of Kevin Bacon’s Ryan Hardy, which manages to succeed in making Joe Carroll and his acolytes look like geniuses or just plain lucky, and the FBI like a bunch of fools.
Every episode, no one will listen to Ryan Hardy, or they won’t follow protocol, or they will do something stupid, every time letting someone escape and preventing any real forward motion in the plot. Each week things happen that can’t possibly be based in how any government organization works in reality.
Finally, Joe Carroll has escaped, for good (even if HOW it happened was bogus) and he’s been reunited with Emma and his other cult followers. This also puts him into the same house with his kid, Joey. Creepy. Unfortunately, when Joe arrives at this massive mansion in the middle of nowhere to a house full of idolaters and strangers, the only things running through my head were: my god they can prolong this show forever (and not in a good way) with all thee red shirts! There are so many possibilities for potential guest stars (feel free to sign up if you can play bat$#*! crazy)!
On the other side, because of Joe Carroll’s successful escape attempt and the rampant negative news and publicity, the FBI is forced to bring in a new head of operations. That would be Nick Donovan (Mike Colter), who, judging by his actions in this episode, may as well be working for Joe Carroll (which would hardly be a twist if he is) the way he chooses every action that would help Carroll’s plans. This was your stereotypical “we’re going to run things differently and through me, no matter what, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks, even if they’re the experts and know what they’re doing.”
Naturally, Nick shoves Ryan Hardy to the sidelines, but is forced to bend on this decision almost immediately, when the newly arrested cult-member, David (a very effective Arian Moayed; this really is a fun chance for actors), only wishes to speak with Ryan. Haven’t we seen this scene already several times? The ending is a tad different, abrupt, disturbing, and probably the highlight of the episode.
When Mike Weston continues to help Hardy, Nick sends Weston home. Which is unfortunate because Weston was, of course, Carroll’s target for the episode. Let’s beat the crap out of the only character anyone can reasonably like!
The biggest “reveal” in the episode is the identity of Roderick, a name I had figured to be some high ranking member of the FBI or someone we had already seen before. When it turned out be someone completely new, and another excuse for flashbacks to Carroll in prison, I was letdown, but then gradually accepted it as a better choice than another token betrayal in the FBI.
I wouldn’t be so critical of the show if it didn’t have so much promise. It’s got a good to great cast, an enviable premise, and already has shown the ability to shock and disturb, but for the past month or so now, it’s using that power to stretch the suspension of disbelief and piss off the viewer. At least, one of them. Try to watch the climactic scene when Debra practically lets a whole group of followers into their escape vehicle (is she a mole? Eye roll.), which should’ve been incapacitated the second that her and Hardy arrived. I would’ve given a spoiler alert there, but such shoddy work was hardly surprising..