Last night was the season finale of The Following the suspense drama on Fox. My overall grade for this is a B- The series started out strong and was very compelling yet disturbing at the same time. The first five episodes were jam-packed with action and “no way” scenes that kept the pace moving at such a fast rate it seemed like the episode was only on for 20 minutes. The use of flash-backs in these first episodes was done in a very useful way – short enough that it didn’t take away from the main story line but gave just the right amount of info so the viewer could get a glimpse into someone’s past and slowly figure out the “why” of the character. Also, this show is filled with lots and lots of gore and beyond disturbing scenes – I covered my eyes countless times due to some of the graphic images (but yet loved the graphicness at the same time).
Then episode six happened – The Fall. That’s where The Following fell to a D. This episode took the “no way” scene to a new level and insulted the viewer. I was so angry and sad – how could the writers do this to a show that I loved and couldn’t wait to see each Monday. The best comparison to offer is with the tv show 24. This was one of the best shows on tv – Jack Bauer was the ultimate protagonist and gave me use to turn his name into a verb (Ryan Hardy “Jack Bauered” those followers). But CTU had to be the most inept counterterrorism agency ever. Holy bad hiring – how many inside agents were there and how often did the agents other than Jack miss their target. The Fall made CTU look like geniuses.
The next two episodes were a bit shaky. I felt the collective disgust of fellow viewers in thinking “they better not do that crap again.” The one thing that kept me going (other than my tv junkie sensibilities) was the acting and chemistry of Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy. These two actors were meant to be together – Bacon played the tortured soul so well and with such emotion, while Purefoy seemed to be the quintessential sociopath. Their chemistry made the ridiculous tolerable and showed there was hope for the series.
As the season progressed things got better and I started to love The Following again. The use of flash-backs dropped off in later episodes and the pace slowed a bit but that is expected. No tv show can maintain a break-neck speed. And the season finale did not disappoint. The pace was back, the graphic violence returned, Joe Carroll killed with reckless abandon, Ryan Hardy “Jacked Baured” a Follower again. We knew that Hardy would save the girl but wondered how could there be a second season. The last few minutes gave us the answers in a shocking way – we don’t know if our protagonist or his great love will make it and where the hell did Emma run off to?
Overall, The Following was a decent show but the slap in the face to the viewers really brought it down and the recovery was a slow. I will follow this show next season, there is enough here for me to still love. Just hope that the writers know pushing the viewers to insulting levels is not the way to go. I’m looking forward to season two in the fall.