The Following – Season 2… Still Following

image from The Hollywoodreporter.com

Well, six episodes into season two of The Following and so far I’d say the second season is Okay, not great, not bad, just Okay.

Turns out Joe didn’t die at the end of the first season (this was revealed before the 2nd season started so no secret).  He’s been hiding out at a pen pals place for the last year.  Ryan Hardy, after initially not dealing with the death of Claire very well, has turned things around and seems to be living a normal life.  And Mike Weston is still trying to get Ryan to open up to him.

Needless to say Joe has had enough of hiding and finally makes contact with Emma, which then leads to a reunion Emma didn’t think would happen.  Ryan spends the first few episodes almost falling for another blonde named Lily, to only discover that she is a new kind of follower.  Weston and Hardy are called in to consult for the FBI which eventually leads to Hardy giving Weston the trust he’s been working so hard to get.  Toss in Hardy’s niece and a new group of sociopathic family with Lily at the helm and you’ve got season 2.

Watching last night’s episode I started to think of Fox’s show 24.  I’m really thinking that The Following is similar to 24.  Instead of the inept CTU we’ve got the inept FBI; rather than Jack Bauer we’ve got Ryan Hardy.  Like Bauer, Hardy works outside the system he doesn’t trust.  Hardy has also taken it to another level in terms of taking people out, whether it be one or several,  Hardy Jack Bauers the hell out of people.   And finally,  rather than terrorists who are one step ahead of everyone, Joe and his new enemy Lily, are the ones who keep getting away.  Not sure if anyone else sees the similarities but that’s what kept popped up in my head.

So, overall, season 2 is Okay thus far.  Still deeply disturbing with sick, twisted people who make me question what’s wrong with me for watching this show.  If you like blood and gore and can put aside so of the ridiculous things that happen, this is the show for you.  I’ll keep watching since I’m inexplicably drawn to it and hope it will keep its slow,  steady rise in getting better with each episode.   Any one else out there a fan of The Following?

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The Following – Season Grade: B- (contains spoilers at the end)

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.

The Following – almost lost

I’ve been a fan of the new Fox t.v. show The Following.  I’ve enjoyed the suspense that each episode has had and thought the use of flashbacks was very effective (quick peeks into what happened in the past but not disruptive to the storyline).   My enjoyment was put to the test with last nights episode “The Fall.”  The episode started out good, some banter between Ryan Hardy and three of his antagonists, but the last twenty minutes was almost insulting to viewers.  The Following isn’t the best show out there, a sort of weak plot line with some obvious turns, but the fast pace, suspense, twisted characters, and good acting by Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy allowed you to look past those items.   I’ve read complaints that the show is too dark – really? it’s about a serial killer who has found a way to torment his ex-wife and the man who put him prison, and you expect it to be all sunshine and happy? – and that the FBI is inept at their jobs.  My previous thought was of: if this was an actual portrayal of how a case goes in the FBI I don’t think there would be a need for Hardy as the protagonist and the show would be called a documentary airing on the Discovery channel or History or something along those lines.

With all good shows I think there is some element of obvious disbelief, that moment when you say “come on, how could that possibly have just happened” but if the show is good enough, you are able to overlook and ignore that moment (Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, insert name of any good t.v. show that you like). Last night I was not able to overlook that “come on…” moment.  Joe Carroll’s followers are everywhere and the writers appeared to have lost their minds with “The Fall”.  Joe’s people get into everything and inserting them into or having them overcome some elite tactical teams was ridiculous.  I know there has to be substantial followers out there for Joe Carroll’s plan to work out, but the last 20 minutes of “The Fall” was over the top.  When writers take a show too far, it sets the show up to fail.  I’m hoping that next weeks episode returns to the form of the first five episode – fast pace, suspense, gruesome but watchable.  If not, I’m afraid I’ll be forced to say “nevermore…”

The Following – worth following?

Last night (1/21/13) Fox debut a new t.v. showed called The Following.  The show is about a former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) who is called back to work the case of the killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) he captured in 2003 and who has recently escaped.  The premise of the series is Joe Carroll has built a cult following of fellow serial killers who communicate and connect with each other to commit gruesome murders.  An interesting spin on the serial killer plot line.

I have to say that the first episode did a really good job of drawing me in and keeping the suspense going.  I was appalled at the ways the first victim met their end – which is a good thing to say when talking about a crime series.  Joe Carroll is a former teacher who is obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe and this obsession played out with the murders that put him into prison to begin with, as well as the murders that will happen after his escape.

As with all t.v. shows, there are few things that could be better – the female FBI agent seems like she’s trying too hard and the other FBI agent seems suspiciously suspect (maybe I’m just seeing a connection that’s not there).  Overall, I would say this was worthy first episode and look forward to seeing how the series plays out.  The Following has at least one follower so far.