The Following episode 6 review: The Fall

Review Ron Hogan 26 Feb 2013 - 12:37

The Following finally begins to deliver on its so-far-squandered potential. Here's Ron's review of The Fall...

This review contains spoilers.

1.6 The Fall

The story of The Following thus far has been one of squandered potential. After a pretty good pilot that set a lot of interesting things into motion, the show hasn't really followed up on that in any really satisfactory way. However, this week, everything seemed to click into place for the programme. Indeed, this might be the best episode since the season opener. That may or may not be high praise depending on what you feel about the show, but I'm still kind of on board with it, and this week was a really good continuation of last week's instalment. 

Kevin Bacon is brilliant. Nowhere is this brilliance more obvious than on this particular programme. Bacon isn't given the best stuff to do week in and week out, but he always sells what he's given to the best of his considerable abilities, and he's kept the show watchable without a whole lot of help from those around him. However, when you give Bacon stuff to work with, he really shines, and this week he was given some awesome stuff to work with from writer Shintaro Shimosawa. Ryan Hardy is, in turns, funny, sarcastic, clever, manipulative, heroic, villainous, and menacing. 

Of particular note is a scene early on in the episode; Paul has a gun on him, and Paul orders Jacob to tie Ryan up. Ryan turns to him and announces, quite coolly, that if he gets within two feet of him, Ryan will break his neck and shatter his spine. Threats of being shot by Paul are coolly dismissed with a repeated, “But his spine will be cracked.” It works for two reasons: it's funny and it's sold well. Kevin Bacon is so good at being threatening without being overt, and Ryan's slight smile here really communicates that he wouldn't mind being shot if it gives him the chance to mangle someone with his bare hands. 

The fact that the show's strongest actor was paired with its strongest storyline (the Emma/Paul/Jacob love triangle/power struggle) made for some very good television. The tension of the scene, with cops all around them but not quite all around them, the race between various support groups for both good guys and bad guys to arrive first and shift the balance of power... it all works really well, as does the power between the three kidnappers being upset by external forces after (seemingly) coming to a happy arrangement a few episodes ago, only to have it all subverted by Ryan the FBI agent of chaos. 

I do like the dissent amongst the ranks teased throughout this episode, either planted by Ryan or simply revealed by him; I also really like where this episode seems to be going with the Emma/Jacob/Paul trio. Together they're interesting, but only if they're not all on the same page. I like the friction between them, the uneasy alliances forged by Joe as part of his master plan and the potential that their emerging personalities might just shatter the whole thing before Ryan can thwart him. That's pretty cool.

However, the Claire Matthews angle and the bits with Agent Parker exploring her cult past didn't quite work for me. I don't particularly care about Charlie (well-played by Tom Lipinski) and his stalker relationship with Claire, nor do I care about Parker's past as a member of a cult in the middle of nowhere, Iowa, or her conflicted relationship with her mother and father. It seemed like filler to me, though Parker's scenes in the FBI van were pretty good, as were her exchanges with Emma where the two of them seemed to try to out-stall one another at cross purposes. I just don't really care that much about Claire as anything other than Ryan's love interest, and I'm not a huge fan of the cult-member-turned-anti-cult-crusader story angle (as previously seen for a period on Big Love). 

The episode was a little uneven, but the good elements were enough to carry the day. I am afraid that the upcoming Roderick reveal (not teased this episode, but it's coming) may be something I won't like that I won't spell out here for fear of speculating above my pay grade, but if they keep feeding Kevin Bacon episodes like this one and continue to twist the kidnapper trio around in creative ways, I'll keep watching the show.

Read Ron's review of the previous episode, The Siege, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan is glad to see Kevin Bacon's faith in Kevin Williamson get rewarded with a good episode. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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Episode drove me nuts. Great action, and Kevin's character was fantastic, but c'mon...who isn't in the cult?! The local cop? Check...some military men who get the jump on the swat team? Check...It's written too conveniently in order to move the story along, and make all the escapes possible. Losing faith. I'm sure there will be some big spoil that some of the higher ups are also in the cult and will spoil the day, a la 24-style.

I have an idea of who Roderick is, and it would make more sense when that reveal happens, but I don't think you're too far off. The military men were sent by Roderick; they killed the guys in the woods, took their body armor, and then used the element of surprise to gun down the other SWAT guys.

I think that is very plausible - young and impressionable, he is. Perfect fodder. I think that is a very astute observation - would make sense. And here I thought she was just impressed with his tech savviness...

getting real tried of 35 minutes of commericals .....thank goodness for pvr ....that's the only way I'll be watching this play out ....

Seems obvious to me that Agent Parker is a follower - in episode 2, we lingered way too long on her handing the night-time reading over to Carroll. This would also explain the sidetrack into her cult past, the military ambushes, etc. - though I suspect she never actually met Carroll until she joined the team and is (clearly) leagues ahead of the Three Stooges in terms of her value to him. I'm watching now basically only to see if I'm right about her, and because my partner went to high school with the actress who plays her.

I agree 100%... Come on, the Episode made the look like a bunch of retards...
And the show started off so strong....

Sorry FBI.

This is Written by the crew who wrote 24 lol. Love The Show but i really Feel i am Watching 24 without Keifer now......

If Agent Parker aint part of the following then I'm not six degrees separation from Kevin Bacon

I can see people turning away from this show just like they have The Mentalist for making its bad guy too powerful. For me this was a very weak episode.

Oh I get it now - this is a remake of Doctor Mabuse! Mabuse, the arch criminal, master manipulator, controlling hundreds of followers in master operations even while incarcerated! Of course, Mabuse has the power of telepathic hypnosis as part of his arsenal. Joe Caroll has... a love of Poe?

I can't believe that I've wasted 8 hours of my life watching this far fetched pile of dung. The cops should have got a tame prison inmate to 'take care' of Carroll in episode one and spared all of us from this crap!!

I can't believe that I've wasted 8 hours of my life watching this far fetched pile of dung. The cops should have got a tame prison inmate to 'take care' of Carroll in episode one and spared all of us from this crap!!

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