The Following episode 13 review: Havenport

Review Ron Hogan 16 Apr 2013 - 07:45

This week's episode of The Following may be characteristically lacking in the logic department, but it is well-directed...

This review contains spoilers.

1.13 Havenport

The director of tonight's visit to the fine men and women of the FBI is Nicole Kassell. You may recognize that name (but probably not) from the Kevin Bacon film The Woodsman. I can't help but think Bacon got her this gig. If so, then it worked out for both of them, because this was one of the better episodes of The Following in recent memory. Not that it was without its crazy leaps of logic (thanks to writers Vincent Angell and David Wilcox), but it was at least well-shot craziness. This is the show's most successful use of chiaroscuro shading; it's dark in a key action sequence, but not so dark you can't tell what happens. That's a big improvement for the show, which loves shoot-outs in the dark but hates actually lighting them. 

One of the things that The Following has been doing well towards the end of this season is teasing at dissension among the ranks. Joe and Roderick, after all, have been butting heads for a while now, and before them Emma, Paul, and Jacob took the lead on the inter-terrorist squabbling during their time as babysitter for Joey. Even though the threesome has broken up, there's still some residual conflict there. Jacob has been trying for a while to become the killer Joe wants him to be, but he hasn't made that leap into brutality that Roderick and others have been able to; meanwhile, Emma can't quite shake off Jacob (or get Joe to shake off his wife). Much like a real college relationship, it's messy and may be over, but hasn't officially ended given what we see this week. I like that all the relationships on the programme are messy; even if it's not executed well (and usually it is not), at least the show is trying to make things complex and interesting (and they succeeded this week with the Joe/Roderick conflict, the Claire/Joe conflict, and Ryan in general). 

This week's episode is definitely the chance for Roderick (Warren Kole, who has done some good work with his role) to shine as the character of the week. He's the agent of action, even though his actions are expected. (Ditto the strange girl that shows up near the end of the episode to talk to Ryan; I knew something bad would come from that, but I was glad to see it happen.) I like that things happen; if they're predictable, that just means that, perhaps, the show laid the groundwork for the events by putting conflicts into motion and hinting at problems in the ranks well before actually acting upon the tension. 

It begs the question: if a twist is predictable, is it still a twist? If you expect a twist, but you get something that's a little less traditional than the twist you expect, does that make it a victory? I suppose to me any surprise is a good one. Even if I expect something will happen, and something does happen that's slightly different than the direction I figured the show was going, it's a boon. Any trick, any clever idea, any little change in routine is a step forward for The Following, which will probably not be able to wring a second season out of the Cult storyline unless something major happens to prevent Joe Carroll's book from having a downer ending.

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

US Correspondent Ron Hogan was glad to see someone get stabbed with a hair-styling needle this week, even though it was telegraphed. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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Disqus - noscript

The largest problem with the show is the idiot law enforcement. They keep going into situations alone or in pairs versus the whole army with them. The show while riveting just lacks a lot of logic at times.

the wife continues the stupidity with the one stab attack on joe, I almost turned off the show after 1 minute with Roderick/Weston never in the same room trick and why is it every black dude in the show gets sucker punched?

Bacon makes this show and I must admit I'm intrigued to see where it goes.. but I find myself constantly question it for its sheer stupidity... When will they learn to not trust anyone, particularly when they are from the cult.... The bird at the end... Cuff her immediately! The search for Joey... Where was everyone?? You got the state police, coast guards involved but when it comes to investigating anything they always seem just Hardy and one other... send EVERYONE!

At first I was concerned that the show was actually getting better and ruining my fun. After closer examination, I am happily incorrect. The plot holes keep coming. Thankfully we didn't get more than a minute in before they stopped playing the Roderick/Weston "just missed you" game. Which leads to idiot move #1. When Roderick walks away, shoot him in the damn leg. Who would have have had a problem with that? But then we get to our continuing re-ocurring problem with this show. Apparently, if you can get 100 feet from the FBI, they can't catch you. If only they had cars and helicopters. Even Roderick knows how inept the FBI is as he thinks nothing of driving back to the compound. It's not like they would follow him. Heh.

Most of the rest of the episode makes a bit more sense until we get to the latter part of the show. Thank god Ryan Hardy decided to let his FBI friends know what he was doing this time. No one man operation this week. Although it didn't change things any. They were still outmanned at the house. Let me back up a bit. How did Joe know where the kid would be? Those 3 henchman seemed to know exactly which house the kid would be in. Wasn't that supposed to be Roderick's ace in the hole? Not very secretive.

And with all the shooting, the other FBI agents don't come running? Did the FBI run out of wires? So many questions. Gotta love the introduction of two new henchman that die in the same episode. Of course, Jacob gets the kid. They should really sign him up for the FBI. He's smarter than all of them. They can't hold onto one kid?

But the ultimate of all ridiculousness is the fact that if Jacob lets the kid go, he's somehow free. Did anyone see all the FBI agents in the background? None of them go after Jacob? And again, he gets back to the compound unfollowed? This show should be called the Unfollowing. Tee Hee

Let's back up a bit. How many times is Joe going to tell his followers to turn off the TV. They keep turning it back on. And when Claire stabs him, why did she stop? Kill the guy!!! But the best part had to be the three followers dragging her away from the stabbing. How did they know? "Hey guys. If I ever get stabbed, run in here and take Claire upstairs. Don't worry about me. I'll just put a bandage on the scar. It will heal".

Once again, the Following did not disappoint.

One other thing, when Emma said "What's wrong with you", why didn't Joe tell her that he's a serial killer. Slapping a woman is not a big deal.

The people I was watching it with were complaining that there was no way Joe would have ever let Claire close enough to him to stab him. They claimed he's much too smart for that and it was jarringly out of character. But I disagree.
It's been firmly and repeatedly established that Joe's one big blind spot is his delusion that he's going to "get his family back." Even to the point of putting the entire cult at risk. Some people who are very clever in one respect can be absolute morons in other ways.
So, considering how frazzled and distracted he was at that moment by his "really bad day," I didn't find that out of character at all. And Claire played him just right. If she said that she would love him and be with him from then on,he would have known something was up immediately. But as she just said that she was willing to try for the sake of leaving her son alone, she was doing what he's been assuming all along was going to happen and played right into his delusion.
My only issue is that if you are going to stab some, go for the heart. But I see how they couldn't do that as it would make for a very short season.

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