The Following episode 8 review: Welcome Home

Kevin Bacon steps out of the spotlight in this week's episode of The Following. Here's Ron's review of Welcome Home...

This review contains spoilers.

1.8 Welcome Home

Disturbingly, there’s said to be something very sensual about the act of murdering someone, and this is the thread to which The Following clings to especially hard this week. There’s an intimacy to the act. You have to let close to kill someone with your hands or with a knife, with skin-to-skin contact or the act of penetration. Not to mention all the bodily fluids, physical exertion, and the rush of endorphins that comes with having someone else’s life in your hands, then ending said life. The Following seems to make the most of this murder-as-sex metaphor, right down to the enthusiastic faces and post-murder urge for a cigarette. 

It’s a week of changes on The Following. Joe Carroll has to get used to his new house in the country with his murder parlour, scotch supplies, and legions of followers, both familiar and brand new recruits brought together by his talented lieutenants, some of whom were introduced this week. Meanwhile, yet another new FBI agent takes over the Carroll task force. Nick Donovan (Mike Colter) takes over for Agent Parker, who took over for someone else previously, and the first thing he does is make a whole lot of enemies by reducing Ryan’s role in the case (despite the fact he’s the smartest person affiliated with the FBI), punishing Weston for misbehaviour, and generally being a delay all around. It’s an odd choice on the part of the FBI. 

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Granted, I know they need new people since the Followers seem to have been doing a number on law enforcement officials (and vice-versa), but I don’t get why they would shuffle the crew on the case around, rather than adding manpower to the existing bunch and leaving Parker in charge. It just seems like a weird choice from the crew behind the curtain. I know it’s not exactly going well, but it seems odd to alienate your best agent(s). 

The Following managed a very suspenseful episode this week, thanks in no small part to the game of cat and mouse surrounding Agent Weston and his mystery followers. Kudos to director Joshua Butler for taking a scenario that looked like it was going to play out as expected, but still making it work well. In particular, the hotel creeping worked really well, and the red herring worked very well to briefly throw the watcher off the track for just long enough. Later in the episode, Butler does a great job filming the serial killer fight club, and made better use of light and shadow than the series has really done to this point (most of the time they deal solely in shadow). The fights are brutal, and by television standards, comparatively quick. Granted, a guy still takes a length of pipe to the jaw without having his entire face shattered, but at least he wasn’t getting up and fighting after that. 

Shawn Ashmore, like most of the show, is overshadowed by Kevin Bacon. However, of the FBI agents, he’s the only non-Bacon one who has shown any kind of personality or ability to carry an episode centering on himself. Parker’s cult stuff was a bit of a bore, but Weston getting horrible mangled by a gang of generic serial killer devotees? Now that’s an episode I can get behind! Of course, that won’t last forever and the show can’t continue to lean on murderers over heroes, but for now, it’s a nice break. 

Here’s hoping next week Kevin Bacon is back in the forefront (he had some good lines tonight anyway) and that we get a renewed commitment to craziness from The Following.

Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Let Me Go, here

US Correspondent Ron Hogan greatly enjoys The Following’s taste in music: lots of 90s and lots of metal/industrial flashbacks. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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