The Following: Reflection Review

Coincidence and inconsistent characterization hamstrings what can still be an enjoyable serial killer show, particularly with James Purefoy.

Lily further welcomes a newly-clean Joe into her “family” this week on The Following. Though Connie Nielsen’s Lily is likely more than meets the eye, her scenes with James Purefoy’s Joe are fiery. As Johnny Mathis’s “Isn’t It Romantic” plays and the camera zooms in on Lily and Joe, they seem more like passionate lovers than sadistic murderers. We know better, of course. Their bloody sex scene is creepy good, despite the Dexter, “kill room” rip-off right before.

Emma still has trepidations about being in the house, calling Lily and her “family” crazy. Emma, a pixie-sized killer who offed her mom like it was nothing and fell in love with Joe while he was in prison, calling them crazy? Even in the deranged world of The Following, Lily and her cult are as strange as it gets.

Emma and Joe finally discuss what happened when Joe went into hiding. Despite their resolution, I still feel that wild card Emma could explode at any moment. She’s proven that she’s capable of killing anyone, at any time. Her scenes this week with Mark (Sam Underwood) are fantastic, though, and you’ll see why.

Max and Ryan are caught on camera chasing Gisele, and the FBI does nothing to stop them. Of course not.

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In the meantime, the FBI learns that Arkansas prostitute Judy (Carrie Prestion) has been killed. They flagged her file after discovering she was pen pals with Joe while he was in prison. First of all, I don’t buy that someone who committed the heinous crimes that Joe committed would be allowed any correspondence, but that’s speculation. What’s unbelievable is how fast they found Judy in backwoods Arkansas. The police happened to find her and the dead reverend in a matter of days? Then there’s the issue of Mandy having a Missing Person report filed. Who’s filing this? Judy was a single mom, and Mandy appeared to have no contact with relatives or friends. Who notices Mandy so much that within a day or two, they’re filing a Missing Person report, but doesn’t care enough to keep her company? So to recap: Judy is a middle-aged prostitute, living in squalor, miles from the nearest town (it seems), but her body is found within a day or two, and a Missing Person report is filed for her daughter almost simultaneously? Got it. 

Moving on, Ryan descends further into madness, doing more physical harm this week than anyone else. On the character spectrum, he’s now more criminal than cop. Apparently no one in the writer’s room has noticed: Ryan…is…a professor! Maybe he’s on sabbatical? He sure isn’t teaching. Either way, a teacher isn’t allowed to commit crimes just because of a former job he or she has held.

Gisele makes Max look dumb again this week. Jessica Stroup has brought some much needed spice to this show, and she’s consistently being made to look like a fool. Stroup, and her supposedly wunderkind character, deserve better.

Ryan is again wounded this week. Again. In two seasons, he’s been stabbed multiple times, shot more than once, and worst of all—the question that plagues me week after week—where is the pacemaker? Ryan’s pacemaker (implanted after being stabbed by Joe years earlier) was a huge deal in Season 1, always affecting him at the most inopportune times. Yet, not only does it no longer affect him, but it isn’t even mentioned. Sigh.

If you’ve been watching The Following since its beginning, the glaring inconsistencies (Ryan’s pacemaker, Ryan being a professor who’s allowed to kill, etc.) and non-realities (the FBI being brilliant enough to find infinitesimal case-breaking clues but incapable of forming a perimeter, etc.) ruin the enjoyable plot. As of now, I’m still invested, but I groan more than gasp. Who knows? I could be a viewer who gets bugged by things that others don’t. All I know is that the noted problems squander the promise The Following once had.

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2 out of 5