The Following isn’t ready to shake things up, apparently. After more than three weeks of complete stagnation, at least we have Joe Carroll’s word that things are not going to start concluding until the very end. In an impassioned monologue, one of the bright spots of an otherwise frustratingly mediocre episode of television’s most frustratingly mediocre thriller, Joe Carroll tells Agent Ryan Hardy that he’s not ready for their game of cat and mouse to end. He tells Hardy that it’s maddening that the two keep meeting up before the climax to their story and reveals that he isn’t going to cause harm to Hardy until he’s absolutely ready. Basically Joe Carroll is telling you to just skip the next two episodes and watch the finale, because obviously nothing interesting is going to happen until then, and this episode only serves as proof.
Did the characters waste time this week hunting down one estranged member of the Carroll clan that will hopefully bring them closer to the Carroll safe house? You bet. Was someone on Hardy’s team put into danger only to make it out on the other side bumped and bruised, but largely okay? Of course. When you have a show that’s basic premise is to scare and shock its audience, to thrill them with twists and turns and unsuspected scares, then it becomes enraging to watch said program run through the same basic format week after week. The Following is not a procedural show like Law and Order or CSI, but it sure is starting to seem like one, offering viewers the same cozy and familiar format which becomes the television version of easy listening music. The Following basically has become the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that some poor soul makes himself day after day for lunch; predictable, boring, and average.
What are some other examples of this show’s predictability, you may ask, well how about I offer you a character instead; Claire Matthews, the tortured, yet strong mother of Joey Matthews and ex-wife of serial killer mastermind Joe Carroll. As a viewer, you’re supposed to be sympathetic of Claire’s plight, but I only find myself getting angry at her foreseeable actions (and the fact that, hey, you surrendered yourself!). When she pops up on screen, you know she’s going to try to escape, like this week when she tries to just walk out of the front gate at dawn. I mean, come on Claire, of course that wasn’t going to work, but you’re going to pretend that it is some mystery as to why it didn’t. Then, we can count on Claire getting angry with Joe, rejecting his advances and kindness, and lashing out at one of the other followers. This week, she talks to two of the other followers; Roderick and Emma. With Roderick, Claire tries to appeal to his human side, which we now must be seriously defunct in the case of the crazy sheriff, but later when talking to Emma, the character is given some action worthy of being portrayed on screen. Yes, we’re talking about a girl fight, and there’s no female character more worthy of a smackdown then the pixie demon herself. The scene is brief, but at least it breaks the monotony that we have come to expect from Claire.
On the other monotonous front, this week Hardy and crew find, through the locating of Carroll’s armory, a man connected to several members of the Carroll cult and the acquisition of their weapons. Hardy, Parker, and a recently returned and battered Weston go in search of the man, Daniel Monroe, a black market weapons dealer and the former leader of a dangerous militia. However, the twist this week (thank god there’s SOME twist) is that Carroll and his crew want to find Monroe as well, to make sure he keeps quiet on what he knows about Joe and his whereabouts. Seemingly, the two groups arrive at nearly the same time. Jacob captures Parker, Carroll captures Weston, and Hardy takes out Vince. Then, after a long back and forth between Carroll and Hardy where the two discuss their similarities (they both live through death, whatever that pseudo-philosophical mumbo jumbo means), the bad guys, get this, RUN AWAY! They have Parker at gun point, Weston at knife point, and Hardy surrenders his gun, and the bad guys just flee! It makes absolutely zero sense, but with this show’s history, what can you expect.
In the final moments of the episode, they throw out a cliffhanger that actually elicits some excitement. When the FBI arrives to clean up the mess that Hardy finds himself in, once again, they come in route with a local sheriff who would like to help with the investigation. Turns out, the sheriff is none other than Roderick, and his sly smile upon meeting Hardy suggest that something sinister lies in wait. It’s easy to see something horrible brewing in Roderick, Carroll keeps insulting the man and when Claire warns him that Joe cannot be trusted, he walks away in a knowing silence. Obviously, the two madmen are going to come to blows, and we cant wait to see it happen, if only that it will shake up the increasingly stale format that keeps being reused.
The Best of the Rest
- Why do they keep tracing calls? It never, ever, works.
- This week in pointless flashbacks, we relive the death of Hardy’s father, which has been explained in detail at least three times, but hey, I guess we need to see it so we REALLY understand. The whole scene plays like the Spiderman origin story, almost to a tee.
- Parker cracks that Weston looks like he belongs in Fight Club. Do we really need more reminders about how this show is a poor David Fincher knockoff?
- This week, Carroll has writers block, which is portrayed by quick cutting a bunch of shots together of James Purefoy making dumb faces and shaking his head at the computer screen.
- Carroll bangs Emma again, because, well, why not?
- Parker tries to cut through to why Jacob is involved in the Carroll quote. Apparently he has Daddy issues, and we still don’t care about the one-note character.