Well, I made it. After fifteen weeks of agonizing, dreadful television, The Following has finally ended its reign of terror, well, at least for now. For reasons unknown, Fox has renewed the series for a second season. Yes, the same network that canceled a show like Arrested Development has decided to pick The Following back up. The world is unjust sometimes. On the bright side, at least the airwaves are free from The Following at least for a little while.
So, did The Following live up to expectations with its finale? That really depends on what your expectations were. If you, like me, expected to find laughably melodramatic dialogue, anticlimactic character arc conclusions, and Following tropes like multiple surprises from behind and senseless violence, well then yes, The Following met expectations. It is really only fitting that a piss poor season would end with a sub-par finale. Even the episode’s attempt at a shocking surprise ending was visible from miles away.
If I sound bitter, it is because I am. This show had so much potential! Kevin Williamson, the creator, must have put all of his energy into the superior Scream films to totally flesh out his television endeavor. When I saw the show had landed a big film star like Kevin Bacon, I thought that it signified that the project was truly special, but now I am wondering what kind of favor that Bacon must have owed Williamson. What I was hoping for was a thriller with the wit, characters, direction, and performances found in the programs currently running on networks like AMC or Fox brother network FX, but what I got was a tepid, outlandish, and wholly harebrained attempt at doing something scary, which usually ended in poor taste. Seriously, after watching The Following I have begun to question and grow concerned with the way violence is portrayed in media. Before this show, I had no problem with similarly grim programs like The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, or even the macabre Dexter. I guess watching a show where the violence is used senselessly and too often has made me appreciate when a show can use it to its advantage, and has made me unable to stomach anything less.
One of the main issues with the finale is that it doesn’t feel like a finale at all. Right from the get go, there’s really no sense of urgency or impending doom; it just feels like another ho-hum episode of The Following. Early on, Hardy and Weston are delivered a telephone number from a child that connects them with Parker, who is six feet under the ground, buried alive, but even when the characters learn this and know that she doesn’t have long, it seems like they are in no real hurry. Instead of a sprint to the finish line, which we receive in most thriller’s like Fox’s superior former program 24, The Following just feels like taking you through the motions one last time.
Speaking of 24, the interrogation techniques used by Hardy and company on this show makes a conversation with Jack Bauer seem like a walk in the park. After arresting the sniper Alex by just easily flanking him in plain sight, Hardy and Weston take the goon to a nearby decrepit abandoned building (it wouldn’t be an episode of the Following without one) to get the information on Parker’s whereabouts. When asking nicely once doesn’t work, the two men decide to beat Alex using their fists and a lead pipe, and Hardy goes as far as to rip the man’s hair right out of his skull. Eventually, he gives them the location, and the head to Parker’s aid. When they arrive, they desperately try to dig her up, but when they open the coffin, Parker has already passed. The scene is probably the most emotionally poignant moment of the show’s run, but that really isn’t saying much. After she’s pronounced dead and Alex mocks her, Hardy puts a bullet right into his head. Apparently when you’re in the FBI, you get to do whatever you want! Screw laws and constraint!
Also found inside of Parker’s coffin is an excerpt from Carroll’s book, where the events of the day are clearly already written and planned, except one thing is wrong, Weston is still alive. When Hardy learns of the next location where he should head from the book, Weston pleads to come along, but out of shear stupidity and as a plot device, Hardy goes it alone. When Hardy arrives at the location in the book, he finds Emma, who warns him of his doom before a man sneaks up behind him (seriously dude, LOOK AROUND YOU) and drugs him.
Hardy awakens to find himself in the company of Claire and Joe, who have been waiting in a abandoned house near a lighthouse. It is a totally predictable place for Joe to be hiding, even Claire points this out, but whatever, the writers for this show are just as poor as Joe himself. Anyway, after some probing about when Hardy first fell in love with Claire, Joe decides it is time to kill her. Hardy does his best to stop him by doing, what else, but making fun of his writing and Edgar Allen Poe.
The tactic works and Hardy is able attack Joe. Joe slips away and runs outside to a boathouse, and after a very brief fight where some barrels of gas are knocked over and ignited, Joe is trapped by flames, and the building explodes with him inside. The death of Joe is entirely anticlimactic and comes with almost no real suspense. A boring death for a boring cult leader on a boring show. The next morning, Hardy and Claire wait around for Joe’s death to be confirmed, and when it is, they reveal their intentions of going back to Hardy’s apartment for the night before reuniting with Joey, and right there, we know what is coming.
Right away, we are reminded of Molly, Hardy’s neighbor who earned the right from Joe to be the one to kill Hardy. After some trickery with some knocks on the door, Molly appears and stabs Hardy, then Claire, with Hardy screaming in protest. The whole thing was visible the moment Hardy said “my apartment“. Then the screen fades to black, and the nightmare is over.
What will happen next season? Who really cares!? After viewing the mess that was Season One, I for one will not continue following.
Thanks for reading along this season, as bad as the show was, I enjoyed skewering it in these reviews. Hope you got some enjoyment out of it as well!