Noting The Following’s doubling up on episodes a few weeks back, I’m a little baffled—noting the show’s plummeting viewership, also—as to why they chose to air a new episode opposite the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship. Only time will tell, but I imagine this week’s audience will be even lower than last week’s season-low, and series-low, 3.25 million live and same-day viewers. While the addition of Michael Ealy’s Theo has reinvigorated The Following, I fear his outstanding performance might have come too late for this disjointed jigsaw puzzle of a show.
When Duncan Banks, Dr. Strauss’ Beacon, NY liaison, is being transported by local police, the vehicle’s electricity cuts out in a similar manner to how Theo handled video surveillance in last week’s “Reunion.” Soon enough, Duncan is free and Theo’s face is streaked with fresh blood…as if there could have been any other outcome. Theo is good—well, I guess Ealy plays a good bad guy.
From prison, Joe genuinely tries to help Ryan catch Theo, albeit in typical Joe and Ryan cat-and-mouse fashion. (Is this guy capable of not beating around the bush? I guess that’s his allure.) Joe is informed that he gets to choose the method of his execution in a week. Does it seem likely that an all-time gruesome serial killer would get to pick his own method of death? I didn’t think so either.
When Theo and Duncan talk about how exposed Theo feels in surfacing to make Strauss and Daisy’s passports, he realizes there are loose ends to tie up. “It’s going to be a very messy day,” Theo says, stone-faced. I genuinely shivered. It seems Ealy’s talent has been squandered in films like Think Like A Man Too and About Last Night.
Theo and Duncan go to kill someone named Luis Serra—Strauss’ passport connection—and run into Luis’ friends instead. Theo cuts off the hand of one of the rude friends to send a message. As you’d expect, when Ryan, Mike and Co. arrive at the crime scene later—seeing Luis as their path to the “mystery man”—it’s a Jack The Ripper-esque bloodbath.
Max, kept from the field due to her injuries, finds a lead on a cyber hacker with a company called Manitech who broke into the FBI’s system.
Post-kill, Theo—the picture of stillness—and Duncan (a jittery chatterbox) hatch a plan to destroy Luis’ computer files, and then dispose of him, too. Theo assigns Duncan to Luis while he handles some other business; it turns out that the “other business” is the FBI investigating Manitech, Theo’s company.
The FBI has agents assigned to watch Luis’ mother and sister. However, they choose not to watch his girlfriend, which is where Luis goes. Implausible—the girlfriend would be the first stakeout for agents.
At Manitech, Max interviews workers trying to find the hack. They try to mislead her with inaccurate computer jargon, but she’s a cyber whiz. As Max becomes more suspicious, Theo plants files on and alters the computer of a Manitech higher-up, trying to make it look like he’s the source of the hack.
Max learns that a Manitech employee accessed the FBI server two days before Strauss’ trial. When Max bumps into a bashful Theo, he goes into bashful Clark Kent mode and she admits her ribs are hurt. I can’t help but think this will come into use for Theo later on.
Duncan enters Luis’ girlfriend’s house, kills her and subdues/kidnaps Luis. Ryan and Mike arrive at the murder scene, as Luis is taken to where he makes the passports, Duncan trying to force him to give up Strauss’ passport. Luis stalls, knowing that once he gives up the information, he’s a goner.
A Manitech employee tells Max that Peter, the higher-up that Theo planted the hack on, has an alibi. Theo has bugged the room and hears everything. Surely you can guess what happens. Theo leaves no stone unturned, and nips this in the bud…which really makes me wonder why Duncan is even still alive; Theo could’ve handled everything on his own, and Duncan is as loose of an end as possible. It doesn’t add up.
Mike and Ryan get a lead on where Luis makes the passports and head there.
Ryan, Mike, and the rest of a squad surround the complex where Duncan and Luis are—because they’re top-notch at finding criminals in record time, don’t you know? They just can’t actually shoot, capture, or impair any criminals—while Tom and Mike squabble, of course. The writers are really dragging out this Tom-Mike-Max love triangle. Why would Tom not have told Max he knows about her cheating yet? Seems strange.
When Max goes looking for the employee who came forward about the higher-up’s alibi, she searches for him alone—which makes no sense. Manitech is in lockdown and all the employees kicked out. Max would have immediately requested backup instead of searching on her own. She certainly wouldn’t only call for help when she finds the body. Theo, having planned this, circles her like the shark Strauss pegged him as, but Max’s backup shows up just in time.
Mike, Ryan and the squad enter the building where Luis is being held and a shoot-out with Duncan ensues. Duncan shoots Ryan with a shotgun at point-blank range; Ryan fully absorbs the impact with a bulletproof vest and recovers in seconds to kill Duncan. The entire exchange is ludicrous. When Ryan is being examined, he’s told he should go to the hospital to check for broken ribs and—you’ll never believe it—have his pacemaker looked at! It only took two years, but the pacemaker returns!
Back at the FBI, Ryan and Mike agree that—after talking to Max about finding the hacker in a Manitech higher-up—they found their “mystery man” far too easily and should keep looking. Ryan says that the Manitech employee can’t be the mastermind.
At the close of “The Hunt,” Theo returns home to join his family in bed, the perfect loving father. I can’t help but wonder if the family is a front, or Theo is genuinely capable of love. Simultaneously, Ryan has a strange dream about Joe; it seems Ryan isn’t quite ready to let him go yet.
Overall, “The Hunt” is really just an okay episode. It’s predictable, not particularly memorable, and it seems to serve only as a set-up episode. Truthfully, coming off “The Reunion”—which I thought was actually an outstanding episode, but the ratings didn’t agree—The Following needed a win this week, and I don’t think they hit the mark. Noting the National Championship, it’s likely that “The Hunt” will be a new series-low in viewership for the second week in a row. Don’t give up just yet, though. Michael Ealy has injected new life into the plot, and Joe Carroll’s execution is can’t miss—or at least the promise of it.
I just hope The Following’s fruit doesn’t bloom after everyone’s stopped looking.