The Following: “Whips and Regret”, Review

This week, much like the last, makes for even more waste of amazing talent...

On tonight’s abysmal, pointless episode of The Following, Roderick, the high tempered rouge of the Carroll clan, asks the question that is on my, and I’m sure many others’, minds. Roderick, in his blustery manner, probes Carroll on what he is waiting for. He points out the obvious; Carroll is out of prison, he has his son, he has his wife, and all of his loyal followers are gathered and lying in wait for the mastermind’s word, so what is the holdup? Roderick points out how the followers are getting restless and tired, waiting for something big to happen.When Roderick was pointing out the dissatisfaction of those waiting and watching Carroll’s every move, it almost sounded like he was addressing the waning patience of the Fox show’s audience. For several episodes now, the show has been moving at a snail’s pace, giving Ryan Hardy and company trivial, small tasks and opponents to take down as Carroll sits in his mansion stroking his chin and laughing at all the evil deeds he has in store. If only he would actually do something. Trying to sum up the forward progress of the last four episodes is really quite difficult, because the landscape of the show has barely changed at all. For a self-proclaimed “thriller,” the show really is starting to become a snooze.If I had to find something on the show that is working, then it would have to be Roderick. Sure, he hasn’t been giving much to do, and appears as fleetingly as Carroll does, but at least he has been shaking things up since his introduction. This week, he and Carroll butt-heads in an argument about who is really in control. For Roderick, he has been pulling the strings while Joe was locked up, so it’s difficult for the man to surrender all the power back over. Roderick seems to be really invested in the group mentality of Carroll’s cult, but Joe only seems focused on his own agenda and motives. After being put in his place, Roderick comes to blows with Vince, another follower who is given the spotlight this week, and then breaks the nose of an innocent bystander in the only joyful representation of violence that this show has ever put forward.As stated early, Vince is the monster of the week. After locating the server to Carroll’s recruiting service in, where else, but a dominatrix sex club in New York City. The owner of the club, Hailey, is not involved in Carroll’s club but allows her quasi-boyfriend Vince to use the place for Carroll related activity. Hardy and Parker convince Hailey to lure Vince to the club and wear a wire so they can monitor his activity and hopefully follow him back to where Joe is located. In a lame pun, when Hardy suggest they come up with a code word, Hailey says, “oh like a safe word?,” because, you know, S&M and that lot. The gritty New York sex club just seems like a leftover set from a better David Fincher movie, but that could be said about any aspect of this show.Despite Hailey saying the safe word, Hardy decides to leave her with Vince so he can lead them to wherever Claire and Joe may be located, but all Vince does is take Hailey to the training grounds for the followers. There, we learn that Vince and Roderick have been putting the followers through physical, combat, and deprivation training. Also located in the decrepit building (Joe Carroll and his followers have an endless amount of abandoned, creepy locations) are weapons and a few followers locked up in the midst of deprivation training. Of course, they get out, Hardy has to blow them away, and Vince escapes. So all and all, we learn a little bit more, but nothing really goes anywhere. Another big disappointment comes this week when Claire and Joe finally come face to face again. In a forced dinner setting, Joe once again declares his undying love for Claire, and predictably, this only angers and upsets her. They don’t have any deep conversations that reveal more of their backstory, they don’t add any depth to their characters, they just have a two-minute argument that goes nowhere. Claire is frustrated from the get go when she arrives at the Carroll mansion because she is unable to see Joey. She complains and yells, but doesn’t get what she asks for. Well, what did she expect? She threw herself into the arms of the enemy and just assumes they will grant her what she wants. Didn’t really think that one through did you Claire?This week it is also revealed who Hardy’s follower is. It’s Molly, Hardy’s former girlfriend, who has been living next door to Hardy in a rouse to keep an eye on him. In the pointless flashbacks on the week, we learn that Molly is a RNA in a terminal ward who delights in letting terminal patients die, and the main reason that she agrees to do Carroll’s dirty work is that, when the time comes, she wants to be the one to kill Hardy. It’s an interesting bit of information, but her motive for this really is not revealed, and obviously Hardy isn’t going to die when there’s four episodes left, so only time will tell if this Molly business is worth it in the long run.It’s maddening to think that I have to watch the writers of this show kill time before I’m given any real sort of development or resolution. What worries me even more, given that Fox has already picked up the series for another season, is that the story will not be ended this year and only drawn out for another full season. That’s an evil plan that even Joe Carroll couldn’t come up with.