Unlike last week’s meager offering, this week, The Following actually twisted things up and proved capable of a few surprises. The Following is often ridiculous, so what saves it has to be its twists and its frights. “Trust Me” also continued to build up a new following — one that is about the cult of Joe, not about the cult of Poe. So while the main relationship between Joe and Ryan remains the same, the show is at least setting up something new with these new followers, led by one tough mother. Hit the jump for more.
Admittedly, I was more than ready to throw in the towel before “Trust Me,” but it showed a few signs of life worth pursuing. There were three main plots this week, all of which incorporated stabbings (as is The Following‘s way). Let’s go from weakest to strongest:
Joe Carroll’s Beard Causes Children to Kill Their Parents
Joe continued his southern adventures by packing his bags and giving a long goodbye to Mandy and Judy. But while Judy, one of Joe’s most ardent followers, begins to have second thoughts about him after he kills a priest in her Utopian Slut Palace, dead-eyed Mandy sees this as her one-way ticket to New York, New York! And if it takes brutally stabbing her mother to get there, then so be it. Because that’s a lot easier than getting a bus ticket, apparently.
So Joe is killing again — not “saved” in the least by Judy’s love or devotion — and is making his way back to his flock. But previews have shown Lily as a formidable leader in Joe’s place, even though she ultimately seems loyal to him (per her conversation with Ryan). Whether this causes a power struggle or a love story or both remains to be seen.
Don’t Trust the French
Gisele’s insistence on French-only is not only completely unnecessary, but it coupled with her constant negativity and whiney nature make her the heir apparent to Emma’s “Most Annoying” throne. The remaining followers disagree, and kill Carlos instead. But Emma being on the outs for once (not told of Joe’s survival, being considered an outsider and possibly even a threat to the twins) makes her a lot more interesting, as she is forced to reestablish her role both in the group and, eventually, with Joe. It’s a much more engaging place for her to be in than her role as a sexual manipulator last year.
Ryan Hardy Named Leading Cause of Death Among New Yorkers
Really nice twist in the Lily/Ryan drama. It became very clear this week early on that Lily was not all that she seemed, though before that it was kind of funny that Gina called Ryan out for basically endangering Lily just by proxy (as he is wont to do). Also a very nice development with the Ryan / Mike Weston relationship. Weston has gotten really sassy! He no longer takes Ryan’s shit, but he also still believes in him (to a point). He also has learned his lesson, that if you want Joe you have to go through Ryan. Gina banning Ryan from the case was nonsense, and just another moment in the FBI’s general blundering. Have you people learned nothing from the mistakes of last year?
Of course, Ryan comes with his own troubles. It should be considered Police 101 that when you figure out a dangerous criminal is duping you, you shouldn’t stare them down until they know that you know, so that they become murderous and, ultimately, in the wind. But the fact that Lily is the twin’s “mother” (biologically or ideologically or both, we do not yet know), is a nice way to keep her involved and tie all of those plots together so far. Ryan’s attraction to her is sure to come back into play as she sets up her follower kingdom waiting for Joe. Because what would Ryan and Joe be about if not fighting over a blonde?
“Trust Me” actually established some decent arcs moving forward, and ratcheted up the show’s violence and action from last week’s pretty boring episode. A decent hour with a few neat tricks.
Episode Rating: B+
Musings and Miscellanea:
— “I am no longer in need of your utopian slut palace, but I am thankful for your hospitality all the same” – Joe to Judy. Carrie Preston, go back to the Good Wife and keep winning Emmys.
— “If I die, you die” – dream-version Joe Carroll to Ryan Hardy, channeling a little Harry Potter.
— I read a review last week that said The Following never has any original ideas. I found Ryan’s “obsession wall” with Joe particularly derivative of Homeland, when Quinn uncovers Carrie’s insane map for finding Brody.
— Nice job with Lily’s “master of disguise” sequence this week. Very nice flow.
— So Mark has a crush on Emma … I do not want to see a sex scene between them. Eeesh.
— “You have earned your crazy, Ryan” – Weston. I really loved their relationship dynamics in this episode. Speaking of relationships, someone should write a think piece on Ryan and Joe’s obsession with each other …
— Did Emma really get a full tattoo sleeve in one year?
— “My ass is on the on the line!” – Weston.