Before this season of The Following began, those involved with its inner workings assured audiences that the show was going to be different. Not so randomly gory, for one (so, fail), and that there would be more twists (also fail). The real twist is that The Following has essentially abandoned its entire season one premise, but replaced it with nothing. The followers are all dead, not a single person has mentioned Edgar Allan Poe, and now Joe Carroll casually drops that he isn’t a writer, or at least, a very good one. What? Hit the jump for more.
The only thing The Following enjoys more than killing off minority characters is making less sense week by week. Is it a challenge? Do people know how nonsensical a show is as they’re making it? Do directors know as the dailies start coming in, or does it start with the writers? Or later, the editors trying to make something of this complete mess?
As I’ve said in previous weeks, The Following‘s biggest sin this year is that it’s so boring. When a show continuously kills off everyone it introduces us to, it means that we have very little invested in anyone, and deaths become even more meaningless than before, in this violent showverse. Life means very little on The Following, but even less now that we don’t hardly even see the victims before they are slain. It also means that anyone from the first season automatically has to become a focal point, like Emma. Is she supposed to be a hero now?
Also, apparently the narrative “patch” for the FBI being the absolute pinnacle of incompetence is that there’s a mole, and it’s probably Gina Mendez. Or her wife. Regardless, she’s a road block of either supreme idiocy, or purposeful deception when it comes to law enforcement. And speaking of which, within the course of a single episode, Mike Weston has gone from questioning the very existence of Joe Carroll and the sanity of Ryan Hardy, to trying to put moves on Max, to doing his best Jesse Pinkman impression (“bitch!”) and then bludgeoning a man to death (nearly), while walking around with blood on his face. Seriously, he didn’t even have time to wipe his face? In another week he’ll be eating human flesh naked on the side of the highway, quoting Poe.
But truly, whatever happened to Poe and the very ideological crux of this show? Completely gone with the wind? If so, it has to be replaced with something. Right now, the characters are all just running around, killing anyone who doesn’t have English as a first language. There’s no cohesion to the story, and no driving force for Joe. He and Ryan locked eyes at Lily’s estate, but Joe still drove off. Isn’t a confrontation with Ryan the only thing that keeps him going these days?
According to the promos, this is where the show takes a turn, and puts Lily in charge of the Tormenting of Ryan Hardy, while Joe takes off to God knows where. For those left behind, The Following isn’t afraid to kill off main characters, as it has made quite plain so far in both of its seasons. But instead of using that fear of death and those high stakes, it squanders the dramatic effect by diluting the interactions, stripping them of any depth or emotion, and relying on cheap edits and loud music with fresh, weekly guttings. This is what separates a show like, say, Hannibal — which has its share of gore — from The Following, which bathes in the blood without consideration, without sense, and without style.
Episode Rating: D
Musings and Miscellanea:
— When did Mark become the “nice” twin? Isn’t he supposed to be just as nuts and depraved as his brother? And why is he surprised at the necrophilia / staging after death?
— International House of Psychos was right, but they’re all dead now except for Lily and Mark.
— Lily: “Where’s my son?” Ryan: “He’s in my backseat. Bleeding.”
— I do have to admire Lily’s chic style and hair. And also that the show makes Jessica Stroup look worn, like a real cop.
— Comparing, say, Weston and Ryan’s “turn” to the dark side because of this case to True Detective‘s look at the emotional toil of confronting evil is just depressing.
— I’m not sure I can stick with this show another week, we’ll see. It’s such a total mess.