This season on The Following, a lack of Joe Carroll has lead to his cult finding new, artistic ways to draw him out; or at least, pay homage to the man who inspired them to kill, kill, kill. Without Joe to tango with, Ryan is also left unsure of what comes next, though finds himself still caught up with the remnants of followers, all searching for something to bring them together (or against one another) and give meaning to their mayhem. (Even Ryan considers himself “crazy” in his obsession with Joe, especially since it was a follower who killed Claire, basically allowing Joe to win that rivalry). Hit the jump for why I am tired of this dystooooopian squalor (and that accent).
The Following has always expected very little from its audience. Last year it was the repetition of the Edgar Allen Poe motifs (which are still floating around here), and just repeating his damn name, and this year it’s setting up things like Joe’s “quandary” about whether to kill again or not. The Following would be a much more interesting show if this was really a question, but of course Joe will (and did) kill again, and it restored him like blood to a vampire.
As he regains his followers (starting with Judy and Mandy) in Arkansas, those left in New York are in a chaotic state. The show has always had daddy issues, but never as pronounced as with mega Weekend at Bernie‘s fans, twins Luke and Mark. Unlike the characters from the show’s first season, these two are already seasoned killers, relishing in their kills. There’s no journey about unlocking this potential within them — they create girlfriends and families for themselves, setting up and enacting elaborate scenes with the corpses of their victims, ultimately leaving them propped up in scenes from “The Gothic Sea.” The crazy is out of the bag. And if something does fit (like the child Ryan finds in the closet), that thing (or person) is simply removed from the scene. The whole point therefore is not the killing itself, but the game of it. Mark and Luke enjoy toying with Ryan because that’s what Joe did, and so alerting him to the threats they are creating is often a game of chance, and whether or not Ryan can get there in time.
Ryan’s track record on this account is not great, and he naturally pursues the killers on his own, making choices (as he always has) to go into dark, abandoned buildings alone, and to keep things from the FBI (until the last possible moment). Not that that last part is a bad plan — the FBI is notoriously inept on the show, focusing on suspicions of Ryan instead of the killers on the loose. The FBI also relishes in not using Ryan’s connection with Joe and his followers to their advantage, save for Mike Weston, to whom Ryan refuses to speak. What a cluster.
How Joe’s return will fit in to this mess is not yet clear, nor is it clear what his next motivations will be. With Claire and Joey out of the picture, is Joe’s new direction to just make Ryan Hardy crazy by dangling corpses in front of him? More and more people he couldn’t save, and who died because of his weird relationship with Joe? The Following is not a subtle enough show to deal with any of these themes with much consequence, but it is getting a few points this year for being suitably creepy, and introducing some fairly interesting new characters (the twins, Judy and Mandy) that prove the show has new avenues of exploring the chaos within, at least.
Episode Rating: C
Musings and Miscellanea:
— “Did you play a lot of video games growing up? Did you watch a lot of horror movies growing up?” – the impressionable Mandy.
— So happy to see Carrie Preston, who plays Judy, in just about anything, but I can’t help but draw comparisons to her portrayal of Arlene from True Blood.
— James Purefoy‘s accent is all over the place. I don’t understand how a man from England can have such a fake-sounding English accent.
— If there is supposed to be some kind of symbolism in naming the twins Mark and Luke, I want no part of it.
— Lily Gray has no idea the kind of danger she’s in by flirting with Ryan Hardy. He is a man comprised of red flags (that all attract murderers).
— When the followers wear that mask, they look like bobble-heads.
–“Damn that Ryan hardy, he shot me!” – Mark/Luke.
— Next week it looks like the FBI gets more involved with the investigation. Expect more cock-ups!