The Following Season 1 Review “Let Me Go”

We’ve spent the past six weeks watching The Following trot out milquetoast serial killers and babysit a child on a farm. We did this while the criminal mastermind of a large cult sat in prison. It made little sense in the grand scheme of the show and made even less sense when it became abundantly clear he was the most charismatic evil person on the show. You can say what you like about James Purefoy’s acting chops, but the man does have charisma. His charisma so far exceeds that of his followers (makes sense in the real world, not so much in TV land) that his freedom from the confines of an FBI detention center are most welcome. Joe Carroll being let free is not the cure-all elixir for the show, but it does infuse the show with a much needed dose of engaging conflict. If nothing else, we now have our protagonist and antagonist able to square off with each other on even footing. It gives the audience a potential showdown to dream about. That is, if anyone truly cares at this point. Judging from last week’s comments, perhaps you do not.

That being said, I have to briefly suspend This Week in Hating The Following to discuss the possibility that The Following has a sense of humor about itself. We’ve discussed in this space before how television shows have the ability to change midstream according to how characters or storylines are received in the public domain. For that reason, I was struck by Joe Carroll defiantly saying “And that’s a BEATLES REFERENCE” to Ryan Hardy as he held him at gun point. The indignation on his face certainly made it seem like he delivered that line to more people than just Kevin Bacon. Also, my ears perked up when Ryan Hardy casually told Agent Parker (still don’t know her first name) if they wanted to catch Joe Carroll “We have to start doing things a different way.” That one probably wasn’t intentional, but I couldn’t help fitting that comment in with the rest of the episode. The show went about things a different way, and it made for slightly more engaging television.

With Joey Matthews-Emma odyssey finally coming to a close (If anyone cares, Joey was back to being an idiot this week), the show has closed the chapter on this opening act. We’ve got the cult together, a serial killer is reunited with his son, and the FBI has returned to square one. By wiping the decks clean, the show has an opportunity to go forth in a direction that makes a ton more sense than the garbage we were just witness to for two months. It’s a real opportunity for the show to become a compelling cat and mouse game between two men inextricably linked by their past experiences. Sadly, what probably ensues is Joe Carroll throws his charges as Ryan Hardy like Donkey Kong throws barrels at Mario. I may be considered cynical about the show’s prospects, but there’s no shred of evidence to indicate otherwise. Perhaps Ryan Hardy could dig some up.