The Following Season 2 Review “Freedom”

The Following Season 2 Episode 11 Freedom (5)

On the latest episode of “The Following,” we took a look at the various forms “Freedom” takes, which, on a show like this, range from freedom from guarded imprisonment (as in Luke and Claire, essentially) to freedom from a wacko cult (as in Mandy) to freedom from life itself (a whole lot of people, starting with Carla and proceeding to various innocent bystanders in a bakery and at the hospital). Not that the latter people particularly wanted that sort of freedom, but it is what it is.

Call me crazy- or better yet, call Joe crazy, which he obviously is- but you’d think that Joe would take a more measured approach than he’s adopted as of late. If you want people to follow you on the fly, maybe killing kitties and random people in your own cult isn’t the way to go. Say what you will about Micah (and I did over the last few weeks), but he actually had people volunteering for his sacrifices, they believed in him so much. Well, give or take a few people he had locked up.

But Joe shouldn’t have wacked a personal friend of Robert, which very nearly screwed up his most ardent connection in the cult. Without him, he wouldn’t be as far along as he is, so Joe might want to do a little research to make sure he’s not knocking off a key member’s bestie next time around, you know? And no one wants to see an animal choked in cold blood under the best of circumstances. If you want to attract followers, it’s best to kill them with kindness, at least at first. Of course, Joe’s not much for patience, so I guess that’s to be expected, but it may also be his downfall as well, if he doesn’t watch himself.

Lucky for him, he had Emma to work her magic on Robert before he checked out of supporting Joe. Honestly, you’d think she’d be a bit miffed that he keeps pimping her out to randoms, but I guess she doesn’t care or she wouldn’t keep doing it. On the other hand, Mandy had the good sense to bail while the bailing was good. Unfortunately, it looks like a case of her going out of the frying pan into the fire, as she called Mark, of all people.

Not that she had much anyone else to call, but still. You’d think she’d know better than to trust another psycho. That said, she might not know exactly how crazy he is, so maybe that’s why. I can’t recall if she saw him do anything particularly nasty or not. Still, with Emma sh*t-talking Mandy behind her back, it was clearly time to get going before Joe sided with Emma over her, which seems likely in the grand scheme of things.

Meanwhile, speaking of crazy, Claire continued her determined intention to reconnect with Ryan, even with the FBI telling her they were going to move her mother and son to an undisclosed location if she left the safe-house. Once again, I don’t get why she doesn’t just have Ryan brought to her, a la Mike. Or even talk to him on the phone or Skype or whatever. Why risk being exposed? I don’t get what’s so important that she feels the need to go to him and meet face to face. I guess we’ll have to wait until next week, as the episode ended with her seeing Ryan for the first time since her “death.”

By far the most compelling part of the episode was the whole Lily subplot. Deftly positing her team as a group of Joe’s followers, she smartly devised a way to break her son out of protective custody. While Ryan picked up on her ruse before things got any worse than they did, a sizable amount of people were still injured or outright murdered at both the bakery and the hospital, not to mention that poor nurse out in the street. Honestly, is there anything scarier than the thought of being in a public place and just being randomly attacked out of nowhere by people with knives and/or guns?

It’s absolutely horrifying, and I was definitely on the edge of my seat during those scenes, hardly able to believe it. I certainly hope this sort of thing doesn’t give people ideas. I’m with Kevin Williamson on it being a cop-out to blame the entertainment industry on stuff like that, but it is a frightening thought, to be sure. The show has really outdone itself on the public spectacle aspect this season, harkening back to certain elements of Williamson’s signature series, the “Scream” movies, which did indeed inspire some copy-cat killings. In fact, I’m sure that was part of what inspired this show- the thought that someone could see your work and be like: hey, that’s not a bad idea… Yikes!

This was an exceptionally well-executed episode (no pun intended), and for once, the Joe stuff was the least of it, what with Lily’s shenanigans. I do think the idea of Joe taking on one of those Mega-Church pastors is interesting, and should yield some intriguing scenarios, especially if they continue in the direction the show’s already been going in, what with the mass murder attacks in public places.

About the only thing scarier than getting attacked in public places like in the last few shows would be getting attacked in a church, ostensibly the safest place one could be in- at least if you believe. I have a feeling that’s exactly where they’re headed with it, which should be pretty unnerving to the Christian faithful, no doubt. That is, if they’re actually watching this, which you just know some of them are.

As ever, I liked that Ryan is on top of his game, always hot on the heels of the bad guys, if usually a tad too late in the process to avoid the bloodshed of innocents altogether. Still, it could have been much worse if not for him. I also like that he’s feeling more optimistic as of late, and after my initial skepticism, Carrie genuinely seems like a good thing for him. Unfortunately, she may be a short-lived good thing, what with Claire back on the scene. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next week on that end, I guess.

All in all, another solid episode. You know a show is firing on all cylinders when the main bad guy isn’t even the most interesting thing on the episode. Granted, that could be a problem in some shows, but Joe’s just ramping up for a new plan, so we’ll cut him some slack. Lily is much more of a force to be reckoned with than I think Joe accounted for, and she might just cause him much more trouble than he ever could have expected. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and all that. At least she’s got her son back, so that should cool her off for the time being, if not for long- especially once she inevitably gets her hands on Mandy, which, from the looks of next week’s preview, she will soon enough. But will Joe care?

What did you think of “The Following” this week? Did Lily’s actions have you on the edge of your seat, too? What did you think of Ryan’s new attitude? Will it last? How will he handle the Claire situation? Will it affect his relationship with Mike? What exactly does Joe have planned for the pastor? What will Lily’s next move be? Leave your comments down below, and I’ll do my best to “follow” them up with replies of my own. See you next time!