Are You “Following” Along? Thoughts on the Show’s Second Outing

Episode two of The Following continued to build on the intensity and the dementedness that we saw in the latter part of the pilot. And I think it’s safe to say now that it’s a good show and that I’m enthused for the rest of the season.

In the second run, we learned that Clare’s son, Joey, was taken by the cult following that Joe has built up for himself.  A woman, Emma, and the two seemingly gay guys who were Sarah’s neighbors all have taken Joey to some big, secluded house and are holding him captive there. Joey’s fine with it because Emma has been his nanny since forever and she keeps telling him they’re on an adventure together. Meanwhile, Ryan is desperately digging deeper into this cult to explore its origins and get a few steps ahead of them so he can find Joey and ease Clare’s worries, while some of the cult recruits are staying busy slicing and dicing people.

The episode was fast and didn’t pull any punches. The writers really keep it moving, and that’s a good thing. They throw a lot of information at you, but I get the feeling we’ll soon know how to sort it all out and label pieces of it as important or inconsequential.

Again, the scenes that are intended to be scary are genuinely harrowing and creepy (the opening scene, THE SCENE WITH THE MASKS AND THE MIRROR, and the scene where Clare’s home is intruded by the cult member who’s a cop). This is the show’s strength. It knows how to get under your skin and in a way that seems so realistic and mundane.

Kevin Bacon really shined this time, too. I’m slowly seeing a full transformation into Ryan Harding. And James Purefoy was EXCELLENT in the bookstore scene.

I really enjoyed getting to know a little more about Joe’s background. So he was a writer! And a popular one! Did I miss that in the pilot? Now I want to know where along the line he snapped…and why! In addition, I think the writers need to work on his ability to play mind games. He gets an A for effort, but his mind games are nowhere near as affecting as, say, Hannibal Lecter’s. Ryan doesn’t fall for them and Clare only fell for them because he wouldn’t tell her where Joey was—not because he was questioning her about her affair with Ryan.

I’m also very intrigued by the (potential?) gay subplot…and no, not just because I’m gay. I think the psychology there is very interesting. But, I’m not sure we’re going to get to see much more of that. Who else can already see that Emma’s going to kill the jealous crybaby?

I do feel, though, that the show may risk having too many secondary characters (people working on the case, cult members, past attempted victims), thereby building an unintentional wall that blocks you from getting close to the core characters that matter most (Ryan and Clare, for starters). Also, there were a few moments that required you to suspend your disbelief:
•    In the opening scene, the second that creep told the girl he knew the house well, she should’ve known something was up. And if she didn’t get it then, she should’ve definitely known something was up with homeboy when he closed her bedroom door behind him. Still, hooker should’ve at least tried to make a run for it when he unraveled a sheet full of sharp, shiny weapons that he intended to use on her.
•    In the flashback scene where Clare and Ryan celebrate her divorce from Joe, old girl was just too nonchalant and casual about it! “To finally being divorced. I’m nervous about being single, but excited about starting over again.” Bitch, you were married to a SERIAL KILLER!!! Do you not understand how serious that is??!!
•    Oh, and good luck to Emma and the not-gay guys for thinking that Joey will just eventually stop asking if he could call his mom. Y’all need a backup plan!

In short, good job, FOX, on episode 2. A show like this is not easy to pull off. It’s ambitious and trying to be many things…and to be them well!

What did you guys think about the seconding outing?

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