The Following "Chapter Two" Review: Jordy Remembers About the Rabbits

The Following S01E02: "Chapter Two"

The Following so far is like watching a baby horse being born: It's gross, gory, kind of a train wreck, lacks grace, and, when it tries to stand up, it's shaky at best.

It's early, obviously, and we have to reserve a lot of judgement until the show has a few more episodes under its belt but this is pretty much what I expected when I heard that Kevin Williamson had a show that didn't involve eloquent, banter-prone teenagers but did involve Kevin Bacon. Williamson is very good at creating a story world operated under adolescent perspective and rulesets. His grown-ups, however, have never really been interesting. In fact, they've generally been children, too. Remember Mitch and the ice cream cone on the Creek? Oh boy.

The major problem with The Following right now is believability, and not so much because the things happening aren't logical, but because they aren't reasonable. The difference between the two is having to explain things after a person has already consumed them versus an audience being captivated by what's happening in front of them. There are too many instances where the characters are operating with only vague motivations, and you wonder how the chessboard is set up. Except that you only know it's a chessboard because they tell you.

Tim nailed it last week in his review of The Following's series premiere when he talked about the difficulty of creating story arcs with characters who don't seem to have a real plan other than to do what they want. We know that Carroll's reason for creating this game is to orchestrate a masterpiece from behind bars and to include his adversary as a hero. He wants puppets. But there's no real goal other than doing what he wants to do and creating puzzles that are based, presumably, on guts. He's already in jail and he already completed his masterpiece by killing Maggie Grace in the first episode (sad face). So now his goal is to enable a cult and create a bigger masterpiece? The vagaries of the criminally insane and sociopathic make it hard to maintain interest. He just does things to do things. He has no boundaries, no limits other than those of his trained assassins, and inscrutable logic that can change on a whim 'cause he's cray. It's like villainizing nature.

The apparent structure that's placed on this "plan" is guidance from the works of Edgar Allen Poe, who's a strange-looking man to idolize. Generally, you don't want your cult icons to look as nebbish as Poe does, with his Victorian garb and tiny mustache, but here people are, wearing masks to carry out Carroll's dirty work. The bigger problem is that they use such a superficial and narrow version of Gothic Romanticism as the flag under which they carry out crimes of murder. For people who want to create a religion based on Poe and led by a Poe academic, their understanding of the man and his works seems to be limited to notes taken by an underclassman in a 101 lecture.

The rallying cry of "Nevermore" is annoying, and I'd hoped it wouldn't live past the pilot. But it was everywhere in Episode 2, up in the attic, beside the pictures of all the deceased. It's like if there was a cult based on Roger Ebert and they wrote "thumbs down" next to all the dead people. And, mind you, Poe was a literary critic.

What "Chapter Two" did well was create a sense that the cult has its own agency and that the chessboard, while vaguely assembled, allows for Hardy to move into positions that threaten Carroll's game. Even though Carroll is a messianic figure capable of bending people to the will of his charisma, it doesn't necessarily mean that his soldiers in the field will be able to deny their own humanity when operating under his absent command. Jordy as the new trainee and Team Good-Looking as the keepers of little Joey the hostage (on, what, is that a ranch? A plantation?) had their own dramas to sort out and issues to deal with that were, in my opinion, superior to the overall mission and leads.

Jordy is my favorite example of that, as bumbling and eager as he is. The writers might as well have named him Lennie, as he's an impressionable oaf who takes orders and is very literal about carrying out instructions. I liked that he had complete transparency when he prepared to kill the sorority girl. He was sure of himself, had followed a plan to the letter, and was confident that his instructions could be carried out effectively. That his massacre was so sloppy and amateurish only added nuance to the character and provided a level of difficulty. No ordinary human can do what Carroll does, and that was demonstrated by how much Jordy, an ordinary human, screwed up even in his success.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the best opportunity for post-adolescent shenanigans was at play as the pawns in Carroll's game struggled to negotiate the changes in the rules after they'd lived in certain roles for so long—a challenge that'd be difficult for anyone but maddening for people as impressionable as these three seem to be. The potential in that house is almost good enough for a spin-off, if the show wants to bench Bacon for being terrible.

What this episode didn't do was make me care about anyone else, particularly on the police side of things. The Following seems predicated on the fact that law enforcement is deeply stupid and horrendously ineffectual. Despite the fact that Carroll's minions were able to spirit away both Sarah and Joey in unconventional ways, through a hole in the closet and a trusted employee, respectively, are you telling me that no one thought to check the basement? THAT'S WHERE KILLERS LIVE. Leatherface doesn't hang out in a bedroom with bay windows. Learn from your mistakes and think like your villain!

Of course, with law enforcement being so stunningly awful, the door was left open for Bacon's hamming to connote his superiority. Dead people in the innards of a building? "Classic Poe." Yeah, we know. "What are those?" They're obviously blueprints from the lair you just investigated. They were all over the walls and just about labeled (the only thing missing was a big, bloody "Nevermore" caption under Sarah's place). It must be from Hardy's years of expertise that he was able to piece together that puzzle. "Hey, let's put a civilian who's at the hearbeat of this case alone in the same room with her ex-husband serial killer and see what happens!" Who would do that?

Although, to be fair, I wouldn't mind if Claire Matthews bit it. She's necessary to the plot of the show as the only source of any kind of sympathy Carroll or Hardy might have, but I feel nothing for her. The chemistry between her and Hardy represents a dearth that only exists between polite, attractive strangers and as a character, even as a many-time victim, she almost repels emotional investment. The strongest moment between them was the kiss, which I almost liked, except that it seemed awkward in a different way than the awkwardness they were trying for. It felt like two actors kissing which, from what I hear, is not how you want to feel about two characters emoting.

I'm not done with The Following, though I'm a little disheartened. It's Kevin Williamson trying to be Andrew Kevin Walker (Kevin trifecta!), and maybe the show needs more of an opportunity to hook us. Pilots are hard and second episodes can be just as tough. Here's hoping three and four can make up some ground.



NOTES


– Is anyone else feeling the love for the Green Bay Packers with some of these names? Jordy like Jordy Nelson? Claire Matthews sounds like Clay Matthews? No? Just me and my bitter disappointment for the season? Okay.

– "Rick" in the Poe mask lighting a dude on fire felt less like a romantic death than it did a Fight Club Project Mayhem task. Compare that to Emma killing her mother—what it lacked in flash it had in poetic justice. Also, again, it's hard to take anyone seriously when they're wearing the mask of someone who looks like they'd sound like Hans Moleman.

– With the Marilyn Manson cover of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" last week, the Deftones' "Change (in the House of Flies)" and Sepultura's cover of Massive Attack's "Angel" this week, it's like whoever is doing the soundtrack for this show is hanging out with my 15-year-old self. Hope s/he's wearing Jncos or else I'll look like an idiot.

– Another point for this episode: Replacing the lead agent from last week and replacing her with Parker. It makes sense that Hardy breaking Carroll's fingers on her watch would mean she should probably be off the case. Also, Parker, a cult expert, might be in on the Poe thrill-kill cult. Somewhat interesting.

– "This is my chapter and I can write it any way I want to." The most telling line of how this cult is organized, more so than any of the investigators' hypotheses.


What'd you think of Episode 2?

Comments (105)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Can't connect w any of these characters, even the supposedly psychotic followers r boring as heck. A lot of dumb things in this ep also, like seeing the pic of the ex wife and suddenly realizing she may be in danger. Then they race to her house, find nothing then 10 mins later its "Omg, the basement! She must be in trouble now!" And of course the best of all was when he was looking at the masks on the shelf right in front of him and someone fails to notice one of the is on a person standing next to the shelf. Really?? This show gets one more ep to try to intrigued me or make me care about any of these bland characters.
Reply
Flag
Although I generally agree with this review, I didn't think the Poe thing was quite accurate. It's not Poe who the others idolise, it's Carrol, who has given these murderers an outlet and a way to bind together to kill. The way it seems to me, it's only a few of Carrol's followers who are also in gothic romanticism, but the rest of them are just plain old serial killers who idolise Carrol for doing what he did, or who those with mental issues who have been taken advantage of and manipulated.

Having said that, there needs to be more about what drives Carrol. I need to at least partly understand why he does what he does in order for me to feel like he's a good character. Right now I don't feel like his reasons are that interesting or fleshed out, and he's not that charismatic. They could change that so easily, but if they don't then it's a hell of a wasted potential for a show.
2
Reply
Flag
Just watched the first 2 episodes and loved them. Would have watched the entire series in a row if that was possible at this point. Then I started on the reviews and was surprised by the negativity. Please: if you don't like it, watch something else!
What if it isn't believable. How many shows are? It is great television!
2
Reply
Flag
I have to say, I'm enjoying this show so far! It has kinks that need working out, but I am surprised at such damning reviews of the first two episodes. Kevin Bacon is always very watchable for me, and the character is interesting - though I agree the idea that presumably now having a purpose again magically cured his alcohol dependency is a bit simplistic! I love Carroll: he is believable as a charismatic psychopath that people would be drawn to and I think the story needs to unfold a little before we assume their is no method to his plan, which is a bit too intricate to have no set end game. Psychopaths are always interesting because they don't follow conventional rules, so I'm happy to continue watching and see how the show develops (unlike Revolution which was frankly unwatchable).
5
Reply
Flag
Terrifying how little this show surprises me. Parker is in with the cult? DU-UHH! I was thinking this the moment I saw her standing in the office right at the beginning. Don't get me wrong I'm stupid and if a Stimpy like me guessed right for the tenth time ... well ...
2
Reply
Flag
Well at least, this show make people talk ; means it's probably doing someting right ; as for what, I still don't know. My biggest problem with it is indeed the finality of Carroll'game : why is he doing this ? For money ? Usually, that's the motive for gurus. And how ? I'm still going with my science fiction solution : Carroll has subliminal lenses he use to hypnotyse (sp?) his followers !
Reply
Flag
Every Revolution episode was followed by at least 300 replies...what is that show doing right???...(rhetorical question! This is The Following's board.)
Reply
Flag
And Revolution, even being the most horible show on this side of the planet got a full season nonetheless ! So Revolution must also be doing something right!..If we look closely : Revolution, The following, CSI and so on ... They're not good shows ; they're just easy shows for people who don't want to use their brain after a day's work, which is something I can totally relate to.. Compared with Revolution, at least in The following, I don't want to kill every character and send back to drama school every actor in it. The Following isnt' thus all wrong; for me at least.
2
Reply
Flag
This comment has been removed.
Reply
Flag
Nice episode, but not as good as the pilot. The whole threesome followers is really weird and sometimes annoying, especially the girl. The characters are so boring, I love their plot though. I can't wait to see what they are up to and where they end up. For the rest I really liked it, it's sometimes a little bit unbelievable and over the top. But that doesn't mean it's bad, I do like the story and the darkness.
3
Reply
Flag
Following good, Review pompous.
7
Reply
Flag
It's "pompous" to dislike something for intelligent, well thought out reasons?
1
Reply
Flag
So, the FBI wasn't supposed to figure out Emma's true identity or the house she used to live in? This was what the baddies were praying on? The realization that the ex-wife was in danger was brought on by a blue print of the basement they were already aware of?

If it's not incredibly shitty writing, it's bad acting and even more terrible directing. What mother sheds a single tear in the sudden absence of her child, much less being completely erratic and emotional? The show is so vacuous in its understanding of human emotions and logic that I kind of want to hate-watch it like I do Revolution, and did with The Killing's second....both seasons.

Please, let us hear more people say that the story's only beginning -- that it's not fair to judge so harshly. The fact is, more important than the pilot being coherent and well done, the follow-up needs to capture the attention and convince us of further viewing. All it has done, not only from my subjective opinion but on the wholly valid objective technical standards of writing, acting, and directing, is suck. BUT! I will continue to watch, 'cause believe it or not, I want to be wrong. I really do. I want to enjoy something new. However, secretly.......I want to be right and to say, "I told you so." Oooo...can't wait to find out which one it is!
More+
4
Reply
Flag
Sadly I agree. I'm on board to see if A. It continues to defy reasonable logic and fail to generate any caring for any character much less the mains. of B. Turns around and starts capitivating me and give an understanding into Carroll's motive and why Poe.

Either way it progresses and becomes a great show or spectacularly flames out. Judging by your objective technical standards crash and burn seems more likely.
Reply
Flag
This show is boring so far. A good cast with no real plot. The baddie lacks charisma and most of the characters are annoying and yes, not very smart also. I'll still be watching if for a while because I still think it can get better. Maybe.
2
Reply
Flag
With every character I see I yell that they are part of Carrols following. There had to be a highly ranked FBI agent part of the cult right? Turns out its Parker. Or that kid that was in X-men.
Reply
Flag
It's an ok show. The 2 rocksongs were awesome!
2
Reply
Flag
I don't get the hate this website has for this show. I'm loving it!
6
Reply
Flag
great review!
2
Reply
Flag
Creepy Poe Mask = Do. Not. Want.
Kevin Bacon = annoying
Somehow compelled to keep watching.
Reply
Flag
CHAPTER TWO was awesome, a great follow up to the pilot
8
Reply
Flag
Before I say anything about the show itself, I have to say that I absolutely LOVE Kevin Bacon. I think he has great talent! Now I can go on...

When I saw the first promo a while back and heard about a serial killer who was a literature teacher "inspired" by Edgar Allan Poe I thought "Well this is definitely the show for me!". I have to admit that although I liked these two episodes, it is not quite what I expected. First of all, to all the people saying that this could not happen... I know it's a stretch but it is a kind of doable stretch! Having read my fair share of psychology and studies on psychopaths and serial killers the show's basic premise is not that hard for me to believe. My problem is that the aforementioned professor/killer is neither *that* charismatic nor does he seem to be a person with an IQ worthy of MENSA (like Sharon Stone in Basic instinct) to be able to pull off such an elaborate scheme! In addition to that, I would prefer to see the murders committed in a more poetic way (since our professor is a "romantic"). By that I mean somewhat more ritualistic and not that barbaric...

Overall I feel that the writer had a great first idea and sort of turned it to more gore or something just to attract younger audiences (the"Saw" generation) and thus numbers! I would be really glad to watch a show with the same premise but in more of a film noir atmosphere...

As far as the police is concerned, their parts have clearly not been written very successfully. I get that the killer is smart (or rather... wants to be smart) but it is more than obvious that the writer does not hold that much appreciation for them!!!

I really do hope that the next episodes will be better, that the characters will be explored more instead of just seeing things from the past or *obvious* and expected outbursts, and that the plot becomes more gripping and if possible... truer to the atmosphere of Poe's works!
More+
2
Reply
Flag
The premise of this show is not impossible or improbable at all.
Have you never heard of Asahara Shoko?

His "religion" started off recruiting members from yoga classes and other "harmless" venues.
Aum Shinrikyo grew to have thousands of members in Japan and 10's of thousands worldwide. Some of its members, at the orchestration of Asahara, would go on to commit some of the most notorious crimes in Japanese history, including the killing of entire families and Tokyo subway sarin gas attacks that killed 13 and left dozens with gruesome life-altering injuries.

And motivation? Since when did serial killers or psychotic people with God complexes need a "reason" or "motivation"? That's why they are called sociopaths...

I do agree that the show is making use of "major moments of stupidity" a little too often but in reality, the majority of police and law enforcement officers are of average intelligence and most never encounter special circumstance criminals throughout their entire career. And let's face it, Bacon's character is a part-time alcoholic on disability with a major heart condition. Is it surprising that he doesn't have all his marbles lined up?

Viewers/critics these days spend so much time focusing on the weakness that they fail to pick up on the subtleties of intelligent or creative screenwriting. I could see this getting unnecessarily dragged out if they aim for 100 episodes but as a 2-3 season piece, it could be highly entertaining.

More+
9
Reply
Flag
Staff
The potential of Carroll as a character is great and there is no debating that history has many examples of charismatic people picking up the young and impressionable to do heinous things. I'm concerned with how they'll be able to maintain a story with a character that has no goals other than to make Hardy's life miserable and complete another masterpiece. He's not John Doe from Seven or Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, people with goals and inherent narrative structure. I just foresee this character getting tiresome and show become formulaic unless we find some nuance quick.
3
Reply
Flag
Great points!
I hadn't heard of Asahara Shoko--fascinating and not surprising (sad that I'm not surprised)
2
Reply
Flag
You should check out their history. It allows a different perspective on The Following.

People seem to forget that the world is full of lost and weak-minded souls who gladly idolize and follow people they see as having found "the truth". Surprising considering we live in a world where YouTube vloggers gather 10's of thousands of subscribers, many of whom become devoted fans living off every action and word of that person.

The modern day world of social networking has created a generation of detached connections. This show could not have been produced at a better time and the writers have a great opportunity to explore this world of the detached and lost. I hope they take it.
Reply
Flag
I will and it's been like this throughout time even though the information age helps spread information faster. Another view mentioned one of the most memorable "leader" who influence people to do horrors that they probably won't of done without that leader--remember WWII Germany!
I will definitely cheek out Asahara Shoko.
I do think information is spread more rapidly and there is more information available at the click of a button so lots of bad info available to weak will people, lost people looking for acceptance and a cause as well as for other wackos to find:(

Thanks for the info and I love learning new things. I learn at least one new thing a day~~but I fear it pushes previously learned info out of my brain--lol, just kidding on the losing info
Reply
Flag
While I've enjoyed the episodes overall, the main problem I've had with both the pilot and now this second episode is one many shows often have trouble with: having supposedly smart and capable characters be stupid or incapable when the plot conveniently needs it. I realize it's tough to find that balance -- I remember having the same problem for a story I had to write for a creative writing class a long time ago -- but I tend to believe the reason they're professional writers and I'm not is that they're better than me... or at least should be. So uh, yeah, this is something I often take issue with... but if it's not too too stupid and the episode has other aspects I do like, I can look past it. It's also probably a lot tougher with the horror genre, just because the easiest way to surprise-shock the viewers is with camera angles and things we can or can't see... despite the fact that the character should easily be able to see what we don't.

Anyway, for the most part, the episode was pretty enjoyable. It still has a lot of room for improvement, and if they keep going at this pace, the show'll never crack my top 30, but it hasn't been off-putting or boring enough for me to want to stop watching.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Well Geesh...I really like this show, but than again I'm not trying to find realism in every corner of a fictional show. I guess I'm in the minority as well because I love Kevin's portrayal of Ryan Hardy. The man is a walking depression case, but that's to be expected after what he's seen and gone through. And ppl wonder why TV is overwhelmed with trashy reality shows because good shows that are fiction are expected to have 99% realism and 1% fiction.
7
Reply
Flag
The man isn't a walking depression case...he's a walking cliche who magically forgets he's an alcoholic whenever the narrative of the story dictates that the week's "investigation" be furthered for the viewers' pleasure.

That isn't fiction, that's being a lazy writer.

I don't understand what this means:

"TV is overwhelmed with trashy reality shows because good shows that are fiction are expected to have 99% realism and 1% fiction."

Do you mean to say that all fiction shows are aspiring to be 99% realistic in the eyes of reality television? I'm not entirely convinced you understand what fiction is.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Realism is subjective to the show. Pushing Daisies operates in a world that is basically fairy tale but I accept the rules of its universe. Gilmore Girls and Bunheads are too quirky to be real but, because of how they establish their story worlds and lay down the ground rules and boundaries for how things operate, things like that slide. Heck, even Jersey Shore seems completely unfounded to me but we have to accept its pretense because reality television is packaged, as a genre, with its own rulebook (that we're watching things as they occurred, even if they're carefully curated for us after the fact).

Watching fiction television generally means the audience is going into a tacit agreement with the content creators for suspension of disbelief. "I'll suspend my disbelief. You don't betray my trust." It's not realistic that the gang from SVU closes a case every week but we understand the Law & Order world to work like that. It's about making sure the producers and the viewers are on the same page.

Within the first two episodes, we have vagaries of The Following's plot and genre to inform us about what the rules of the show are. So far, it means that Hardy gets to skip around to conclusions while an ineffectual police force bumbles everything and lets Carroll get his way. It's not so much that we demand what would happen in the real world as much as we see the holes that ruin the illusion. Sometimes you can let it ride and sometimes you're too thrown to find a way back in. Complicate that with a misunderstanding of Poe as I know it, and the clash seems too much for me to slip in and enjoy the show as it's presented.

I understand the instinct to say a person is being nitpicky for dredging up all the flaws of the show. But that nitpickiness might just be because the show's flaws were too much for that person to bear as a member of the audience. I don't believe a person can "turn off" their brain when watching. Part of the conceit of television shows, particularly ones with suspense and mysteries like this one, is so your mind can grind out empathy, connection, emotion (that's what helps you get hooked). The Following hasn't shown me that yet.

Also, there's a lot of trashy reality television because it's cheap to make and its resources are so renewable.
More +
5
Reply
Flag
c07111 has (at this moment of publication) 5 "thumbs up" to NicholasCampb's 1. This tells me that 1 of 6 people isn't brain dead or easily swayed by ineffectual, baseless logic.
Reply
Flag
Yes. Because the reality shows you mention TOTALLY adhere to that 99% realism and 1% fiction ratio you mention.
Reply
Flag
Attention! Contains sarcasm!
You know, I think Fox promoted the show wrong. It should have said: "One-hour comedy about a serial killer cult that knows as much about their god as an atheist believes in it. They're being hunted by the most brainless and unlikeable law enforcement officers in the history of the US, making every single mistake that can be made. And don't worry! Great characters will be thrown out of the show asap! Mindless, stupid, shallow entertainment for people who need some background noise while doing something else."
And the only reason I'll continue watching is because it's so stupid, it's actually already funny.

But seriously! I wouldn't mind if they'd choose to get serious about this. Because they have a ton of possibilities, so USE THEM!!!!!!!!!
3
Reply
Flag
As with last week's review of The Following, there are things I agree with in this review and things I disagree with. Mostly I disagree with the idea that any show about serial killers, or anything Criminal Minds-esque, needs to have clear motivation for it's killers to do what they do. In last week's review, it was suggested that this is because it is more interesting to the fans when there is a clear path that the killer is following and certain things to accomplish. This week it sounds like the reason killers need to have a clear motivation is because it's easier for the writers to write it that way. So I am confused as to which it really is, if either. As I commented on last week's review, I find it more interesting when you don't know what's going to happen and when the killer is unhinged and unpredictable. As far as this week's reasoning goes, I would say it depends on the writers. Some writers can make complicated storylines look good and some cannot; it all depends on what their ideas are and if they think they can make them work and be good. So far I'd say these writers fall in the middle, but as was pointed out it's only the second episode of the series.
Now for the positive side... I think the music for this episode was awesome. Change (in the house of flies) was a very well matched choice for the scene it was in. Keep it up! Also the sound was much better at not cutting out right before something dramatic happened, as was the case several times in the pilot. Also, it does seem that the show is portraying the law enforcement people as being dumber than Carroll. And it's true they do seem to always be a step behind his people.
More+
4
Reply
Flag
Tim got dumped off reviewing the show? Good because his review for the pilot was a complete embarrassment.
9
Reply
Flag
I suspect Tim asked off reviewing the show.
1
Reply
Flag
He probably just broke three of his fingers on purpose so he wouldn't have to watch it again. I bet Nick buries himself alive behind a wall so he doesn't have to review it next week.

SO WHO SHOULD REVIEW IT NEXT WEEK?!?
4
Reply
Flag
Hey! I may disagree with Tim on a lot of issues, but that's uncalled for!
2
Reply
Flag
Totally agree with you, apostrofa - Tim has the right to his own opinion just as we ALL do. No need to bash him for being honest.
Reply
Flag
If instead of the agents struggling the entire episode not to call Carroll's coterie a cult, they called it a terrorist organisation, they could have shipped Carroll of to Gitmo and waterboard some answers out of him!
Reply
Flag
I like the 2nd episode more than the pilot. I like the characters, the plot is fine.
Why would they change the FBI-lady? The new one is so obnoxious.
3
Reply
Flag
Also: It was a pilot. People get dropped from pilots after they get picked up to series all the time. Probably what happened here.
Reply
Flag
Because the new one is either in the cult or being shown as a person of suspicion. Maybe the first lady wanted to get as far away from the show as she could..
1
Reply
Flag
I'm thinking she's just trying to get on Carroll's good side. Or maybe go undercover or something.
1
Reply
Flag
It seems many reviews here are quite negative and many reviews on TV Fanatics are very positive. I liked this show and I think many fans do so hope it will be renewed for season 2
12
Reply
Flag
Its funny listening to FOX owned radio stations declaring this the greatest show to ever hit the air. I think Emma/Debra is without question the most interesting character in this cast - had this show been about her and the boys it would be much better. Kevin Bacon appears that he is just in this for a check because he's not doing anything. That kiss made me laugh. His character is BORING and he is the lead and that is the problem with this show IMO. Bet Purefoy wants to return to "Revenge".
2
Reply
Flag
I disagree, Bacon's characters is doing everything. I don't see his character being a problem at all.
3
Reply
Flag
I like your baby horse metaphor but pushing it further, nobody can resist the baby horse and after a while, it becomes a strong and amazing creature.... Not sure The Following will have enough time for that though...
3
Reply
Flag
To continue the metaphor......
Sometimes horses are permanently hobbled and are sent off to the glue factory.
3
Reply
Flag
It didn't really improve from pilot. It might even be little worse than pilot. Every time I see Carroll,he has this "I am stoned" smile on his face. Is that his secret weapon? Getting people high,to follow him? Sure beats any other "logical" reason. "Eat some mushrooms my followers..let's get hiiigh as a kite:D" Hard to take him serious as this grand killer,when he can't even deliver atm. For example M. Hall plays Dexter great.He tilts his head downward and is looking "from underneath eyes". Give kinda creepy face,while Carroll has this stupid stoned simle on his face.

Can a guy/girl,who JUST HAD THEIR FINGERS broken,really choke someone with broken hand?
Reason,why this show is hard to take serious,because of these half-baked scenes they create. Might look good on paper,but they should know,when they watch that scene(so many,pick one:D),that it sucks.

If at least we learn something from Jordy in next episode,I might watch episode 4. If Jordy will be killed,before he can say a word to Hardy,I will stop watching show. It has interesting cast,but show just can't seem to use their potential and acting to really create masterpiece.

2
Reply
Flag
I think the implication that the secret handing carroll a thick, meaning it can hide something else, book on Poe is a nudge that she might be one of the Followers herself.
I honestly do't know what to make of the series. I promised to watch the first five episodes no matter what and I am going to do it. Other than loving to watch Purefoy and Bacon's acting, there is not much in the way of watching episode six. Btw, does anybody know what is a "foy" and why it has to be pure, just curious.
Reply
Flag
Was it said on the show? (I don't remember hearing it.) Urban Dictionary lists several definitions, most are sex-related, and one pertaining to methadone/drugs. Regular dictionary defines it as a farewell feast/drink/gift or a faith. Are any of these helpful +/or relevant?
Also, why 5 episodes? Does that give a better indication of a show's quality than a 4-episode test? (Just curious, no offense/sarcasm intended.)
Reply
Flag
Sorry, Montana_Katana, a stupid private joke on my part. Purefoy means "pure faith" in ancient French and the fact that the serial killer has such pure faith in Edgar Allan Poe, well I told you it's silly. I don't mind any sarcasm unless it's hostile, so we are fine there too. I found that the first five episodes usually give a good indication of the direction the series is taking. episode one will define the characters, the who's who. The second episode will define the plot and the ground rules of the "game" being played. Episode three is where the real action starts, and we see how the different characters make their move. Episode four and five really is where the action takes off and we can see the flaws of the "hero" and his "opponent".By then we can more or less know if the series will quagmire or take off. But this works for me, and might not work for you or anybody else.
Episode one told us that the hero has had flaws , which does not mean that he still has them now, no matter what the other characters tell us. The serial killer is obsessed with Poe and we get to see the manner in which this obsession reveals itself. It is important that we are told that the main Poe text, the crux, is Poe's poem, The Raven. Whether you are a literature major as myself, or you google the poem it will tell you what kind of action we can expect. The murders will be close and personal, unlike if it were "The Pit and The Pendulum", for instance which is just the opposite. So we know the serial killer appears strong and the hero weak. but is this really the case? Also, strangely enough, the serial killer is called Carroll, exactly as the pseudonym of Alice in Wonderland, so a nudge by the authors?
Episode two comes along and we discover the nature of the Following.Clearly, they are disparate kinds of people , each with their own "killing agenda", but they have found in Carroll the center, the narration of their criminal drive; and the question is not how, but why? why is Poe more attractive than any other of the ritual crazy motives out there. Make no mistake, and this is what the discovery of the house of sin makes clear: it is not Carroll the center of attraction, it is Edgar allan Poe- the serial killer was just a conduit. The dog Man is here to tell us that the game is centered around his ex-wife. So what is the link between Poe and his ex-wife. If we can answer this within the next three episodes, then we have something going.
More +
Reply
Flag
secret agent, sorry
Reply
Flag
Two episodes in and I'm definitely on the fence. Props for the creepy factor and the idea of a master criminal running a ring of serial killers. Thumbs down on bad character development (thus far), reason behind using Poe as the construct of their lunacy and for a lot of far fetched scenarios of incompetence by the Police. Really you're going to send ONE cop ALONE up to scout Claire's room while the downstairs and outside crawls with officers? You're also going to fail to do a complete scouring of the house, including the basement prior to letting her back in? I guess I should be desensitized to that after Carrol managed to kill 5 guards at a maximum security prison. I suppose he had Jordy's assistance but still..

Show is asking a lot of investment in the reasoning behind the behavior and to this point we have none. Given that most viewers probably don't know anything about Poe other than maybe the titles of a few of his most famous works it will be hard to draw material from it. Lot more to Poe than "Nevermore". In any case, I'll give it a couple more weeks to develop, does have some merit but overall a bit disappointed at the slow start out of the gate.
More+
3
Reply
Flag
Another show, whose characters are supposed to be smart but are conveniently stupid when the plot calls for it.

And the Jordy guy. Are we really supposed to believe that he can go from bumbling serial killer to a guy that can ninja through a house with cops? Come on.

Or hardy is supposed to be the smartest guy in the room. Can't tell between a shelf full of Poe masks and a real guy. And seriously, how many times is he going to get arse handed to him.

But what did it for me was the Agent handing Carroll the book.

I doubt I will catch the 3rd episode.
6
Reply
Flag
I kind of like this show but even I quizzically looked at the TV when Jordy pulled a ninja assassin move and Hardy didn't notice the entire body connected to the Poe mask he had just touched. Maybe he came in after he touched the masks I don't know but it's completely unbelievable either way.
2
Reply
Flag
I watched that scene again because A) I jumped and B) I wondered the same thing.
It goes: 4 Poe's on a shelf, Ryan touches the one on the right, Ryan faces mirror, we see reflection of 4 Poe's, Ryan (and camera) pan to chair to pick up book, Ryan faces mirror, reflection of 4 Poes' on a shelf + 1 Poe standing in a black shirt.
However, I got no explanation/belief for Jordy-the-Ninja. No one that dumb can sneak past that many people and no one that (slightly) out of shape can drop from a ceiling/attic hatch in one fluid motion.
Reply
Flag
It does have that odd thing of being likable. I have to admit, at least for me that it hasn't gone over the line of stupidity like Terra Nova did and Alcatraz did. If it can walk itself back, it might be workable.

The one thing that keeps bothering me (and maybe they addressed it and I missed) is that if they weren't supposed to find Emma's house. How did Jordy know to expect Hardy? Because he figured it out when he saw the blueprints that were apparently drawn by a 5 year old.
Reply
Flag
This show is awesome and this episode was better than the pilot in my opinion and maybe because they took that mole lady off boy was she ruining the show with the mole.
4
Reply
Flag
This is a tv-show, not reality so I don't care if it doesn't make sense all the time. We have to accept the show on its premise and roll with it. I like it a lot! I think Kevin Bacon is really good. This show can become really good but it can also crash and burn after a few episodes. The premise of the show is not an easy one to go on for several seasons. My verdict, so far, is A-. After 6-7 episodes we will get a clearer picture of how it's going to be.
5
Reply
Flag
I am enjoying this show. Its for entertainment not for picking apart. I like the cast and I look forward to monday nights.
5
Reply
Flag
Kevin Bacon seems to be operating on fumes, I hope he's not sick. The main murderer's wife wasn't very popular on her most recent show either. I'm bummed that Maggie Grace was killed off so quickly - she has the best puppy-dog eyes.
3
Reply
Flag
Well his character has a bad heart and running on alcohol. I think Bacon is doing his character pretty well.
3
Reply
Flag
I am far more interested in the love triangle that is going on in the serial killer frat house than what is going on with the investigation. As far as my logic tells me, people who are members of a death cult are by definition psychopaths. That is what logic tells me. Normal people with normal emotions should not be okay with all the murdering that is going on. But the trio of misfits/models are not the typical psychopats in my mind. You should not be able to love anyone or have a complicated love triangle if you are a psychopath. Or am I totally in the wrong here? Also the scene where the girl killed her mother was just bizarre. Presumably it was her first kill and the guys reaction was just meh, cool. That is just not how people react to things. Even if you are a psycho (which I do not think these 3 are) you would have some kind of reaction to stabbing someone at dinner. Just so weird, I am not buying that they are so insane that they can randomly murder people but be so normal about it. This is not how mental illness works. And the girl became a death cult member, because he mom was bitchy?? Thats it? I want to see more of those guys just so I could figure them out, I am not getting it atm.
More+
Reply
Flag
I love Poe's work, which is why I can't stand that they keep dragging his name through the mud like that. First that terrible movie, now this - it just makes no sense to me for a cult to form around Poe's work, especially with the weak explanations they keep giving. I, too, was hoping they wouldn't involve his work as much after the pilot, and those masks just killed the show for me (plus the man at the end was not only wearing the mask, but a full on Poe costume. All that was missing was a stuffed raven sitting on his shoulder.)
9
Reply
Flag
THANK YOU! I have studied Poe fairly thoroughly, and, as Nick notes, this show is treating him at a freshman level of complexity. Clearly the writers of this series only think he's some crazed maniac who likes torture and gore.
6
Reply
Flag
Just feels like watching a bad Criminal Minds episode that never ends..
12
Reply
Flag
Either producers and screenwriters have slept through english literature classes or they think that we (viewers) have. This show is a waste of their money and actor's acting and ours time.
4
Reply
Flag
I agree that this episode, like the pilot, had a lot of issues. But I don't think that the concept of a charismatic man creating a following of serial killers is impossible. Improbable yes, but impossible, no. It's not even unreasonable. In the review of the Pilot, Tim pointed out that we start out not knowing the motivations behind the members of the following, and it seems crazy that someone could recruit these people over the internet. While that is true, the second episode has already taken great steps toward showing how this very thing came to pass. Denise/Emma was a student of Carroll's, developed what looked like an infatuation for him, and visited him in prison. Will/Jacob and Billy/Paul also met with Carroll in prison. So far, all of the members of the following, that we know about, had a lot of one on one contact with Carroll, and weren't just chatting through Facebook. So it is possible that a charismatic man such as Carroll could influence impressionable people (so far they have been either young or very insecure, like Jordy). Real life cult leaders have gotten members to kill in the past, as well as commit suicide, so the plot of the following isn't too much of a stretch.

As I said earlier there are still a lot of issues that the show has so far. While the premise of the show is fine and works well, a lot of the events so far have been very unrealistic. The one that jumps immediately to my mind is in fact the final scene of this episode, in which a man wearing a Poe mask set fire to a man, and then walked away. Sure, I can understand the majority of the people there being surprised and shocked that such a thing happened, but literally no one tried to stop him. He even walked through a crowd, which was still entirely transfixed on the burning man, as if he was invisible. And this is someone wearing a mask, a very unusual mask in fact, and no one even yelled at him. At least in scenes where someone steals a wallet and runs away someone at least shouts: "Stop! Thief!" But in this case no one even pointed at him, or really looked at him for that matter.

And of course there's the fact that they saw a picture of Claire next to other pictures of people who were victims, and then they got all worried. Hardy and company suddenly dropped everything and booked it over to Claire's house, worried that she wasn't safe. But shouldn't/wasn't her safety already a concern? Last episode there were two houses that were basically quarantined, and hers was one of them. Police were everywhere and a lot of effort went into protecting her. So either a number of those officers continued to protect her, in which case they shouldn't have seemed so incredibly worried; or, everyone just left, which isn't really smart for several reasons. Hopefully this team doesn't actually operate where they're all or nothing: they investigate a crime scene, protect someone, or whatever, and then just leave completely and forget about what they just did, only to have to come running back again. This time I hope they've learned their lesson and decided to make sure everyone knows what each other looks like, so that a known fugitive/member of the following doesn't just amble inside because he's wearing a uniform.

All that aside, I did enjoy this episode, quite a bit actually. I think that the concept for this show has a lot of potential. Like Scream, this show takes place in a self aware world, in that Carroll is intentionally creating an interesting story that audiences will like. That way, this show can be very entertaining, compelling, and cool simply because the whole point of his cult to to make events as such. This means that the show can have outrageous plot twists, kill off people in surprising ways, and have people give unrealistic but entertaining speeches, and all that time it will have the justification for doing so because Carroll is trying to create an interesting story. I even think that this Poe thing can potentially be very interesting. So far, the show has focused on some of the more obvious, well known things that Poe wrote (Tell-Tale heart, The Raven, etc.). But it would be a lot more interesting if they recreated a scene from "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," or from something similar like that.

Already though, the show has set up a lot of tools that it can employ to create some pretty good television. There's the fact that Carroll is in prison (he'll probably break at again at some point, hopefully this time in a more inventive/cool way), yet he has a bunch of minions out doing stuff for him, all of which he has presumably planned and knows about. Jordy has been captured, so they can interview him. Billy/Paul seems to not be too happy with his new situation, so he may turn on the cult at some point. And of course, at least one of those law enforcement guys are part of the cult, unless the people making this show are really, really stupid (As has already been stated it is probably Mike Weston, since the members of the following so far have either been young or insecure. No one on the team seems that insecure, and Mikey is the youngest guy there. The fact that he's been playing teacher's pet to Hardy also makes him seem guilty). Really the fact that anyone could end up being a cult member (If I were them I would make one of them a victim that they save; that's probably the best twist they could pull, other than Hardy being a member.) is the strongest part of this show, because it's a very flexible mechanism that can lead to instant surprises and twists.

Anyway, I enjoyed this episode for the most part, and I think that this series has a lot of potential. Like Nick, I'm going to be watching these next two episodes closely to try and get a better feel for where this show is going. As it currently stands, this show is honestly not that good. But with some better usage of Poe here, and a better understanding of motives there, this show could be much, much better.
More+
5
Reply
Flag
I like your post and it would be nice if you wrote reviews or helped write the episodes--some good ideas in your post.
No disrespect to the reviewer intended~~your post made me think about the show more analytically then the review (even though your post wasn't a review).
ok, enough rambling....
1
Reply
Flag
First things first. I like the second episode much more than the pilot. It's still ways from being actually good, but I'm starting to see the potential. Especially in what you said about the followers gaining their own agency. I'm really digging the idea of how long it'll take 'till these guys go off script, considering that Carroll may have groomed them into his worshippers, but right now they're on their own and their leader isn't in any direct control. What will the children do while their daddy's away?
And I use the metaphor of children consciously. Because, essentially, that's what they are - impressionable children. People who are mature, assertive adults do not join cults of serial killers or otherwise.
I disagree with you on your assessment of Ryan and Claire's dynamic. I think it's great and I'm really liking it right now.
One thing that did bug me to no end is, like you said, the stupidity of the law enforcement. Isn't it like witness protection 101 to move the said witness into the safe house? Or, if they decide not to, for some reason, shouldn't they at least vet anyone who comes near it? And how on earth did Jordy manage to get from the basement and into the ceiling (!) and then come down like some freaky ninja? I don't buy that. I truly hope they will fix these things real fast. The show will be much better for it.
But, Mr Campbell, please, let up on those remarks about Poe's appearance. It makes you sound really, awfully, shallow. --'
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Don't know what the fuss is about, I thought it was really entertaining. Do you guys get points for how much nitpicking you can do?
22
Reply
Flag
Yes, and then they can turn in those points for prizes! Like a trash can basketball hoop! Oh, all the points! *eye roll*
Reply
Flag
I understand the review and maybe agree with the point raised there, however as a viewer I liked this episode much much better than the last one. All I had to do was to take off my ^thinking cap^ and go with the flow. Not strong, but better than the last one and somewhat more sensible then the last one.

Yes there were moments when I yelled at writers but let's see how is the next one.
2
Reply
Flag
I still enjoyed the show,, just like the Pilot, though I have to agree about the portrayal of the cops. Even when the police officer checked Claire's bedroom, he just looked around, didn't even bother to look into her closets. I hope this won't become something regular because it's going to make the entire law enforcement look idiotic.

Having said that, the lady cop seemed sketchy and they made it seemed like she was part of the following but I'm not sure if they would reveal something this big so early. As somebody else already mentioned, Shawn Ashmore 's character could be the mole.
2
Reply
Flag
*made it seem
Reply
Flag
While I do like elements of the show, I suppose my biggest issue with it is the general premise. Hollywood loves stories of super-intelligent, psychotic supervillains (who are always handsome and hypnotically charming, of course) who can do the most incredible things from behind bars. Uh huh, yeah.

This shown is destined to disappoint overall. Either we'll get bored because the central issues will never get resolved (if they were, the show would be over), or (worse) it'll end up pulling us in, only to get cancelled without ever even getting close to resolving the central issues. Either way: EXPECT NO RESOLUTION AT ALL!
4
Reply
Flag
The latter is always worse and what happens way to often in a network drama.
1
Reply
Flag
What can I say about a show where my cat can predict what is going to happen next. What a waste of Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy's talent. I will give it a couple of more episodes and if there's no improvement (which I doubt) I'm done Following.
4
Reply
Flag
In the end it would be hilarious if Hardy turned out to be one of the crazyed followers
4
Reply
Flag
This was one of my thoughts as well:D These days,writers will come up with anything,no matter how crazy it might be at the end. By the end of this series Carroll will become president,with his stoned smile and (if he doesn't already) own some islands,while spreading Poe "religion".
1
Reply
Flag
"Parker, a cult expert, might be in on the Poe thrill-kill cult. "

Might be? They like giving actors similar roles e.g. Nina from 24 was also a psych baddie on covert affairs. The parker actress is Reese's long lost psycho partner in the plor thread coming to ahead in the next episode of Person of interest.
2
Reply
Flag
I liked it. Yes, it is a stretch that a person as smart and charismatic as Carroll would become a serial killer rather than a politician, but this is a TV show and in the world of television master criminals exist, terrorists are often white guys with British accents, and bad guys do things simply for the sake of being evil. It is the shows one conceit that the audience must accept that someone like him can exist and can recruit a group of Followers.
5
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook