The Following "Havenport" Review: 'Cause You Had a Bad Day

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The Following S01E13: "Havenport"

Does this mean Nick Donovan is going to be the new Governor?

What an episode full of twists and turns. And by "twists and turns" I mean, "where a lot of blood was spilled." It feels like "Havenport" was dedicated to making sure the viewers (and maybe the actors) are fully aware that The Following is not afraid to kill or maim anyone who's not named Hardy or Carroll. I mean, you knew those Redshirts going on the adventure with Jacob were going to die (I don't even know why the writers bother giving those people names), but Roderick was an interesting, and somewhat disappointing, surprise.

I'm not sure I even liked Roderick until "Havenport," since he's been such a sniveling lieutenant the whole series. Not incorrect or anything (there's definitely a whiff of "sitting duck" in Carroll's patience), but still whiny. Giving him the episode to demonstrate that he was able to take care of himself for a little bit showed why he was put in charge, if not why he was Carroll's first apprentice.

That was the disappointing part about Roderick's end. This was a guy who was supposedly Carroll's first "student," so why basically spurn him with such a lack of theatricality? He didn't show himself to be any better than any of the other doomed minions of the house (they've all shown a blood lust either in practice or theory). The series of unfortunate circumstances arising from Carroll's holding pattern that put Roderick in the doghouse were basically very telling of how much Roderick was not so much into doing the business of mass orchestrated murder, so what was the point? He never had the chance to be the second-in-command you expected, the one that led Emma from the house, who puppeteered the charge on the farmhouse, the Roderick breathed on the relieved sighs of Carrollists in danger.

Possibly the most disappointing part about Roderick passing is the schism we thought was coming is basically squashed unless Jacob the Yellow decides to team up with Scorned Lover Emma to overthrow Joe to save themselves. There are no other identifiable faces left in the cult. Everyone else is dead. On the bright side, I guess the fewer people in the house, the more it opens up the kitchen for cheek-to-counter rendezvous.

Not that Emma will care about that sort of thing. I don't necessarily understand that exchange between Carroll and Emma in dealing with sex and why a simple, curt "keep it in your pants, you ginger giraffe" couldn't be enough to ward Emma's advances but he whips her with his limp hand anyway. I understand blaming others irrationally for your misfortunes but that was too silly.

But Carroll for the entire episode was like a silly sit-com character. Or maybe Ziggy. He's just having a bad day and constantly reminded everyone. "You need to calm down because I'm having a really bad day." "I'm having a bad day, Ryan." "I'm trying to get this out using the therapy of words." The effort to humanize the monster backfired a little here as he seemed to inherit all of Roderick's whining while the bad lieutenant shot up suburban Maryland. He was laughable.

But, to be fair, he really was having a bad day. When your kid gets nabbed, your oldest student betrays you, and your ex-wife stabs you in the gut because, with Joey safe, she doesn't feel like she has anything to lose, that's a rough 8-12 hours. Not to mention that your "book" has to be "rewritten" now that Claire has proven herself to be -- unaccomodating. And you wish you could get some action to blow off some steam but, oh wait, you whipped your concubine with your dead fish hand.

My point is that Carroll has very little momentum and he needs to do something to demonstrate that he's the monster he was at the beginning of this season. Remember when you disappointed that Maggie Grace wasn't going to be in this series because Joe hung her character from a lighthouse? What happened to that guy? He says he has a monomaniacal urge to kill but where has that been? He had Weston dead to rights but let him survive. He done nothing but cower in his lavish bunker and make threatening phone calls. Letting Ryan pick off your devoted one by one is fun and all, but something needs to happen. What happened to the "chapter" thing? Where are we with this grand plan? Hopefully being stabbed in the gut will take us into the end of the season with a little more umph. Because, right now, Carrollism is a pretty meh murder cult.

Except for the harpy Carroll sent to warn the FBI. No, not Claire. But that's a good guess. But the red shirt that posed as a possible informant (a kill I'm giving to Weston because I think he shot first) definitely reminded me of a bird-like harbinger in action if not by reputation. I like the kamikaze telegrams Carroll sends to Hardy every once in a while but I'm puzzled by how someone that inspires so much wariness that she has to be held at gunpoint is searched and not relieved of the sharp objects she's carrying. Yeah, it's been a bad day for Carroll but what about that gomer that gets stripped of his fancy hat and jacket and then ends up being the reason his boss probably loses an eye. If there is any sort of force looking out for us, Donovan'll be in an eyepatch by season's end.

Forget the Governor. Is this how S.H.I.E.L.D. started?

"Havenport" is a twisty episode for the series thus far but still feels like it's a table-setter in a season of table-setters. With only a couple episodes left, you get the feeling it's about to jump off, which only means there's some hijinks and hilarity in store for us in the next couple of weeks.


NOTES

– Did Joey suddenly adopt a Southern accent? Has he been hanging around Roderick? When he was talking about Jacob with his mom, his pronunciation of "favorite" had about twenty vowels in it.

– How did Weston recover so quickly from such serious injuries? Obviously, he psyched himself up for physical therapy with Chumbawumba on a loop. "Knock me down, I get up again."

– My initial reaction to no one knowing that Ryan was holding a press conference was, "How do you not know something like that?" I mean, I think Nick should've realized, as soon as he said "media blackout" and Ryan got his "I've got a completely opposite idea" face on, that he needed to shut it down. But then I had to remind myself that there's no way the FBI can keep track of Ryan Hardy. There are too many noses to pick and heads to shove in the sand.

– Hardy's really starting to catch up in the count, you guys. I think he and Carroll will be about level by season's end (I'm not counting the junkie from last week since I think we have plenty of fodder with just the kills in the past few months).

– Why did Roderick kidnap the girl again? Couldn't he have just boosted a car?

– What are the chances that Claire is actually going to die? I know we just discussed how Roderick was a pawn in the content-creator vs. audience game of stakes to make us think anyone can die, but how lucky could we possibly be? She made some strides this week by knifing Carroll. I'm just hoping that Joey staying safe will make her more interesting. There's, like, zero chance that he'll actually kill Claire before the last few moments of the season, right?


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