The Following Season 2 Premiere Review: Bring It In for a Huggy Hug

The Following S02E01: "Resurrection"


It's a rare condition, in this day and age, to read any good news on the newspaper page. But for Ryan Hardy, it's been a solid year. Sure, Season 1 didn't end all that smashingly for him, unless you count that nurse's head he smashed into the ground before twisting her neck and finishing off a spectacular run of self-defense murder to conclude the Joe Carroll days. But since then, things have gone famously.

Hardy's sober now. The scar that previously marked his Achilles heel, his soft and fragile heart, so tortured last year by all manner of emotional, physical, and electromagnetic devices, now looks like a chocolate smear on his torso. He's running. He got a fancy alarm system. And he's teaching our country's brightest youth how to recognize left-handed masturbators who brutally slay the women who unfortunately step into their paths.


But the best part, for Hardy at least, is that he's been able to distance himself from the Carroll cult that's been laying low since Carroll was confirmed dead in the boathouse explosion at Havenport. Even then we kind of knew that Carroll probably wasn't dead since we didn't see a body, and if there's any show on TV that follows soap-opera rules, it's The Following—but none of that was important as the first year passed. The night that Molly the Nurse attacked Hardy and Claire in his apartment, he also got to shed that miserable harpy from his life, and that kind of seems like a positive.

Ryan was crushed after realizing that Claire was put asunder, and my immediate thought was that Season 2 would allow for a new uptake of angst as Hardy deals with a laughable number of demons. But the first few minutes of "Resurrection" showed that shaking her might've been the best thing he could've done. He didn't have to raise Joey, the seed of his enemy. He looked like he was partying with some serial-murder-consultant groupies when he fell off the wagon. But then he got sober, and at the outset of the episode, he looked pretty put together. Or so it seemed.


With a resurgence of the Carroll cult by a bunch of followers wearing Joe Carroll masks (which are better than the nebbish Edgar Allen Poe masks, but so large that they make the followers look big-head NBA Jam characters), Hardy got his opportunity to truly reveal the lie he's been living. As you looked around his clean apartment and stable life, perhaps you were cynical that he'd been able to pull himself together and honestly leave Carroll behind. There must be some magic clue inside those tearful walls. But what could it be?

Despite pleas by Weston (welcome back, Shawn Ashmore!) to contribute to the case—and then more pleas from Hardy's niece Max (Jessica Stroup), who's now a detective with more access to NYPD intel than Hardy deserves, to go to the FBI with anything he might know regarding the five murders on a train car and a Gwendolyn copycat murder (we'll get to that ridiculousness in a bit)—Hardy refuses to play ball. Instead, locked in a room of that sterile apartment is his tower of dreams, his Homeland-style shrine to the aftermath of the Carroll cult bursting at every seam.


That new infusion of angst really stuck. But instead of going to the FBI—which essentially gave him a license to kill, break-and-enter, and sabotage every procedure that organized law enforcement has in place so as to not have its cases thrown out in court—Hardy has internalized the whole thing and deputized his niece to help him track down the remaining cult members. I mean, he's not so good that he's able to actually stop anything from happening, but he's good enough that he can determine the whereabouts of certain followers whose trails the FBI somehow haven't bumbled onto. I would understand if the reason for this was that Hardy has a complete lack of faith in federal agency that surrounded a house with heavy artillery and still let everyone escape last season, but I have a feeling he's holding information for the stroke-worthy reason that he feels this is something he has to do by himself in order to avenge all the people he's ever loved, and to protect the people he currently cares about.


And that's where things get goofy. Hardy was able to track down Carlos but he didn't have anything on the French woman facilitating this "resurrection" (I didn't catch her name, so I'm calling her Rousseau), nor did he seem to have any knowledge of Luke and Mark, the creepy twins (both played by a single actor, the serial-killer-typecast Sam Underwood) who seem to have that "personal" part of the murders down pat.

The Dead Ringers killed a golden-haired theatre actress and what ensued was an absurd blend of American Psycho (they sang along to a number of '70s music tracks) and the video for "Mary Jane's Last Dance" by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (they slow-danced with her, put makeup on her, etc.). After it was all over, what I got from their unaffected state was that they're capable of anything—but I'm not sure if the events in Heather Clarke's apartment were meant to be macabrely funny, or representative of a brand of humor to which they're unaware. I assume it's the former, since later on, one of them also karate-chopped Carlos in the neck before putting him in the corner for possibly drawing Hardy's attention. But I also can't discount the latter, because The Following.


As the days go by, I can only assume this season will find a way to shed any sense of credibility from this opening episode (which it owned for about ten minutes) to plumb some ridiculous depths. Between this sleeper cell of Carrollism in New York to Emma's ridiculous hide-in-plain-sight look to however the show and the cult members are planning to reveal the grand design, it seems like we're primed for a level of ridiculousness that Season 1 only hinted at.

But something to look at for the season is how the show establishes clans and togetherness, particularly with the country-wide diaspora of the Carroll cult and Ryan's own new-found interest in creating a support system between the people at his meetings and his niece finding a larger role in the show. This first episode seems dedicated to identifying the Carroll cells as tribes of a nation who may not have a whole lot of communication between them with their separation but they still exist and may come together, just as Hardy may stitch together something of his own. I mean, who is Carroll eventually going to threaten of Hardy if he doesn't have some family matters?



NOTES


– Molly the Nurse was the last person Hardy killed. Do we have an accurate body count now, before we really get into the new season and he starts letting the bodies hit the floor?

– There seem to be a lot of characters roaming around: Between the new Parker (no-nonsense Gina Mendez, played by Valerie Cruz), Phillips, Max, the Dead Ringers, Rousseau, Barry the Sponsor, Melissa the "Distraction," and Lily Gray (the one who lived to tell the tale, played by Connie Nielsen), you have to wonder who's going to be killed off by season's end, and who's going to just dissolve out of sheer necessity.

– "I wish he was hairier." I like Max. She seems to have potential for humor in a universe where everyone takes themselves way, way too seriously. Maybe she can be the Munch of the group.

– Lily Gray survived, and Connie Nielsen is too striking of an actress for a bit part, so Hardy got to have his little apology scene. What're the odds that she's another member of this sleeper cell? Or is she the woman Hardy will eventually shack up with so that Carroll can kidnap her?


– My favorite part of Weston's new role as consultant on this case is that he's doing his best Hardy impression now that he's not officially FBI. Watch him skulk around the crime scenes. It's uncanny.

– During that scene where the FBI was combining evidence in what seemed like a darkened NASA command center, it seemed very obvious they were trying to convince the viewers they were following procedure for everything. "We are not inept this year!" they cried. And then there was that computer program that was able to identify 3-D body types from 2-D mugshots and 2-D camera footage. I mean, it was only 75 percent accurate, so it was only 75 perent ridiculous.

– "I considered running." He should've ran. He should've ran so far away. Try to get away.


– Emma's new look is ridiculous. The pink hair and piercings are like punk rock designed by someone who looks to Gwen Stefani for punk rock. Although I'm glad the show kept the Matted Hair of Sadness from last season. That Emma is completely confused about what's going on with the cult makes me pretty happy, though. She mad. Oh, she real mad.

– Hardy did have a few zingers. After knocking Carlos out (I was just about sure he was dead and that the Season 2 body count was starting early), he said, "I barely touched you." I feel like that was just for us.

– Hey, remember that time Hardy got hit by a cab and just walked it off? Guess that heart's doing just fine.


– Something I never understood about killers: If they're stalking their prey out of a newspaper or a playbill or something, why circle it? If you know who you're going after, what's the point of circling it in red pen? It seems obvious.

–The Dead Ringers asked Carlos for a "huggy hug" to settle their differences. Okay, Luke and Mark have to be tongue-in-cheek.

– Carroll actually IS alive. He didn't climb out of the rubble of the boathouse like the Shredder, but he did find a hatch in the floor so he could dive into the water. He does have a full beard now and seems to be shacking up with a prostitute (Carrie Preston) while going by the name of Darryl. I wonder how much Bordeaux he's getting in that trailer.


What'd you think of the Season 2 premiere? What do you think (or hope) is in store for the season?


Comments (86)
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Jan 28, 2014
I want to see if Carradine becomes more central than just Hardy's sponsor. I like Keith and will watch to see if he becomes a major player. It would pick up ratings if he did.
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Jan 27, 2014
Watched and I am done with this show. So pissed that Parker and Ryan's love are dead and yet that short purple haired bitch Emma is still alive.

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Jan 27, 2014
I'm not sure what was going on with that last scene. Maybe someone can help me out. There was a guy in a flannel jacket who paid for the hooker and walked outside. Then a black girl sees the news and calls him Darryl and wants him to come see this. Then somone else wearing Darryl's jacket walks back in and is revealed to be Joe Carroll. So the question is, who was that first guy? Did Joe kill him out in the street and take his jacket in an effort to assume his identity? And if so, why would he now be sporting a beard that the first guy obviously did not have?
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Jan 27, 2014
I am really confused, my dvr recorded and hour and a half. but it was only a half hour and then something else after. Did i miss something? anyone else have this problem? Was the beggining when Harding was talking to the feds about Joe? I am thinking it started earlier than my dvr started recording?
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Jan 28, 2014
It started almost immediately after the NFC Championship game which didn't end exactly on a half-hour mark so I think DVRs everywhere were a little wonky. The episode is replaying tonight at 8PM before the second episode premiere at 9PM.
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Jan 27, 2014
I can't tell whether this show is trying to be a pardoy of itself or whether it genuinely is itself.
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Jan 27, 2014
Wow, had this on the DVR since last week after I was done watching football, didn't even remember to watch it until yesterday. The premiere was almost everything that I expected it to be, with Claire's fate being 50/50 but not all too important in the grand scheme of things.

If Claire had lived, she would have given Hardy endless angst either by being kidnapped or going on a killing spree of her own after breaking from the mental instability as a result of what she endured throughout the season; on the flip side, predictably, her death allowed Hardy to express the stereotypical, "I will bring Carroll down on my own!" brooding type of behavior, where he's just so badass that he doesn't require assistance! Plus he can get hit by a taxi and get right back up as if nothing happened! Yeah, fearless Ryan Hardy!

I'm only sticking with this because of the Bacon (and Ashmore/Weston, to a lesser extent), but if the writers plan on replicating the idiocy of last season, at least ensure that it's hilarious! I won't say "unintentionally" because I think everyone involved with this show - both production-wise and viewing-wise - anticipates humorous absurdity.

I will not be naive enough this time around in getting attached to certain supporting characters, as chances are, if they're not poorly-written and/or incessantly irritating (looking at you, Emma), they'll die a stupid death. The twins and the French woman appear to be the Roderick/Louise of season two, which spells trouble for them going forward as the more compelling characters tend to bite the dust in this show (sans Weston).

Any plans to bring back the "weekly poll" from last year, Nick?

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Jan 28, 2014
I have a feeling I'll be compelled to add the weekly poll starting this evening.
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Jan 27, 2014
I liked this episode. I am just happy that Hardy isn't limping around everywhere. He is surely going to kill a lot of people this season. He got hit by a cab and walked off like it didn't happen!
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Jan 22, 2014
FYI, "Rousseau," is Camille De Pazzis from Last Resort. She's listed as playing "Gillian," according to IMDb.
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Jan 28, 2014
Thanks, it wasn't available for me on IMDb when the post went live so I went with Rousseau. Although I kind of like it so I may stick with it.
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Jan 21, 2014
It was just funny to watch this piece of crap again. The piece de resistance was drunk Ryan Hardy. Just ridiculous. He's just making a mockery of his entire career in this steaming pile. Walking away from this suck fest. If you wanted to watch a show where the characters in the story were discussing a character played by James Purefoy that was good on Sunday night you should have been watching 'Episodes'.
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Jan 21, 2014
I thought is was a boring episode...the only cool scene was in the Metro..
that was creepy...and loved how one of the twins, was talking and dancing with the dead girl...but somehow i am missing something.
the excitement of the first season...Hardy was really boring this episode...even we now know that he is investigating the case by himself...
let's see how it works out, but letting us wait that long for a season opening episode like this...nah...not good..
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Jan 21, 2014
Best line: "Don't be stupid. I kill stupid people". Aw, Hardy <3
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Jan 21, 2014
It's like this series is made by people saying "you know I once saw this in a movie and it was soooo cool dude". Of course the main character is going solo for no fucking apparent reason because "it's cooler". And now Iceman is "cooler" (no pun intended) too 'cause he's like an experienced consultant and he really cares... yeah... so deep. Like the scene with Hardy drunk dancing and the other one looking depressed and trying to "help" him... tacky as shit.

Hardy really got on my nerves every damn time someone asked him to help he just made this schmuck face instead of saying something; he could have just stayed serious but he had to make that fucking face.
Although it also annoyed me that everyone expected him to go all semiautistic superdetective and solve everything. What the fuck did you want him to say people? Everything was clear! They said everything out loud in the train! And the dead woman in the park was reading the fucking book! No room for questions god dammit. I was expecting that "this is how they found Poe" shit to jump out of the window but they appear to have dropped that nonsense (Never fucking more please).

The American Psycho obvious rip off scene bothered me less than I wanted it to because I laughed. I kind of don't hate Dexter's 2 episode serial killer apprentice. His scenes were probably the most entertaining. The psycho twins are totally a copy from the US Funny Games movie with Michael Pitt clearly though.

Finally... That FBI body recognition software... damn. How would that fucking work in real life? You would have to have 3d models of all the suspect's body so you can compare 2d images taken from security cams and even then it wouldn't make much sense. That was someone's brainfart taken too seriously.

Thank God they killed Claire though.
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Jan 21, 2014
I like this show, despite the haters, but i thought the FBI sucked and was inept last season, this season already they are worse... seriously, the questions they asked Hardy were just stupid, and there was no way anyone could of answered them. It was like we are stupid and without Hardy we really cannot tell our heads from our asses.
Now to understand why i like this show, it is so off the wall it is entertaining. and I like seeing what the followers are going to do next.
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Jan 21, 2014
I don't think they have reached season 1 levels of stupidity and incompetence yet. Remember the evacuation center and the farmhouse for example. But yes, those questions were stupid.
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Jan 21, 2014
I tuned into the first season because of the dashingly, handsome James Purefoy and the originality of the idea for the show. However, I, like Joe's followers, became disgruntled with the shows lack of delivery on its promise and rambling plot. I was ambivalent about tuning in for this season but tune in I did. I thought the episode and the ensuing plot threads were a bit lacklustre. On the brightside, its not a procedural and the Disciples Mark and Luke are a zany and quirky addition. I'll give it three episodes before deciding to continue or not.
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Jan 21, 2014
Mark and Luke are almost messages from the show's makers to the audience announcing that they know we know it's too goofy for how serious every character takes him or herself. It's almost like an element of Ryan Murphy mixed into the show (or, really, a bit of Kevin Williamson which has been desperately missing). By adding some tongue-in-cheek nuttiness to the show, it makes the universe more comedic and less laughably dramatic. We'll have to see how it goes.
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Jan 20, 2014
It was good to see Bodie. I hope he gave Big a hug and told Aaliyah I said hi before he was reincarnated as a Joe Carroll D-League wannabe. But why would he be running around with some psycho twins killing people on a subway? Makes no sense.
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Jan 20, 2014
First of all i love this show and... I love this show ! Period.
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Jan 21, 2014
really?
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Jan 24, 2014
Yep i's not "MUST SEE TV" but it's really entertaining.
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Jan 20, 2014
Seeing that cab slam straight into Ryan and then have him just stand right back up was amazing and is just exactly what I'd been missing these past months. I'm overjoyed that this show is back. It is really a hot mess. The only thing more fun than watching the nonsensical shenanigans the characters get into is reading the recaps after here and on Vulture.
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Jan 20, 2014
At least they started by killing off Claire. Thank God. Now don't you dare giving her more air time in Justified. You have been warned ;)
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Jan 20, 2014
they're gonna repeat Season 1 all over again...
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Jan 20, 2014
I think this episode was much better than any episode of season 1. I had to think about whether that's good or bad, because I enjoyed the unintentional comedy last year. I came to the conclusion that it's a good thing. They could keep me watching for a while by making the show "so bad it's good", but to keep me watching in the second season, they have to give me something that's actually good, or at least good-adjacent.
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Jan 21, 2014
But can we trust them? Or do we have the bring the poll back?
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Jan 21, 2014
Why would you not bring the poll back?
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Jan 23, 2014
I think there wasn't enough stupid in episode 1 for the poll to be meaningful, but things may still get back to season 1 levels of stupidity. If they think there's a chance of a third season, they have to make sure that the FBI isn't too successful, and probably also that the cult is too successful. The easiest way is of course to make everyone an idiot when it's convenient.
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Jan 21, 2014
Fair point.
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Jan 20, 2014
I kinda don't get why everyone keeps calling this show terrible. I love Kevin Bacon and that's why I started to watch it but I thought the story was really compelling. Realistic, hell no but it is one that I would call original and I give lots of points for that.

I also have always thought the acting was top notch....there are/were plenty of wtf moments and it most certainly did not drive towards a happy ending which can get annoying.

I was glad to see the show back...not really surprised Joe isn't dead. I am on the fence about the new Ryan. I like drunk Ryan but I respect sober Ryan (so far). The niece, was she in last season? I felt like she was a little out of the blue but she's likable enough I guess.

The creepy twins really creep me out. Really.

I am curious to see where the story goes this season.
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Jan 20, 2014
People are saying that it's terrible because the characters were so incredibly stupid that the show quickly turned into an unintentional(?) comedy. But it was fun to watch season 1, and it was at least partially because it was so stupid.
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Jan 20, 2014
I don't find the characters stupid so I guess that's where I differ. I wouldn't call it smart tv or anything but I don't think they are/were stupid. The show is completely over the top but that's part of it's appeal to me. The other thing is that it feeds my latent conspiracy theory thirst. A show based around the premise that any person could be a bad guy is pretty cool to me.
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Jan 21, 2014
A few examples that immediately come to mind:

* One of the Carrollers offered to let Carroll kill him, so that he would be important.

* The FBI, SWAT, local police, and possibly other agencies had a farmhouse surrounded, but they let the bad guys escape WITH their hostage.

* The FBI invited the people of a town where a cult of serial killers were hanging out to come down to the evacuation center if they wanted to be safe, but they didn't check the people who went in there for weapons.

If you want to see more examples, check out the reviews of the episodes from season 1. At our request, the reviewer started including a poll for the stupidest move of the week in each review. There was always plenty of stupid to choose from.
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Jan 21, 2014
Most of this is what I call true to life. Not necessarily stupid.

The cult element of the story says to me that realistically law enforcement including the FBI aren't necessarily trained to deal with that type of crime. So on the show it wouldn't be that different.

Textbook cult folk are more likely to harm themselves than others. I think they were put in an extra-ordinary situation and responded poorly. Which is actually more realistic than not.

Where I live, not long ago there was an armored truck robbery that happened in broad daylight. Criminals got away with more than a million dollars with the location surrounded. Does that make the cops stupid? Maybe but to me it's just the way it is.

Again, what I like about the show is that the story is so atypical. I'm good with agreeing to disagree.


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Jan 20, 2014
Everyone have to accept The Following for what it is. An average below average show with good pacing and excitement. It has a good cast but story wise will always border on ridiculous. With that, you can sit back, eat your popcorn and enjoy the show.

I am enjoying Sam Underwood since his wonderful performance in Dexter and I liked the French girl too (She was last seen on the island in The Last Resort). I also enjoyed Emma new look.

I knew Joe did not die but I really hope he did. James Purefoy should just go do "Episodes" where he was pretty funny too.
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Jan 21, 2014
Yeah, it took me a second to figure out who that was...then I yelled "Lundy!"
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Jan 21, 2014
Sam Underwood plays Zach on Dexter. I know you are referring to Lundy from Dexter,That is played by Keith Carradine who is also on this show as Kevin Bacon's sponsor. It seems season 2 are getting more guest stars.
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Jan 21, 2014
Ahh, I didn't know the actors name for Lundy, and I am only on Season 6 of Dexter, so I haven't come across Zach yet.
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Jan 23, 2014
Keith Carradine is a veteran actor who have done many things though his brother David is arguably more famous. They looked very alike.
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Jan 20, 2014
Goddamit, did they really kill Claire? I want her back!
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Jan 20, 2014
And right when I thought Emma couldn't get any more annoying... ugh. Bring back Claire and get rid of this terrible child.
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Jan 20, 2014
Thank you for the Flock of Seagulls lyric drop, Nicholas.
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Jan 21, 2014
Always.
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Jan 20, 2014
boo, Joe is alive ... LAME!!!
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Jan 20, 2014
ok i noticed thst no one said anything about the fact ryan had a black bag with a Joe carrol mask in and then he put it on ........
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Jan 20, 2014
The mask Ryan got from Carlos's place (when he's stealing evidence and stuffing it in that duffle). Putting on the mask seems to be the show's oh-so-subtle way of reminding us of last year's "they're more alike than they want to admit" theme.
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Jan 20, 2014
Anybody else notice that it stopped 47 minutes into the hour? If I wasn't DVRing I would have broken my TV.
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Jan 21, 2014
It was on after the football game. Anytime they put something on after a football game, it messes up the times. I always set my DVR to record the show before and the show after just to be certain
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Jan 20, 2014
Not on mine. Though granted, it didn't record it until the 11PM re-showing (I guess that's a thing), and it recorded all the way until 12:30 for some reason.
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Jan 20, 2014
So was Tiffany Boone the girl at the end?
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Jan 21, 2014
Yeah, I'm assuming the character calling for "Darryl" at the end was Tiffany Boone ("Mandy").
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Jan 20, 2014
I have no idea. I was wondering about the other one (the one in bed). It looked like Carrie Preston. Was it really her or just a lookalike?
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Jan 20, 2014
The woman in the bed, Judy, was Carrie Preston, yes.
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Jan 21, 2014
OK, thanks. I thought I had read somewhere that she wasn't going to appear on TGW and POI so much because of her commitment to True Blood, so it surprises me that she has time to do a fourth show. It's possible that I just misunderstood or misremember some comment I read.
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Jan 20, 2014
If any of you are surprised Joe isn't dead you obviously weren't watching the show to begin with,
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Jan 20, 2014
Read the first line and instantly started singing the Family Matters theme lol
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Jan 21, 2014
I had it in my head since one of the Dead Ringers said they brought Carlos into the family. It doesn't take much for me to get 90s sitcom theme songs stuck in my head.
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Jan 20, 2014
Also loved the nod to lost and Lilly is probably going to shack up with Hardy and then die

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Jan 21, 2014
Maybe she'll only fake die to win Hardy's affection.

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Jan 20, 2014
This show is a mess and i love it i have been waiting since april2013 for it to come back i am pissed that joe is still alive why not let a new cult in idk. i kinda cried when mike did because he wants to end everything and ryan and just sittingthere holding all the cards in his hand. whats a episode of the following without someone dying
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Jan 20, 2014
Love the twins and punk Emma. Can't wait to see where it goes?
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Jan 20, 2014
It showed promise, but then we thought that last year when the first episode of the season aired, too.
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All I need in this show is Mike Weston, and already I've had him in tiny shorts, and looking like he was stopping himself from crying every scene with Ryan, so I'm good. More Mike Weston!!!!
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Jan 20, 2014
I'm so glad my favourite train-wreck show is back!
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Jan 20, 2014
This writeup is better than the damn episode. All these weird obscure references to the Family Matters theme song, the second Ninja Turtles film and more speak directly to my terrible lost generation (also, Lost).
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Jan 20, 2014
These are references that are lost when I write up Pretty Little Liars.
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Jan 20, 2014
for the record, I got a big kick out of the "Munch" Robin Hood nod :)
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Jan 20, 2014
I'm bummed Joe is alive. A following without a followee could have been really interesting. Oh well.
This show is my guilty pleasure. I know it's bad and stupid, but it's still weirdly compelling. I'll keep... following.
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Jan 22, 2014
I don't like The Following ; I find it bad and stupid but I sincerely respect your guilty pleasure. Mine is The Tomorrow People. It is also bad and stupid ...
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