The Following "The Fall" Review: Chances Are, You're Also a Cult Member

The Following S01E06: "The Fall"

Remember when we all talked about deus ex machina? I'm pretty sure this is what Horace was talking about.

In any other procedural where the police aren't mindless sacks meant to be stabbed and shot, a surrounded house, by every conceivable agency, is a prelude to a shoot-out. Did you hear the list of forces descending on the property? I'm pretty sure Ryan was just making up acronyms after a while. They had the perimeter sealed, they'd identified the access points, (which, I assume, were also the exits), and even had an airship there or on the way (unless that shot of the helicopter was simply artistic). And yet.

This was something we always knew the show was capable of, the hopeless situation that gets flipped because no one was keeping track of Carroll's visitors and internet time and he racked up many dozens of followers. They could show up at any time with any set of skills because, as Parker was quick to point out with a line that seemed to have more tags on it than Lord of the Rings had endings, belonging is a "primal need," so literally everyone you can think of might be in on the plan.

So we're clear, we're not talking about Officer Marsden, who we all basically knew from the first time she batted her doe eyes at Weston that she was in with Carroll. I'm a little surprised that she wasn't more involved with thwarting the police's plan to storm the farmhouse. She was generally a bystander until they found Emma. Then she found her switch. In fact, what information we might take from the entire altercation between Marsden, Emma, and Weston is that she shot him not in the face or the leg or the arm, but square in the bullet proof vest. To be sure, a Carroll minion shooting Westen does not absolve him from being Ryan's "follower."

That Charlie introduced the term "follower" to specifically mean someone who keeps tabs on an important party to the overall "scheme" is an interesting turn. It at least demonstrates that there's some sort of organization to this madness, that it's not just a bunch of deranged kids marching into the world with kitchen knives and a brief overview of Poe. From what we've seen of Jordy, the threesome, and Hank the Cleaner who pretty much failed his first job, the infrastructure for masking all the calls and emails seemed a little out of reach. But learning that maybe not every one of the hundreds under Carroll's employ behaves like a murderous outcast from the Creek with absolutely no power within the superstructure might be the most promising thing about The Following to date.

Although let's face it, Charlie isn't exactly a genius either. I understand the temptation to make a "follower" fall in love with his target (so many terrifying movies are about just that thing), but... I kind of wish Charlie hadn't. A fond affection, sure. A bond that remains secret even to Carroll? Yeah. But the horror-movie-esque crescendo soundtrack to when Charlie stabbed Claire with a kiss was just goofy. I hadn't thought about Disturbing Behavior in a long time, but the "impure thoughts" schtick coupled with the flagellation by head trauma just reminded me of when one of the brainwashed kids in the movie bashed her head into a mirror, chanting "Bad. Wrong." It's theoretically disturbing but, in practice, pretty silly.

Maybe part of the reason I feel that way is that I have zero empathy for Claire. It's troubling, since the show has worked really hard to make the audience feel something for her. This is a woman who suffered a husband who turned out to be a serial killer and tried to kill her, a woman left behind by Hardy so he could continue his quest toward noble martyrdom, a woman who had her son kidnapped by the thousands-strong cult that worships that same murderous husband, and she's still so very stupid. And so very dull. And not at all as intoxicating as Carroll. Yet the show is basically begging us to believe. Claire is kind of like Jennifer Aniston in that way. The media and the industry for decades have been trying to tell me she's either the worst or the best when, in all reality, she's really just fine, and the constant demand that I fall one way or the other makes me reject her entirely.

Anyway, the "followers" and Roderick—a deity-like fixer who's named after a character with only the faintest grip on reality and who's basically handicapped by his own neuroses (?)—offered a sliver of hope that the shitshow that's been The Following's first six episodes might just be the first dirty layer of an onion. But, at the same time, I can't escape that feeling of deus ex machina, where several tactical divisions were thwarted by a few men who, to the best of our knowledge, escaped unscathed. Did Carroll also turn some Navy SEALs?

This is the trouble I'm having with the series. At once I can see where this is headed, where, yes, we've been witness to a mess but it was supposed to be that way. We were bearing witness to pawns, the simpleton drones who were the catalyst for the drama but certainly not in charge of anything. Howver, the show hasn't provided me with enough evidence that I can trust it to not constantly bring up any of Carroll's millions of cult members to thwart Ryan's "gotchas." It's one thing to maintain a universe of suspicion by feeding paranoia. It's another to present a hopeless situation and undermine it with some unreasonable, made-up bull crap.



NOTES


– One thing I really do like about The Following is that Ryan isn't trigger-shy. He will shoot some folks for looking at all suspicious. What he doesn't seem to be great at is stabbing people. Three times to the gut and Paul still makes it through the night? How to shiv a dude must not have been part of FBI training.

– I really don't like that my spellcheck knows that I got "Aniston" wrong the first time.

– Lesson of the night: Kids, always be suspicious of milk. Get your calcium from leafy greens, instead! Spinach and kale = less opportunity to be roofied.

– I really hope Meghan comes back to help out in some way. Otherwise, that whole storyline was kind of silly and a bit anticlimactic. Although I did appreciate Ryan's advice to "keep running." Like you should've done the first time.

– Did anyone care more about Parker after her flashback? I was trying to think of a show that used flashback as much as The Following does but maybe more effectively. The only example that comes to mind is Lost, where half an episode would be dedicated to getting to know the backstory of one character. But on Lost, because the stories of the past and present tied in so well together, the flashbacks felt less herky-jerky (a technical term) and more integrated. One story enlightened the other. The flashbacks on The Following tend to be single-minded, in purely giving exposition that's loosely tied into the show. Basically, I'm saying that The Following is a fighting chicken away from becoming Family Guy. And that maybe we should be getting backstory that's more compelling than a case-of-the-week on SVU.

– Seriously, how can these agents/police constantly let people get away? Charlie and Claire were in the basement of somewhere and they were just like, "Whoops. They got away." THEY CAN ONLY GO UP.

– I shudder to think of what Charlie has in his "personal stash" of Claire materials.

– If I ever need a pacemaker, I hope I get the kind Ryan has. I don't think my actual heart could take the punishment his has received. I mean, electro-shock, magnets, the pressure of constantly being a weak allusion to "The Tell-Tale Heart." It's a lot to bear.


What'd you think of "The Fall"?

Comments (94)
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I can't believe this mess of a show got a season 2 renewal. I don't think I can even continue hate-watching anymore it's so dumb.
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11 cult members ... that's all we've been made aware of, I don't think that even comes close to "everybody's a follower".
There's also a lot of complaints about how stupid it was for Ryan not to shoot out the tires.. the man collapsed and couldn't shoot. Not something he could control or make a decision about, how is that stupid?
I had several problems with this episode, but a lot of complaints I see are about things that are perfectly reasonable, especially within the shows canon.
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Hahahhaha! Hahahahahaaahhaaa! Okay, I'll admit that I enjoyed this review infinitely more than the episode! I mean The Following has potential. But I'm starting to learn this season in television more than ever, that I'm starting to get tired of being that viewer who falls in love with the potential. The one who rewrites stuff in a more compelling way in my mind while I'm watching. The viewer who watches just to laugh at just how ridiculous some things are. Or to indulge in the cheap thrills.
-Everyone is all looking over their shoulder because the idea that everyday people can be all cult-like and what not. I get that. But what has me looking over my shoulder, is the fact that law enforcement comes across so weak and incompetent. Like every week Ryan is held captive, the crap is beat out of him, he's stabbed, he's shot at, and that damn pacemaker. Oh.My Gosh. That pacemaker...no piece of technology in the history of mankind has survived so much crap! But, what I like about watching The Following is, it's kinda like going to a cheesy suspense thriller. You suspend belief...like the fact that it took Ashmore's character three hours to get to the scene.......again. While all hell broke loose inside....again. Or the fact that the only way out of that bunker Claire was being held captive in was up. UP! Or the fact that Ryan stabbed pretty boy a kazillion times and he still didn't die. One must overlook all of that and go with it, and just enjoy the action for what it is. Insanity. Entertaining insanity. Bisexual/Gay Threesomes. That one loser guy being the one who hasn't killed anyone. Unethical lawyers in fear of their lives. Unintelligent and therefore unsympathetic victims and hostages. Joe Carroll having more reach then...hell, I don't even know. Dude has people everywhere. Incompetent law enforcement. Oh The Following.
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It's a great episode if you don't think too hard and the same can be said about the show. This one had a lot of action which at least was something.
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On the plus side, Hardy trying to drive a wedge between the two guys was hilarious. "Wait, YOU'RE sleeping with Emma"? "Aren't you guys gay"? The way he said it was great. Other than that, there were once again more holes in the story than a piece of swiss cheese. How many times are the Cops going to screw up surrounding a house? How all the Cultists escaped (much less Claire and the new guy from the basement) is a mystery to me. That they also continue to bring in new cultists seems lazy to me, and it's mind boggling how much free access to information a serial killer had/has in prison.

Frankly I think Caroll should have escaped and be manning this operation from a bunker somewhere, it'd make it a lot more believeable as to how he's spreading his message and controlling the troops.

Using his lawyer and the way that's being portrayed is laughable. Guess I'll stick around a bit longer to see where this goes but it seems like a runaway train that's going to have a hard time getting back on track.
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I felt like this was the best episode so far, aside from the Pilot. I really liked all of the smart ass talk from Ryan in the beginning but only because I know it really bugged Paul and Jacob! Also, I'm starting to think that Emma and Joe are the only real members of the cult and they are just stringing everyone else along and disposing of them when they are no longer useful. But, it was pretty cold how Emma straight up ditched Paul and Jacob and then hung up on Jacob when he called her for help. I almost feel bad for those guys.
I don't like that this show has finally pulled the "everyone is a cult member" card. I knew it was coming, but I didn't think it would be this soon. This was a pretty good episode until the "every good guy gets shot and every bad guy escapes" thing happened.
I did like the back story of Agent Parker. It didn't make me like her any more or less but it does explain a few things about her. Like how she got interested in cults in the first place. I guessed she'd been around one, but it was nice to get confirmation of that.
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I thought this show was finally getting decent until this episode. EVERYBODY is a cult member! Everyone! They're all players in this shark-jumping game.
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How inept are the FBI in this show? Also would SWAT just spray a house with bullets or use a surgical strike even if they know only bad guys are left in there?

Also I loved how Ryan was quick to shoot Officer Marsden when trying to stop Emma take Joey, but didn't even think about putting two bullets into the front and back tires in an attempt to hamper their get away....
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Im done with this show
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Batllestar Gallactica all over again. Everyone a Cylon, I mean, a follower, only he/she does not know it yet. I guess the only way to stop the master plan before the whole world will be taken over is to arrange Carroll a little deadly accident at the prison. Provided it is still possible to find a non-member able to do the "job".
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Seems obvious to me that Agent Parker is already a follower - in episode 2, we lingered way too long on her handing the night-time reading over to Carroll. This would also explain the sidetrack into her cult past, the military ambushes, etc. - though I suspect she never actually met Carroll in person until she joined the team and is (clearly) leagues ahead of the Three Stooges in terms of her value to him. I'm watching now basically only to see if I'm right about her, and because my partner went to high school with the actress who plays her (Annie Parisse).
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Those are far better reasons than to try to be entertained. Spoiler alert....cult members have no issues infiltrating the FBI, or any other sensitive positions of power. Except, for some uncanny reason, they can't seem to break Joey out of prison to just end all of this. I reached a point last night where I realized I wouldn't be remotely surprised if the President of the US was taken hostage by his followers....the show is that absurd.
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Seeing all the negative comments I'm glad I gave up after the pilot
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The irony is that the pilot was very entertaining, but since then, the show descended into a circus of ineptitude. Seriously, like every other character just fell off a turnip truck and can't tell up from down.
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This show is turning into an unintentional comedy.
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Fox Comedy hour! Should be on right before or after Family Guy and the Simpsons
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Of course we can't get a total resolution to this show right away, but why do the writers not feel any need whatsoever to ever give us even the smallest of meaningful wins? Every episode seems like three steps backward for the "good" guys and ZERO steps forward. You have to give the audience at least a morsel of victory to keep them hungry for more viewing.

When the trio at the totally surrounded farmhouse escaped with their lives (and their hostage, for crying out loud!), I was neither surprised nor angry, unlike in prior weeks. The weekly deus ex machina moments (the bad kind) have slowly -- rapidly? -- taken this show from interesting to boring and now just laughable.

I really should spend next Monday re-reading the actual works of Poe instead of watching this insulting mess. It's certainly a better use of my time. And if I feel the need for some feel-good entertainment, all I need are these reviews. If the writers wanted to do something truly clever, they'd *announce* that the show was renewed for a second season but then bring it all to a close at the end of the first season. Now that would be a truly great and unexpected twist.
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This show completely derailed last night. My animosity has been growing for weeks...and I got up and walked out of the room last night and said "I'm done". You cover my points well...but the show jumped the shark already last night. FBI, SWAT, Helicopters, ground force.....nothing for these followers who could probably just say screw it and take over the entire country i they wanted to. Why mess around with this little circus side-show? Just overtake a few small countries instead. Why is Joe wasting time in prison? I'm sure he's got 125 followers on staff to get him out. Let's see...they've got a tech genius who can hack into any computer system in the world, obviously as you say they have multiple Navy SEALS on staff, entire towns rigged....just...YAWN...show over. Cheap writing. Always a follower. Always. It is disappointing because I don't think they needed to take that "out".
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This episode was interesting. I started noticing the show ripping off Lost, in a good way, using a swoosh to bring you back to the present after a flashback. I'm also wondering if maybe just maybe Carroll isn't the puppet master we all think he is but actually just a means to an end much like Al Qeada Bin Ladin was the leader but his number 2 was the actual brains behind everything and pushed things around. Bin Ladin was the figure head leader everyone bowed too or if that doesn't help look at Person of Interest where Finch was a behind the scenes guy while having a "beard" take all the accolades for him.

I do wonder if Parker will go from FBI agent to seduced by Carroll and turned. Also has anyone not looked at Carroll's attorney and realized she's missing a finger and doing his bidding with no problems. She doesn't come off as a follower of Carroll. The coolest part of this show though is the music. The music fits so well and I love how it intensifies the mood that's already in the show. It fits perfect. That they nailed perfectly.

I will say though I'm already tired of this Ryan can't be with Claire bit cause he thinks he reminds her of her worst time in her life when now obviously that is replaced. So when she offers to cook breakfast TAKE IT YOU MORON and get some and relax. I still wonder when did she have her son and when did the murders start. They have been vague on that a little too much making me wonder is little Joe really an offshoot of Ryan? I don't know. I'm guessing he was born before the murders. If anyone could help me out on timeline I would be appreciative.

All in all though good show and this episode was really cool with seemingly EVERYONE turning out to be a follower it seemed by the time the episode was over. Do wonder is the youngest FBI agent one of Carrolls guys? He seems to know a lot about Hardy, which suggest he is Ryan's follower and they all knew when Carroll did his thing Ryan would be brought back into the fold. I mean the kid is alone most the time with Ryan now after the other agent was killed. It was like they purposefully killed him so they could have Ryan and the young guy together, which is also why I'm suspicious of Parker. She's the one who's in charge.

That would be a big Mind Phuck when the big reveal is all of this was done just so Ryan could write the BEST sequel ever done lol. It turns out his boss and partner all work for Carroll and on and on lol.
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"In any other procedural..."

The Following isn't a procedural. The term isn't *defined* as "A TV show that sucks".
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Natalie Zea got casted in the role that doesn't fit her. She should be playing FBI agent, not a serial killer's wife. She's got that coldness in her.
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This show has finally become entertaining, because I no longer have any hope that it can ever do something good. So now I can just laugh at how stupid it is.
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Oh my. I was most stoked about seeing Kristine Sutherland! And she doesn't look like she aged a day since she died so beautifully on Buffy all those years ago.
But, sadly, Parker's mom in the flashback was a waste of Sutherland's talent and beauty.
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What did miss? Hot did Claire end up at home at the end of the episode?
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The FBI found her and stormed the place where she was held. I don't see how they could possibly find her, but they did.

For some reason I had the exact same reaction as you did at the end. I had already forgotten that she had been liberated a few minutes earlier.
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they tracked an e-mail Emma sent to Charlie
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Ah, I forgot about that. I think this proves that Jimmy Olsen's brother is not part of the cult. So now we have something to be pissed off about if he eventually turns out to be a cult member.
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My first thought every week with this show is "I wonder how many FBI agents/ police are going to do something stupid resulting in their death this week"...
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I think there should be an amusing "game" every week, where the author of the latest review asks the readers to pick the dumbest moment from the episode. Such as:

Claire not going for a gun, or trying to properly escape from Charlie's hideout.
Hardy not shooting out of the tires of Emma's car.
The FBI trying to do anything good.
Hardy stabbing Paul in the gut instead of going for the jugular.
Officer Marsden shooting a vest instead of Weston's head.

Take your pick!
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I just want to add to your suggestion by saying that the reviewer shouldn't just ask the question, but make it a poll so that we can vote.
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Staff
Noted.
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Yeah, even better. :)
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Good idea. However, I don't agree that the gut stabbing was dumb. I would even say that it was a better idea than the alternative you're suggesting, because of the effect on the other guy.

Not shooting a tire was one of my favorite stupid moments. Some of my other favorites:

The cops/FBI/SWAT didn't have the house surrounded, so no one saw Emma and the boy leave the house.
The Boss lady didn't let SWAT go in because they couldn't *guarantee* that the boy would be safe. Hey Boss lady, he was *already* in danger, and you knew that the psycho bitch was trying to buy time.
When SWAT finally went in, they did it by shooting at random all over the house.


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Head SWAT guy "well, we got a LOT of bullets with us. How about we just spray a bunch all over?"
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My favorite (among the many) was when Charlie -- I think that's what the computer geek's name is -- escaped after tossing a flash bang, and mere moments later, the FBI/SWAT/WHOEVER concluded that "he got away."

Comedy.
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I think we need to have a contest for the dumbest line of the week.

My vote is when Claire tells Charlie in his lair after already getting in his car even though every one knows its a stupid idea, "Why would I ever trust you!?"
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Anyone watch The Mentalist? Ever since I first heard of the Following, I kept thinking of Red John and his helpers, and even more so now with Visualize... At least that guy can hypnotize people into believing their dead... I keep thinking the answer to that is that it's various people... Sorry, I digress...
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*they're*, sorry... I'll go to sleep now. :)
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I really feel for Kevin Bacon. I really like him. I want to like this show. But it has asked viewers to believe that the whole world is populated by idiots. I may have to stop watching so I don't feel like a moron
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Everyone being apart of the cult is going to get tired quickly. It's a cheap way of resetting any and all situations. Agent Parker should be relieved of her command of the Carroll case after that debacle. A couple guys walk onto a farm and murder 4 trained FBI agents and allow 3 suspects to get away. Heads would be rolling after that.
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This has to be the show where the FBI has been portrayed as the stupidest law enforcement agency in the world. I'll continue to watch the show until either it finds a path towards reality or its canceled. There are still 9 more episodes til the end of the season so there's still hope,
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I remember that this show has been sold to us as a dark show with violence and blood. Well, we had our share of murders and bloody messages on walls in the pilot, but since then... it's just a basic manhunt. Don't get me wrong, I don't want gratuitous and meaningless violence but at least it was some kind of atmosphere...
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Dozens, hundreds, millions. I am thinking the same thing you are, Nick! This show just went from good to pretty good for me. Seriously, too many followers is going to run it for me. The one thing I loved about the episode the very end with the two dudes away from Emma. I see good stuff coming from that.
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The most common complaints I've seen in reviews is about the amount of followers and that anyone could be one of the cult. The summary for the show says that Carroll "has spent nine years recruiting an army" so we knew what we were in for. So far over six episodes we have only been made aware of 11 actual members that's not a lot and its also not that unbelievable, the manson family had at least 30 proven members at the time they committed murders. Manson still has fans, groupies websites etc that admire him and contact him in prison, so do many other killers so maybe the premise is not so far fetched.

2 other points mentioned a lot ... Carroll's visitors: the police did check the visitors i think they even gave a number but the people showing up on film such as Emma etc were all using false identities.. until they show up again the police might not be able to track them down, these aren't convicted criminals with police records.
The police officer conveniently turning out to be a cult member: Carroll has put this plan in place over 9 years, he planned where the farmhouse was so he planned to have someone local, or maybe he chose that farmhouse because he had a cult member in that town.

I do agree that the law enforcement agencies are not being shown as the smartest in the world though LOL
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The complete lack of any monitoring or restriction of his visitors is the single most ridiculous thing in what is by in large a ridiculous show!
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I think the point about monitoring the visits - sure, they have visitor logs with (fake) names, but when they show Charlie's visit he's right there saying "OH I'M TOTALLY GOING TO HACK THEIR INTERNET IT'S COOL" and no one is listening? You'd think for such a high profile killer there would be constant monitoring/recording. We're forced to believe that dum-dum Jordy was the only one in charge which is tough to swallow.
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First of all we are told that Carroll had 41 visits prior to the events of this series and even if we consider the improbable 100% recruitment; that's the number we will deal with, provided the series will survive season one. In spite of all the very serious weaknesses of the numerous plots, and the chaos of mismanaged pursuit, I still believe we can hope for something worthwhile, even if it will seem far-fetched beyond credibility at this time.
I am referring to the names of the characters. Bear with me a second. Names have always held a special place among literary tropes. It is the way the author will nudge the reader that there is something else going on there but we'll just let you hanging on for a wile , till we, the author , will decide whether we're going on a different way or not. Most of the time, names will emphasize the main characteristic of the character, anchor he or she more deeply into the text; or allude to some other paths altogether.
Here we have, I suggest, Ryan Hardy= Hardy Boys, Carroll= author of Alice in Wonderland, and some others.All this is shadowed by the Poe references which are a given. My sliver of hope is that the writers might jump the gun at some cliffhanger point and change the Poe Path into for instance the Alice Path.Since Carroll is a genius in his own way; what would be more appropriate than have several Literary Followers cells; once that will come to life unexpectedly, just when the Poe oriented murders have become too obvious.
Of course, this is just pure conjecture at this point, but what I am saying is that this might be criminal chaos theory at work here. Wait and see........
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That's me done with this show - if I wanna watch dumb people run around with guns I'll catch an episode of cops. At least the theme tune to that is entertaining.
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Oh for crying out loud. Now it becomes obvious. Carroll is not a genius. It is just that everyone else is severely mentally handicapped. And now even little Joey is swirlingthe moron drain.

So Reinhart is likely Parker's or whatever her name is on this show, former cult leader. Which is where Carroll is getting his bullpen of psychos. Unless that is Reinhart rents out psychos, do they have dial a psycho? This is the 21st century, it is probably Text a Psycho. Or maybe like zip cars, where you go to a parking lot, pick up a psycho and then use for a bit, gas it up and drop it back off. Otherwise that was the dumbest and most useless flashback in the history of flashbacks.

Also, in the universe that they exist in, all FBI agents everywhere are morons. Not just morons but complete and utter morons. The HRT steam is probably one of the most eleit SWAT units in the world. And they know each other. So two of Carroll's pocket psychos dressing up as them isn't going to do anything unless the other are freaking idiots.

Also, how can the most inept band of crazies keep getting away. I am not one to tell people their jobs but surrounding the house tends to mean surround the freaking house.

And Joey getting in the car with Emma puts him directing in the stupid wagon. Ah well, he is his mother's son.
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I think Joey getting in the car wasn't too bad, after all, the kid was drugged and probably feeling very loopy.
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Forget just inept, one of them was bleeding to death and he still managed to get away!! As if.
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Also, has anyone called Westmore as Ryan's follower yet? He's basically Ryan's fanboy and always following him around, but that just seems too obvious.
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That theory has been around since the Pilot. lol And it only became stronger after Mike was left alone in the kitchen with the FBI agent who got stabbed in the neck. I wouldn't be surprised if he turned out to be a follower, I suspect everyone to be part of the cult, even Ryan. lol
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I really liked Kevin Bacon's performance in this issue. I've never really thought of him as much of an actor or really thought of him at all, but the standoff between him and the 3 stooges at the begging of the episode when was acting far more intimidating and deadly than the 3 serial killing cultist was some damn fine acting.
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HI BUFFY'S MOM! This show still sucks but at least we now know Kristine Sutherland lives.
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I've always been one for hate-watching. Unfortunately, on Mondays, the pickins are slim. So, The Following is just something to watch...I don't even want that anymore. Sooooooo bad.

And it's been said before; flashback within a flashback. Kill me.
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Believe it or not, this was probably my favorite episode of the Following. Either that or my second favorite; it's pretty hard to tell at this point. I realize that this episode had a lot of flaws, and that especially there were a lot of "how stupid are you? oh...that stupid" moments, but I guess I've just come to terms with the fact that these things are just going to be a consistent part of this show. I mean, sure, Claire was really, really stupid this episode when she decided to pull a runner instead of grabbing one of several guns off of that rack and forcing Charlie to let her go free. And sure, Charlie also seemed to leave his keys behind before taking a phone call, allowing Claire to make her escape attempt in the first place. But honestly, I've seen this kind of move a hundred times before, when the writers want a hostage to make a break for it but not actually succeed, so it's not like Claire did something that a hundred stupid TV characters haven't done before. I know that this isn't a good enough excuse, but it's something that I'm fine with, and it kind of makes the show funny. You could also argue that being in a hostage situation doesn't make you think clearly, Claire probably has never used a gun before and wouldn't feel comfortable using one against a trained professional, and she wasn't blindfolded so she knows she's still in a populated area and needs only to escape the building and she'll be fine. While these arguments don't fully explain away her stupidity this episode, at least she didn't just sit on the couch and act all scared; at least she did something, even if that something was not a solid plan.

What I've come to like about this show has to do with the varying levels of stupidity that the characters have. Both the cult and law enforcement have several layers, and the higher up you get naturally the smarter you get. This does mean, though, that the lower down you get you start to find more and more stupid. Normally, though, shows tend to be about a wide array of law enforcement trying to take down a small group of capable, brilliant, deadly, trained, and experienced killers. This show is different in that Carroll seems to have done the best he can with what he had at his disposal, in that some of his cult members will be trained ex-military serial killers, who possess useful skills, while others will just be former college students who have a need to belong and haven't found enough purpose in their lives. And the way the show has presented Carroll's followers, we've really started at the very bottom (Jordy) and have been working our way up ever since. And it's because of this strange network of killers that we were able to have the situation we did last night, where Hardy seemed to be having the most fun he's had all season.

From the moment he gave Paul his gun, Hardy was completely in control of that situation, even when they brought out and threatened a hostage he still was able to keep his cool and make fun of the strange threesome going on under that roof. I enjoyed those series of interactions more than any other moment on the Following so far, which makes me think that this would be a much better show if Hardy were a hostage most of the time. Seriously, you could tell that not only was Kevin Bacon having a lot of fun during those scenes, but this looked like the first time that Hardy was able to relax this entire season. And because it's become more and more apparent that Carroll has some sort of para-military organization at the head of his organization, it was completely fine that Hardy had no trouble getting inside the heads of Emma, Paul, and Jacob. And it was fine that he was able to disarm and wound two of them, rescue a hostage, and kill one of Carroll's minions without much difficulty. Because even though this episode split up the killer threesome (in more ways than one right there, referring both to the threesome itself and the ways in which it was split up), and Paul is damaged, this won't stop Carroll's plan in the slightest. Emma, Paul, and Jacob could have died this episode and things would have been just fine, though it would have been a shame because these three are my favorite characters on the show, other than Carroll of course.

My guess is that Carroll has arranged everything so that he literally has marked certain members of his organization for death. Jordy was the first of these, and Paul and Jacob are most likely on this list as well. Emma is probably on more of a "maybe" list, since this episode clearly showed that, for the moment at least, she is more important to the cult than either Paul or Jacob. And I think Carroll hopes that she'll survive this, even if she's put put in the spotlight much more than say, Roderick, who seems to be Carroll's second-in-command, so it is not surprising that so far he has been the most insulated of Carroll's following. I personally like this structure of Carroll's, because it makes a lot of things that are inevitable far more likely than I at first thought they would be. For instance, pretty much everyone (including myself) have been saying, since the Pilot, that there is at least one mole in the taskforce, if not more. And yet, every single FBI member thus far, even Weston who has been the prime suspect for a while now, has done things they didn't have to do in order to impede Carroll's minions. But now that we're seeing just how big Carroll's following is, and just how organized it gets near the top, it certainly seems as if Emma and her cell are just the hastily put together hors d'oeuvres of an elaborate meal to come. Which means that any of Carroll's moles in the FBI should feel feel to, and are in fact probably ordered to, do everything they can to bring down the amateur hour that is Emma and the other ten or so people that met in that house. This would explain why Weston, if he is a follower, did such above and beyond work tracing the email from the house to Charlie's end of the world bunker, because these are all things that Carroll is fine with going wrong, and has perhaps planned to go wrong.

I also think this Roderick character is one of the smartest things this show has done so far. Since we've been assuming for a while that there's a mole in the FBI, and since there are only two real suspects (unless Hardy's fair game, which at this point seems a little too crazy), it would be rather expected if either Parker or Weston aimed a gun at Hardy at some point and said "yeah...I know this is kinda awkward but...I'm one of them...yeah." But this introduction of Roderick breathes new life into the possibility of a genuine twist. My theory is that either Parker or Weston is in fact Roderick, and that one of them has been running Carroll's operation this entire time. My personal bet is Parker, since it's a tried and true method to give an unknown character a male name, and then later reveal them to be female. Also, as an expert on cults she'd be well suited to help Carroll create and maintain one. It could still be that both of them are in on it, but I don't think the show needs to do this anymore with the introduction of Roderick. Anyway, I predict that the FBI mole/Roderick will be revealed at the end of this season, and that next season they will go underground to more visibly lead Carroll's following.

But while I'm pleased with the show for it's continued development of Carroll's following, I still think the FBI/taskforce could use some of the improvement that the cult has gotten. Evidently they still haven't read the ten recommendations that I posted two weeks ago, otherwise they would have gone through all of Carroll's visitors, tracked them down, questioned them, and at least noticed that one of them was dishonorably discharged from the army. They might also have noticed that lady cop that Hardy shot tonight. though I'm guessing Roderick was smart enough to not have all of the cult members visit Carroll in prison. Regardless, from now on when they travel to different towns and coordinate with the cops there, they should see which cops/local law enforcement made abrupt transfers to that location about two years ago. They should also form a healthy distrust of any cops who are under the age of thirty, because so far only Jordy has been the only follower that doesn't fit this age bracket. At this point I think that one marshal with grey hair should be running this operation, since in my opinion he is the one person, other than Joey, who can't be a cult member at this point. And I said it last week, but Agent Parker should really have sent in some backup to that town at some point before Hardy was on site at the barn, though I guess even that wouldn't have helped the situation. At least after the farmhouse debacle they can tell all their men/women that if they see anyone walk toward them calmly and saying "don't shoot, stay calm" with their hands raised, shoot them immediately before quickly checking their six.

Overall I've been enjoying this show a lot more as there have been more and more reveals about Carroll's following. Still, I think the one part of the show that still needs a huge amount of work is the taskforce and the way it handles its resources. It's fine if Emma and company are sloppy and largely noneffective because they are literally amateurs. But everyone in law enforcement, and especially the taskforce, are all trained professionals. So they should at least follow basic protocols and leads that even I'm aware of. And I'm not asking them to be the paragon of law enforcement, or even efficiency for that matter, since I realize that if they caught everyone in two episodes then this show would pretty much be over, but they could at least not be so incompetent about it. At least the mistakes they make could be understandable, and the leads they miss could be easily missed. And it would really, really be nice if there weren't an army of law enforcement constantly on standby doing pretty much nothing, only be to sent hastily running to a location of interest at the very last minute, only to arrive too late to do anything and just look awkward and embarrassed.
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She walked right out the back door and no one was waiting to stop her!!! Plus why was more cops at the basement then at the house.
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does no one else think parker is rodrick shes had a few poe quotes already been part of a cult looking for a family as hers abondened her shed know everything theyed need to know and the his son when charlie? asked and roderick has to be someone we have already seen as otherwise they would have shown them already
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Roderick is supposed to be played by a guy (Warren Kole from what I've read), but Parker could still be in on it.
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I knew Charlie had a way out that was obvious my question how many key people does JOE own, THE FOLLOWING is getting better and better great show!!!
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so this one wasnt all bad but while i was reading your review i realized that after 6 episodes i have not remembered the names of half of the staff. the implication being that no matter who gets shot next i couldnt care less. there is no character in this show right now where i really have the feeling of "hope he/she doesnt die"

and when i chase a little boy and a tiny girl through the woods and reach them at the car and still have the energy to shoot a traitor but out of nowhere i am too weak to shoot the tires? really?

and claire (i hope thats her name - i mean the mother of the boy)
wtf is wrong with her? so she followed him, got creeped out, ran away, got wet, came back to dry her hair, got kissed and still gave the killer/cybercriminal attitude ... kill her of already.

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As far as I understood Ryan didn't shoot because of his heart problems, he chased them, but that was it. Then he lost his breath, and it was it.
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No question ... jumped the shark tonight.

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Whoa, I stopped watching just 2 or 3 episodes ago and this already makes no sense.
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See, several members of SWAT team were killed, an FBI agent was almost killed by a cop, and you guys were slating Claire for being naive.
I liked this episode, not my favourite one, but still great. Ryan's smirks while he was in the house - priceless. Kevin Bacon really is the best actor that was snubbed by the Academy. He's doing a terrific job here.
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I don't think I slated Claire for being naive. I do slate her for believing that _Ryan_ was misleading her based on what her ex-husband's defense attorney told her.
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WTF... Flashback in a flashback... It gets worse every week
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The flashbacks weren't even that relevant. One minute, the focus is the hostage situation and Claire's silly dilemma, then it shifts to Emma's personal problems relating to her dead mother, and all of the sudden, Parker is revisiting her childhood with a flashback in a flashback. Some consistency wouldn't hurt...
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I thought of the same thing. Apparently anyone and anywhere, there seems to be a cult member. I bet Ryan is a cult member, he just doesn't know it yet.

The flashbacks are getting ridiculous. There was literally a flashback in a flashback about that FBI lady. I'm all for character development but IMHO its just becoming overboard.

As much as I like to criticize the show, I'm worried about its ratings. I don't see it lasting another season. I guess movie stars don't draw people to watch television shows as much.
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Um.. Its the second highest rated new drama of the season after Revolution. I'd wager a big part of that is because of Bacon. Though I'm a huge Kevin Bacon fan, I find the show only mildly entertaining. Its getting more ridiculous every episode.
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Color me VERY surprised this show is getting good ratings. I can only wonder how many viewers are sticking around to see just how ridiculous it gets. Can't believe this is getting good ratings.
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"I was trying to think of a show that used flashback as much as The Following does but maybe more effectively."

Highlander.
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Person of Interest.
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Forever Knight.
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Staff
"Here we are, born to be killers, we're the quasi-Poe literate princes of the universe."
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