The Following "The Poet's Fire" Review: A Song of Mice and Liars

The Following S01E03: "The Poet's Fire"

So last week we ended the episode with a man in a goofy mask lighting another man on fire. My biggest problem is that nothing about it was "romantic" or even personal. After meditating on how Carroll personalizes his crimes, this joker kept his identity hidden and basically killed from a distance. Not that I'm defending one kind of killing over another. It's all bad. Kids, don't kill. But, within this storyworld I'm just looking for a little consistency.

"The Poet's Fire" revisited the coda murder by filling in some of the blanks for us: The killer was a kid named Rick, he liked fire, and he was singling out the trifecta Carroll blames for his downfall. The show itself pointed out a quote: "The generous Critic fann'd the Poet's fire. And taught the world with reason to admire." It was used as sort of an explanation for the fiery death of one of Carroll's most vocal critics and, yeah, it definitely mentions fire. The quote seems to be about how a critic can drive an artist to do something more fantastic, so that can also apply here. Ryan Hardy culled the quote from his memory and made the connection that generated the lead to get them off and running. "That's Poe." Except it's not. It's POPE. As in Alexander Pope, a poet and critic who died 65 years before Poe was born. You also know him as the guy who created the inspiration for the mightily titled Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

If we really wanted to, though, we could reason our way out of this pit (by the by, Kevin Williamson tweeted the quote earlier today just to make sure we'd remember it). Let's start with Parker asking a very solid question in the beginning of the episode: What is this cult about? She listed off the way other cults promoted the "family" over the individual and she realized, even without our omniscient vision of all situation, that this isn't the case for this Poe clan.

That theme ran throughout the episode. The nature of the cult itself is not to be proud of their collective, but to stride around in the shadows. They are boastful of their individual achievements for a greater cause, but the cause isn't being part of the organization.

The focus on indvidualism is what makes the non-Carroll storylines more intriguing. I'm not the first to make this comparison (nor will I be the last) but it operates like a fundementalist terror cell. And just like any group that's made of like-minded but independent individuals and not brainwashed drones, the Poe clan is subject to splintering through its own dynamic, and violently so, based on the nature of its members.

There it is! That adolescent drama you thought Williamson was going to leave behind!

The kids are the ones who are most susceptible to this (Lennie, I mean Jordy, seemingly has a dependent devotion only to Carroll and not so much to the clan). They gather at the Poe Killers HQ, writing on the walls and training themselves to do dastardly things to other people, even each other. As they grow, crushes and bonding develop and we have love triangles and renegades in the midst.

Most of that revolves around Paul. Emma is too crazy, too much of a Carroll protege to take her mind totally off the mission and think of herself. Paul is the third wheel, the one who's most likely to spin out of control—and who did, in trying to keep his sexuality closeted. And kidnapping a girl after beating her unconscious? That's what real men do.

Rick also fell out of line, but he's always been a loose cannon according to the 70 flashbacks we saw throughout the episode. The fervor he had for his wife, though he didn't really have a chance to explore it during his short run on the show, faintly suggested the juvenile love in Natural Born Killers. Just a couple of kids trying to make it together and maybe light some people on fire.

Some of that is attributable to their ages, so close to their college years. Obviously, that's how most of them got into this situation in the first place, by being in Carroll's class. One of this week's flashbacks had Carroll giving his students his advice for writing, which later translated to advice for killing. Basically, do what you want as long as you're willing to deal with the consequences. Create your own moral code and write your own stories that adhere to it. That's the basis of this cult: Everyone enrolled to be graded by Carroll.

There's this horrible pretense of Poe, but maybe its complete bastardization of the works can be blamed on the premise. This is Carroll's graduate-level program. These are grad students who have to find their individual "voices" in place of their theses. It makes much more sense that way. Emma is the best student and has the most romantic and gothic of the stories thus far, considering that she killed her mother with a knife mid-cutdown and buried her in the wall. Her situation is the most reminiscent of Poe's work. But not every grad student is very good, and Rick came up with fire. It was stupid; he just likes fire. It had nothing to do with the class and the teacher would totally see through it but was willing to let the students explore.

So, really, the fire and the misattributed quote could just further indicate that the group dynamic is immature and Hardy leapt incorrectly to that quote because— okay, I'm out of excuses. The show needs to drop the Poe thing pronto if it's not going to do it right.

While the episode overall was more exciting and intriguing than the first two, the show still has a ways to go before it becomes compelling. I'm still holding out hope, folks. I'm willing to be convinced.


NOTES


– Hardy was less annoying in this episode than he has been previously. I'll attribute that to the many, many flashbacks that kept his sadsack persona off-screen.

– The idea that literally anyone could be part of the cult makes things a little more interesting but also primes us for some possible deus ex machina escapes. Hardy's got everyone cornered. Oh no! Every cop that's behind him is also part of the cult! Everyone gets away! They just have to be careful to not abuse their sleeper cell power.

– I get what Jordy was trying to do by eating the gauze but it doesn't make it less funny-looking. You big goofball!

– We're going to have a secret hostage in the basement storyline. Does that mean Eva Longoria and Teri Hatcher live next door?

– Throughout the episode, I noticed a lot of juxtaposition of Riley against everyone else on the case, particularly in the office situations where Riley was in the foreground and everyone else was crowded in the middleground. It put his complexion into focus. Then he became a pawn in the marriage that murder built and now, suddenly, we have the whitest cast on television.

– Gay chicken will never not remind me of Scrubs.

– The sneak peek featurette for this week's episode led me to believe that Carroll is consciously working to find a place in Hardy's lonely life as he works this case. I don't feel like they're getting to be best friends or anything. But maybe that's because I've never bonded with anyone over a good scotch.

– I really wanted Hardy and Parker to ask Jordy one more time where Joey was and for him to sing the theme to Carmen Sandiego to block out their noise. I would've accepted either the cartoon or the game show.

– They used that "We know you're watching, Ryan" bit a few too many times. We get it. You want everyone to know you know that Ryan's watching. Rub it in, why don't you.

– The show IS exploring new ways to get disturbing imagery onto broadcast TV at 9pm. Probably the most disturbing to me was teaching a kid to kill a mouse by asphyxiation. I'm not one who normally says media is responsible for what kids do in their non-TV-watching time but, just as much as it was an image that successfully evoked a response, it almost seemed like a lesson. Parental discretion, indeed.

Comments (52)
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To each their own. I've read many people saying that the "Poe thing" needs to be dropped. If it is, however, I'm done watching. It's what they've established, and they should ride it out. Without the Poe aspect, it's just another run-of-the-mill cop-versus-killer show. There's a reason why some people, like me, don't watch most cable television. I'd rather endure through a show with occasional weak points than watch some boring carbon copy of the billion shows that have come before it.
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ok, its not the bes show in television, but is not so bad.
I think that one of the best things about the web is that you can meet people of similar interest around the world like never before, and is interensting a show that use that to link psychopaths. To think that this is impossible is pretty stupid.
Im going to give them some slack for the moment.
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"Except it's not. It's POPE. As in Alexander Pope, a poet and critic who died 65 years before Poe was born."
I'm not saying Pope didn't say that, but if you weren't retarded you would have at least searched the quote. Upon searching the exact quote, I have not found one reference to Pope, but instead every result refers to POE. So Pope may have said it first (If that's even true), but everyone knows it as a quote from POE. You'd be really stupid to think any show could make a mistake like that you twat.
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waitasec...if Pope did say it first, and Poe later used it, wouldn't we still have facing the issue of the show behaving like an undergrad in a lit 101 class who didn't properly attribute the quote to the correct author, or even if attributed to Poe, still failed to acknowledged the original source of Poe's own quotation?

Also: ALL THE POINTS FOR INTERNET NAME CALLING. Always very refreshing. About as refreshing as my Internet sarcasm, I'm sure. But at least it's less offensive-sounding than the misogynistic and mentalistic tripe above.
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Fair enough. I do a search and find the quote attributed to Poe, too. But I was never able to find the Poe work that the quote is taken from. I'm willing to learn. Find me the source material. I found the Pope quote in An Essay on Criticism (linked to in the review).
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Without the POE-angle this show could work, I agree.
But it won't happen.
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I'm enjoying the show. I do agree that having everyone secretly being a part of the cult is going to get old quick. Also, why didn't anyone stop the slow walking guy that set the man on fire? I mean ten big guys just parted way and let him meander by. I'm sorry but there is no way I'd let that guy get away unless he was keeping me at bay with machine gun fire.
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This is just a matter of personal curiosity, really, but I wonder out loud how many people on average profess to themselves that they 'hate watch' this show...I wonder only because I know 'hate watching' is a complete pop myth that doesn't really exist.
Ultimately, I'm painfully underwhelmed by every episode so far & I could spend every week complaining about how unrealistic the cult is, how the psychos fail to be psycho enough, ect.
But the bottom line is, none of that matters. For some reason, I like the show enough to keep tuning in week after week. I may bitch about the details every step along the way, but in spite of all my bitchings, the only reason I watch the show is ultimately because I like it...& I know better than to pretend otherwise.

(btw...I told my best friend & his wife this week that this show is a great comedy & they got kinda offended by that (they love the show unreservedly as a drama) but that in itself is one of the things that ultimately makes the show funny to me.
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I may hate watching a show, but I will, like you, turn out and see it every week if I find at least one hook that enlists my interest. Just to see where it might lead.
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I'm sort of hate-watching just to keep up with the comments of those who love it here, but I don't know if I can do it much longer. It's really really really dull.
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Worst part of this episode (storyline wise): Jacob teaching Joey to kill mice by suffocating them in a glass jar and then sending the video in an email to Clare. *shutter*
Weirdest part of this episode: Carroll and Hardy started out being friends or at least cordial acquaintances. Then one of them turned into a crazy serial killer and one of them turned into a washed-up alcoholic ex FBI agent.
Theory: this whole series seems to be being told from Carroll's point of view. Obviously, Carroll is the main character and everyone else is supporting characters. This would explain why the law enforcement characters are portrayed as dumb and a step behind most of the time. Some of the members of Carroll's "cult" are portrayed as being as smart as Carroll or at least smarter than the law enforcement characters. Emma and Jacob are examples of this. They seem the most devoted to the literary cause. Jordy and Rick did not get into this group because of any devotion to Poe, literary or otherwise, they got into it to kill people and seem to have an undying devotion to Carroll more than anything. Paul is something of a mystery. He seems like that kid in college who joins a new age religious group because he "really believes in the cause" and then starts having doubts about his membership when they start asking for money or asking members to steal things from a subdivision in the desert, etc. He's questioning whether he really belongs with Emma and Jacob babysitting a kid at a random house in the middle of nowhere. And I get it, Paul had it pretty good before. Living in a nice house, pretending to be gay, with a guy he apparently found attractive for real, and living next door to one of Carroll's victims whom he was keeping an eye on. Now that some actual action is being required, he's not sure he's still up for it.
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thought- is shawn ashmores character being primed for a reveal as hardy's son?
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-There is a predictability to this show that's for sure. I felt like I seen a great deal of the stuff coming. Like the new-age love triangle involving the closeted gay guy, the histrionic chick, and the bi? guy. Also, to keep up with the horror movie trend...why not kill off the black guy? Boy...and as you said Nick, just like that this became the whitest cast on TV right now. And I also thought they were hinting at the FBI chica being in on the cult.
-I thought the episode was pretty good. I think it was better than the previous episode, which to me felt off from the pilot. I still feel horrible that I'm into a show that is so violent and so unnecessarily gory at times...because it is gratuitous...but I'm into it. can't change that.
- Yes, Pyro guy felt out of place with what and whom we've come to know about Carroll's following. But maybe that was the point...I mean we're supposed to not know who is who and be suspicious of everyone I suppose. I think the only people who I am not suspicious of is Ryan himself, Carroll's wife, and Aaron Ashmore's character because he's too transparent...though even that could be a ruse.
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Mice beware!! You're in for a rough couple of weeks
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Just two episodes in and the black guy is dead and we have buttsecks... Guess that's a lot of ground to cover so soon. As predictable and cliche the show is Kevin Bacon makes it for me. Guess I can watch that guy brood in anything only thing we need is more of Carol the other leg this show stands on.
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another great episode, I thought that the Agent Reilly agent would be tin trouble but by Rick, not Maggie, now IMO Paul lost it too soon, the trioi(Emma, Paul, Jacob) sending that email to Claire was a mistake, the FBI can use the back ground to locate them, well Jordy was loyal until baited, which gave Maggie away, IMO its starting to unravel, IMO the FBI will start getting the upper hand but Fox gets an A plus for THE FOLLOWING
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This episode was predictable. I saw many of the plot points coming, like the FBI guy getting killed, the wife being an amazing actor and revealing herself at the last second and the two guys in a love triangle. I thought they were definitely hinting at the FBI woman being a part of the cult last episode though. Guess not.
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Billy Brown plays a cop Mike Anderson who works with Miami PD in Dexter. He got killed early in the season that just ended. He also played Riley here who got killed again. Seems now playing cop who got killed is becoming a specialty for him. This show is one of the better mid season new show.

Some people was wandering what is Joe's motive. I think it is taking revenge on Ryan for putting him in Jail and screwing his wife. Joe would say it is bigger than revenge but it is revenge plain and simple. He is doing it using his followers.
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My heartbeat whenever I watch The Following is definitely higher than the times I watch most other TV shows. No, it's not because I'm doing cardio on Monday evenings! It's because this show, despite it's flaws, is quite engaging!
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Me too, but only because I'm doing cardio on Monday evenings. But hey! Glad to see, there's a fan base getting built up... In time, maybe they'll make a decent show out of it.
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sometimes shows actually sort of live up to the hype they're given :-)
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Yesterday's episode 3 was darker than the inside of James Joyce's head - and VERY well done. Can't think of anything this dark on network TV since Twin Peaks. Just read that Kevin Bacon made a deal with the Network that he would only do 15 episodes instead of the usual 22 per season; that also forces the writers to be more precise, less room for sloppy stories.
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Oh hey, the obvious cult member in the wife was in fact a cult member. And a supposedly smart FBI agent got dumbed down enough to get killed. I have a feeling this is going to be a recurring theme throughout the show.

The only interesting part was the ending. The whole teaching Joey how to be a killer thing is an obvious yet odd choice. As disturbed as Carroll is I don't think he would want to teach his son how to be a killer.
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I really found this episode a little too disturbing. I even found it more violent than American Horror Story which is in a cable channel. I was just cringing all the time how psychopathic those characters are, and I mean the following. But to be honest, I don't really find them interesting as the serial killers in Criminal Minds or Thredson from AHS. Carroll and the followers are just annoying, especially the followers who are just beyond irrational. Maybe if they just tone them a bit down. Its as if the show are showing all these murders for the sake of blood and gore.

I'm no English Lit student but its definitely funny if the writers did misuse a quotation like you said. That is just fail. I don't know much about Poe but in my opinion, they are kinda bastardizing him and his works. Also to be honest again, this Poe connection is really not intriguing. They should just drop it before some academics rally against this show.
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There was a crucial point made in this episode. While it would seem on the surface that all these crimes are to be put on the shoulders of Hardy and prolong his guilt at sleeping with Carroll's wife; it is, I believe something else altogether. I think that , his twisted way, Carroll considers Hardy as his only friend, the only one who gets him. As most of us know, Hatred and Love are very similar feelings in their extremes. Carroll believes, and this is crux of his motive that genuine love comes through death, and all through the classroom scenes we have seen this topic be examined again and again. The relationship that link the Followers is one in which this extreme exists;a simulated gay relationship, a simulated household violence. We are told that the only real relationships are that both Carroll and Hardy have with one single woman, who links them and in fact unites them. In the end, what remains is a fusional relationship between both these men through death.
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i think the idea of killing the fbi agent was a good idea. its showing that certain minor characters will be expendable, both good guys and bad.
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Have to say Ep3. was an improvement in a lot of ways and still lacking in some others. Liked that they at least gave reason for Carroll's targets, liked the creepy wife spin as well. Liked how Jordy was conned into coughing up information and overall it did have some good drama and excitement. Thumbs down on the continued ineptitude of the Police. One cop inside with the wife? Just like last week only one upstairs protecting Claire. ZERO cops/people at all checking/watching Jordy? Come on, I know it's a drama but that is just lazy. Did like however Jordy's creativity to commit suicide. Also agree with some posters that the Poe theme needs to be dumped and fast, especially if you're going to attribute quotes from POPE to Poe! (Someone did a bad google search apparently during their "research" time). Overall better, but still a ways to go.
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Good point about Jordy---should of had a guard at the door or video monitoring or remote monitoring of vital signs by the nursing staff
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It's really funny how FBI keep loosing their witneses. After not able to protect almost two witneses, I image they would send more than one agent to protect that wife.

Still to much Poe. I would rather see how they explore cult influence.

If not for Purefoy, I would consider stop watching it. I hope that next episodes will be more psychologic and personal, not just burning and stabing.
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Liked Jordy singing theme to Greatest American Hero-reference to John Hinckley crazy would be Reagan assassin.
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Staff
They're dragging Pope into this?! I hope someone explains to the writers that "The Rape of the Lock" is a SATIRE before things get really out of hand.
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Isn't too late for that though? Episodes are already filmed and edited,no? Plus,does it really matter,since show is already so far "out there" for making us believe(at least failing atm),that Carroll's disciples follow him,because he "has this charisma". Yeah,if you thought that is some code word for new drug,then we are on same page. I ignore any reference they make towards...well towards anything atm:D

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THEY CAN DO RESHOOTS.
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In todays TV age everyone has to come up with a crazy premise for a show just to get attention.There is so many shows out that have the same premise or close to it that you have no choice.It's a good idea especially with all the social networking going on now days that it doesn't seem so far out there.And this show is deff. better than ALOT of other things on TV.They could drop some of the Poe stuff but other than that it's good for what it is.I think people just expected so much to come from this and it isn't meant to be the greatest show ever made in history.Some are going to like it others aren't i for one think it's a creative show and i hope it does well and gets to have at least a few seasons to wrap things up.
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I haven't seen episode 3 yet, so my comment is about the first two episodes. I think the premise of the show is really stupid to be honest, but the people making the show are doing a good job with what they've got. So for the moment I think it's entertaining enough. But I think I'm going to get really sick of all these people who are willing to give up their lives just to participate in an artistic mass murder.
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Pilot was great,just for being pilot. 2nd episode was meh at best. 3rd episode was better and dare I say great-ish.
Nick I loved your "okay, I'm out of excuses" :D. Reminded me of how I defended 5th season of Fringe and how that season ruined whole series for me(first 6 episodes were great,but after Peter got that tech out,it became lame).
I agree,they need to drop Poe thing and just say they are killer cult. And someone please smack Carroll,so he loses that stupid smile! I loved Jordy:D Him killing himself was so funny...like he was masturbating and couldn't come and he was like "arrrghhh":D(got that image into your mind,huh? ;D:P)

Yeah I am also against using animals for practice killing. It really will put this in some crazy psycho people's mind to do that in real life. Like it or not,we all are influenced by everything we see,read,hear,etc.But I do hope and pray,that people know better from what is real life and some made up stuff!
I remember,when Dutch was choking that cat in Shield and I thought "f-ing psycho(s)". (plural for even coming up with that stuff and filming it)


Anyone else thinks that Agent Mike(Shawn Ashmore) might be sleeper? I just think,that in one of flashbacks,we will see him in that university in Carroll's class. He is around same age as the others and somehow I have this feeling,that he is working for Carroll. He is good with computer,so he can send emails to others. He can also say, I can't locate them,because some excuse he makes up at the time. I know,this theory is far fetched,but it's a theory.
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Oh please. If some idiot is inclined to kill animals, this show is not the reason they will go ahead and do it. Some people are just psycho.
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Carrol is ridiculous beyond any belief. Even Santa Claus more convincing. And cult thing is another absurdity. So how come nobody in so called cult got caught coz of their "creative" murders? It's just beyond Hobbit fantasy. I can't believe that members of cult going around killing people and continue to hang out in cult without any danger to get caught. Well, cops are beyond stupidity in this series I guess. But serial killer charming as Mickey Mouse isn't that smart too.
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This episode was definitely a step forward for the show. As Nick said, it did a lot of work to explain how the following works, and in particular what individual members are trying to do. And the fact that this cult is kind of like one very strange long-distance class, that Carroll happens to be teaching from a jail cell, gives the show a nice feel of its own. This is a new type of enemy that is a strange grouping of splinter cells that take orders from the top. It's almost like a confederacy, except there is a clear hierarchy that leads all the way up to Carroll. This allows for each case of the week to have its own feel, with possibly a new killer with new methods.

For the most part I enjoyed the murder of the week, though I did see his wife's involvement coming a mile away. Last week I commented that the two biggest twists the show could do was 1. having one of the main law enforcement people be part of the cult and 2. have someone who is supposedly a victim end up being a cult member, which they did. And they made a good choice in having the wife be a cult member, for a couple of reasons. The first is that it allowed for Hardy to take down a bad guy, while still allowing for a new cult member to escape, so that they can cause more mischief in the future. And of course it allowed for a surprising moment when she kills someone, though I personally don't think the writers handled this bit so well. Instead of having Jordy tell Parker that the wife was in on it, I would have had the reveal be the wife killing Reilly, followed quickly by Parker learning the truth. But still, it allowed for a more shocking moment than the "oh no, Jordy's in the house" moment from last week's episode.

What I enjoyed more than the case of the week, though, was the various arcs that have started to emerge, especially those involving the cult. It seems even more so that the following is made up of young, recent college graduates. Jordy is the exception to this, for the practical reason that he was recruited in jail by Carroll so that he could communicate with his following, as well as break out of jail. I'm guessing that pretty much all of the members of the following are former students of Carroll, or that he at least met all of them in person before he went to jail. We already know this is the case with Emma, and it is a much more likely method of recruitment than contacting complete strangers using the internet. So if I were the FBI, I would probably get a list of all of Carroll's former students and cross-reference that list with everyone who starts to have anything to do with the case.

Quite a few people, including myself, have speculated that Mike Weston (Ashmore's character) is a member of the following. A lot of this is because he fits the profile of the cult members (he's young), and also because he has latched himself to Hardy's side. This episode made him look more guilty for two reasons. The first is that he brought Hardy to the killer's house at the end of the episode, without telling Parker about it. If Carroll is really constructing this story around Hardy as the hero, then he should be present when any major action goes down, and it would make sense for Weston to ensure that Hardy got to that house, which may be why he said they should go there. And of course there's the matter of Riley's death, which Weston failed to prevent. If Weston is a cult member, it must be hard for him to commit murders, considering that he spends most of his time surrounded by the good guys. But he could have gotten his first kill pretty easily tonight, since all he'd have to do is remove his hands from Riley's wound once Hardy left the room. And I wouldn't be surprised if it will turn out that that's exactly what he did.

Overall, this show is shaping up to be pretty darn good. I think one of the biggest problems that its had so far is that it is presenting a rather new concept, that of a cult of serial killers being led by a man in jail, with this cult being comprised of unique and complicated individuals. This takes time to explain and show to an audience, so its no surprise that the identity and inner workers of the cult weren't completely laid out as early as the pilot. And even though we are starting to get a good picture of what the following looks like, I'm pretty sure we're not being shown the big picture. I doubt there are only seven people in the cult, since we've already met six of them. For this show to last, there will probably need to be new members, that either already exist or will be recruited during the course of the show, so that we'll get at least one new identity reveal every three episodes. My guess is that the "cult" that we currently know about is just one part of a larger whole. There will be a separate cell of serial killers within law enforcement, for instance, and possibly a couple others that are currently sleeper cells, waiting to be activated at the proper time. At least, that's how I would do it if I were writing the show, with the of the twists at the end of this season being that there's more than one cult out there.

Anyway, I'm certainly looking forward to next week's show a lot more than I did this one. At the moment, there are still two places where the show is a little weak, and hopefully this will be corrected soon. The first is the butchering of Poe's work, which has been quite a problem so far. I honestly believe that the use of Poe as inspiration for these murders could really work, but what they should be doing is basing each murder of the week on an individual story that Poe wrote, instead of just picking random quotes out of the air (including, apparently, quotes that aren't even Poe's). Seriously writers, why not replicate "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." It would be awesome. Do it.

And of course, there's the other problem of the way the police, FBI agents, marshals, etc. are used in this show. Currently, the show acts like the task force has one or two enormous groups of officers that it can send to only a few locations, and that these large groups can never be broken up, or reassigned, or anything like that. For instance, in the last two episodes potential victims were protected by entire squads of both police and FBI. And while in all these cases the killers were able to slip through relatively unchallenged, at least these people were heavily protected. In this episode, however, we had yet another potential female victim, except she was protected by only one FBI agent (well, it was really two and a half agents, Hardy being the half, though Hardy and Weston weren't actually supposed to be there.) So yeah, one FBI agent to protect a woman from her husband who had a strong likelihood of returning to the house to do something to his wife. At least one patrol car to watch from the road would have been a lot more realistic. So please, "The Following," just make these two changes and you'll soon have a winner.
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well written post

I also think the wife (obviously involved~~would of been more surprising if she hadn't been) got away to easily. She hopped the fence and then vanished. Did she have a car hidden away? Did Ryan's heart condition prevent him from chasing her (or was it the lack of sleep and booze).

They should always have more then one law enforcement officer watching potential victims and potential suspects. They should probably switch them around so someone isn't always partnered with the same person. Of course I'm paranoid:)

Hey, Ryan is a great shot~even when sleep deprived and with vodka on his breath!
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I secretly think that Ryan's heart condition is an excuse for Kevin Bacon to not have to physically exert himself on this show ;)
But, we'll see what happens in future episodes.
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I agree that the wife got away way too easily. Though to be fair, this kind of thing can be found quite a bit in Kevin Williamson's other work, in particular the Scream movies. But in the Scream series that kind of unrealistic stuff works because because the movies themselves are self-aware and are meant to be ridiculous, which is partially what makes them so good. The Following, however, tries to come across as a serious, terrifying show, so therefore all of the unrealistic things, that would be fine in a Scream movie, have to be justified on this show.

If this show were more like Scream, then when the wife got away Hardy would look around and have a little "how did she just disappear, that should be impossible" kind of moment, and in this way the show would be acknowledging that yes, her disappearance is too sudden to be realistic. But it would be fine because a large part of the Scream series is making fun of the horror/serial killer genre, in which these kinds of things happen all the time. But as one of these reviews pointed out (I don't remember which one) it's a shame that Williamson is doing the same things that he's spent years making fun of.

One of two things need to happen. Either this show needs to become more of a comedy/commentary on the genre, and thereby get to keep including ridiculous moments. Or, the show should drop these ridiculous moments and become more like the serious show it is trying to be. Personally, I would prefer The Following to be more like Scream than Silence of the Lambs, but either direction would be an improvement.
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I'm with you on that but I think I'd prefer Silence of the Lamb style over Scream but either would be good.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Scream a parody or spoof (well done imo).

OT: In the one of the first Scream movies (or second), didn't a girl lose her virginity to the killer---total misdirect for me since I ruled him out as a killer because in those days, that just didn't happen in horror flicks of that genre of "campy" (in a good way) horror flicks. Scream was a highly entertaining spoof of horror movies imo. I hope I'm not mixing up my horror films:) I really liked the Scream films--funny horror imo
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I wouldn't say Scream was a parody or spoof (Scary Movie was a spoof of Scream). Scream was more a re-writing of the typical horror movie rules. It poked fun at the horror genre while creating something new that paved the way for teen horror movies in the 2000s. The killer could be anyone, the lead girl losing her virginity, etc., things we didn't expect, which made the movie such a huge hit.
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Your notes were more entertaining than the episode... And I enjoyed the episode.
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This show just gets better
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It is now becoming one note show, it seems to be going to one place - the discard pile. Not much life beyond serial killers. Most of the characters are doomed and Kevin Bacon's character is a functioning alcoholic without a future - Bacon is much better than this role! Hmm, is the Mentalist also doomed? A resounding YES!!!
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