I’d like to go on the record: I find The Following very unpleasant. If I watch it in a good mood, it puts me in a bad one. If I watch it in a bad mood, it puts me in a worse one. Yes, I enjoy being paid money to rip it to shreds in a public forum. That certainly softens the blow. But on a Monday night, pretty much the last thing I want to do is subject myself to this garbage. Which is what The Following is! It’s garbage. Let me now present my evidence to support that claim.
Number one: Isn’t it insane how the show killed off Annie Parisse’s character Debra last season and made such a big deal about it, and then this season added a new character (Agent Gina Mendez) played by Valerie Cruz, who pretty much looks exactly the same and fills the exact same role on the show (chastising Ryan for being an unhelpful nutball but otherwise doing absolutely nothing to stop his antics)?
Number two: Much like we suffered through the Jacob/Emma/Paul love triangle last year, now we suffer through the twins and their French buddy, holed up in a hotel room. Newsflash: It is very, very difficult to make sociopaths interesting. Yes, one can make for a compelling villain, but three bouncing off each other is pretty much impossible to relate to. Now Emma is part of this mix (get rid of that awful dye job and eyeliner, girl) and Carlos, who always seemed way too normal for this bunch, is on the floor dying. One of the twins stabs him like he’s throwing away an apple core, prompting a huffy reaction from Frenchy. “You dick! He was mine to kill.” “Sorry, I forgot!” the twin replies, and he seems genuinely abashed for the first time. She had dibs, dude.
Number three: In a lovely reminder of last season’s cavalcade of implausibility (where Joe and his acolytes controlled a whole TOWN), we finally hear Ryan’s theory on how Joe survived, which of course has to be the truth. You see, Joe had a long-lost brother in England who mysteriously disappeared, who was the same height and weight as him, and had similar DNA. Also, the facility holding Joe’s DNA was broken into mysteriously around the same time. And “Joe’s” body was all charred up. How did Ryan learn all this? Apparently by being drunk in English bars all the time. God, he’s such a good detective.
Number four: Everything that happens on this show is so predictable. So, Judy is less than pleased about Joe killing the reverend. He goes to murder her, but takes pity because of daughter Mandy and instead tapes her hands to her legs and, uh, well, seems to be getting ready to murder her. Maybe he didn’t take pity after all. In a surprise shocking twist, Mandy kills her mother, completing her journey into Joe’s cult (now accepting new members!). They torch the place and leave. This sequence is easily the most unpleasant part of the episode, and I just hated watching it. Although I am thankful that Carrie Preston has been freed from The Following’s tyranny.
Number five: super-big surprise shocking twist alert! The lovely Lily (Connie Nielsen) is no love interest for Ryan at all. No, she’s mother to the twins, and perhaps the head of her own death cult, which has just welcomed Emma as a member! Ryan figures things out a jot too late, losing an agent to her in the process as she evades him on the streets of SoHo. This twist is probably the best thing about the episode, actually, mostly because it means we won’t have to suffer through another Ryan romance. Those are pitiful to watch. Think of the end of this episode, where sad Ryan produces a picture of Natalie Zea to ogle for no good reason outside of grief porn. Yeesh.
I despise this show. It’s nasty whether its violence is dispensed with heavy meaning (like Joe and Mandy burning the shack) or none at all (poor Carlos writhing on the floor). It’s less plausible than ever, with the FBI remaining as stupid as ever, and Ryan’s involvement making even less sense. Sometimes things are just laughable enough for me to muddle through. And sometimes there are weeks like this.
- Ryan says he’s crazy. “You have earned your crazy, Ryan,” Mike says. What does this mean? Ryan has earned the right to be crazy? Sure, but has he earned the right to not be institutionalized?
- Mike, while choking Judy, mocks her “utopian slut palace.” This show goes in the trash can. Right in there. Right at the bottom.