Recently, shows that I love have been ending. Be it series finales (like HIMYM) or season finales, there is a void in my life that I need filled! That void is televised entertainment. As such, my fiance and I have started watching a show called The Following. I think if you are a person who likes shows like Criminal Minds, you will probably enjoy this show. I find it very enjoyable overall but it did take me a few episodes to really get into it. That being said, if you’re looking for a show that wraps each episode in a nice little bow, I recommend looking elsewhere as the show tends to give way more wins to the villains rather than the heroes.
Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is a former FBI agent who single handedly caught a sadistic serial killer, Joe Carroll(James Purefoy) who had killed a bunch of women at a Virginia campus. Joe Carroll had been a beloved teacher and failed author before going on an Edgar Allen Poe-themed killing spree in which he cut out his victims eyes. Ryan eventually developed a live-affair with Carroll’s wife while Carroll is in prison. This sets Joe on a revenge plot in which he pits his newly found cult-like followers against Ryan and the FBI. this is all an effort to write his “second novel” with Ryan as the novel’s protagonist. Joe’s followers include people from all walks of life, from town sheriff’s to housewives, that all fit his bill and are easily influenced.
The villain of the show, Joe Carroll, is magnificent. There are moments when he acts completely normal and others where he is acting as a sadistic villain. It both instances you still get the feeling that he is dangerous. He sees Ryan Hardy as an enemy, but you can see that there is a respect, even love, towards him. You never really get WHY Joe is doing what he is doing… It feels more like he is doing it for fun. He has the ability to draw people in with the power of his personality and can make them do crazy things like murder or even kill themselves. All-the-while the followers feels nothing but gratitude towards Joe.
Ryan Hardy, unfortunately, has no such power over the FBI and is constantly fighting them or breaking protocol to get the job done. He also tends to push people away a lot because he believes that he has a “death curse” and that anyone he let’s close, gets hurt or dies. He also tends to take responsibility for everything, his fault or not. He feels the weight of guilt toward all of Joes victims and blames himself for not stopping him sooner.
The followers are interesting because there is such a large mix of them. They’re all, basically, killers but some have varying loyalty to Joe. Some develop relationships with other followers that can conflict with their loyalty towards Joe.
It does allow this show a lot of flexibility in the plot as there are countless cult members with many different skill sets. Joe’s influence can go so far as to have some members even kill themselves as sacrifices to Joe’s plans.
I am only mid-season 1 so I can only speculate on where this show is going. However, I do think that it has a lot of great things going for it: the rivalry between Joe and Ryan, Joe’s awesome acting ability, the cults variability and flexibility, as well as a lot of suspense and terror. I personally can’t wait to see the rest of the series.