A serial killer obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe becomes the leader of a cult-like following who murder at his whim. Danger! That’s what brings to The Following. That and Kevin Bacon on the small screen. I should probably mention there will be semi-graphic pictures later on. We open with a prison guard slowly leaving the building. Well if you haven’t been watching any of the endless promos for the show, it’s pretty obvious, right away, that the guard leaving, is the bad guy, or as the Brits call them, baddies. Those Brits have some fun slang. If we weren’t supposed to know that he was the killer, they didn’t do a very good job of hiding it. If we were supposed to automatically know, then well played. We got it. He drives away, out the gate and down the road as the other guards discover this lovely scene:
Flash to Brooklyn, and Kevin, known as Ryan Hardy, struggles to wake up despite his phone ringing incessantly. After he chugs a bottle of water, he tosses it next to an empty bottle of some liquor. First thing we know about Mr. Hardy? He has a bit of a drinking problem. He turns on the boob tube (a saying I never quite understood, why boobs?) to hear the news stations are all reporting the escape of Joe Carroll, the baddie. He killed 14 women and was a professor of literature. His phone rings and its J. Edgar Hoover, or rather the current version of him. They’re calling him in to be a consultant, because he was fired/let go/left/disappeared from the FBI after he caught Joe the first time. We see him in the shower and we get a glimpse of this:
What is that? Is it a growth? Is it an injury? Is it…a furby taking it’s revenge? Hardy takes the once empty bottle of water and fills it with vodka, proving the alcohol issue. A lady goes to put her garbage cans out and is swarmed with cop cars. They tell her that Joe escaped from prison. FLASHBACK! She’s on the stand as a witness against Joe. Must be a surviving victim. US Mashalls are all over the place. Sadly, Air Marshall John from Bridesmaids is not one of them. One of her gay neighbors comes over to comfort her. I’m not being mean or using it as slang. His character is a homosexual man. I’m just being clear.
Hardy gets choppered into the prison to check out the scene. Bacon still looks rather dashing after all these years, and in a sloppy yet classy suit. 2 officers of some kind, I’m thinking US Marshalls, walk with him down the hall and tell him that he’s kind of controversial since he wrote a book about Joe and the way he left the Bureau (a word I can never spell correctly). Hardy asks about how Sarah is doing, since she was the last victim. We get to meet Agent Reilly. Yum. And (spoiler alert) is this why he got killed off on Dexter, as Detective Mike Anderson? Or do people just never get more than a one year contract with that show?
Lady Agent Jennifer Mason is pissy and dominating and determined to prove to Hardy this is her case, he’s just there as a consultant. Things go by her, through her and require her authorization. They go into inspect Joe’s cell. Lady Agent, played by Jeananne Goossen doesn’t get credited for this role on IMDB. Confusing. She reminds Hardy that Joe was set to be executed in a month’s time. Despite being told the forensic team found nothing, he looks for clues. We see books by a variety of authors. Joe had a copy of Hardy’s book about him. Inside the dust jacket there’s a note to Hardy, Lady Agent recites it from memory. The note asks if there’s going to be a sequel to it. Pissing match between Lady Agent and Hardy about who’s top dog.
Flash to Claire, Joe’s ex-wife’s home, surrounded by cops and reporters. Someone tries to ask her questions. And she says point blank she’s going to wait to talk to the FBI, and specifically, she needs to speak with Ryan Hardy. Ooo! Me thinks there’s a little somethin-somethin going on.
Mobile headquarters is set up and a lady walks in and says she needs to speak with someone about Joe Carroll. She’s told to fill out a sheet and sit with the others. The others being a huge group of women. Groupies? Bobby from X-Men is all grown up and is Mike Weston, a sort of techie cop like detective. He’s a fan of Hardy; studied him in the academy and wrote an essay on his work. He’s giving us a rundown of Joe and his areas of expertise, the book he had published. He’s trying to do his best, and yet Hardy undermines him a bit by saying Carroll didn’t merely enjoy picking and stabbing skin. He was a romantic, and everything he did, he did for the sake of it being art, and art is required to be beautiful. Mike is very happy to share the limelight. We hear the first titles of some works of Poe. Apparently Joe (HA, rhymes with Poe) has a signature of stabbing out the eyes of his victims. This is a reference to The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat. The eyes are apparently our identity, the windows of the soul, or so Poe believed.
Aha! Mike tells us that growth we saw that may have been a Furby, was actually a stab wound. Strange looking stab wound. Apparently when Hardy was taking down Joe, Joe stabbed him in the heart, and it put him on disability. He has a pacemaker. That would explain the bump.
They deduct that Joe had to have help from the inside to pull a stunt like he did. Joe was legally representing himself, so he had time in the library. Any cop-procedural show will tell you that when a baddie has access to the internet from prison, bad things happen. Hardy is pissed that Joe had internet access. It’s figured out that he was taken to the computer by the same guard every time, Jordan “Jordy” Raines. He’s their next target. But before they run off to investigate, we get our first crazy moment of the show, besides the initial killing in the prison, I mean. Weirdo lady who needed to talk to someone about Joe gets a text message, steps forward, takes off her shoes, deliberately walks to a spot in the room, and takes off her clothes to reveal this:
She’s covered in words from The Raven (the poem, not the movie with John Cusack). She takes and awl and stabs herself in the eye after saying, “Lord, help my poor soul.” She twitches out and then dies. Her last words were apparently Poe’s last words as well. Mike checks to make sure that the water Hardy’s drinking is really water, and then offers a mint. Aww, Hardy has a friend and ally. He gets a phone call from Sarah, the last victim and says some nice comforting things.
FLASHBACK! I feel like there will be a lot of these. We see Carroll in class with his students, one of which is Sarah. He talks about how Poe believed that death was beautiful and the most beautiful thing was the death of a beautiful woman. Carroll is played by James Purefoy, and I think he’s very dashing. I remember thinking he was super handsome in A Knight’s Tale as King Edward.
They head over to Jordy’s place to check him out. Tons of US Marshalls surround the house, the bash down the door and throw in a smoke bomb. They all rush into the house and then a simple, “He’s not here.” What a waste of a smoke bomb! Are those things cheap? Are our tax payer dollars being wasted?! Ha, I kid. I do think it’s kind of funny, in hindsight that they’re all ready to charge in there like badasses, and the house is empty. There’s all kinds of missing dog posters on his fridge, all from different dogs. Then there’s a video of Jordy holding an adorable little puppy. They go downstairs and discover that all those missing dogs have been killed down in the basement. We get a classic scare-the-hell-out-of-you jump scene when one dog isn’t quite dead yet and he lunges and barks and I pee myself a little. I’m a huge chicken, if I haven’t made that clear before. So Jordy has been in training to be a serial killer from Joe using dogs. Mike says, “I can handle dead people; you kill a dog, and I go crazy!” Aww, I like him.
Hardy tells us that when he first started suspecting Carroll back in 2002 no one believe him about his Poe theory, so he just tailed him himself.
The gay neighbors put Sarah to bed, and tell her that they’re just next door if she needs anything. We get a scene of Sarah and her scars and another flashback to the scene of her attack. Her and her roommate come home, the lights go out, Sarah gets scared and goes to check on Annie, and Carroll kills her and then goes after Sarah. An officer comes in the room and scares the hell out of her (see, it’s not fun!) and tells her an officer will be just outside the door.
We meet Joey, Claire and Joe’s son, and the cute little nanny. She’s got a sassy pixie cut like me! FLASHBACK! Hardy meets Claire for the first time during his investigation. She tells him to do some research into Poe, based on the eyes being stabbed out thing, and then says they should talk to her husband, as he’s an expert on the time period and author. There’s some mild flirtation but she’s married and he’s got dead bodies piling up so no luck this time around. Present day. Hardy and Claire meet and she insists that the two of them must speak privately. Lady Agent is not happy to excluded. She just looks mean:
She asks how his heart is, he says same. She knows he’s drinking too much. She received a letter from Joe a week ago, she shows it to Hardy and says, “How does he know?” Hardy says, “He doesn’t, he’s just guessing.” We don’t see the letter. Oh man! Is this like Se7en? What’s in the box?! What’s in the letter!? Lady Agent proves she can’t handle kids by storming off when Joey asks her if she’s a cop. Claire tells us Joe wouldn’t leave the country, he’s not looking for freedom; he’s good at killing. Hardy apologizes for not calling. “It’s been 8 years, Ryan, I got the hint.” OH! So they DID knock boots! He didn’t think he deserved her, she deserved better, blah blah, our past was too hard, blah blah, tears. I’m already bored with their past.
Claire says she’s glad Sarah survived this and is doing well. That Carroll considered himself a real Poe-man. Poe had an unfinished manuscript, The Lighthouse, which is basically what Carroll’s book is about. It even has the cover of a lighthouse, and there was a sketch of a lighthouse in his jail cell. I’m feeling some foreshadowing tingles. Hardy realizes that Carroll wants to finish what he started, which would mean going after Sarah.
More cop cars, helicopter noises. The officer that had scared the poo out of Sarah earlier meets Hardy and Lady Agent. He shows off how many agents are posted around the house. Of course this means Sarah is missing. They run upstairs and find the officer that’s supposed to be outside her door is gone. Hardy whips back the covers to see if she’s in bed. Is she?
Nope! Yelling! Much yelling! Hardy follows a trail of blood spatter into the closet, pats on the wall when the blood trail stops there and finds a panel of the wall that comes off. He goes down the creepy rabbit hole with just a flashlight. The blood trail continues down the path. It comes out in the gay neighbor’s house. More blood. Hardy keeps looking at the pictures of the two men together around the house. Is he confused? A bigot? A little turned on? He keeps following the blood. It leads out to the garage. The car is gone. And there’s a very dead cop sitting in a chair with the word “Nevermore” written in his blood on the wall behind him:
In case you weren’t forced to read it in grade school, The Raven has almost every line ending with “nevermore”. Another Poe reference. I enjoy Poe, so I’m enjoying this theme of a killer. Is that inappropriate? Hardy says that he thinks the two gay neighbors weren’t even gay; that they were placed there by Carroll to watch over her. I’m a little confused. Are gay men not allowed to be co-conspirators in murder? Is that not fabulous? He doesn’t say why he doesn’t think they’re gay. They’d been her neighbors for 3 years, and so she would completely trust them. Hardy gets close to giving me my favorite moment of any TV show or movie; when they say the name of the show/movie. It gives me the chills, cause I’m a freak. I love it. He says, “He’s finding people to help him do this on the damned internet. It’s like they’re his followers.” UGH! So close! But no cigar!
Hardy suddenly gets all in a frenzy and say, “NEVERMORE! THE RAVEN!” And goes on a tangent about “Where’s the GPS? Where are the satellites?! DO SOMETHING!” He’s pretty pissed. He goes and walks off and then his stabbed heart acts up and he doubles over. We get another flashback, this time of Hardy running into Sarah as she walked into her house and then hearing her scream and busting in and catching Carroll. Carroll stabbed him and then when he went to go finish off Sarah, Hardy shot him. Like the badass Kevin Bacon really is.
Hardy goes back in the house, looks at another picture of the neighbors. He looks closer at it and sees they’re standing in front of a bed and breakfast called, The Lighthouse. See, that foreshadowing! So he sneaks off into a car and drives over to it. It’s totally abandoned and perfectly creepy.
He finds a way in, and then realizes, after he hears a noise, that he doesn’t have his gun. “I came alone Joe! Isn’t that what you wanted?” He then hears Sarah’s screams and rushes off towards her. She’s being tortured or something. Those are some wicked screams. He walks in where the sounds should be coming from. He sees a make-shift bed and some evidence someone had been there. Then turns and gets a swift bash to the face by Joe with a board. He turns the lights on, and then bashes him some more with the board. The typical baddie vs goodie conversation commences. Hardy asks where Sarah is. Carroll says the human eye is connected by 7 muscles, and that he removed them each individually. That’s gotta be gross. More screaming noises. Carroll brings out a small recorder and pushes play and stop to show that he’s already done the torture. This is just his little keepsake. Those people creep the shit out of me. It’s like (maybe spoiler alert) on Dexter season 5 when those bastards kept DVDs of them raping those girls and hearing Lumen screaming. Ugh. There’s gotta be some sort of messed up place in your head that you go to as an actress to make those sounds. He pulls on a rope and:
Tada! Sarah. Poor girl. Hardy rushes at Carroll and he says the wants to turn himself in; that he surrenders. Hardy is choking him to death. The other cops bust in and pull Hardy off. Carroll is taken back into custody. We get a deep thought moment from Hardy down by the waterfront. He reveals the unfinished work=Sarah thing. I don’t know how Lady Agent hadn’t put that together from the first time, but ok. “He wanted to get the ending right.” It’s a good line. But I can be sentimental like that sometimes. I’ve also probably heard it other places, but oh well.
Back to headquarters. Carroll had been a busy-bee online with thousands of forums, 80 some websites, he has resources at his disposal. Carroll will only talk to Hardy. So we get our showdown.
I love that Purefoy keeps the British accent. It makes him more charming and very classic villain. Carroll starts with how sad it is that Sarah had to die. Hardy wants to know about the sequel and Carroll says it’s going to be “a collaboration.” He says he doesn’t like the word cult. He likes to think of them as his f….follwing?! Is he gonna say it? No. Smacked down again! Friends, he says. He taunts that Hardy doesn’t have friends. We see a sorority girl walk up to her door and fiddle with her keys. She’s startled by Jordy, dressed in uniform, saying he’s there for extra security. He asks to come in and check the house out, and the girl lets him in. And then, we figure out what the letter contained. It’s sort of a letdown actually. Or at least, I’m fairly positive this is what’s in the letter. That Hardy and Clarie slept together. Carroll seems to take it as an extra injury to that Hardy slept with his wife. “Every good story needs a love interest.”
Claire goes upstairs and we see that Joey is missing. Claire runs around screaming for him. Back to the two boys. Carroll is talking about the sequel’s characters. He says he needs a good protagonist for the audience to cheer for. That he’s going a classic hero story this route. He wants to see Claire. Hardy gets in a last laugh line, and then grabs Carroll’s hand and breaks his fingers.
Back to Claire she’s asking for Denise, the cute sassy nanny. Then we see Denise in the car with Joey in the backseat, driving away with him. No! We pixie gals are supposed to be cute and fun! The gay/not gay neighbors meet up with Denise and put Joey in their car, they all get in their car and drive away together.
End scene. Holy dramatic show! I’m hooked! I’ll be back with next week’s episode. What did you guy think? Are you a fan?