If The Following was about troubled teens trying to get through high school or pretty vampires in love, like creator Kevin Williamson's last two hit shows (Dawson's Creek and The Vampire Diaries), I might get more enjoyment out of how dumb it is. Too bad it's mostly about young women being brutally murdered.
The "Don't Call it a Cult" Expert
Last week's FBI point person, Agent Mason (Jeananne Goossen), was revamped out of the show. Her replacement, Debra Parker (Annie Parisse) (if that's her real name!), seems a little more interesting. She's the FBI's leading cult expert, so it took until halfway through the episode before she was willing to acknowledge that Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) might be a cult leader. She also asks a lot of pointed questions about Ryan Hardy's (Kevin Bacon) relationship with Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea). So he doesn't seem to like her much. Then, at the end of the episode, accompanied by a prison guard and tons of overly dramatic music, she slips Carroll a copy of The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. So naturally, we're supposed to think she's in cahoots with him or something. I personally think she just realized from his "interpretive murders" that he's never actually read Poe's work.
The Third Wheel of Death
Little Joey's (Kyle Catlett) kidnappers have taken him to a mysterious mansion in the country, where evil nanny Denise, whose real name is Emma (Valorie Curry), attempts to kill him with off-putting smiles and cuddles! Not really. They are treating him well, even if Curry plays Emma with an over-the-top demented look in her eye. (Perhaps Purefoy trained his acolytes to overact, just like Carroll trained his to become serial killers?) The trouble is, fellow psycho Paul (Adan Canto) apparently got used to pretending to be in a gay relationship with Jacob (Nico Tortorella), and doesn't like the fact that Jacob and Emma are actually a couple, set up (in excessive flashbacks involving Emma's grotesque, doomed mom (Kate Hodge)) by Carroll as part of his adorable psycho prison-visitor dating service. Trouble in paradise?
Jordy the Mass Murderer
While they search for little Joey, the FBI team has to contend with another bunch of brutal eyeball-removing killings at the local sorority house (and seriously, do not pledge a sorority if you attend this fictional university). These were committed by Jordy (Steve Monroe), an overweight, mentally impaired, but surprisingly lithe and stealthy prison guard/serial killer in training. So that's kind of a distraction. Eventually, they find Emma's house and her awful mother's corpse, and some other stuff they won't look at until later, when it can set off a last minute rescue.
The Case of the Mysterious Blueprints
Yes, they find crude blueprints in Emma's house of all the places where the cult's crimes have taken place. You'd think, since they're looking for the boy Emma kidnapped, these would be a top priority; but no, they just lie around waiting for Hardy to casually peruse them later so he can suddenly realize that someone is inside Claire's police-protected house, up to no good. He rushes in to find the surprisingly resourceful Jordy holding a gun to Claire's head. But it turns out that Carroll actually wanted Hardy to save Emma, because of something about a book. He also somehow thought for sure that Hardy would kill Jordy, though, so he's not as omnipotent as he thought.
I still feel bad about all the insulting Poe references, and the helpless women being murdered, but despite its relentlessly grim tone, maybe The Following will turn out to be one of those shows that's kind of fun because it's so dumb.
"She's on her way back to Quantico. Apparently, she put a former agent alone in a room with Joe Carroll and let him break three of his fingers. Turns out that's a no-no."
--Parker explains why Mason isn't there to Hardy.
"Joe Carroll has cast you as the main character in his psycho sequel, so I can't just kick you to the curb."
--Parker explains why Hardy will continue to be a part of the investigation.
"Good news: No dead puppies. Bad news: I think it's time to use that word nobody wants to use."
--Weston (Shawn Ashmore) says this to the team after searching Emma's house. The word is "cult."
"I run the bureau's alternative religion unit. Did I not mention that? Cults. My specialty."
--Parker tells Hardy what she does.
"Are you sure he's straight? Because he's acting like a jealous little b__ch."
--Emma complains to Jacob about Paul.