It would be easy to write 1000 words on just how silly so many of The Following's plot mechanisms happen to be. Why is there not an EFFING MANHUNT for an ESCAPED SERIAL KILLER the minute Hardy learns what's up with the transport switcheroo? Why would Olivia, an obviously smart if not ambition-blinded young woman aid the escape of SAID SERIAL KILLER, who we'll remember preys EXCLUSIVELY ON WOMEN? WHY DID BONE, WHOSE NAME MIGHT ACTUALLY BE "BO" BUT "BONE" SOUNDS MORE MENACING, INSTALL HIS HOSTAGE CAGES SO CLOSE TO THE BATHROOM?! Like I said…easy.
But you come to realize, watching this show as we (me and DISH Hopper guy, and maybe my editor Shaunna) have this past month and change, that narrative dumbness can't be considered one of The Following's flaws. I mean it IS a flaw — a big one, in fact. But it's so big, so much at the core of what this show seems to be doing (and wants to be doing) that you have to look to it as more DNA than defect. No less than you can fault a scorpion for stinging the toad, you can't snipe at a dumb TV show for being dumb.
'The Following' Recap: Everyone Who's Anyone is a Follower!
…Of course you can't tell a TV recap to not be petty and reductive, either. Because then what would we talk about? It was I think Ke$ha, or maybe Edgar Allen Poe, who said it best: "We r who we r."
After ditching her shower sex partners/Follower colleagues Paul and Jacob post-farmhouse siege, Emma split with little Joey for some sort of gang safe house, one run by a dude named Bo. Proclaiming himself to be "not a part of Joe's club," as his neck tattoos bulge and contort, Bo seems like a guy you don't want to mess with or annoy. Joey pays no attention to this and really riles Bo up when he finds a woman locked in a cage. "You're not supposed to go back there!" screams Bo, who is so tired of jerks going into his room.
Back in the most minimum-security maximum-security prison ever designed, Joe has somehow finagled a meeting with the warden and other prison officials to secure a transfer to another facility. One where he won't be so callously disrespected and abused by unstable alcoholics like Ryan Hardy. "Sounds cool!" the officials basically stamp on his papers, and send him on his merry way. Everyone deserves a second chance!
'The Following' Recap: Hardy's in the House!
Hardy, like us, thinks the whole move is bulls**t — a cover, maybe, for the warden's daughter's disappearance from college (Joe's former college) earlier that morning. And wouldn't you know it? It IS. Using the power of video editing, the warden helps affect Joe's escape with his lawyer Olivia.
SIDE: Wouldn't it be sort of sweet and reassuring to start every episode in Claire's house, Hardy showing up with a cup of tea for Claire as he says something cute, like "did I interrupt something?" Immediate smooching, ease of indie rock usage — just a pleasant way to kick off 42 minutes in which someone inevitably gets shivved and plot points are discussed as META-TEXTUALLY as possible.
Olivia seems surprisingly calm for someone driving with a man whose entire serial killer background revolves around attractive, defenseless women. #YOLO? (She's dead three minutes later.) In the most fun scene of the episode, Hardy is forced to listen in as Joe murders his lawyer. "Tell him," Joe asks Olivia to say to Hardy, "that Joe Carroll is killing me and it's because of you. It's all your fault." The whole thing is made all the worse by Weston sitting there with that "everything cool, bro?" look splashed across his face, as though he can't hear the woman dying on the phone just a few feet away from his ears. This show, man. With the murdering and everything.
It's all preamble, of course, for Hardy and Joe's big halfway-point-of-the-season confrontation. Joe has acquired two new Followers, David (nebbishy dude) and Louise (ice cold blonde), who get the upper hand on Hardy. But Joe doesn't want his "protagonist" dead. Especially not in a parking garage. He spells things out: "I spent nine years in a jail cell concocting this story, Ryan. And there is so much more to come."
As Joe gets away in his helicopter, Hardy vainly fires 5-6 shots after him. Oh Hardy — forever chasing a guy you won't truly catch until the end of the series, which based on this morning's early pickup for Season 2 may be some time from now. But Hardy's not put out; he's energized. "We'll find [those Followers]," Hardy tells Parker and Weston, "and we'll break them. We've got to start doing things a different way." Which to comic book movie-trained ears everywhere, means — time to be BATMAN. Hardy questions the injured David…right in his leg wound. DIG, BABY, DIG. And you know what? He gets his answers.
Headlights illuminate a creepy, Dragon Tattoo Swedish rape mansion-style gate. And soon the mansion behind them, where a crowd has gathered for the arrival of this black SUV. Joe steps out. And we realize — it's Follower HQ. Charles Xavier's School for the Gifted, absent mutant powers and plus switchblades and dog-eared Poe paperbacks. Emma gives Joe a great big hug. So wonderful to see you!
And then the kicker: Joey. Who has never actually seen his father in person before. "You're my dad." he surmises. "Yeah, I'm your dad." Niagara Falls. CREDITS.
[Image Credit: FOX]
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David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.