FOX Broadcasting Co.
The first three episodes of The Following‘s second season have aired, and I have to say that it seems to be much of the same that made the first season sink into the morass that reduced it to “How Dumb Is This Thing Going to Become?” status. I am issuing early warning here that I will be saying some spoilery things from these episodes, so if you haven’t watched them… close out of this piece now.
Let’s review what has exactly happened. A new cult, or a splinter of the old one, has come to New York on the anniversary of Joe Carroll’s (James Purefoy) death to try to lure him out of hiding. He apparently survived the explosion from last season’s finale. They wear really creepy masks of Carroll. This is a fact that has escaped the totally annoying Emma (Valorie Curry), the one cult member that survived that whole season-ending bloodbath despite her BEING THE ONE I WANTED DEAD THE MOST. She’s no longer wearing a pixie cut, instead going with a Lisbeth Salander goth look. The ones trying to get Carroll include a pair of French twins who like to kill people and then talk to them after their death, with one of them looking exactly like Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho. In fact, I expect him to suddenly start talking about Genesis’ Invisible Touch album.
Yeah, Carroll’s alive. He’s been livingin some rural town with a hooker (Carrie Preston) and her daughter, sporting a beard and baseball cap in the world’s worst homage to Robert De Niro’s Deer Hunter, replete with the most horrifying attempt at a southern accent. Of course, the show nudges Carroll to come out of hiding to New York. To me, it doesn’t feel surprising when Carroll finally roars (or does his best imitation of roaring), “I. AM. INEVITABLE!” and then mercifully kills a priest who had discovered Carroll’s real identity. No, he doesn’t kill him by talking him to death, which is surprising, since Carroll loves the sound of his voice and talks and talks and talks and makes me glad I have a hearing aid to turn off to mute him. The show tries to make the killing a moral gray area, since the priest actually isn’t that great of a guy because he keeps sleeping with the prostitute and leers at her daughter. But Carroll’s first kill in a year doesn’t make us feel anything, because we were all waiting for him to do that. A pacifistic Joe Carroll makes this show even more mundane than ever.
In the third episode, Carroll kills his hooker girlfriend after she finds the dead body of the priest. Actually, no, her daughter does it, since she is smitten with him despite his track record of, you know, KILLING WOMEN. They torch the place while Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” plays in the background, one of the most ludicrous background songs I think I’ve ever heard given the context. I love that song. I think this severely hurt that.
Let’s not forget the the tired trope of Lily Gray, one of the first victims of the subway attack in the first episode, played by Connie Nielsen, turning out to be a follower herself. Add the fact that it had one of those aggravating chases, you know, where a pursuee (Hardy) is chasing someone (Gray) at full speed while the other person walks at an ambling gait a mere 20 feet ahead on a street and STILL DOESN’T CATCH HER. Yes, that happens here. Oh… and she’s the mother of those two psycho twins. Of course.
Oh yes, how can we forget Kevin Bacon and his character of Ryan Hardy. You see, he’s still obsessed with Joe Carroll, even going as far as to enlist his niece to help him out. But he’s not revealing anything to law enforcement, including his former partner last season, Ice. His refusal to do so put quite a few people at risk, but he’s just so tortured that he keeps all the info to himself. Bacon seems to be doing all the filming with a “I’m being paid by direct deposit, RIGHT?” expression. It’s amazing he’s gone three episodes thus far and hasn’t been punched by someone.
I admit that I am already slipping back into my hate-watching mood when watching. Relax, dude. It’s just a show. Just be entertained. The thing is, there has to be even a semblance of intelligence to even do that. When I see how sloppy the FBI seems to be in corralling these criminals, I shake my head. If they were this bad in real life, the United States would be taken over by another country in five minutes. So all I can do now is watch more and see if the show continues yet another downward spiral. Then we may be spared a third season.
Also, I’m sure that Bacon knows that his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, would have solved all this in two episodes of The Closer.