In the review of last weekâ€™s premiere of The Following, we declared James Purefoy the star of this fantastic new drama.Â But, that was only the first act.Â Being that the drama is focused on Poe-obsessed serial killer, Joe Carroll, of course he was going to get center-stage in the Pilot.Â However, in â€œThe Second Actâ€, the star shifts to our broken, ex-FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon).
With Joe and Claireâ€™s (Natalia Zea) son, Joey, being kidnapped at the end of last weekâ€™s premiere, we knew there was going to be lots of Claire in this episode, and with Claire and Agent Hardyâ€™s romantic past, we knew there would also be lots of Hardy.Â Through a series of flashbacks, we see Ryan and Claireâ€™s relationship develop as Carrollâ€™s trial winds down, and we also get to see the â€œnormalâ€ Ryan Hardy in the days before he toted vodka-mixed water in his bag to work.Â It is almost as if Kevin Bacon plays two completely different roles in this episode, and the actor does an extraordinary job highlighting the good from Hardyâ€™s past but at the same time not letting the audience forget just how far heâ€™s fallen since Carrollâ€™s capture and conviction.
We are also introduced to the cute, gay neighbors and the seemingly innocent nanny, â€Deniseâ€ â€“ and, I mean introduced to who they really are. Welcome to the creepy world of serial killer groupies.Â With Carrollâ€™s charisma and magnetism as a professor and lecturer, I wondered how many of his groupies would turn out to be mesmerized former students, and it turns out that â€œDeniseâ€ is actually Emma Hill (Valorie Curry), a very shy former student of Carrollâ€™s who was obviously somewhat smitten with him.
Â Â Â Â Â You have such lovely eyes, Emma.Â Donâ€™t hide them from us â€“ Carroll to Emma
If a seemingly normal, but handsome and brilliant, literature professor said that to you as a shy, young girl while he brushed your hair from your face, how would you not be completely drawn and obsessed with the guy.Â Even after Carroll is captured and confesses to all of the gruesome murders, Emma continues to visit Carroll in prison and even cuts her hair to showcase her eyes that he fancied so much.Â Carroll returns the favor by giving her something that she had always wanted and never had â€“ a boyfriend.Â Another one of Carrollâ€™s groupies, Jacob Walls (Nico Tortorella) AKA â€œWill Wilsonâ€, one of our lovely gay neighbors, is Carrollâ€™s gift to Emma, and thinks she is â€œthe most amazing girlâ€, even and especially after she puts a knife in her motherâ€™s back.
Even though other characters like Hardy and Emma Hill may have stole this show, Carroll still had some really good (and creepy!) moments!Â As he is shaking as Claire enters the prison visiting room, you have to wonder: Does this guy really have it in him to actually â€œloveâ€ someone like Claire, or is it just an act?Â While Claire is there solely to try and get details about Joeyâ€™s whereabouts, Carrollâ€™s only purpose is to get the truth about Claire and Ryan Hardyâ€™s romantic relationship.Â Carroll has no intention of revealing any information and only baits Claire, which culminates in Carrollâ€™s attack on his ex-wife.Â Was the monster once capable of loving someone?Â If so, that person is long-gone, and James Purefoy does a marvelous job in that scene.
All in all, this was a good episode but perhaps not as strong as the premiere.Â However, I was very happy to see more of the episode concentrating on the storyline than on the gore and the shock value.Â We got some good character development this week, with the shocking evisceration scenes and such toned down quite a bit (didnâ€™t care much for the burning at the end, but Iâ€™m hoping thatâ€™s just a one off thing).Â Iâ€™ll be interested to see how they keep this series going.Â Itâ€™s going to be very easy to turn it into a â€œcreepy serial killer of the weekâ€ drama, with Carroll acting as his groupiesâ€™ â€œgodâ€, but EP Marcos Siega stated at New York Comic-Con that the series is going to evolve into something that youâ€™re not going to expect after seeing the Pilot.Â That remains to be seen, but for now, Iâ€™m all in.
The Following airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.
Most memorable quotes and random thoughtsÂ
- They think of him as a sacrifice, as the son of God â€“ Agent Hardy referring to Joey Matthews
- Did your body quiver to his every touch? â€“ Joe to Claire
- You sure heâ€™s straight? Because heâ€™s acting like a jealous bitch to me â€“ Emma
- Jordy was a mere puppy compared to what I have prepared for you â€“ Carroll to Hardy
- Joe Carroll cast you as his star in his psycho sequel â€“ Agent Debra Parker (Annie Parisse)
- So, why did Agent Parker give Carroll the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe?Â Was it to gain his trust as a psychologist?Â Or, is she actually part of Carrollâ€™s crazy cult?Â Hmmmmâ€¦..
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