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4 Moments of Goodness from The Following Series Finale 

While I hate to say goodbye to this show and all the eye-covering, nightmare-inducing, deliciously twisted drama it provides, I have to admit I couldn’t be more pleased with the way it went out. Especially since when this episode was written and shot, there was still no word as to whether it would serve as a season or series finale. And yet, in true Following fashion, the ending not only stayed true to the characters we’ve come to love, but it also provided us with both a bittersweet and purposeful conclusion. So without further ado, let’s take a look at my top 4 Moments of Following Finale Goodness.

Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/FOX
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/FOX

4. Ryan and Theo’s trash talking. This scene was easily my top light-hearted moment of the night. Granted, Ryan was at gun point and the topic of discuss was death, but I still enjoyed it immensely. That being said, I have to admit that while I enjoyed this scene the first time around, it wasn’t until my second viewing that I really appreciated it. Obviously, the witty banter and Ryan’s dry retorts put a smile on my face both times, but knowing what I know now, the foreshadowing in this scene is right on the mark.

Theo: Move.

Ryan: Where we going?

Theo: Your grave.

Ryan: You should know something.

Theo: What’s that?

Ryan: This is not how I end. You’re not the guy to do it.

Theo: You sure?

Ryan: Pretty sure.

Theo: Well, I doubt both of us will make it through this day.

Ryan: Probably not.

Theo: Well, I can’t wait to see which one of us survives.

Granted, these two aren’t up to the level of Joe and Ryan, but they are still a good match. I loved seeing Ryan’s unwavering confidence and attempt to play mind games with Theo, while Theo was equally un-phased and managed to easily volley it right back over the net. And knowing now that the final minutes of the episode would set us up to question who survived the fall in to the river and returned to lurk the halls of the hospital makes this scene all the more applaud-worthy.

3. Ryan tells Gwen he’s leaving the FBI. The scene made it in to my top moments not because I actually believed it would ever happen, even Gwen knows that Ryan’s job is his life, but because even after all the crap Ryan has been through in his life (and there has been a LOT of crap), he still has some hope. It may just be a glimmer but in this scene, Ryan’s resiliency and desire to fight for his happiness is both enviable and admirable.

Ryan: How are you feeling? Any morning sickness?

Gwen: Some, it’s not that bad.

Ryan: Good. I went to a meeting last night.

Gwen: I’m happy for you, but it’s going to take a lot more to convince me that you’ve changed.

Ryan: I know that. But you and this baby mean everything to me, which is why as soon as this is over, I’m leaving the Bureau.

Gwen: Your job is your life.

Ryan: I don’t want it to be. I want this. Us. This family.

For most people, not only surviving but bouncing back from all that he has been through would be darn near impossible. Not only did he believe he was surrounded by a “death curse” after he watched his father die and lost his brother in 9/11, but he was also stabbed in the heart, had his partner buried alive, watched his ex-girlfriend stab his current girlfriend, found his friend broken and bent and crammed in to a box, watched another girlfriend explode in a van and, of course, I couldn’t go without mentioning that he was repeatedly taunted, tortured and lured in by a serial killer. And yet Ryan, in this scene, has a resiliency and strength that still allows him to believe he has a chance at happiness and to control his own future. That being said, it doesn’t last for long. After he is captured and water-boarded and then finds out that both mysterious Russian lady and Theo are after Gwen and his unborn child, he is understandably back to believing the universe will never allow him happiness. However, he’s been through the wringer before and bounced back so I have hope that someday he will be able to do it again.

Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/FOX
Photo Credit: Giovanni Rufino/FOX

2. Max and Mike continue working from the hospital room. I absolutely loved this scene. If this scene doesn’t show that these two are MTB (meant to be), I don’t know what does. Mike has literally just knocked on death’s door and Max has been an emotional wreck, grieving by his bedside. However, as soon as he’s awake and semi-stable (albeit, still needing assistance to sip water from a straw and barely able to get out a single word), these two hurdle back in to crime-solving mode and move forward. After all, it was their passion for Ryan that brought them together and I find it totally 100% appropriate that they immediately put their own lives and worries aside to jump to his aid.

Mike: Ryan?

Max: I’ve been tracking the escape car. Picked it up on I-87 going north. Got it going through 3 toll booths, two bridges, mile marker 244 and then at marker 245, it’s not there. Obviously, he stopped somewhere, but where? I got the street view, traffic cams, eye in the sky, I can’t find him.

Mike: The highway.

Max: The highway cam? I’ll take another look.

These two get each other in a way that no one else could. Mike can hardly even get out a single word and yet Max doesn’t stop him or tell him to rest. If the roles were reversed, she knows she would do the same and when it comes to saving Ryan, not even a collapsed lung would slow either of them down. Like I said, MTB.

1. Ryan lives even though he is “dead.” I absolutely loved this last scene. As the jacketed man with a limp walked through the hospital, avoiding Gwen, police and Max, I was literally on the edge of my seat — is it Ryan?! Is it Theo?! Is it Ryan?! Is it Theo?! Of course Theo had a limp earlier, so that was a point in one column. But then the show couldn’t go on without Ryan, so that was a point in the other. Thankfully, in the end, it was Ryan and a brief pre-death pow-wow with Campbell clarified why he chose to “die.”

Ryan: I know who you are. I know you planted that tracker on me. That’s how Eliza found us at the catacombs.

Campbell: I swear, I didn’t do that.

Ryan: Stop, two agents are dead because of you. And so am I. It’s the only way my family stays safe. And your friends will never see me coming.

Campbell: It won’t work, you can’t get to these people.

Ryan: I can get to anybody.

Campbell: You think it’s an anomaly the most well-known serial killers are poor? The ultra wealthy are spared that gene? Their money buys them protection and anonymity. And they’ll do anything to keep it.

Ryan: Their money won’t save them from me.

I’ll admit, at first I had trouble thinking of the whole ending as a Moment of Goodness. There is no denying that it’s sad. Ryan is walking away from his friends, his family and his new baby to face life alone. Heart-breaking is the only way to describe it. And yet, as I said before, this is exactly the way it had to end, as least as far as I’m concerned. Despite his glimmers of hope, Ryan isn’t the type of guy who gets the fairytale ending. If it had ended with him living happily ever after with Gwen and 2.5 kids and a picket-white fence, it just would’ve felt wrong and it wouldn’t have been true to the show.

So, this is my top moment of goodness not because I’m happy that Ryan has gotten sucked back in and will have to live as a ghost, but rather because I’m happy with how the show gave the character such a fitting (and in many ways honorable) ending. Ryan is an unconventional hero and his act is not selfish or stubborn. He is doing this because he loves his family and wants to protect them and all the other people out there who may fall victim to this new Big Bad. Sure, he could let the bad guys go or let someone else deal with them, but that’s not Ryan. Especially not after they threatened his wife and soon-to-be baby. That made it personal and if there’s anything Ryan hates more than people who do bad things, its people who do bad things and go after those he loves. So, in Ryan’s mind, he has to take them down. For himself and for all the other people they may harm. Regardless of what he’s done or is willing to do, he believes in the greater good and after watching Gwen and the baby nearly die because of him, becoming a ghost vigilante of sorts is the only way he can both take down the bad guys and protect them. Like I said, sad and heartbreaking but also noble in a truly Ryan Hardy kind of way. And personally, I love thinking that even though we’re no longer watching, Ryan Hardy will still be out there fighting for what he believes is right.

What did you think? Will you miss Ryan? Was this a fitting ending for this unconventional hero?

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