Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen The Following Season 1, Ep. 14 – “The End is Near”.
I’m tempted to say that “The End is Near” was an entertaining episode, but it may just be the excitement from realizing the end is in fact near talking. Truthfully, the most entertaining part of this show has always been James Purefoy and this week he was at his charming with a side of ick best. But, in a show about catching a serial killer, the serial killer really shouldn’t be the best character because there’s no way that will end happily for anyone.
Watching this episode I came to a stunning realization; the writers actually think we care about these characters. They think we’re rooting for Emma and Jacob to kiss and make up and for Jacob to escape the cult (that he voluntarily joined and willfully committed heinous crimes for). Perhaps I am in the minority here, but I do not care about these things. Yet, here they were this week, having heartfelt conversations over swelling music, indicating that, indeed, this was a relationship we should have feelings about.
I suppose the intention with Jacob was to give us a cult member to identify with, someone uncomfortable with killing who could question the cult. That’s a fine idea, but the problem is that most people wouldn’t become a member of a cult about killing if they were uncomfortable with killing. And there has been no attempt to explain why Jacob joined in the first place. His entire character arc has been: devoted follower, questioning follower, suicide assister, devoted follower, questioning follower, dead. That is not an interesting trajectory nor does it make any logical sense. They spent all season actively not developing his character and then expected us to care that he was killed. I have no explanation for this thought process and if anyone else does I would very much like to hear it.
Just to make sure we didn’t get caught up in the action packed climax of the season and forget all the frustrating plot holes that make The Following resemble Swiss cheese, the writers threw in yet another glaring FBI oversight for good measure. Now, the FBI (and just to be clear, I am talking about the fictional FBI in The Following not the real FBI who clearly have their shit together) has made a lot of really dumb mistakes, but I think setting up a shelter from a faceless cult has to be about the dumbest. Hmm, how shall we protect ourselves from these crazy killers who could literally be anyone in this town? I know, let’s all congregate in one enclosed space, perform no kind of security checks and just hope for the best. Oh and then when we figure out what an insanely bad idea this was thanks to a poem, lets investigate it in teams of two so that we can be as weak and easily abductable as possible.
No wonder Jacob thought this was a bad idea, with any other form of law enforcement “turn the lights off and start swinging axes” would be stupid, but the true genius of Joe is he knows his opponents weakness is that thing called thinking.
Luckily, only five people died and nine cult members. Unluckily, Agent Parker was kidnapped and buried alive because apparently it’s 2003 and that’s still edgy and new.
Only one more week, loyal acolytes, do you think the finale will reveal all these frustrations as a cover for an insane, satisfying twist or are we in for more darkly lit shootouts and FBI blunders before Joe’s plot to make Ryan a hero goes exactly according to plan?
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