Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen The Following Season 1, Ep. 10- “Guilt”.
Oh, Following, you’re so close, so close. This episode was exciting, fast paced and entertaining, but it achieved these lofty TV goals at the expense of character development, logic, and respect for the audience. What makes The Following so frustrating is that it doesn’t need to be this mediocre. It has an interesting premise and a usually phenomenal cast, yet week after week the scripts squander these head starts with an over reliance on gore and foregoing creating realistic situations or characters.
This week Ryan went rogue (again) to protect Claire after Joe sent some highly trained former militiamen after her. The men failed at their first attempt because Ryan Hardy is infallible, but they managed to stick a tracking device on her. Ryan slipped the FBI, since it was their breach that put her in danger in the first place, and took her to his friend
Batista Tyson’s home. Tyson is in the witness protection so it seemed like the perfect solution… except for that tracker thing.
But, when they discovered the tracker instead of, oh I don’t know, leaving, they just hunkered down and armed themselves. Ok, fine, I suppose that’s another option, but again, instead of an organized plan of attack they just sort of ran around, surprising each other in the dark, professing their love (this was more Claire and Ryan. I’m not sure what Tyson was doing at that time), and wandering around outside to get shot (oh, I guess that). It was all very exciting and tense, but it made no sense. It wasn’t a logical decision for someone risking everything to protect someone. It was a logical decision for lazy writers who said, “Hey, lets have a darkly lit shoot out”.
In the end, Claire went willingly with her captors because she, like everyone else, realized that the FBI (and Hardy) are woefully incompetent and if she ever wanted to see her son again, she’d have to do it herself.
Meanwhile at Cult Camp, Jacob was not dealing with his first murder well. In fact, his mercy killing manifested itself in unnecessarily violent delusions. As Jacob struggled to fit in in his new surroundings and forgive Emma for abandoning him to die, Paul kept popping up in little to no clothing and suggesting that Jacob kill Emma as well. I appreciated Jacob as the pure character, an innocent in a sea of sociopaths, but the writers have once again gone the “blood is better” route and these delusions were actually a manifestation of Jacob’s newfound taste for killing. It will help him fit in at Cult Camp, but it’s disappointing for the overall tone of the show.
Other Clues for the Ever Growing Mystery of the Carroll Cult
Ryan’s ex girlfriend who was awkwardly introduced in this episode was also revealed to be a member of the Carroll Cult. Was she always one of the cult members and dating Ryan was her assignment, or did she come to the cult after the break up, thus making her the most extreme case of a women scorned in history?
The FBI, at a complete loss of how to investigate with Ryan gone, somehow found the sign up page for the Carroll Cult. Countdown to when they attempt to infiltrate the cult and fail miserably begins in 3, 2, 1…
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