If we were to judge “The Following” based purely from a quality standpoint, then episode 3 is probably a step above episode 2, but also a step back from the pilot. While there were so many great moments that transpired over the course of the hour, it is still rather hard to overlook the fact that the biggest twist of the entire hour (the wife / victim being brought in being in on the act the whole time) was something that was fairly obvious based on the trajectory of the show.
From the standpoint of pure shock value, meanwhile, this was an incredibly disturbing hour of television. In putting it bluntly, there were some pretty horrifying moments in here that you don’t often see on network TV, including multiple killings, a man taking his own life with a cast, and a child being instructed to suffocate a mouse as the beginnings of his training into becoming part of Joe Carroll’s army. The latter scene was almost too much to even watch; while you know it’s fictional, it make your skin crawl completely off of your body and onto the floor. It may have been too much for some viewers, even if it was effective in making us hate Carroll’s crew even more than we ever had before.
From the FBI standpoint, we continued to not learn much other than that Ryan Hardy continues to be a step behind, and this week it cost him the life of Agent Riley. Why does Billy Brown have to keep playing dead men in law enforcement? First, it was Mike Anderson on “Dexter,” and now, it’s Riley. Mike is proving to be an interesting asset to Ryan, however, and he is someone we hope to see more of.
As for the Caroll side, both Jordy and Rick end up dying at the very end of this, though Rick’s wife (and aforementioned “victim”) Maggie somehow survived by running just as Ryan shot her husband. The most intriguing story in getting under these characters’ skin came via learning that Paul and Jacob did fall in love to an extent while posing as a gay couple, and this makes their situation with Emma for more complicated. We still can barely tell who is who between the two guys, but this little wrinkle makes this relationship far more interesting that a group of angry / creepy people holding Claire Matthews’ son hostage while trying to indoctrinate him.
There are some frustrating moments within “The Following,” and while we have to say that this is clearly a show that is not for everyone, we are currently “all in” with the series and want to see what happens next. Hats off to Fox for being brave enough to give us something that is lacking on network TV these days.
What did you think about this episode? If you want to read some more news from “The Following,” you can do so over here.