The Following Season 1, Episode 14 Review: “The End is Near”
This is easily the most happily titled episode of The Following yet. Why? Because I will be thrilled when this crashing disappointment of a program is in my rear view mirror. As next week is the Season One finale, the end is truly near. I looked forward to this show from the first time I heard about it. The buzz at SDCC made me even more stoked. Damn…did THAT ever blow up in my face.
Tonight was yet another night of inexplicably stupid decisions, laughable dialogue, and preposterous goings-on of all kinds. The End is Near begins with Joe watching more Ryan Hardy porn. I know why I’d like to watch Kevin Bacon rolling around in the sheets—but I’m still not clear as to what Carroll’s motivation is for this. Joe isn’t self aware enough to torture himself with thoughts of Hardy and his wife. Then again, he does have a huge victim complex. Woe is Joe, whose wife was cruel enough to leave him just because he killed a whole bunch of people.
The heroic but ineffectual FBI team is done messing around. They want Carroll, and they want the cult, and they wish they had a clue as to how to get it. Instead of doing something…you know…good, the Feds continue to fall into trap after trap of Carroll’s. This could make for gripping television, but since everyone involved is an idiot—not so much. Eventually they figure out where the compound is, which can only mean that by the time they get there the Carrollers are long gone.
The core group of cultists, Joe and Claire, Emma and Jacob take over the home of a couple called the Greys. Get it? One of them is African American, the other Caucasian. Grey? Yeah, just the sort of (un)clever writing we’ve come to expect from The Following. The Greys are a married couple who love each other, which means Joe is totally jealous of them. In the manner of a sociopath, he makes them pasta and insists that they sit down and eat it. Scary…but not as scary as the Last Supper references. We get it, Kevin Williamson has a bible and he’s not afraid to use it. Except Joe has never referenced god or religion as part of his belief system ever. Bringing it up this late in the game isn’t just preposterous, it’s insulting to the viewer.
The FBI finds a scary hanging body at the cult compound. The knot was terrible, and he didn’t look dead. I can’t tell if that means the body is still a living person, or if this show sucks so bad they can’t even fake a hanging right. Hardy finds a note from Joe, and instead of leaving the house immediately, they stick around and talk. Why the house wasn’t rigged to explode and kill all the law enforcement guys, I do not know. There’s also some Mask of the Red Death imagery. I love how The Following sticks to the Poe stories they assume we all read in junior high—even though Carroll is a Poe fanatic with a PhD in literature. Maybe The Following will stay on so long they actually have to get into The Purloined Letter, Morella, or The Narrative of Gordon Pym. But I doubt it.
For some preposterously stupid reason, the town decides to have everyone congregate at the local rec center as a “safety precaution.” Sorry, but that makes no sense at all, in any context, for any reason. A crazed murder cult is in the area and we have no idea who’s in it. Clearly, the smartest thing to do is to gather everyone in one centralized location, with not nearly enough law enforcement to keep order, and where it’s simple to take out the lights in the entire building on cue. WTF? Stupidly, people actually go with it—the nutty and the sane mingling around like it’s a freaking ice cream social.
While half the town is being murdered by cultists, and a serial killer and his proclaimed murder victim are escaping, Ryan Hardy takes time out to question a lone cultist who couldn’t possibly tell him anything of value. Duh. How about we stop the creepy cult stuff indeed…
Meanwhile, Jacob wants out. He knows Joe is a liar, he thinks all the cultists are doomed, and he really only wanted to be with Emma in the first place. He’s trying to talk Emma into leaving the cult with him. Gosh, I wonder what will happen to Jacob? The writing is so sublime…there’s just no way to know…
Clair does the smartest thing she’s ever done on the show—she effectively fights Joe so that she and the Greys can escape. They do, leading straight into some hardcore shenanigans. The sky turns from barely dusk to pitch black in the space of one commercial break (while they’re running to their closest neighbor’s house). Then the Greys recognize their own car while it’s speeding toward them. The Greys escape while Emma and Jacob capture Claire and take her to Joe. So much for Emma wanting to be Claire’s friend, I guess. Oh yeah, and Parker is kidnapped and buried alive. Now we won’t have to hear her say ridiculous crap like “metaphor-land” anymore. Except she’ll almost certainly live, because her phone has to have GPS on it. * YAWN * Or maybe she’s got Beatrix Kiddo training that we never knew about, KW is certainly not above an absurd Deus Ex Machina like that.
Claire is tied up with rope—everybody’s got tons of rope handy on this show. She goes off on a boat with Joe. Judging by the boat’s name, they’ll both be living with sweet life. Roughly nine cultists are dead, plus Jacob ended up with his throat cut by Emma. That’s kind of a drag, but poor Jacob didn’t really know what he wanted from the beginning.
So yeah, just one more week of this nightmare. It really is a shame. I adore James Purefoy and think a lot of the cast is doing good work. It’s a drag that the writing is so horrible. If this had been well researched and had non-ridiculous dialogue, and the plot wasn’t ripped off from another (better) author, they might really have something here.
See you’s next week!