The Following - Season 2, Episode 1: "Resurrection" TV Episode Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Directed by Marcos Siega
Written by Kevin Williamson
2014, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on January 19th, 2014
Kevin Bacon as Ryan Hardy
James Purefoy as Joe Carroll
Valorie Curry as Emma
Shawn Ashmore as Agent Mike Weston
Connie Nielsen as Lily
Jessica Stroup as Max Hardy
Sam Underwood as Luke
Tiffany Boone as Mandy
Warning! This review contains spoilers for season one of The Following.
When I reviewed the first four episodes of The Following last year, I gave it high marks. The dark and twisted series exploded onto the scene, impressive with its unflinching violence. The show stars Kevin Bacon as former FBI Agent Ryan Hardy, pulled into a cat and mouse game of murder by serial killer Joe Carroll (wonderfully played by James Purefoy). However, as the season went on, my hopes for a new favorite were dashed with each passing episode.
There are two problems with season one of The Following, and both are equal parts hurtful to the show. The first is, dare I say it, it's too dark. There's rarely a moment of light, be it in the form of laughter or just something good happening for once for our protagonists. Every episode is a downer. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of unhappy endings (unless I'm getting a massage), but a writer needs to let us viewers up for air on occasion, or it just becomes too heavy. The Following was a constant beat down from firsts episode to last, and it got to be just too much.
The second major problem the first season has is the writing gets lazier and lazier as it progresses. By this I mean Joe Carroll's "followers" are used as a crutch far too often. Little kidnapped Joey escapes from his captors? No problem, there's a follower just nearby to pounce! Cops crashing in on Carroll's location? No problem, the cop is a follower! FBI getting too close and about to make an arrest? Don't worry, two followers have infiltrated the FBI! Not going to lie, that shit gets old. While I do love the idea of a cult of serial killers running amuck and causing mayhem, the numerous places these lunatics infiltrate with seemingly no problem is truly unbelievable.
Yet, I stuck through it. I wanted to see how it ended. And when the fates were revealed – or, rather, teased for season two – I had mixed emotions. On one hand, I was kind of glad it was over. I was tired of getting beat up every week. On the other, I saw a missed opportunity. The Following really does have the potential to be a great show. It has a superb cast, led by Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy; an executive producer (Kevin Williamson – Scream) that has a history of dabbling in darker films; and a network, FOX, which has a history of showing it's willing to go a step farther than the other non-cable networks. And even though one of its pluses is also a minus (Williamson is also one of the lead writers), I'm not quite ready to give up on The Following just yet. If the first episode of season two is any indication, I might not have to.
We re-enter Hardy's life a year after the traumatic events of the first season. Joe Carroll is supposedly dead – as well as the majority of people who Hardy had ever gotten close to – and the once-alcoholic is now living a clean and sober life and teaching criminology at a college. All things considered, Hardy is doing pretty good. Even though he's been dealt the worst hand ever, it looks like things are finally looking up. Until, of course, a trio of Joe-Carroll-mask-wearing men go stab happy on the New York subway, all the while chanting things like "Joe Carroll lives!", "The resurrection is coming!" and "Ryan Hardy can't stop us!"
Guess who the FBI contacts for assistance? And guess who got out of the cockadoodie car?
But none of this surprises Hardy, and while he tells the FBI he's has no interest in being drawn back into this case, he does have his own ulterior motives.
There's not a lot to cull from the first episode of this new season. I don't know where The Following is going yet, but I like the hints the episode shows on the roads it might take this year. Its already implied that there will be some infighting with Carroll's followers (which really is inevitable because serial killers tend to be an arrogant bunch), a few new characters added to the mix intrigue me, and I already like Hardy's new 'fuck you' attitude. He's not tied to the FBI, he's not looking to work with them, and he appears to be in a better condition to dish out some sweet, sweet, justice.
I'm still gun shy about the crutch writing from last season, and while I do like the introduction some of the new followers and supporting cast, part of me inwardly groaned a little bit because the more serial killers you introduce, the bigger the risk of the show being ridiculous. If the writers put Carroll and Hardy at the forefront, this will be a great season. If they pull the same shit from last year, I won't make it through. I certainly can't judge the entire season from this first episode, but if it's an indication of things to come, I'm cautiously optimistic.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a TV episode.