Matt Smith reviews the latest episode of The Following…
So, another week, another episode of The Following, to be followed by this, another review of The Following. Another step-by-step look at the week in serial killers living in a house together (there’s a political joke there, but I’m not going to touch it).
It’s a lot harder than it looks. It’s not just pop culture references, biased opinions and poorly researched ‘facts’. There’s a lot of work that goes into these reviews. It’s not a slog, for sure, but you have to make sure you don’t drag it out.
Speaking of having trouble with writing, Joe Carroll’s got a bit of writer’s block and he needs his friend Ryan Hardy to help him out. After a brilliantly casual opening to a phone call between the two (‘Yeah, Ryan, hi how are you, anyway…’), Carroll once again shows off the analogy of himself as writer and viewer. But he’s starting to unravel, his second in command Roderick quickly coming to terms with the fact that Carroll’s using everyone for his own means since last week. A new kind of tension is building.
What started out as a dark, straight faced series has slowly started to develop a dark sense of humour, which makes this episode a lot more watchable. It hasn’t become light hearted in any sense of the word, but the fact the series isn’t taking itself so seriously means it has the potential to be a lot more enjoyable.
There are a few issues to be had though. Carroll’s cult members have infiltrated every organisation, in order to blend in and see any particular threats coming. But with the amount of time Roderick’s had off, he’d have been fired by now. He has a day job. And the problem from the first few episodes has arisen again, where absolutely no one installs light bulbs inside their home. Every trip to the fridge for a midnight snack must be the most tension filled exploration of human fear ever experienced. All the military hardware and no bulbs.
But on the more serious side of things, this week we get the closest look at Ryan Hardy than we’ve ever had before. Using some very blunt imagery, we get to see that he and Joe Carroll aren’t so different after all. The idea of an antithesis in a villain has been exchanged for the idea of ‘we’re not so different, you and I’. Carroll as audience and writer loves it, and I’m inclined to like it as an idea just because it adds something to Ryan Hardy. He’s been a bit of a one-dimensional character so it’s just nice to see something else from him, whatever it may be.
That’s what this series has been missing at times. Something different. I’m undecided though. This isn’t a new life lesson for Ryan Hardy, this is just something new for us to learn. Hardy won’t change because of this, and proceedings will just continue as they are. The ending just seems to drag things out, as opposed to driving the narrative forward. And audiences hate it when things are just dragged out.