The Following (FOX) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review
For those of you who haven’t had enough of cop-shows, there is a new oneon FOX, called ‘The Following’. The series premiere was Januari 21st at 9/8c, and the series stars Kevin Bacon (X-Men: First Class) and James Purefoy (‘Rome’).
The episode starts with an amazingly easy prison break, with a room full of slaughtered guards that go unnoticed just long enough for killer Joe Carroll (Purefoy) to escape. After the escape, former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Bacon) is called and asked by the FBI to work as a consultant for the team in charge of finding Carroll. Hardy had been the one to capture Carroll the first time. Hardy agrees to help, fills his water bottle with vodka and leaves. At the prison, he meets the FBI agents he will be working with, including Jennifer Mason (Jeananne Goossen, ‘Alcatraz’), and he finds a note directed to him in the book Carroll was reading, the book Hardy wrote about capturing Carroll. The FBI suspects that the note, which is basically just Carroll telling Hardy he liked the book, is a confession by Carroll that he will try to kill again.
At a field office where the case is discussed and civilians who visited Carroll in prison are gathered for interrogation, Hardy learns that Carroll had restricted access to the internet, and he points out that that could have been a means for Carroll to contact the outside world. While the FBI agents are frantically trying to search in the internet records of Carroll’s activities, a woman who is there for interrogation gets a text message saying ‘do it now’, at which point she takes off her dress, revealing that there is writing all over her body, and she takes an icepick out of her purse. As the officers around her, including Hardy, are trying to talk her out of it, she drives the icepick into her eye. They quickly realize this woman has been set up to do this by Carroll.
Through Carroll’s internet records, they find a connection to a prison guard who turned a blind eye when Carroll was on the internet, and they go to his house. He's not there, but they do find out that not only did he abduct puppies, he also slaughtered them. The man is a dog-killer. The FBI figure it was for practice; Carroll was teaching him how to become a serial killer.
When Hardy talks to Carroll’s former wife Claire Matthew (Natalie Zea, ‘Dirty Sexy Money’), we find out Claire and Hardy had a relationship after Carroll was imprisoned. Claire tells Hardy that Carroll was dead set on finishing what he started. Hardy realizes Carroll will be going after Sarah (Maggie Grace, ‘Lost’), Carroll’s last victim who he never got to kill because Hardy stopped him as he was stabbing her.
When Hardy and Jennifer go to Sarah's house to check on the security that was set in place when Carroll escaped, they find two guards missing; the guards in front of her bedroom. In Sarah's bed they find one of the guards dead, and Sarah is nowhere to be found. Ryan finds a hatch between Sarah’s bedroom and the house next door, and they find the second dead guard in there. As Hardy investigates a picture of Sarah’s neighbors, who seem to have been pretending to be an innocent gay couple for three years so they could get close to her and deliver her to Carroll, he notices the name of a B&B and drives there with one of the FBI’s cars (not informing the FBI, which is obviously always a good idea. Not.)
The B&B is old and rundown, but Hardy has a gut feeling and dammit, he's gonna stick with it!
Hearing a woman screaming, Hardy starts running through the house like a chicken with its head cut off, not realizing the screams sound the same every time he hears them (because it is, quite noticeably, a recording). As he enters a room, Carroll is there waiting, smacking him on the head. Carroll then reveals a dead and eyeless Sarah to Hardy. Hardy lashes out at Carroll, who quickly surrenders, wanting to turn himself in. Hardy is ready to kill him, but is stopped by the arrival of the FBI (damn those tracking devices in their cars!)
It would seem the case is over, if it weren't for Carroll's intricate web of new serial killers, and his desire to 'write' a real life story filled with murder and tragedy, even if it means having his followers kidnap his own son.
‘The Following’ is actually quite a good series, if you’re able to look past the almost unbelievable happenings. I have mentioned a few in my synopsis, and there are many, many more. Small but unbelievable for instance; Hardy can type the name of the B&B and the location on his touchscreen without making a single error. We all know that is just surreal. Also, how extremely convincing is Carroll, getting an extensive group of people to the point where they would kill and be killed because he told them to do so online. Is this the natural evolution of charismatic killers? Are they able to transfer from face to face convincing towards spreading their charismatic messages online? It’s these kinds of things that are harder to believe, but for me they don’t stand in the way of enjoying the story. Well, not too much, at least.
Concluding; it’s an entertaining show, that does have its downsides. For instance: the murders aren’t very original. After all, how many killers have we seen over the years that have a fascination for eyes? And how many cops-with-drinking-issues? Also, the story can be quite unbelievable at times. (An internet based-murdering-cult organized from prison? Really?) However, the acting is great and the storyline could become a very interesting one if they play it right. If the description of the show interested you at all: watch the show. It may not always be believable, but the entertainment-factor is huge.
'The Following' airs on Mondays at 9/8c on FOX.
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