With a lack of quality new shows released for the 2012-2013 season, I thought I would give Fox’s new show, The Following, a try. Here’s the blurb on the new series:
“Infamous serial killer Joe Caroll has escaped from prison and Ryan Hardy, the FBI agent who had him arrested, is called in to help the police try and find him. But Ryan soon learns that Caroll has made himself a number of followers over the internet as part of a huge game he has planned for Ryan.”
This series shows some early promise, and also some potential problems. Much will depend on how much the writing can be tightened up. The acting is top notch, but the plot has a few holes in it. While it’s certainly plausible that a charismatic psycho could develop a cult-like following over the internet, it’s annoying to think his minions are waiting around for years, leading fake lives, just to do his bidding when he escapes from prison, and that no one was monitoring his activity on the internet in the library. Though I don’t mind the use of Edgar Allen Poe as inspiration for the serial killer, I’ll need to see more than just a few well-known quotes. And in frustrating fashion, the FBI is consistently two steps behind Caroll for the whole show. Why does Hardy need to go to Caroll’s ex-wife for answers? Didn’t he catch the killer once before? Didn’t he even write a freaking book on Caroll? Is this the way it’s going to be each week? Because I’ll instantly tune this show out and move on to something else. As I’ve stated before, I like smartly written shows, but I’m not going to like serial killer drones getting the drop on bumbling FBI detectives every episode. Criminal Minds already handles the serial killer slant well enough that I don’t need the frustration this show promises, so it will need to get better fast. Ill give it a couple more tries to impress…
Also, I immediately recognized the always-gorgeous Maggie Grace (Lost) as Sarah Fuller, Caroll’s only surviving victim from his first spree of murders…
This episode is a positive step forward, as the show felt like it was beginning to spin its wheels a little bit. Emily and Daniel jet off to California to seal a business deal, while Victoria makes a play to oppose Daniel, and Aidan also arrives in L.A. on a mission from the Initiative. Meanwhile, Nolan discovers Padma’s secret agenda. And while Conrad appears to step in and save the Stowaway by buying out the Ryan brothers, it seems the brothers aren’t done yet. The explosive ending involves Emily and Aidan’s relationship coming to a head.
There are several things to like about this episode: Emily’s conflicted emotions between Aidan and Daniel; Nolan turning the tables on Padma; and Emily saving Victoria’s life (without Victoria knowing) then smirking at Victoria’s inability to control her son. Also, the Initiative’s master plan is revealed for the first time, and the implications are frightening. It feels like the plot is starting to accelerate; unfortunately, there won’t be any new episodes until mid-February, killing a little of the momentum the show is starting to build. Still, this is a very watchable episode.
There’s a lot going on in this episode. We are introduced to Dyson’s new partner, Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten), who is an unlikeable Dark Fae character and potential new love interest for Dyson. Ted Atherton is awesome as police chief Robert Hamelin, and Jordan Pettle is also great as Atticus, a crocodile-like fae living in the sewers. When Kenzi’s friend Aussie disappears during an underground event, she gets Bo to take up looking for him. After a curious encounter with Atticus, who reveals that the underground fae are suffering from an unknown disease, Bo is interrogated in the police station by Tamsin over the dark fae she drained and left in a coma at the end of the previous episode. Tamsin and Bo immediately get confrontational as Tamsin suspects Bo and Dyson of having a history together. When an extermination order is given by the Ash, Dyson confronts Hale only to find out he ordered relocation, not extermination. Dyson hits the underground to find that Bo and Kenzi are already there. I won’t spoil the episode except to say that the police chief plays a crucial role in events, and his last name gives his identity away if you know your fairy tales.
The best parts of the episode are Bo escaping the police station not once, but twice, by charming a cop (“she’s still pretty!”); also Tamsin dumping a pot of coffee on Dyson’s desk. It’s not as funny as last week, and actually kind of a creepy episode. In a good way, though…
The fun quote of the week comes from Vex, while sitting in Bo’s Kimono with fuzzy slippers on:
Bo: Know this…if you go near my girlfriend, the little balls hanging from the Christmas tree next to you will have a certain panache.
Vex: Hook up illegal cable and what do I get? Threats against my junk. Typical.
I’ve been following Supernatural since episode 2 of season 1 (I missed the first episode but caught it later on DVD). The show has had its ups and downs; when it’s a weekly serial about hunting monsters and ghosts, it’s top-notch; when it’s caught in the several-season arc about the battle between Angels and Demons, it’s not quite as good. It’s a series that has a mix of action, suspense, goofiness, drama-heavy moments, and of course the supernatural, and it is not afraid to take a good-natured, tongue-in-cheek jab at itself from time to time. The two brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles of Dark Angel), have lost everyone close to them, but still they continue to hunt monsters and demons. Why? Beacuse they are good at it, and it’s the only life they know.
In this season, the older brother, Dean, escaped Purgatory (where he ended up after taking on Leviathans last season) with the help of angel Castiel (a regular on the show for several seasons) and Benny, a vampire. While Castiel struggles with his mind, which we are finding out has been altered in some way, Benny is starting to slip back into his own ways. Meanwhile Sam spent a year on his own without Dean and got himself a woman, only to find out that her husband, who was thought to have been killed in Afghanistan, is still alive, and Sam must depart. The reunion of Sam and Dean was less than happy, as Dean was upset that Sam quit hunting, while Sam is not thrilled that Dean’s new best buddy is a vampire. Although Sam should be grateful that the vampire helped Dean escape, the underlying bad blood goes back a couple seasons, when Dean killed a Kitsu named Amy that Sam used to love. Sam doesn’t understand why Dean killed Amy but allows Benny to live, and it’s driven a wedge between them.
This episode focusses on the angels vs. demons arc instead of a weekly serial hunt. Castiel (Misha Collins) enlists Sam and Dean’s help to track down an angel who has been captured by Crowley (the current ruler of Hell, played wonderfully for several seasons by Mark Sheppard of Leverage). But Castiel is broken – an angel in Heaven (Amanda Tapping from Stargate and Sanctuary fame) has been messing with his mind, so it’s up to the brothers to take the lead. Meanwhile, Benny calls Dean for help, as he can no longer control his hunger for blood, but Dean’s up to his neck in demons and can’t help. Meanwhile, Sam’s gal Amelia returns while her husband is out of town, and Sam must decide to quit the business or leave Amelia for good. While a transitional episode – Sam and Dean must make decisions on their relationships – there’s still plenty of demon-fighting, and there’s a cool sequence where Sam and Dean move through an abandoned warehouse “tagging” demonic symbols that prevent Castiel from entering. The big reveal (revealed by an angel that does a lot of annoying screaming under Crowley’s torture) is that there is an angel tablet, a stone artifact that when activated, allows Heaven to be sealed up and prevents angels from coming to Earth. Though the angels vs. demons arc is tiring…the Leviathan arc was better last season, and Benny has been a great addition this season (but is barely in this episode)…at least the relationship questions get wrapped up (for now) and we can move that part of the story forward. However, we know that at some point, when Benny starts killing again, Dean is going to have to face him down. There’s a very poignant moment at the end where Sam and Amelia agree to meet in two days, and whoever shows up will know what the other person has decided. Only one person shows up at the rendezvous, and it’s a sad scene. It’s the cap to a fair episode – not great, but not terrible either.