Well, it only took 3 episodes for me to throw up my hands and become thoroughly disgusted with The Following. Like a carbon copy of the episodes before it, Ryan Hardy and the FBI remain not one step but several behind the bad guys, missing clues so obvious that I watched in disbelief. Yes, I know it’s not real. It’s written that way. But why treat your audience like morons? The scenes that were supposed to be shocking and surprising weren’t. I said to my roommate that cult members Paul and Will had real feelings for each other and that the gay couple thing was not just an act by the second episode. Voila! It’s a big reveal in the third episode. I also said to my roommate that Maggie, the wife of cult member Rick Kester, was in on it and was a cult member. Voila! It is true!
Part of the problem is predictability, but the root problem is the terrible writing that requires you to suspend belief. In the opening scene, a man is lit on fire by Rick Kester. As Hardy is watching the video playback, he exclaims that he knows the guy set on fire – it’s a critic of serial killer Joe Carroll’s book. Let’s stop right there. The next words I expected out of Hardy’s mouth were, “He’s targeting his critics. There’s someone else that was really critical of him! Let’s go check on that guy!” But no, they stall and waste time as they try to figure things out and make a connection. But as usual, they are a little too late to stop the killer.
There’s another scene in which Agent Parker learns that Maggie is the cult member. Instead of calling Agent Reilly, who is in the house with the cult member, she calls Agent Weston, who is outside in the car! Really? Now that Agent Weston has the information, he grabs Hardy and tells him what’s going on, and they both go through the front door together. Not one covering the front and one covering the back, which conveniently leaves the back door as an escape route. And still no one thinks to call Reilly. Then Hardy hears a noise out back while checking on the dying Reilly, when the Kesters would have been long gone. Hardy manages to shoot the husband, but the guy gets back up, bullet and all, and gives his wife time to escape. Hardy is painted to be the expert, the guy who can solve the case when no one else can, but his progress seems more like a convenient case of being in the right place at the right time – yet never smart or quick enough to stop people from being murdered. I mean, don’t you get the feeling that as the body count racks up in The Following, and the agents don’t show an ounce of competency, that their jobs might be in danger? And I can guarantee that either Agent Parker or Agent Weston is on Team Carroll – I could probably determine which one in the next two episodes; unfortunately, I won’t be tuning in to see if I’m right, because I just can’t muster up enough effort to care.
I’ve been watching Criminal Minds for several years now. The characters and show are both smartly written, and highlight the difference between a crime drama that feels somewhat based in reality, with a sense of urgency and competent people, and a show that is all about flash on the surface but has no substance when you look closer. What really makes me angry is that Fox cancelled shows I halfway enjoyed watching, Alcatraz and The Finder, and replaced it with this tripe. The good news is, not watching this show anymore will free up my DVR, as well as increase my review efficiency, since I won’t have to waste time both watching it and reviewing it…