We like crime dramas. We like serial killers (on TV). We like Bacon (both the six degrees of and the breakfast meat). So why don’t we love The Following?
Let’s bitch it out…
I told myself that I wouldn’t do this again, and yet somehow I can’t help myself. Last year TVAngie got stuck covering both Bates Motel and The Following and editing her posts sucked me into the vortex of both. Or rather make that the “suck vortex” because both shows are not good (to say it politely). And while Bates Motel at least did some interesting things – even if Vera Farmiga acted like she was on a completely different show – The Following had no such ambition. In fact, it was so repulsively terrible, it managed to land on both TVAngie’s and my ‘Worst Of’ 2013 TV list (at #2 and #1 respectively).
Now the worst TV show of 2013 is back for its second season. I don’t anticipate covering the show regularly, it’s enjoyable enough to hate-watch* each week, so I may check in on occasion (Perhaps when I need to relay to others the severity of the bleeding I’m suffering from all of the eye rolling and head shaking?).
*I use hate-watch in two senses: One is of out of genuine curiousity as to whether the show can overcome its own awfulness. The other is to revel in the glorious campiness of it all.
And so, without further ado, let’s do a quick rundown of the second season premiere, ‘Resurrection’, shall we?
- We open as we finished last year: with Hardy and Claire (Natalie Zea) getting attacked. Thank heavens! I didn’t think I’d get any blood until at least three minutes in, so delivering within 60 seconds is very thoughtful of them.
- Claire is dead. This is good. Great actress, terrible character. Good riddance.
- Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is aping Will Graham from NBC’s infinitely better Hannibal by teaching criminology to know-it-all-students. Do we really need to hear about which hand the killer uses to jerk off? Oh right, I forgot which show I was watching for a moment. Carry on!
- I think I’m meant to recognize Hardy’s niece, Max (Jessica Stroup), but IMDB tells me that she’s only really done the revamped 90210. The character is a voice of reason – that means she’ll either be sidelined or killed within three episodes.
- The train attack: The Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) masks are genuinely unsettling and so is the graphic, copious bloodletting. Introducing Connie Nielsen’s Lily Gray as a female victim who gets stabbed. She doesn’t do much other than cower and hang out in a hospital bed for the rest of the episode. Anything for a paycheck, right Connie?
- Initially I was convinced that Valerie Cruz was playing the same character as Annie Parisse, but then I realized that they’re both just generic female cops with no unique personality. Fun times.
- That’s confirmed show sucker Sam Underwood playing identical killer twins. Good to know he can still find work after being kinda fun on the terrible final season of Dexter and being completely awful on the latest so-so season of Homeland.
- Annnnnd apparently Sam will be providing all of the gratuitous violence against women this season. The extended sequences where the brothers hang out with the dead girl are unnecessary…and yet so in keeping with this show.
- Do you think Shawn Ashmore enjoys doing The Following? His character kinda gets the shit end of the stick all the time. Like what exactly does Mike do in this episode aside from ask Hardy for help? I’d be so bored.
- Even without having read spoilerific reviews, I would not have bought Hardy’s disinterest in the case in the slightest. Not sure how I feel about the vigilante angle, though the street chase is actually kind of high octane (nicely shot). Also, I’m pretty sure that you can’t get hit by a speedy car and walk away.
- Oh right, Emma (Valorie Curry), the annoying Carroll-er (’cause that’s a thing now) is still kicking around. Is the mohawk a Girl With The Dragon Tattoo thing? ‘Cause she doesn’t look badass (and doesn’t really contribute much in this episode. Why did she survive last season again instead the cute guy that series creator Kevin Williamson was likely boning?)
- Awesome french actress Camille De Pazzis (from ABC’s little seen Last Resort) is a one dimensional crazy who hangs out in a hotel room making burner phones. I’m actually really sad to see her on this show because she’s much better than this material. How does The Following attract such good actors?
- Annnnd we finish with the completely unsurprising reveal that Joe Carroll is still alive (is anyone really fooled nowadays when we don’t see a body? It’s kind of a cardinal rule of these shows). Also, I imagine we’ll see many, many references to how Carroll now looks like Lumberjack Dexter or Cabin Recluse Walter White. White guy + beard + woods = serial killer in TV-land, apparently.
Well, admittedly that wasn’t as terrible as I anticipated. It felt like the writers learned a bit from last season and let things breathe a bit instead of trying to cram as much murder and mayhem into the episode as they could. I still don’t think that the level of gore is necessary, nor the fetishization of death and unfortunately the characters remain pretty one dimensional. On the plus side, losing Zea, allowing more time to pass between violent outbursts and injecting some new blood are good ways to start the new season. So long as everyone not named Ryan Hardy doesn’t turn out to be crazy followers, I may not end up hate-watching this season with a fiery, burning passion.
The Following returns to its regular Monday timeslot next week for a two hour “event” starting at 9pm EST (god help us). Here’s a look: