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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Following 1.2: Joe, Poe, and the Plan

The Following followed through tonight with an episode as tight and powerful as the premiere, which is to say, about as on-the-edge-of-your-seat powerful, frightening, and unexpected in its twists and turns indeed.  The Following is not like any other show on network television, and more than most shows on cable at that.

We learn tonight a very unsettling thing: the followers have been in training, deep undercover, for years.   This is true of the babysitter, the not-gay guys, and the security guard.  It could therefore be true of anyone, except Ryan and Claire, and I'm not even 100% sure about them.  But it could certainly be true of anyone else in the FBI, especially the new woman chief who came on board this episode.  She gives Joe a nice edition of Poe's works at the end - likely just a gambit to establish some rapport with him, but you never know - never know what happened in the past or what could happen in the future.

Actually, I'm pretty close to 100% sure we can trust both Ryan and Claire, but Claire reminds us just how suspect everyone is when she says Ryan is the only person she can trust.

So far, Joe and his followers are winning just about every encounter.  The one apparent failure is Ryan shoots the security guard before he harms Claire.  Then Joe tells us that was part of the plan - to give Ryan some confidence so that he can be a better opponent - but it turns out that Ryan's wounding rather than killing the guard was not what Joe expected.   Hence Joe's one failure tonight.  He can't control everything.  But it's a minor failure indeed.

The Following is unafraid to dole out death and other nasty surprise at every corner, street as well as metaphoric.  The babysitter's mother succumbed to murder by the babysitter her daughter some years ago, and there's clearly some tension brewing between her now and the guy she's not sleeping with in the kidnap house.   Is this also what Joe intended?

It's rare to see a show so brimming with unpredictable psychos whose only constant is allegiance to Joe and Poe.  But since Poe himself was a master not only of the macabre but the unpredictable, that leaves us in a truly unsettling and excitingly fine kettle of blind fish indeed.

See also The Following Begins


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