Monday, January 21, 2013

The Following: My Thoughts On A New Show

Mid season, typically not my favorite time for a new show to pop up because we usually don't get A-list television.  This January gave me a nice surprise with Kevin Bacon headlining a brand new show with a much different spin on the detective genre.  The Following is a new hour long crime thriller that dives into the circumstances that arises when a serial killer, played by James Purefoy, escapes from prison to finish what he started ten years prior.  Kevin Bacon plays a retired FBI agent, a man whose down on his luck and living on water bottles filled with vodka.  His expertise is needed once more to find the man he put away. 
If you're not wanting to know what will happen in the pilot episode then read no further, spoilers are ahead.  Maggie Grace plays the last surviving victim of Joe Carroll; she's the reason why he escaped so he can finish his work.  Joe Carroll was, at one time, a professor who has a passion for the Gothic workings of Edgar Allen Poe.  The famous authors stories and books were a road map to how he would kill his victims. 
The FBI soon need Ryan Hardy, the FBI agent who put Joe Carroll away.  The story of how things came to be are told in flashbacks throughout the episode, some of which I won't dive into.  Need to leave some things a mystery so you'll go actually watch the episode.  Ryan is soon surrounded by young and eager agents, wanting in on every little detail in order to find the killer. 
We soon meet the Carroll family, the wife and two kids that Joe left behind after throwing his life away.  A nice little twist is when you realize that Ryan and Joe's wife had a relationship, presumably after Joe's incarceration.  As the story progresses, we soon realize the Joe Carroll has built a cult following while in prison.  His cult is now a bunch of people who plan to follow his way of life, by killing innocence.  The reasons are not known and the villains goal is still a mystery, but wouldn't that just be a buzz kill to know that little tidbit so soon?
Eventually the last surviving victim is taken from her home by her gay next door neighbors, followers of the serial killer.  Ryan uses his detective skills to find where she was taken, but by the time he finds her, its to late.  Ryan and Joe meet face to face, and soon Joe is taken back to prison.  Most would believe that a show couldn't go on after the main villain was placed back in prison.  It turns out that his plan is just beginning.  We find out that one of his followers is his own daughter.  Joe's daughter abducts her younger brother in order to have leverage to talk with his ex-wife in the next episode.  We also learn that an apprentice of Joe's is now ready to set out on his own and begin his rampage of death.  The show ends, basically giving us a glimpse at how the show will proceed, with Joe playing puppet master from prison as his followers do his bidding.
The show was graphic in its content, something not normally seen on television.  The villain is smart and sophisticated in his approach to things, acting as if he's fives steps ahead of everyone else.  The bloody messages and the way victims are killed, I'm getting the vibe that this show had some push in this direction by movies like Se7en and The Silence of the Lambs.  The show is dark and keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.  A great show and worth a look.

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