I think we can all definitely agree that Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy give captivating performances week after week on The Following.
When either of these actors appear on screen, you know you're in for something exciting, whether it's Joe Carroll devilishly delivering lines about his master plan or Ryan Hardy giving his steely and determined glare. They are, after all, the major players in the game, the strongest characters on the show, and the ones that keep the entire plot from ever feeling like it could crumble into sheer ridiculousness.
The final standoff before Joe's escape had the men nearly at each other's throats. Joe certainly could have killed Ryan right then and there, but there was such a restraint behind his menacing threats and pointing of the gun. To kill him in the parking garage would have ruined everything, as well as been an anti-climactic death.
Joe is hell bent on telling the ultimate story, remember.
There's definitely a fueled passion and desire burning in both men, each set to complete their goals, while potentially leaving only one man standing.
It was no surprise that Joe left Ryan to live another day, but his purpose felt as real as Ryan's determination to bring the killer down and rescue Joey. I think that not only does he know that no other follower can kill him, but that he'd be ready to die if it meant finishing off the leader of the sadistic cult of followers.
And, wow, was that final scene of the mass of followers pouring out of the house laden with chills. There really are so many of them that the whole concept of trusting anyone seems like an idea better placed in the trash.
Even Emma calling out to Joey to join her and Joe was like a creepy welcome to the family. It was such a wild ending that really makes me question whether Ryan even has a chance to win.
But can the followers can be more than just a faceless scary force? I know that one of them comments on that very idea, and it adds to the freighting aspect of them being anyone and everyone. It's just a lot harder to be invested in enemies who can be used as throwaway devices that get in Ryan's way.
Sure, we have at least Emma, Paul, Jacob, and to some extent Charlie. They have a bit of backstory. Yet even they can't hold as much of a candle to Ryan as Joe can.
It's even similar with "good guys" Mike Weston and Debra Parker in the sense that while we have some idea of who they are and what they can do, they can't necessarily compete with Joe like Ryan can.
If anything, I'd like to see some of those minor characters get a chance to become more involved and show what makes them matter in the grander scheme, even though the clash of the titans between Ryan and Joe remains riveting with each moment.
Ultimately, it's having those big characters stand out that made a prison transfer - which was certain to go wrong - not feel so obvious that it detracted from the story. Each time someone says it's going to be okay, or they've got it covered, we all know that's not what's going to happen.
While the whole escaping aspect wasn't necessarily as exciting or pulse-pounding as, say, Ryan infiltrating Emma, Paul and Jacob's home, it was a great set up for something I've been looking forward to seeing.
Joe will have a chance to do something instead of sit in prison. We will really get to see the evil master of followers lead and act and illustrate just how bad of a bad guy he is. He did kill is loyal attorney after all. It's time to watch the ultimate villain at work, while hoping that Ryan can shoot, interrogate and fight his way to stop him.
Or maybe Joey will manage to actually runaway without getting caught and brought back.
"Let Me Go" was a decent setup for things to come, and while a majority of the episode wasn't overly shocking in what took place, Bacon and Purefoy continued to keep things compelling. And hopefully that final moment of Joe with his flock will spin The Following onto an even more intense and suspense filled path between good and evil, even if sometimes the good is colored with certain shades of grey.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.Tags: Reviews, The Following