The Following Review: Rise of the Followers

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The Following has two great leads in Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, while really nailing down a scary and suspenseful world each and every week. Moreover, there's the unsettling fact that that anyone can be a follower and the characters won't know until it's too late.

Which leads to the ultimate question: Who can Ryan Hardy really trust?

Parker & Ryan

With the fact that the followers seem to be everywhere, I'm still waiting for the reveal that one of them is rooted deep within the FBI organization or, at the very least, close to the task force assigned to hunting Joe and his people.

At first, I was tempted to conclude that Debra was a follower, but her flashbacks about escaping a cult as a child in "The Fall" has led me to assume otherwise. Although, the show does love to throw in twists, so I'm not completely convinced of her alliances.

I was happy to learn that Mike wasn't a follower at all, but rather a loyal FBI agent to the cause. I really like his character, including his slow bond/friendship with Ryan, so it was great to finally see him confronted by Joe's crew and not joining them.

At the same time, I wasn't content that he was teamed up on in a weirdly violent question and answer party. Why even give Mike the chance to fight?

As much as he was able to hold his own, I was shocked that he was stabbed by Charlie. It was a jaw-dropping moment for sure, especially because I was worried that he might not make it out alive. The show did kill off FBI Agent Troy Reilly in only the third episode.

Thank goodness Ryan brought a gun to the knife fight to swoop in just in time.

Of course, the whole situation of Mike getting captured makes me highly suspicious of new FBI lead Nate Donovan. He seemed so quick to cause any delay in the investigation, put Ryan on the back burner, even send Mike home into the arms of the followers, that all signs really point to him being a potential follower, right?

That or he's got power control issues in really wanting to micromanage everything to the point that it causes unnecessary difficulties.

Which makes me wonder about Roderick and his own quest for power in the followers group.

I was surprised that Roderick wasn't anyone we'd ever seen before, (I had heard theories about it maybe being FBI member Marshall Turner), but instead it was a sheriff who has a pretty close bond with Joe. A guy who Joe showed the "art" and way to kill someone.

Roderick certainly appeared to be something of a leader, even if he was following Joe's command, but I wonder if he'll like the direction Joe takes now that he is free to lead the group.

Would Roderick have killed Charlie even though he "failed?" He definitely didn't protest, but he didn't seem super happy after the fact. I really think Roderick has the chance to be an interesting and well developed character and look forward to seeing how he plays out.

It was a wild shock that Joe chose to kill Charlie, who seemed brainwashed into the idea of wanting to mean something and therefore followed Joe's cause. How many of the followers feel like Charlie?

Certainly, the after effects of killing one of their own was some sort of aphrodisiac because Joe and Emma got it on (why?), while Roderick and Louise found their own sexual passions. It was an interesting way to end the hour.

When you really think about "Welcome Home seemed like more of an attempt to add to the creepiness of the followers being everywhere and their love for some rather heavy violence, something that's already been pretty well established.

We didn't really learn anything new about Ryan, who had another great hunch and attack on the bad guys, but he did show some more care and concern for Mike.

And Joe and the rest of his obedient crew are furthering themselves from any real sympathy, digging themselves deeper into a hole that finds them more evil that morally confused or ambiguous.

I'd really like to see some progression on Joe's plan besides just messing with Ryan or trying to get Claire back. Why has he built this massive following and what does he intend to do? There's got to be something more complex going on.

At the same time, I'd love to see Ryan be a step ahead for once rather than finding a follower or two and killing them. It would take a long time to beat Joe if that happened every single episode.

As much as I'm enjoying this show and love the suspenseful tone, I'm ready for The Following to step it up, move beyond Ryan Hardy fighting nameless followers and really get deeper into the story's layers underneath the simple Joe versus Ryan battle. Clearly, things are just heating up.


Editor Rating: 3.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (141 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


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Only thing worse than last week's show were the defenses of fans on this list. Joe crossed the line when he took Emma. His fidelity to his wife was the one hook for his humanity. He is now totally evil, without hope of redemption. Unlike Hannibal, whose love for Clarice (read the books) redeems him, Joe is nothing more than an animal now. How long are we going to want to watch a story about truly rotten people who don't have the intelligence to kill off their enemies?


I think this is one of the best shows on the air. I can't wait for Monday nights to find out what will happen next in this very exciting story. Kevin Bacon is a great actor and he shines in "The Following". Every episode keeps me sitting on the edge of my seat. Hope it stays on the air for years to come.


one last thing, joe and his followers believe death to be the most beautifull in life, but let me tell you from personal experience. i have come face to face with death, when my mother died in my arms, its the worst feeling ever a person can experience to lose a loved one. before it happened i never feared death, but since it happened, i have come to hate death in all its forms. its the most ugliest part of our human existence, no wonder so many fear it. the utter lack of humanity that joe and his followers have for life and their insance passion for death, truly shows that they lack any humanity. there is no beauty death, all it does is steals and rips away that which we hold dear, i wonder how beautiful joe would think death to be if claire and joey had to die... what a psycho!!!


everyone has a right to their opinion. and i am not hating on this show. but the violence it perpetuates in the media is truly becoming senseless. i dont know anyone can think any of this is funny, even its fiction. in reality our world is plagued by these monsters and tv has always been a way escaping our cruel reality, but this show is becoming more and more senseless in its killing, its just being done for shock value and the lack of destain there is for human life. come on people has this world truly become a place where it is truly ok and acceptable to kill at random and have no remorse. its the only thing that separates us from the these monsters, the fact that we value human life and we can show mercy and remorse. its a suspenseful ride, but nonetheless its become sickening to stomach these senseless killings. joe and his followers are pathetic, they are all just puppets on a string and they have no balls to have a mind of their own, instead of mindlessly following a crazed maniac. how pathetic must you be!!!


initially i truly thought this was a great premise for a new show, something suspenseful similar to the silence of the lambs. however joe is no hannibal lector, there is not method to his madness, clearly he is just insane beyond any repair. week on week, its now just becoming senseless violence that we are exposed to. its not enough that in the media we are bombarded with violence on a daily basis. generally watching these shows is a way of our escaping our cruel reality, but its getting harder and harder to stomach a show like this, where evil has become senseless without remorse or any sense of reasoning behind it. what depth really is there to these followers when their killings are senseless. killing another human being is the most senseless act a person can committ. i just want to keep watching to know if ryan, claire and joey will be ok in the end, but how can we stomach all of the senseless violence. these followers are not human and neither is joe, they are all just monsters, they have no purpose and they have no value. they want their lives to have meaning, and i guess if you want to be remembered like adolf hitler for killing people then surely that is all you will be remembered for. i do not believe that taking the life of another, makes you a person of value, because who ever you were before dies inside and all you become is an empty vessle, a vessle of destruction, an instrument and a puppet being used by death to do its bidding. i cant believe that these followers are such pathetic submissive desperate believers that they would latch onto anything just so that they could find some meaning to their lives, how pathetic are you when you cant even stand up for yourself and fight for your own independent thoughts. they are all sheep and if they think we are scared of them, what a joke, i cant wait for ryan to bring them all to justice. they are not above the law, they are all merely pathetic losers who have no identity, merely puppets on a string being pulled by joe. let me tell you, you are pathetic if you allow someone else how to dictate your life. have some balls and fight for your independence. who the hell is joe anyway with his philosphies. its a sickness in our society throughout all the ages, that people cant think for themselves, that they are so weak and rather end up following these malevolent so called leaders just so that their lives could have meaning. you know what have some balls. i dare you to stand against joe and bring down his tyranny of insanity!!!


the part towards the end w/ joe and charlie... watching that entire scene made me think WHAT A BUNCH OF WEIRDOS and emma is getting on my nerves i say none of those other FOLLOWERS should trust her. AND by the way does anybody think clarie wants to get back w/ joe? Joe still loves clarie......but does she?......


I'm among those that see the great potential here but am disappointed by the predictable parts which are many.


OK Mike was beat up pretty badly but this does NOT and I repeat NOT get him out of being a follower. He would be the best one to be a follower as he is getting closer and closer to Ryan and winning his trust. Emma is the one that none of them should trust. She is the one with the most little evil heart of all ... Now after that ... this show could have been so much but it is starting to lack something and the every week someone else is a new follower is just plain boring. The other FBI agent watching the perimeter of the dock building took as long as it did for Mike to get inside before the thing with Ryan's heart getting stopped. Sometimes this show is just a little too something ... I just can't find the right word for it but something is definitely MISSING!


I was so happy to read today that The Following has been renewed. It, The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy are my favorite TV shows. Like violence much? Absolutely, but I do like some fun shows, too. I wonder if all the story lines will be wrapped up this season or if they will carry over to season 2.

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The Following Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

You're inconsistent and extreme. Nobody knows how to respond to you


I wanted my life to mean something.