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.


I watch bits and pieces now since each episode is not as good as the previous going all the way back to the outstanding pilot and 2nd episode. Sorry, but the writing makes the FBI look as inept as the people who work at the DMV. Case in point killing off Agent Reilly who was sent to protect someone who at the very least was a material witness who was a possible target and not providing him with any backup. Heck, they should have known from the prison videos that his killer had visited Joe Carrol in the joint. At this point you would think that the FBI's special agents and IT people would know most if not all of the followers based on such things as prison visits and tracking down who Carrol contacted when he was using the local law library computer to recruit followers.


For all of the show's fans, don't worry about us who aren't fans any longer. At first, I thought it would be a great series, especially having Kevin Bacon and Natalie Zea as main characters. But, the series writing is weak and it needs to change or the show will not see a second season. And that is a shame because it does have great potential. I really wanted the show to be better but IMHO, it is mediocre and therefore, I no longer watch it. No worries fans, I won't be making any more comments about "The Following", especially when it is a victim of "The Cancelling".


Glad that Mike survived. I'm getting to like that kid. Joe killing Charlie was very well done and I was hoping someone could name the beautiful music being played over the scene. It sounded very familiar.
I got the idea that Joe felt that the whole thing had gotten a little too large for him, grown perhaps past his original plans. Roderick may end up being a handful and wouldn't that be delightful.
I agree with some posters - if the series gets under your skin, shut it off and pick up a book!
On some (most) sites, I see rudeness abound because their opinions are challenged. So far, that has not happened here and that makes it a good place to come to speak your mind.
Have a nice week all.


Why is everyone hatin' on the show??! I think its great writing and is totally different from anything I have seen on TV as of late. Yes, the scene where Debra was shooting at the truck was totally unrealistic. I even shouted at the TV stating shoot out the tires! Also, very unrealistic that she didnt bust out a window or anything! The rest of the epi was awesome..I knew Mike wasnt going to die (he is one of the top billers so I knew he would at least last a season!)...and am glad it was confirmed he is not a follower. I have my suspicions about Nate tho...
Roderick...what is up with him? Why was he so upset after Joe killed Charlie?? I agree w/Mrs. Alex that Charlie offered himself up. Joe even asked if he was sure before he even went through w/the killing. Anyway, awesome show! :)


Joe and Roderick are both psycho. They enjoying killing so much it almost bring them to an orgasm. That is why after killing, they feel so high then the next logical thing is to make love. Kind of like people have drugs and then sex. The show is not the worse on TV. It does have a great cast. It is obviously inferior to Walking Dead, Dexter, Homeland and even the new "The Americans". I actually blame Kevin Williamson, the brains behind the show. He made good SCREAM movies which is more style than substance. I guess a really good TV show with a good plot that is more than 2 hours could prove difficult for him.


I think this show is one of the best out there.Yes it is very unrealistic but if you don't like it then don't watch it.I tune in for the completely unbelievable "show" that it is.Its fantastic and the acting is getting much better.An there is nothing wrong with appreciating the new attractive additions to the cast or the chemistry between actors.I find emma and joe quite good together in terms of entertainment.Its going to blow when all three guys find out they have been sharing her.An as for claire...ehh could do with or without her,same with nate.I too watch for James Purefoy although im loving the new characters such as roderick and louise.Im in til the end for sure!


The scene with Charlie dying. Made me giggle it was so ridiculous. The sweeping melodramatic music. Metaphor scmetaphor. Homoeroticism smacking everyone in the face. It was just plain looney. Subtle as a brick. I actually felt embarassed for the actors. When horror unexpectedly morphs into farce something is seriously messed up.


I don't know what alot of you people on here are watching, but this show is great, top 5 for sure.
You can't please all the people most of the time, so if you don't like it, don't watch it, pretty simple.
Now for the show, Emma is starting to bug me, but only because she is so good at playing her role, LOL.
Nate has to be a follower for sure.
Can't stand Roderick, and having him as the sheriff is really going to get my blood boiling, LOL
The lawyer had it coming.


Can everyone just stop bitching about how horrible this show has become? If you think you can do better, why don't you give it a try? Go ahead, write a script, send it in. See what it gets you.


Last observation and comment on "The Following". Natalie Zea is the only reason to watch the show. Too bad they wrote her off "Justified", she is the only "Justifiable" reason to watch "The Following". Sorry, just couldn't help myself. It was "Justified".

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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.