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 stopped watching the show a couple of weeks ago because it is really so darn stupid at times. I have to agree with wizarddrummer on all points. This is one series that should change directions or be cancelled. Maybe Kevin Bacon can go home and let his wife go back to work. Really, really, really lame series at this point.


Oops I almost voted twice. I like shows or movies in which the villain is smarter and more interesting than the hero. Kevin Bacon is a fine actor but Ryan is not very smart and not interesting. Impossible to believe that Joe who spent time in jail and whose face has been all over the media can't be found. I wonder how he recruits so many followers. The scene with his son was the last straw. I will not waste my time on another episode.


I'm sorry... could not disagree more. To me this was the first one worthy of television since Mad Love... It's just gotten so stupid lately.

Sarah silva

I thought Debra was a follower, my husband thought Mike was. I have to admit there I thought a couple times. I am glad that it turned out he was not involved. However now I bet that Nate is a follower, sending Mike home right when Roderick and crew were waiting for him and telling Ryan to stay put. I am glad Ryan did not listen.
I am not 100% sure Joe wanted to kill Charlie, it was Charlie that said he failed him 2 times and this was the way to redeem himself. If Charlie had not given him a knife I do not think Joe would have killed him.
Sorry but I think Joe and Emma together is a little creepy.


There must be a lot of people who think The Following is a realityshow. It's fiction! If you don't like the show, stop watching. I like this show so I'll watch.


We have a FBI "Consultant" who wasn't allowed to carry a gun until his boss (who has been replaced)gavehim one and I still don't believe he is authoruzed to carry it. His reputation is that he is cruel to prisoners, headstrong and hate taking orders and his life has been spared a number of times to keep the game going. Does this story ever get any better?


Louise unfolding the plastic sheet to protect the Persian Rug... That's so hilarious and random!
I kept swearing through the show, "I'll stop watching if they off Mike!!!" Thank God they didn't.
Love the blossoming bromance-brotherhood between Ryan and Mike. At least now Ryan can trust Mike with his life.


This show could be great!
Keep the cast, lose the current producers and writers and perhaps it could improve.


Can it get any worse? Are the production staff, writers and directors all taking the same LSD? Listen up folks. Tires, radiators, windows, headlights, taillights and gas tanks will break when bullets hit them. Now, we have Nick! He's what every show like this needs; the clueless control freak / authority figure at the top. I was expecting this sooner than it did. But the crowing ridiculous part of the show so far is Charlie, the Sacrificial Lamb ROFL! Joe Carroll's character doesn't have unlimited resources, yet he just killed his chief TECHNOLOGY GURU! All right, Charlie failed twice in the field - so don't let him go out there. Leave him in his little tech room. He knew about tech, he set up some crafty intelligence gathering rooms.
Silly S**T that's for sure.
The reason I watch the show, Natalie Zea, is in protective custody.


Of course Ryan has a lot of hunches. He spent a good chunk of his life tracking Joe down and getting inside his head. He has a pacemaker because of it! With Emma and Joe hooking up, I see it as a power move on Emma's part.
@Watchestoomuch A group of serial killers all gathering together and getting along is far fetched? Who said this group got along at all? I think they tolerate each other simply because of Joe. As much 'organization' as this group has, it is certainly not without it's moments of hate, fear, lust, jealousy. Reminds me kinda like the Manson 'family'. You felt like you 'belonged' and 'mattered' when in this family which was wrought with plenty of the above problems. When it came time to kill, they did.

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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.