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The Following Review: The Hunt for Claire

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As The Following Season 1 progresses, it's become more clear that this series is less of a crime drama or even a look at how the FBI would handle, seek out and dismantle a crazed cult.

It's not even really procedural despite the usual slew of "followers of the week" that instead serve the plot rather than become real characters.

Certainly, Roderick, Emma, Jacob and the leader himself, Joe, have been able to transcend that concept allowing them to be engaging because they get the chance to be explored and grow.

Ryan's Dilemma

This episode further established that Roderick isn't just a "yes" man following Joe's every whim like a puppy dog. He even refused Joe multiple times before finally agreeing to help. It definitely makes me look forward to seeing some confrontation between the two because with them being strong alpha type characters, both can't survive.

If anything, Roderick is more than just a number-two guy to his boss, even if he carries out certain commands.

Jacob's first kill was enough to make him start seeing Paul despite the fact that his best friend was dead. And while it seemed initially like that death affected him to the point of not wanting to do it again, the reverse statement was the truth. In a rather graphic scene of blood splatter and knifing the Paul vision, Jacob came to the realization that he has a taste for killing now.

Emma really better watch her back. As much as she put on a convincing show for Jacob, I still didn't buy her story. These two are two very different characters, and Jacob has been put on a major path for revenge and darkness. Although, I do hope that the switch isn't so complete in that Jacob no longer becomes a real character but rather just a lethal killer unleashed. I really enjoy seeing the conflict and the depth of his person, especially in the presence of the cult around him.

Which ultimately brings you to Joe who is the puppet master, writing the sadistic story that stars his nemesis Ryan Hardy. He's still obsessed with getting his wife back and messing with Ryan, and while we did see him try and become something of a dad to Joey (with major manipulation moves), I want to see him do more than give evil grins, dole out orders or remind everyone that the next chapter of the story is about to begin.

I really think James Purefoy makes Joe a fantastically evil character, but I want that character to really get involved.

And yet, at the same time, seeing who Joe is as the villain, further extends the show more into the genre of a horror thriller.

You've got your good guys and bad guys, with a few bits of grey area in between, but it's that face-off that fuels the show. More so, it's the suspense and scares that help fill up the hour.

How creepy was it, having the masked bad guy tap on the window? How frightening was that Poe mask in the video, along with the website littered with screams, visuals, and blood?

On that front, the series does a pretty good job of making things engrossing, even if certain things might feel predictable.

I love that Ryan Hardy takes out the bad guys without real hesitation, although at this point we know he's going to. What is his body count at? He's starting to rival Jack Bauer.

More so, I appreciated the look into his past with regards to relationships and piling on the fact that he really has only loved Claire. Similarly, it gave us a chance to see a real friendship with Tyson, who I did fear would end up being a follower. Instead, he met a bullet while helping his friend.

But I had a feeling if any of the three would be hurt, it was going to be him. Plus, there was no way that they would all get away clean because then that would feel silly and not contribute to the scary factor that a world with followers means anyone can get hurt.

And as much as Ryan wants to quit, especially with his friends being the ones that meet their demise, he can't get out of the game. Joe won't let him, and Ryan himself is ultimately destined and driven to defeat the madman. These two are set on a course of good and evil that will play against each other until probably one is dead.

Claire continuously making the dumb decision to run off with the followers doesn't help matters, in addition to it driving me nuts. I know she wants her kid and thinks it's the only way... but c'mon, this show has Ryan, and even with all his bumps in the road, he's pretty good protector. And he loves her and that's going to keep him going even if he tries to fight those feelings.

I am curious as to how Molly, the girl from Ryan's past, will play into Joe's plan, but I hope that she doesn't become another throw away character in the end.

I still like The Following, and looking at it more as suspense mixed with scary can keep things engaging. Certainly "Guilt" had plenty of moments to do so, but I wonder how long all of that can succeed as a whole, especially if all the characters that do get the chance to grow and become developed get killed off.

It's even enjoyable watching Ryan try and take down Joe, as is exploring the eerie connections with Poe, but at some point the series is going to have to move away from the cat and mouse game and see what else the followers are going to do besides spend their time capturing Claire or having shootouts with Ryan.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
  • 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (88 Votes)

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

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@TiffanyO.... IMHO...Your examples of real life killers who "got away with it for longer than they should have" does not hold water here... Joe and the cult are doing ALL his deeds out in the open... "Yeah, I just did that. Come and get me!". Not in hiding... like Dahmer, or Gacy et al. Yes, I agree... We as viewers should not expect the FBI the be omniscient (all knowing, like a God, for all you folks like me who speak layman English)... Yet it seems okay with you that Joe and the cult are just that, collectively? That's interesting. Two sides to every coin... But, in this case, your side of the coin smacks of condescension (you think you are smarter than us). Yeah, I can use big words too... Doesn't make my opinion more correct... It's still just an opinion. And, it's valid... Just like yours... whether you agree or not.

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Like others here... Loved the start of the show... Want it to stay... But, really can it? Yes, sometimes the bad guys win but holy cow the scoreboard is far too lopsided even to excuse departure from reality... It's just too far... Way too far. FBI in this show can replace Webster's definitions for: incompetent, under-staffed, dimwitted and unable to accurately operate a firearm. Before I get back to the pluses to end on a high note... The number of impossible circumstances of the cult's actions... with timing that would make NASA dizzy, the sequencing and mind-blowing accuracy of ALL of Joes plans, the competence of EVERYONE hired over an encrypted internet (and are so abundant that ultra-skilled individuals can be killed of ON PURPOSE to make them "feel like they mattered"... really?) okay i will end with this: The acting is predominantly very good. Even up the score, just a bit... Or, I'm guessing this show will be with the dodo... Extinct and virtually forgotten. Just sayin'....

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I love how people just flip out if an episode depicting a situation isn't how they think it would be in their myopic sense of the world. How many years did it take to bring down Gotti? Manson? Dahmer? McVeigh? SO many more. If you weren't aware, we do have humans at the FBI and other agencies who are not omniscient. And if you understood anything about combat you'd know that the risk was way too high that she'd shoot the girl in the head with the nail gun before anyone got a shot off, or in her last moment. NO ONE shoots a target with a gun to a head - the hostage has to move - unless it's a bad movie which you guys are basing your opinions on. In real life the good guys DO lose - a lot - and that's part of the reality of this. It's hard to "win" against people willing to die for their causes (see, again, Manson, WACO, etc.).

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This show is insanely stupid. Must be writte by a bunch of 10 year olds. Shocking just shocking!

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Oh for God's sake. Are we all supposed to be so stupid to keep watching this? it started off great I was hooked. But are we to believe that this guy escapes twice, and all his amateur followers can outwit the professionally trained FBI and murder them like flies. In the last episode te girl was holding a nail gun to Claire's head while she was an open target for the bunch of sharpshooters standing there all staring like dummies and no one thought to shoot her in the head? Come on. This show is getting crazier and more ridiculous with each episode and I can't believe Kevin Bacon is committing himself to this pile of bullshit.

Watchestoomuch

Claire's decision to give herself up may be a betrayal, but it's not "stupid." She hopes to protect her son by being with him, and to protect others by not giving Joe any more excuses to kill them. We can expect her to try to smuggle information out of the Murder House, but she probably won't succeed. We can look forward to seeing Claire and Joe arguing and flashing claws at each other (for negative values of "look forward to") over the next few weeks, much as we can expect the same between Jacob and Emma. (Boring!)

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WOW.........aloooooot of clueless bitchy morons on here XD you know what, how about you all actually do what youre "threatening" to do and just stop watching......and reading reviews.....AND commenting LOL I mean seriously who reads reviews and comments on shows they dont like???? just go away ya moronic trolls, k thanks bye X )

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After a couple of weeks of reasonable story-lines the writers decided to reintroduce gross stupidity into the plot. How many good, decent people have died trying to protect that self-centred narcissistic b..ch Claire. All that matters is what she wants despite the sacrifice of decent people - she even left a badly wounded 'friend' possibly dying on the floor. This is such an 'up and down' show moving between a few highlights and lots of stupidity. Not sure I can bother with it much longer if at all.

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What a disappointing episode. Enough to ensure that I will stop watching the program which I had enjoyed to date. Total loss of credibility. How stupid do the writers think we are? I have been watching "Scandal", "The Americans" and the "Walking Dead", all of which are much more enjoyable than what "The Following" has become. Please euthanize this program and give us all a break.

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This is a really bad, unbelievable series. I am sure the FBI cannot be this incompetent even in real life.