It’s been a busy week, but I really didn’t want to let this post get away from me, as late as it is coming. Last July at Comic-Con I had the opportunity to attend The Following panel, and watch the entire pilot. I loved it, and while there were some casting changes before it actually aired little was different when I re-watched it last Monday, except that I loved it all the more.
The plot centers on Kevin Bacon’s character (need I say more than that, Bacon makes everything better, in food or on screen right?) FBI agent Ryan Hardy and a serial killer, Joe Carroll (played by James Purefoy), that he locked up earlier. The show starts as Carroll escapes from prison, leaving a few dead and bloody prison guards in his wake. We learn later that he had help from another prison guard, who’s been practicing on neighborhood pets, as he is groomed by Carroll to take up killing. This would feel shocking, but it actually pales in comparison to the fact that the prison guard is not the only person our favorite sociopath Carroll has been able to manipulate to the point of murder or suicide. Carroll, by opting to be his own attorney as he seeks appeals (like anyone’s going to let him out, did I mention that he was locked up for murdering several of his female students when he was a literature professor) has had “limited” access to the internet. However, as all sociopaths, he’s clever, and clever enough to fully access the internet to begin communicating with fans, and would be serial killers over the years.
The relationship between Hardy and Carroll is intense to begin with considering Carroll is the cause of pacemaker Hardy uses, Hardy slept with Carroll’s wife, and that the first thing Carroll does when he gets out is have some of his “followers” (I’d almost love to take that name as a fan group, like Trekkies or LOSTies, but idk, feels creepy since in the show it’s attributed to those that follow Carroll, but as always I digress) kidnap his last victim, who got away (wonderfully played by Maggie Grace) so he can kill her finally, and he also has his own son kidnapped, though not killed likely to use as a bargaining chip down the road.
The relationship between Carroll and Hardy has been described as “cat and mouse”, however I feel it’s more like Shark and Crocodile. A mouse doesn’t accurately describe how tough I think Hardy is, and a cat is nowhere near as lethal as Carroll. You see Carroll (the shark) is stealthy, cold and calculating (anyone who thinks sharks are just big hungry fish and not much else doesn’t watch Shark Week) He’s in my opinion the ultimate predator, no offense to crocodiles. Hardy on the other hand, is aware of Carroll and has a really tough skin. He also, thanks to the pacemaker, has to move slowly and carefully, but that doesn’t mean that he’s all bark and no bite, let’s remember, he’s out smarted and arrested Carroll once before. By the end of the pilot he’s actually arrested Carroll twice, but getting out wasn’t really all Carroll wanted. He wants to get under Hardy’s skin and watch him squirm as Hardy will inevitably have to go to him for help in a Starling/Lector dynamic as the show unfolds and his followers get expectedly active.
I have a lot of faith in this show lasting for a few reasons. One is simple arithmetic, FOX has subtracted Fringe (gotta blog on that finale soon) and already set 14 episodes to air in a row, when there was originally only going to be 10. You do the math, it says FOX has to fill a time slot with something big and captivating, and they’ve got to get behind it, because even if it’s not sci-fi it’s drama and character driven like Fringe was, and FOX doesn’t want to lose that audience. Second, did I mention Bacon makes everything better? It…I mean he does, but the show would seem unbalanced if he were the only awesome actor. Lucky for all fans, he’s not. Purefoy is well up to the task of mastering the way Carroll is able to keep Hardy under his thumb, and the supporting cast doesn’t feel like props or plot devices, despite the fact that Carroll used Maggie Grace’s character that way (shame we won’t see more of her). Third, as absurd as some people may find the premise, a serial killer creating a cyber cult to kill for him a bit far fetched, when the show pointed out that there’s about 300 active serial killers in America on any given day, it felt a tad more realistic. Fourth, should anything happen to Carroll, who’s to say, with a cult like his people wouldn’t pick up where he left off. The show can literally go on as long as FOX wants it to. Finally, it’s written by Kevin Williamson, don’t know who he is? He helped write the Scream franchise (my favorite scary movie by the way) and Dawson’s Creek. While I never saw the latter I heard about it enough to know that by doing the two very different projects that he can execute tension, while balancing characters and pacing a show properly.
SO I’m following to the end, and I can’t wait to see more.
Also, there are some plans brewing for a podcast, one may come next week, stay tuned 🙂