Welcome to a new kind of serial killer story on The Following. It's not a procedural, but a serialized drama about a killer and cult leader that is obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe and telling a story. Instead of writing a book (which he already did), his murderous tale is going to play out in real life.
Serial killers on television are nothing new. Of course, there's Dexter
and every procedural has featured at least one serial killer throughout their run if not more. Bones
has had the Gravedigger, the Gorgomon, and now Pelant
to name a few. Instead, The Following
's entire focus is on a killer and his cult following.
Serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and former FBI Agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) couldn't be more different. Carroll is a charismatic romantic, who brings troubled people into his fold as disciples, while Hardy is a loner. Despite their differences, Claire Matthews was attracted to both men.
Throughout his years in prison, Carroll gained supporters and put pieces into place to finish the killing of Sarah Fuller which Hardy had interrupted and prevented. At first glance, his plan seems impossible, but Carroll had the time to set it up, the means, and the determination to make it happen.
Carroll's disciples did most of the heavy work. Sarah's neighbors had infiltrated her life and she trusted them, which made her an easy target. Same thing with Joey's babysitter, Denise. That's the scariest aspect of all; anyone could be a follower.
Edgar Allen Poe's writings heavily influence Carroll's actions, but he turned from killing college students as art to playing a game with Hardy. Now, it's all about the two of them. How will the story end? Will good triumph over evil?
After capturing Carroll years ago, Hardy left his position at the FBI, wrote a book, gave up Claire, started drinking, and became a loner. Now, Carroll is going to pull him out of that isolation and provide a purpose for him again.
Will Carroll fulfill a need that Hardy has just as he does for his followers? Those around Hardy, like Mike Weston, will be crucial to helping him maintain his perspective. It's a dangerous game that's being played with lives continually at risk. How many people will be killed while Carroll's story unfolds?
Now that the Denise and the guys have Joey, that will be the first area of focus. Even if Claire betrayed her husband, it seems unlikely he would harm his own son, though anything is possible.
The Following premiere was a suspenseful thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. Sarah Fuller's killing set the stage for a show that won't hold anything back. Anyone can be involved or killed at any time.
I watched the episode three times and with each viewing I was sucked into the story, the characters, and taken by surprise. An ice pick to the eye or body flung from the ceiling will do that.
Beyond the shocking moments, this is a story about two men and the game they are just beginning to play.
Were you on the edge of your seat throughout the hour? Will Hardy be able to compete with Carroll? Will you be back for more next week?
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(Image courtesy of FOX.)