The Following – episode 2 review

Posted on 9 February 2013
By Debs Marsden
  • Share:

This week’s action takes place around Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and the team busy on the hunt for a young kidnap victim, the son of serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and his ex-wife Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea).

A healthy spend on the first episode means that it’s a largely indoor affair this week, inevitably suffering from the lack of sweeping helicopter shots. But the taut plot makes up for this and the tension is sustained admirably throughout.

The acting is competently performed by a sizeable cast, with the two leads giving extremely watchable performances, guiding the pace along nicely. Though it is Purefoy who dazzles, with a chilling self-assurance, leaving palpable menace in the air.

Hardy’s paper-thin FBI agent foil Jennifer Mason (Jeananne Goossen) is inexplicably absent this episode, replaced by Debra Parker (Annie Parisse). No slight on Goossen, but the character she played was woefully poorly drawn. Parker in comparison strikes a more well-rounded note.

Carroll is a man obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe, one of the most morbid poets who ever lived. He kills in exquisite grim homage to Poe and the show is strewn with quotes and backstory.

In many ways a standard cat and mouse game of a set up, it is here where The Following elevates itself, possessing a self-referential tone to its dialogue.

When Carroll speaks to Hardy from his cell, he makes constant reference to the narrative for his second book; a planned retelling of the events we see unfold before us.

He openly describes Bacon as “the leading man”, his own ex-wife as “the love interest”.

As the episode comes to a close and Carroll says “we’ve only just begun” to Hardy, it is a knowing nod and wink to the viewer. An admittance of a series getting into its stride, the true extent of Carroll’s plan not yet revealed.

The Following gives its audience credit. It does not patronise or over explain. High praise indeed.