Contributing writer Richard Rys began his career at Philadelphia magazine in 1998. As a freelancer, his work has appeared in Elle, New York, Details, Cosmopolitan and others. He’s also an adjunct journalism professor at Temple University and his DVR is usually full.
This week’s release of Star Trek Into Darkness has nerds everywhere sweating through their completely un-ironic Captain Kirk t-shirts. But what’s getting their tighty-whities in a twist is the film’s take on Spock as a Vulcan love machine, locking lips with his Starfleet girlfriend, Uhuru. No matter how much chemistry there is between actors Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana, one thing I do not want to see is a Spock sex scene (even if it reveals an erotic use for the Vulcan nerve pinch). In an effort to spare our eyeballs from similar horrors, here’s a list of other pop...
Last Christmas Eve, I heard something truly shocking on WIP. Howard Eskin was on the air, which itself was no surprise. Though most top-shelf sports talkers take off for the holidays, Howard is a different breed; give him a mic and he’ll do a live remote from a funeral on New Year’s Eve in a hurricane. On this occasion, he wasn’t fawning over Andy Reid or ripping the Sixers front office a new one. He was co-hosting with his son, Spike, who broke some jaw-dropping news. His old man’s favorite holiday was Christmas, and he loves singing carols.
For those of us trying to guess how The Following would wrap up its first season, creator Kevin Williamson shared a clue with Entertainment Weekly. “People live, people die,” he told the mag, coyly. But the real hint was in his explanation of what makes for a good TV ending. “I loved finales as a kid. Knots Landing had the best finales.” And so it should be no surprise that, in the tradition of those campy 80s soaps like Knots and Dallas, we’ve been left with a whopper of a cliffhanger. Williamson had suggested that the Joe Carroll story would draw to a close, and it did. Or did it? The only thing I’m sure of is that the season is over, Kevin Bacon will be back, and my eye is still twitching from that interrogation scene.
To paraphrase Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects, the greatest trick Joe Carroll ever pulled was to convince the viewers of this show that we are not being tortured, too. With one episode left, the FBI isn’t on the verge of victory; it’s just finally running out of ways to botch their pursuit of Carroll and the Nutjobs (sounds like a band at this summer’s WXPN festival). Joey has been locked away for safe keeping, and Ryan’s boss is being fitted for a cool eye patch, a la Samuel L. Jackson in The Avengers. As for the rest of the gang, there’s no shortage of blood, booze and groan-inducing plot twists to sort through.
Television shows offer escape from reality, but yesterday, it was nearly impossible to watch anything on TV without thinking about the attacks on the Boston Marathon. Staying tuned to CNN seemed like my civic duty. The Phillies game didn’t feel the same. Caring about the Flyers and Sixers missing the playoffs was absurd. And a ridiculously over-the-top series about fake killers didn’t deliver the usual silly fun. Nothing we’ve seen this season is as sick as what just unfolded in real life.
Daddy issues! Smackdowns! A shocking backstory! Bad prose! Last night’s episode offered up a variety of twisted treats as we head toward the final three installments of the season. Once again, there’s not much forward motion—Ryan inches closer to Carroll’s compound, and the story crawls to its conclusion. But there’s much to discuss, from little head-scratchers to big-picture riddles that could foreshadow how this will all wrap up. A few key points worth reviewing:
With a title like “Whips and Regret,” safe words, gimp masks and sex tapes, you’d figure this episode of The Following would be exciting (or kinky, at least). Instead, it was the most snooze-worthy chapter yet. Bouncing back and forth between Carroll’s hideout and Ryan and Debra’s sex-club sting, the plot didn’t stir up as much scary tension as we’re used to seeing. It was also, for the most part, fairly plausible. Perhaps that’s the problem—we, like the Followers themselves, have been conditioned, and anything resembling reality is just plain boring. So rather than examine the story itself, which didn’t take us very far, let’s take a look at where the central characters stand as we head into the show’s final four episodes.
It was couples night on The Following, as a number of duos were introduced, pulled together, or ripped apart—and in one case, set us up for the best twist ending of the series so far. Since the plot didn’t move ahead by much, let’s take a look some of the odd couples that made for another solid episode.
This episode is titled “Love Hurts,” but I’d recommend a longer, more accurate version: “Love Hurts (But Not as Much as Spear Guns, Nail Guns, and Being Smothered to Death With a Pillow).” In another gleefully sick and satisfying outing, Carroll turns the next chapter of his real-time murder mystery into a Choose Your Own Adventure, allowing a new cult member to take a crack at the manuscript. And of course, the FBI manages to (mostly) stay one step behind him.