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.
Like the Miami Heat, half the drunks on the Erin Express last weekend, and Frank the Tank, The Following is streaking. Two weeks in a row of episodes in which the enjoyable outweighs the implausible. Could this have something to do with the absence of Claire and her whining? Possibly. Or yet another well-placed song to close out the episode (Danzig’s “How the Gods Kill”)? Definitely (at least for me and the five other people who could name that tune).
Maybe it’s because it’s after midnight and I’ve been up since 6 a.m., moving nonstop through work, a four-mile run, a gym workout and a two-and-a-half hour night class. Maybe it’s that I’m all hopped up on Pretzel Chips and Ken’s Steakhouse honey mustard dip. Maybe it’s that I’ve passed through that stage of delirium and exhaustion to a place where I’m both wide awake and prone to clock-melting Daliesque hallucinations. Maybe it’s the fact that The Beatles were referenced as much as Poe. Whatever the reason, I rather enjoyed this episode—perhaps the best one so far—and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
For the first time this season, I’m scared and it has nothing to do with a guy in a freaky Edgar Allan Poe mask. There were plenty of ridiculous and implausible moments last night, as usual, but the one that shocked me most wasn’t on screen—it was in my head. Is this the episode when the show turns a corner toward something pretty good? Or am I slowly getting brainwashed, in some weird meta-twist where the audience starts blindly following The Following?
As a straight male, I don’t judge Oscars style based on hairstyles, shoes or jewelry. I can’t tell the difference between a dress from Tom Ford and one from Target. Instead, I utilize the time-honored Bro Scale, influenced mostly by the traditional “hot or not” metric, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and the shopping-mall couture of Bebe. With that in mind, here are the real winners and losers from last night’s Academy Awards.
Does anyone care about the Poe angle in The Following anymore? I wondered that after last night’s episode, when we finally got a break from references to “The Raven” and heard a few lines from “The Masque of the Red Death.” In that tale, a mysterious robed figure is revealed to be formless—there’s nothing beneath the mask and cape.
My plans to recap this week’s episode of The Following were rolling along just fine—until Jacob got in the shower (fully clothed) with Emma (mostly clothed) and Paul (mostly naked). What? If it wasn’t already obvious by now, you’re one of two people: someone who can enjoy a preposterous television show for its over-the-top drama and occasional jump-out-of-your-seat scares, or someone who’s not watching The Following.
Early on in this week’s episode, cult specialist Debra Parker stands in front of a wall full of carefully arranged photos connected by string, the kind you see in every crime drama where the cops try to unravel the tangled threads of a case. Debra’s question to Ryan is a simple one: “What’s Carroll’s message?” We’re only a quarter of the way through the season, but I’m wondering if there’s an answer ahead. Instead of connecting dots in the storyline, the show has other goals in mind—namely, how far can it push the gross-out meter and our suspension of disbelief?
It’s been a long time since a television show made me jump out of my seat, but last night’s episode of The Following got me good. Ryan is inside the nanny’s house, alone. As he searches for clues, I’m staring at those grotesque Edgar Allan Poe masks, reading quotes from The Raven on the walls—then boom! One of the Poeheads is attached to a body and the dude goes berserk like Ray Lewis before a game. We’ve already come to expect gross-out gore each week; for a show about serial killers, that’s low-hanging fruit. What the show needs are moments like these—clever surprises that keep us on the edge of our seats. Less eye-gouging, more sneak attacks!
The Following had me at “Kevin Bacon and serial killers.” The question is, will it keep me tuning in on Monday nights? The answer is sort of like the plot of the series premiere, which re-airs tonight at 9 p.m. on Fox: complicated. (Spoiler alert: if you haven’t watched the pilot yet, stop reading and come back after you do. I’ll be recapping each episode on Tuesdays throughout the season. So the short answer to the question above is yes, I’m watching. And so should you. Good or bad, we’ll have fun.)