The Reckoning was the show’s best episode in a long time. The series didn’t get new writers. Its showwriters finally decided to give a damn right at the end writing dialogue instead of breathless exposition. They were trying to save The Following.
It looks like they failed.
Marcos Siega did a great job, though he couldn’t figure out how to light Croton Dam at night, especially with the final moments of Dead or Alive as the growing illumination as Ryan tried to read the sign quietly signaled that Theo had returned.
The finale wasn’t great stuff, but it was a return to the serial killer 24 that the show used to be. Even the terrible Season 3 began picking up after Joe Carroll died, but not until a terrible episode with actual Ryan/Joe shipper fanfic was filmed and broadcast. If Carroll had stayed dead after Season 1, The Following might have retained its viewers. Instead it finally has a premise and no future.
The Reckoning remembered that Theo is a sociopath, not just a random villain. It gave Ryan heroic lines instead of a nervous breakdown. It ends with a powerful secret society of serial killers that should have been the premise of season 2 or season 3.
It wasn’t too little. But it was too late.
The finale in an indictment of the stupid decisions and laziness that ruined the show. If Hawley and Brett Mahoney could do all this for the finale, they could have been writing better episodes all along.
The Following didn’t have to turn into garbage. It didn’t have to be a string of fumbled plots, Joe Carroll hallucinations and the Sam soap opera. After Season 1 it had room to grow. Instead it crawled up its own asshole and died.
Maybe Hulu or Yahoo or someone will pick up The Following Season 4. I doubt it. And even if they did, I can’t help but think that Ryan Hardy will stop being a rogue agent, the Ryan and Sam soap opera will continue and Joe Carroll will somehow come back.