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.
It’s happening again… no really, it is.
The first episode of The Following Season 3 is named New Blood. If Only.
Instead we get a serial killer conspiracy headed by the dumbest and dimmest member of a second group of serial killers that were the B Team last season. And that was a season running on fumes.
Season 1 of The Following was brilliant. And then it was over. Season 2 tried to say something about religion. It failed because it couldn’t shake its addiction to Joe Carroll. And Joe Carroll still isn’t dead and probably is running the whole game from behind bars. And that’s probably optimistic.
Instead of moving on to new threats, The Following Season 3 is about more amateur serial killers recreating murders. Kevin Bacon’s Ryan Hardy is reduced to constantly pointing out that something had happened before. And that’s the writers announcing their own repetitiveness.
Lilly Gray might have been just as compelling as Joe Carroll in her own right. Instead it was the Joe Carroll show. And that meant turning a mediocre novelist into a cult leader obsessed with religion. It didn’t work. Now what’s left of the band is back together again. And it’s a bad band.
Season 1 wasn’t afraid to kill people. Season 3 burdens us not only with Max, but with every boring second banana. The episode opens with the lesbian wedding of the FBI boss who was stupid enough to serve as an unwitting back channel to Joe Carroll. All that was forgiven, but we’re supposed to believe that Congress cared enough to hold hearings on their tactics for catching the serial killers. Or that anyone in the FBI would take accusations from crazed serial killers written in bodies seriously.
Season 2 was critically panned. Why after getting another season would The Following dig through the trash of its failed last season?
The Following Season 3 isn’t bringing anything new to the table. It’s a watered down version of the last season just like that was a watered down version of its edgy raw first season. It’s spending so much time rehashing what happened last season that it won’t attract new viewers or even win back old ones.
Mansions. Messages left for Ryan. Ryan wavering over whether to get close to someone. Captured serial killers sneering at Ryan. Ryan telling him that he had done this before. Because it’s all been done before.