The Following Recap: The FBI Actually Got Something Right!

Plus: Drinking the Ryan Hardy juice.

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.

Still, I watched The Following last night. If you’re reading this, you probably did, too. So let’s share a brief respite and have a few laughs over a goofy show. The horrors of the world we live in—and the lights we search for in the darkness—will still be there when we’re done.

With that, the highpoints:

Surprise! (Part One)
The FBI actually arrests someone! After what feels like years since Carroll escaped from prison, the Feds finally capture Roderick. Wish I’d thought earlier about the fact that Mike has seen his face and will surely recognize him when they meet. But shouldn’t Roderick have been a little more concerned about that?

Quotable Kooks
Carroll and his crazies had some great lines. When informed that Roderick has fled with Joey, Carroll tells Claire to relax: “I am having a really bad day.” Roderick also has a curious way of keeping his hostage calm behind the wheel. “They’re wrong about me … it’s a misunderstanding,” he explains, while pointing a gun at her and, moments later, shooting two cops. We also learn that Carroll does not like to be interrupted while he’s writing. When Claire wisely observes that her ex is stressed, Carroll gets amusingly snippy: “I am processing those feelings using the therapy of words!”

“Now I’ve Drunk the Ryan Hardy Juice”
Not a phrase I thought we’d hear anyone utter. Especially not Ryan’s boss, Nick Donovan (yet another character with a generic name that I never remember).

Three Things You Knew Were Doomed To Fail
1. Ryan says of Havenport, the town where Carroll is hiding out: “We need to lock this down.”
2. As his plans crumble and his devotees die, Carroll has a suggestion for pixie-psycho Emma, “Everyone just needs to calm down.”
3. The FBI surrounds Roderick’s cabin in the woods, which of course means Jacob will escape undetected.

Surprise! (Part Two)
Just as I was wondering how Claire, regardless of how much she loves her son, could make out with a serial killer, she shanks Carroll like it’s an episode of Oz. Did not see that coming.

Aaron the Indian Guy
My favorite Follower and the only minority nutjob getting any love from Carroll these days. He’s given the important task of turning off the news that Claire is watching. He does so with great efficiency. Who needed that Roderick clown anyhow?

A Clue About Debra?
In one scene, she’s wearing a shirt that reveals a small, unidentifiable tattoo on her right shoulder. Could that be a clue, a hint regarding some secret in her past? Or could it merely mean that I’m examining this show way too closely? Smart money’s on the latter.

Surprise! (Part Three)
Really thought that Melissa, the Carroll groupie who turns herself in, was ready to give him up. Ryan needs to find Claire fast, and that seemed to be the key to speeding things up in the final two episodes. Instead, Melissa is apparently a Carroll recruit with ninja training—in one swift move, she pulls the needles from her hair, leaps onto Donovan’s back and stabs his eyeball. Not sure what’s more shocking: Her skills or the return to the Poe theme. It also left me with the feeling that another lead character is doomed in the final two episodes. Let’s consider who’s still standing. Mike and his punching-bag face have already been though enough, and Kevin Bacon is signed on for season two. That leaves Claire and Debra. I’m still suspicious of the agent, but odds favor Claire’s demise—if only for the fact that however Carroll’s tale concludes, it’s bound to be an unhappy ending for Ryan.