The Following: “Guilt”
F

The Following: “Guilt”

F

The Following

“Guilt”

Season 1, Episode 10

This week, The Following gets an F. An F for LOVE. Because what is more swooning than the Ryan/Claire romance? I know I’m a shipper for those two crazy kids. Sure, they have some problems—Claire was married to the serial killer Ryan sent to prison, Ryan is convinced he bears a horrifying death curse that kills anyone close to him—but I just know they can work it out. And hey, this was the episode where they say the L word to each other. That’s right, Ryan and Claire are IN LOVE. I think they said it right around when they were barricading themselves in a many-windowed house against invading constitutional extremists?

I just don’t know what the hell is going on in this show anymore. To its credit, it broke the mold a little bit this week—there wasn’t some new specific serial killer person who Ryan had to take down, meanwhile getting no closer to Joe. No, this week was spent catching up with all of our favorite characters. Meanwhile, the FBI worked real hard at cracking the whole Joe Carroll mystery, even finding the website he used to recruit people. Give them a few more weeks and they’ll have figured out that he has an army of followers!

We haven’t seen much of Claire in the last few weeks—given that she exists only to be kidnapped and the show can’t dip into that well every single time. But don’t worry, she’s back here now to get kidnapped and cause everyone a whole mountain of trouble. Ryan is understandably concerned for her safety, because he knows how this show works, so he decides to go check out her safe house, which is a hotel with a couple other FBI agents who have really figured out how to protect her. They have security cameras around the room so everyone can figure out something weird is going on in there, and they have patented very advanced “lean something against the doorknob” technology to keep everyone out.

Roderick hires some weirdo militiamen to bust Claire out; even Joe is perturbed at this chain of events, but doesn’t raise a finger to stop him, since his big showdown with Roderick can’t happen until one of the final episodes, I guess. So off these guys go, and without Ryan, they’d certainly have caught Claire since her bodyguards do really smart things like stand in front of doors when they know someone with an Uzi is standing on the other side. It’s a wooden door, too, so it’ll totally stop all the bullets that get fired into it from a machine gun.

Ryan manages to take out one of the hill people and spirit Claire away to some other safe house where his buddy Tyson lives in utter secrecy. Tyson is played by the very personable David Zayas who I remember from Dexter, and he’s a former Quantico schoolmate of Ryan’s who seems to be his only real friend (Shawn Ashmore doesn’t make an appearance this week, otherwise he’d be working to get on that list). He’s there to help Ryan protect Claire, but he’s also there to let her know what she’s been waiting to hear: this psychotic, broken-down, serial-killer-obsessed weirdo only has eyes for her. Sure, he dated some broad called Molly a couple years ago, but he wouldn’t let her in. No, only Claire, who decides she’s screwed-up enough to beg for Ryan back. They make out and stuff, but then she has to go and ruin it by getting in a car with the other militiaman and going back to Joe.

She couldn’t have done this before the gunplay and the serious wound to Tyson and so on and so forth? Is she wishy-washy, or does she really just not want to let Ryan down? Either way, he’s not happy as she’s spirited away in a car, and I don’t think her mouthing “I love you” through the back window is going to be enough to let bygones be bygones. But hey, she wants to see her son, and if she has to go into the den of a lunatic serial killer who’s obsessed with her to do that, then she’s gonna do that.

Claire’s a hard character to like, but she’s not the only one: Everyone on this show is a giant pain in the ass. The material surrounding Emma and Jacob this week was hard to get excited for. Their tiff is played out like a silly lover’s spat, with Joe encouraging the two to make up, but Jacob is justifiably angry that Emma left him in the woods to die and forced him to suffocate his other lover. “That’s how you feel, but I need you to forgive her,” Joe says perceptively, because he’s a charismatic, impressive figure who’s developed a cult of personality around the influence he wields over those weaker than him, so he must be smart and stuff, right?

Jacob is also being plagued by visions of Paul, who urges him to kill Emma and also just generally feels like a leftover from Six Feet Under, smiling benignly and creeping everyone out. I’m glad the actor playing Paul gets an extra paycheck, but I could barely care about these guys when they were alive. I’m really just rooting for Paul or Jacob to off each other at this point. I can handle one of them in the background of this show, but two is too much.

Meanwhile, Joe tries to make inroads with his son, who’s started asking a lot of legitimate questions like “How come you aren’t in jail anymore?” and “Why are you in a big mansion with a bunch of your friends?” which Emma just doesn’t have a response to. Joe sort of wins him over by haphazardly making some s’mores in front of him, but Joey is emerging as probably the wisest, most trustworthy character on The Following. I dread whatever’s going to happen when Claire shows up.

God, this show. The guy in witness protection with all the rifles who guarded his life closely lived in a house in the woods surrounded by nothing and covered in floor-to-ceiling windows. I just don’t know what to say anymore.

Bacon bits:

  • Everyone go watch Murder In The First. It’s a bummer but I’m in a bad mood after watching this so it suits. Plus Bacon’s real good in it.
  • Ryan threw quite the cool Brooklyn parties back in the day, listening to LCD Soundsystem and everything.
  • Oh, turns out Molly is another of Joe’s acolytes. Soon it’ll just be Ryan and Obama on the other side. 

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