The Following – The Poet’s Fire

urlI hate to admit it, but I am still super-torn about THE FOLLOWING.  I want so desperately to love this show, but I can’t get past just mildly liking it as a “there’s nothing better to watch on a Monday night” kind of show.  The last new show that I desperately wanted to like was ARROW, and I can conclusively say that this is leaps and bounds ahead of that trainwreck mess.  But it simply falls short of greatness because it’s a little too vanilla and just doesn’t quite add up as far as the character’s motivations.

Here’s what I mean: Joe Carroll is crazy.  Fine.  Believable.  But he’s a calm, introspective and personalized kind of crazy, not necessarily cult-leader crazy.  I think we can adequately compare him to Hannibal Lecter.  Lecter didn’t have a cult of emo twenty-somethings running around doing his dirty work.  He didn’t need to.  He was too refined and elegant for that.  And that’s how Joe Carroll’s character comes off.  Sure folks want to emulate him because of his strong personality, but it doesn’t seem like he would be intellectually honest to foist his very personal passion for murder on them.

So what happened in the episode?  Find out inside!

The fella in the Edgar Allan Poe mask (from the end of the last episode), after a rousing rendition of The Raven, lights a book critic on fire while he orders a hotdog on the street corner.  The victim was majorly critical of Joe Carroll’s book and was murdered seemingly to exact revenge on his negative review.  The masked Poe killer was traced to a guy named Rick Kester.  When Hardy and the FBI raid his house, they find his estranged wife in the closet brandishing a knife and scared for her life.

Joe drops a hint during interrogation about three people being his downfall.  One of them obviously being Hardy, one being the crispy book critic and a third being Philip Barnes, the dean of literature at the university who ultimately denied him tenure.  The Poe-guy breaks into Dean Barnes’ office and stabs him to death.

Down at the ranch (which feels more like a fifth twilight movie than a serial-killer drama), Emma and Paul get into a tiff over Jacob (apropos naming job) and Emma cuts him in the arm with a knife. In flashbackville, two straight dudes kiss for the sake of Joe Carroll?  No freaking way.  Except that Paul seems to be genuinely gay and leaves to go beat up some chicks.  Because somehow battering women proves that he doesn’t like dudes.

It turns out that Maggie Kester had been lying the entire time and is really one of Carroll’s cult members.  She stabs Agent Reilly through the neck and runs away with her husband.  Except her husband gets shot by The Baconator while she manages to escape.

In the hospital, Jordy starts to eat his pillow and suffocates himself to death.  Emma and Jacob send a video of Joey over to Claire just to get a rise out of her and Hardy.

C+ overall.  There’s something I’m looking for that hasn’t quite been delivered yet.  But I’m not going to give up on this one…