Posted by: pop-break | February 4, 2013

Following the Following: ‘The Poet’s Fire’

quote luke kalamar, nevermore…


Plot: A new member of Joe Carroll’s (James Purefoy) cult has revealed himself to Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and the rest of the FBI in a very public fashion. His personal goal is to exact revenge on the people who have negatively harmed Carroll in some form. It is up to Hardy to find a way to stop him. Meanwhile, the feud between Paul (Adan Canto) and Emma (Valorie Curry) reaches its peak, causing Paul to act out. Also, it seems as though Jacob (Nico Tortoella) hasn’t been completely honest with his girlfriend.

 One of Joe Carroll's followers disguises himself as Edgar Allan Poe in the "The Poet's Fire". CR: David Giesbrecth/FOX

One of Joe Carroll’s followers disguises himself as Edgar Allan Poe in the "The Poet’s Fire". CR: David Giesbrecth/FOX

For the past two episodes, The Following has peppered a lot of “holy shit!” moments throughout the course of an hour. These moments were evenly spaced apart and did an excellent job keeping the viewer hooked. With this in mind, it came as quite a surprise to me when The Poet’s Fire saved all of these moments for the last 15-20 minutes. The episode was overall very good, but it was this, amongst other things, that held the quality back.

The two main stories for this episode, Hardy trying to get Carroll’s newly revealed follower Rick and the erupting tension between Emma and Paul, were individually very good. The FBI story about them trying to keep tabs on Rick’s quest for revenge and the potential danger he was to his wife Maggie was especially well-paced and engaging. I really enjoyed watching the rift in Carroll’s trio grow as well, and there is now a whole new dimension to the previously flat characters of Paul and Jacob. If there’s one thing this show will probably always have going for it, it’s the fantastic writing.

The payoffs for two stories were incredible as well. As I mentioned earlier, the real “holy shit!” moments happened at the very end. Two of these were in direct conclusion to the main stories, and they couldn’t have been better. The big reveal at the end and the possible true motive of why Joey (Kyle Catlett) was taken blew my mind too. I can really see this show pushing a lot of boundaries in the future, even more so than it already has.

Emma (Valorie Curry, L) and Jacob (Nico Tortorella, R) are responsible for the kidnapping of Claire Matthews' son Joey (Kyle Catlett, C) in the "The Poet's Fire&quo.t; CR: David Giesbrecth/FOX

Emma (Valorie Curry, L) and Jacob (Nico Tortorella, R) are responsible for the kidnapping of Claire Matthews’ son Joey (Kyle Catlett, C) in the "The Poet’s Fire” CR: David Giesbrecth/FOX

Unfortunately, the majority of the episode simply didn’t have the overall excitement the final quarter and the first two episodes had. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was great and I kept my eyes hooked on the screen, but I kept expecting something insane to happen and it never did until near the end. With two very successful episodes done following this formula, I was a little let down when this changed. Even the opening scene was taken directly from the closing of “Chapter Two”, which makes me wonder if Rick setting fire to Carroll’s critic would’ve been better suited for this episode alone.

Plus, the actions of both Rick and Paul were pretty unbelievable considering how high-profile the Joey kidnapping case has become. It should be obvious to any of Carroll’s followers that the entire FBI is hunting them down at this point. Yet, despite this, Rick changes into his Poe attire right in front of a camera, license plate in plain sight. His identity is found out in seconds, which surprised me considering he was in a Poe mask for so long. As for Paul, Emma and Jacob kept saying how their faces are all over the news, and yet somehow he is able to causally hang out in a convenience store without issue. He even picks up a girl who, for some reason, either doesn’t recognize Paul from the constant news stories or can’t see through the brilliant disguise of a hat. Bottom line, either the followers are intentionally being shone as really irresponsible, or someone on staff is overlooking some details. I’d forgive it if it was the former.

THE FOLLOWING: In a flashback scene Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon, R) seeks advice from Professor Joe Carroll (James Purefoy, L) in the "The Poet's Fire." CR: David Giesbrecth/FOX

THE FOLLOWING: In a flashback scene Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon, R) seeks advice from Professor Joe Carroll (James Purefoy, L) in the “The Poet’s Fire.” CR: David Giesbrecth/FOX

Some moments were generally predictable too. I already predicted the big secret between Paul and Jacob from the second episode. The revelation of the true relationship between Maggie and Rick was noticeable from the start of this episode too, but was still very exciting.

“The Poet’s Fire” had a lot of strong elements to be another good installment in this series, but was unfortunately held back by the lack of overall intensity, some possible character oversight, and a dash of predictability. The individual stories soared however, and the writing for the most part was phenomenal as always.



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