Well, Following Faithful, we’re back for another episode, and after last week’s depth delving pit stop, writers Kevin Williamson and Rebecca Dameron have us back on track to keep this train a’rolling.
A good amount happened this week and the walls seem to be closing in on Kidnapper Ranch. That weird shower scene from last episode evolved into a full menage e trois between Jacob, Paul, and Emma. Jake doesn’t seem too happy about it and starts to pull away, telling Paul that he “can’t be what you want me to be.” Paul and Emma, on the other hand, have never been closer. Joey, being the son of a genius that he is, manages to sneak a phone call to Claire, giving she and the FBI the clues they needed to hone in their search efforts. Joey quickly sneaks out again and make his way through the woods to a neighbors house creating just enough suspicion for them to call the authorities. Unfortunately, Emma, Paul, and Jacob were close behind. Before this point, Jacob still couldn’t finish off the girl trapped in the basement, but both he and Paul went to the house to silence the neighbors. Off-screen the elderly couple find throats slit. Did Jacob step up or leave it to Paul, putting one more wedge between he and his killer compatriots?
Meanwhile, Carroll gets a surprise visit from his attorney, much to Hardy’s dismay. As we come to find out, she’s a couple fingers short from the last time she defied him, so she’s well inclined to do as he asks. Holding this fear over her, Carroll now finds himself with a confidential informant with contacts in the FBI and a means to get messages out on the airwaves. After her first meeting with Carroll, she faced the press and recited a passage from Poe’s The Red Death before visiting Claire. She delivered a message, telling her to appear alone on a street corner if she ever wanted to see Joey again.
The press reading was a trigger putting more events into play. Two more enemies were introduced, Hank and Roderick. Roderick was tasked with picking up Claire who gave the slip to her FBI bodyguards, and Hank went to pick up Paul, Jake, Emma, and Joey. Unfortunately, Hardy and a local cop were on the the premises waiting for Weston to arrive with back up. Hardy was able to take out Hank, but not before the other officer was killed. Fueled by anger and remorse, Hardy rushed the house, snuck in through the basement, and scant seconds after finding Joey, finds himself with Paul’s gun to the back of his head.
Cut to title card.
“The Siege,” while not the best of what The Following has had to offer, was a fun ride from start to finish, but I can’t help shake the fact that this falls very much in the “popcorn viewing” category of TV entertainment. It’s like the big ra-ra action movies of the 80s and 90s where it doesn’t all make sense, but, hey, at least it’s an enjoyable way to spend an hour.
Let’s start with the good. Kevin Bacon stepped up to the plate this week and finally broke through that icy exterior we’ve been waiting for. The scene with Claire was especially touching because Hardy finally chose to step outside of himself to look out for himself. It was a vulnerable moment. I also enjoyed the look of fearful shock that ended the show. Hardy the hero, ready to save the day, finds himself royally caught off guard. Why wouldn’t Paul just kill him, I wonder?
I’m also enjoying the evolving dynamic between our kidnappers. It looks more and more like Jacob might find himself on the outside of the group, especially if he left the grisly job of killing the neighbors to Paul. Remember, he can’t kill himself, so if he had to watch two people killed as he stood helplessly to the side, that’s certainly not going to help their already strained relationship. Oddly, Paul is becoming more and more appealing of a character as time goes on. Adan Canto’s portrayal is excellent. He’s charming and twisted and all around dangerous. But where is Emma in all of this — is her care for Joey starting to sway her better judgment against Paul’s heavier hand?
Where this episode went downhill was in the believability department. The lawyer plotline has more holes than a slice of swiss cheese and on multiple levels. It’s simply not believable that a reading from Poe from the Poe-based serial killer would make the news. Carroll is actively terrorizing people, it was a pretty obvious message, and, in general, the news outlets have a standing policy against putting any old thing mass murderers say on the air, so extend disbelief on that one. Second, what are the chances that a nationally known lawyer losing two fingers right after dropping a client like Carroll wouldn’t raise someone’s eyebrow? The FBI pays attention to these things, and probably her boss too. Such base level intimidation also seems slightly below Carroll. He’s a thinker and an artist, not a mutilator who does so simply to get his way. Or so it’s seemed.
And Claire, girl, do you have two iotas of common sense? You were married to Carroll, you know him, then see this wacky reading on the television after your current beau is on the way to pick up your kid, and you decide, “hey, now is a good time to take a random instruction that will almost assuredly play right into my murderous ex-husband’s plans.” Thus far in the series, Claire was shown as being a loving, worried mother, but one that was also world-wise and had been through the wringer once or twice. This move was pure convenience for the writers and it showed.
Lastly, I find Jacob’s sudden discomfort at a sexual relationship with Paul off-putting. The writers have lead us to believe that the two already had that relationship in the two years they lived together. The sudden change doesn’t mesh well with what they’ve already set up thus far in the story.
Overall, the episode was decent and it had its high points, but Williamson and Dameron ask too much of the viewer to not be pinged for it. The lawyer was overtly convenient and, having studied some feminism in college, really doesn’t speak well of how the writers view empowered women of authority; scared and helpless when faced with a powerful, frightening man. That said, the highs absolutely continually outweigh the lows, and I’m still eager to see what will come on each successive episode — something I’m not known for when I’m asked to extend disbelief in realistic settings. The character development continues to progress and the suspense levels just keep ratcheting higher each week. Was “The Siege” the best episode yet? Probably not, but I’ll still be tuning in next Friday to see where it’s lead us.