The Following 1.14 “The End is Near” Review

The FollowingThe Following is one episode away from its finale, and I still don’t see where it’s going–and that’s the good news.  No, seriously … that is great news, because The Following is a series with a singular device,  to give you the sense that you are rapidly moving forward, throwing up scares and shocks along the way, and not requiring you to keep notes on everything you saw so that you can enter next week’s story space.  It’s a serial that demands the attention of an episodic, and I love it.

“The End is Near” gets right to one of the most long awaited moments of the season:  the location of Joe Carrol’s compound.  Joey Matthews had provided enough details for the FBI to diving 40 some odd possible locations for the compound, and shortly into the episode the search leads to some tampered property records and voila, Joe has been revealed.

Within the first act,  Joe’s clan has dispersed, the FBI has captured the compound, and Joe has taken Emma, Jacob and Claire and pulled a little home invasion, awaiting the opportunity to get out of town.  How will he do that exactly?  With senseless plot magic, of course.

After reconvening at the Sheriff’s department,  Ryan notices that a lot of locals have begun to swarm around out front, so he figures some of Joe’s people must be amongst them and slips outside to observe the masses.  Sure enough, one of Joe’s people shows up and stabs a reporter to death.  Ryan gets to question her, and she reveals to him that the reason why Claire must die is so that Ryan can be reborn.

Remember when I said you don’t HAVE to pay attention to everything, well this moment is exempt from this. Joe had decreed that Claire’s death was to be moved up, but it seems it was always meant to happen, thus Ryan’s rebirth from the grief over her death was always a part of the ‘story’.   So what is it exactly that Joe wants Ryan to become?

Returning to the nonsensical story logic, Joe’s master plan for escape plays out when the City advises all of the citizens to gather at a shelter to keep safe, because when a cult of madmen/women is on the loose it makes sense to place everybody in one place.  Somehow it doesn’t occur to anyone that cult members would filter in amongst the locals until axes and knives start flying.

The plan works and Joe is able to escape with Claire to a boat.  Will he kill her at sea?  It’s more likely he is going to take her to a specific place and try to lure Ryan there.  At least that’s what next week’s preview tells me.

“The End is Near” was every bit the adrenaline rush of any other episode of The Following. The plot is as goofy as always, but the series remains an insane amount of fun if you dial down your suspension of disbelief threshold.  How they will keep this up beyond 3 or 4 seasons is beyond me, but I’m going to love to see them try.

Other notable plot developments:

– Roderick is alive.  Last we knew he was in surgery, so it is uncertain whether we will see him before the end of the season.

– Jacob is dead.  He suggested to Emma they flee the cult and go out on their own, so she cut his throat.  So sad.

– Agent Parker is buried alive.  This is sure to be a big distraction for Hardy next week.  I think it’s a little odd they set up this desperate of a B story for the finale – but I’m along for the ride.


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