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The Following- Chapter Two Review: It’s Getting Better

The Following almost has me hooked after seeing this new episode. Almost. This week's episode largely focused on Emma, who was known to us as Denise, the babystitter of Joe Carroll and Claire's son. Emma, along with the "gay couple", Jacob and Paul, kidnapped the young boy at the end of the first episode and have brought him to some kind of safe house. Early in the episode, a small twist reveals that Jacob and Paul aren't gay. In fact, Jacob and Emma have been dating for some time. This fact may or may not bother Paul, but it sure seems like it does. Emma is a surprisingly complex character. Through flashbacks, we see her complicated issues with her mother and her self image, which contrasts to the strong, "take no prisoners" girl she appears to be in the present.

Valorie Curry, who plays Emma does a great job showing us all facets of the character and even makes us question if we like her, which is a surprising reaction, considering she's a killer. There's also some interesting tension between Emma and Paul which i hope they continue to explore. Even though Jacob and Paul aren't gay, did Paul form an attachment to him that he now misses with Emma back in the picture? It's smart of the writers to add some very real human tendencies to these characters so that we can see their origins and why they decided to follow Carroll. Also, speaking of these characters, the acting is much much improved from the first episode. I'm not sure if it's because of some sort of direction given down from the network based on the pilot, or if it's because the actors aren't playing their cover up characters anymore, but I was very much less distracted with acting choices this time.

Another vast improvement from the pilot to this episode is the replacement of the lead FBI Agent assigned to the case with Ryan Hardy. They got rid of Agent Mason who annoyed the hell out of me in the first episode and put in Debra Parker (played by Annie Parisse). The interesting thing about Parker is that she's almost about as straightforward as she is mysterious. She witholds the fact that her speciality is in investigating cults until the middle of the episode, looks at Ryan's relationship with Claire with caution and intrigue, and she does something very surprising at the end which has us questioning her motives. I wonder what they're going to do with Debra and Ryan's relationship. Are they going to keep it strictly business or will there be romance involved?

One more nice touch in this episode was the middle where we see the "Poe House" where Carroll and his followers used to meet. The house used to be owned by Emma, but has since been converted to a house with newspaper clippings, writing, and Poe masks all over the walls. It was cool to see how insane it all was and how deep this cult goes. It was also a great set up for the end of the episode, which was wonderful and suspensful. I also liked the scene with Carroll and Ryan in which Carroll said that he'd be setting up "games" for Ryan to play that I think could be an interesting way to make this series last and be interesting.

Now, the things that didn't work. Again, the writing is inconsistent. I now feel like the characters are there, but much of the dialouge isn't. Lots of unnessecary repitiion in scenes, and I don't think Joe's dialouge in the flashbacks really shows him to be an amazing teacher at all. I just see him charming the pants off girls, which doesn't really show us how he garnered this mass following of males and females from all walks of life. I want to see how he gets the people on his side who aren't insecure girls taken by his charm. It's got to be more than that if we're to believe this concept.



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