Fox debuted its newest criminal drama this past January with the small screen return of Kevin Bacon playing former FBI agent Ryan Hardy. That originally peaked my interest, because Kevin Bacon is well....Kevin Bacon. Six degrees from awesome at any given time. Hardy was known for capturing Joe Carroll, a serial killer and is called upon again.
The first thing you notice is how graphic it is, which might turn off some viewers. After seven Saw movies, I have become desensitized to that aspect, but intrigued because of the cerebral nature of the show. It is not just random murders for the sake of killing, but a plan devised by former college professor Joe Carroll (played by James Purefoy).
Carroll is passionate about literature, most specifically anything to do with Edgar Allen Poe. His accent adds to his charm as he comes across very intelligent. It is all a nice cover to hide the menacing killer he really is. Very quickly in the first episode he shows how cunning, manipulating and devious he can be. His charm helps him brainwash vulnerable people from all walks of life and persuade them to do his bidding. Quickly authorities begin to suspect he has created a cult of sorts. The "bidding" being killing in the name of vengeance, art and to add "chapters" to Carroll's master plan, or "story".
While some critics slammed the show after one episode, I use my suspension of disbelief to enjoy it. Yes parts of the show seem far-fetched, but its television. It's something different and fun, a departure from all of those cookie-cutter cop shows out there. Kevin Bacon isn't operating by the law; he is outside it. Sound familiar? If there's one thing in movies, television and video games that gets me, it's going rogue. No, not this kind. And I'm definitely not referring to this kind, either. Acting outside the badge in a shade of grey makes for so many more interesting dynamics. Whether it's Jack Bauer, Batman, either assassin in Assassin's Creed, the one thing they all have going for them is being total badasses. Granted, Bacon's character isn't physically impressive- but it makes him able to be related to.
After three episodes, I am noticing one thing, though. Anytime a character gets close to another and there is a hint of tension, one of them pulls a knife on the other. Everyone on that show should be looking down at the hands of the other person at all times. I don't care if it's their grandmother, or a priest- LOOK AT THEIR HANDS.....OR YOU WILL BE SLICED. Case in point- the latest episode involves two kidnappers of Carroll's son (used as leverage), who have been at odds at times during the run from the law. He goes into talk to her and make peace, as she you know...has a large knife in her hands. I can't remember the dialogue, but it went something like this:
"Hey babe, we cool?" - Kidnapper Bro
Babe smiles, "Yea we are cool."
Kidnapper Bro gets closer, "So we should hug it out? Wait, do you hug with a large knife all the time? Must be awkward at family reunions. Well I'm sure you won't you know, stab me with it."
She gets closer to him and slices his arm to send a message, "Don't get soft on me, bro."
"You bitch!" - Kidnapper Bro
So to review: if ever you are a character on "The Following" and you are about to embrace via handshake or hug, please look at the other person's hands first. Then once you have done that, check their third hand behind their back as well.
So far from the December promotional advertisements and three episodes, The Following has managed to peak my interest, grab my attention and hold on to it. Every twist and turn keeps you on the edge of your seat, and those who call it "predictable" like they are some all-knowing oracle of television are simply not enjoying it. So I will continue to follow Kevin Bacon on his quest for justice, one mind-game at a time.