Monday, March 3, 2014

REVIEW: 'The Following' - Max Gets Kidnapped & Joe, Emma and Mandy Join a New Cult in 'Sacrifice'

FOX's The Following - Episode 2.07 Sacrifice

Ryan and the FBI continue their hunt for Lily Gray, and are forced to redirect their search when a new threat enters Max's life. Meanwhile, Joe, Emma and Mandy arrive at their latest hideout, but quickly realize things aren't what they seem.

It's hard not to feel morally disgusted by the events that happen in "Sacrifice." The Following has done some pretty despicable things before. Moreover though, this story feels so empty. These characters kill so many others week in and week out. Death has no significance on this show. Worse yet, the show just continues the tread of victimizing women - especially in this hour. We are supposed to be shocked that Max gets kidnapped by a friend of Lily's. And yet, when it once again becomes a story about a man - in this case Lee Tergesen, who seriously needs to find a better regular job - "hunting down" a woman. It conforms to every sexist issue wrong in this medium. It's just so disgusting and low-brow to see again and again.

It's also been pretty clear what season 2 has been doing. Mike is becoming Ryan Hardy. Ryan is becoming Joe Carroll. Joe is adrift not sure what to do in life anymore. And Lily is a crazy sociopath. It's also clear what the season is building towards - Ryan killing Joe Caroll and Mike killing Lily Gray. "Sacrifice" solidified the journey that Mike is on right now. He wants to get out of all of this, see his parents in Virginia and deal with his emotional issues. Then, he returns because the drama wants you to believe there's something between him and Max. He gets sucked along with all of this - and is clearly on a revenge path now that Lily has killed his father.

And then, there's the Joe, Emma and Mandy corner of the universe, which is just this odd and weird mess. The trio become entangled in the world of an actual cult. It's as if the show is trying to say, yes Joe Carroll is a sociopath but he's not crazy and wacky as these people are. The show is saying that death and killing is okay but drinking blood and believing in this new cult's lifestyle is the strangest and most despicable thing ever.

In the final minutes, I really did believe that the show was going to kill off Emma. Valorie Curry has consistently been giving the most respectable performance on the drama. And yet, that makes me feel so sad that Curry is stuck on this show that doesn't measure up to all her talents. Killing her off would allow Curry to go on to bigger and better things. The cult leader slashes her wrists and she loses a lot of blood. But later, he gives a offhanded comment that she's still alive. It's the same exact plot device this show used in IT'S LAST EPISODE! Mike shots Luke and beats him to a pulp. We all think he's dead but someone gives one comment that he's still alive. And here, he's alive and well in the FBI's custody. The same tactic is being done again. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Sacrifice" was written by Scott Reynolds and directed by Adam Davidson.
  • I didn't start off hating this episode. The first 8 or 9 minutes or so - before Max gets taken - are actually quite good as Ryan and the team deal with the fallout of what happened last week. Then, everything gets undergone in the next handful of minutes just because Max got kidnapped.
  • I don't have a read on the Jacinda Barrett character at all. She deserves a better regular job too.