In last week’s episode, Joe Carroll escaped Ryan and co with a little help from his source in the FBI, this week in The Following: Sacrifice Carroll puts himself in the hands of another cult; oh how the mighty have fallen. Carroll is not alone in this fall, Murphy and his helpers have also hit rock bottom. Mike Weston and Max Hardy, Ryan’s niece, both want out of his obsessive quest to kill Joe.
This show could almost make the viewer paranoid about just how many loonies and crazy cults are out there in America. Ryan Murphy, after his “shutting down” of the Hampton crew of Joe Carroll devotees, now has another homicidal nut after him and his small group of good guys; Lily Grey. Seh has now turned into a dangerous enemy who wants to punish Ryan for the death of her son Luke.
Unfortunately, Lily does not realise that he is still alive. Because of this, she enlists another crazy serial killer to take out Max. This, however, is just the beginning of Lily’s revenge and before the episode ends, Mike will pay the ultimate sacrifice for his role in the “death” of Luke.
Joe Carroll goes from charismatic leader to helpless follower of another cult. This particular cult is headed up by a true loonie in the style of David Koresh and his Branch Davidians in Waco Texas. When Joe, Emma and Mandy go to the cult’s compound gates, they are met by Micah’s (the cult leader) second in-command, his wife Julia.
Julia’s group are armed and they meet the newest “recruits” with hostility and a modicum of violence. In this episode of The Following: Sacrifice Joe has escaped the controlling influence of Lily only to find himself under the control of Micah. Carroll has to submit to “cleansing” and a lie detector test before meeting the head of this scary and militaristic group of zealots. This segment shows just how far the mighty, Joe and Ryan, have fallen in their obsessive journeys; although Joe’s vision has changed to one of survival.
The Following continues to be addictive viewing. The actors continue to deliver what can best be described as award winning performances. There is not one false note in any of these more than capable performers. Special kudos, or as Micah puts it “mad props” go to Shawn Ashmore for his meltdown later in the program and more praise to the makers of the program for their real-life emulation of serial killers.
The Huntsman from last night’s episode is a clear reference to Alaska’s Robert Hansen, who “hunted” prostitutes and killed them with a high powered rifle in the wilds of the state. While the character who features in this segment uses a crossbow, the intention is clear. It is precisely this attention to detail to real world cases of murder and cult practices that makes this show such compulsive viewing.
As Joe Carroll finds himself in the unwilling role of cult neophyte, it is apparent that it will only be a matter of time before he puts himself in charge and in control of the scary cult. It is incredible that this show has amped things up so much in the second season. Kevin Bacon continues to punch out his performance with a focus that is as impressive as it is chilling to watch. His character’s plunge into new depths of obsession is almost as frightening as Carroll and the newest big bads, Lily and Micah.
The Following: Sacrifice could be said to continue the previous episode’s theme of love hurts as people in the periphery, and dead center, keep paying for Murphy’s determination to catch and kill Carroll. Just how far the mighty have fallen is apparent by the end of the episode with Mike Weston’s grief and pain after trying unsuccessfully to escape Murphy’s madness in his Carroll quest. This episode was nerve jangling and real edge of the seat viewing that proves this series, and Mr Bacon, will continue to deliver.
By Michael Smith