After waiting, in vain, to see Joe Carroll die in a hail of bullets from the trio gunning for him, the season 2 finale of The Following can be summed up with bodies being left everywhere, but where you want them and there was a hint of bromance in the air. Brotherly love aside, it has to be said, when the overweight blond Carroll follower got punched twice by Hardy and then anonymously shot in the dark by the storming SWAT members, it was hard to not “punch” the air in victory. Not because she was overweight, but because she was a nasty bit of work.
Just wanted to put that out there.
The last show in this year’s “Get Joe Carroll and all his peripheral insane playmates” has ended at a sort of stalemate. After two whole seasons of watching Joe Purefoy dancing and singing, metaphorically, as the deadly yet prevaricating villain; this addictive viewing experience ended with a sigh, albeit a slightly “freaked out” one, but a sigh nonetheless.
By the time the ending credits roll, two things spring immediately to mind. Who is driving that bloody truck and won’t Sam Underwood be glad to stop playing insane twins and just concentrate on Mark for a change? Apart from these two issues, the ending of the show left just enough foreboding to last until fall when the show’s third season starts up.
Of course what was really fascinating about The Following and its season 2 finale, apart from the amount of bodies left everywhere, was the emergence of what really made Joe Carroll tick. What the killer/cult leader really reacted to and this underlying bromance in the air which compelled him to do the things he does.
The answer? Ryan Hardy, of course. How ironic that for two whole seasons of The Following Carroll murdered a huge amount of innocents and his real motivation was his “bromance” with Hardy. Of course Carroll’s real fixation on getting Ryan’s attention was like a child with ADD, or ADHD, banging on a kettledrum and screaming “pay attention to me!” Joe only seemed to be really happy when he knew he’d gotten Hardy to look at what he was doing.
The script writers, along with the actors who brought these brilliantly flawed characters to life, put enough attention to detail in this last episode to make everything come together. While most threads were tied up satisfactorily, one thread was brutally slashed when Claire revealed she does not include Ryan in her, and her son’s, future.
In the confrontation scene, and just before it, the maniacal OCD attention exhibited by both Luke and Mark is exquisitely perfect, right up to the moment that they, getting carried away by their little revenge game, give Carroll the chance to escape. Which he does.
The amount of tension for the last show was increased exponentially throughout. The only disappointing moment was when the twin drops the chemical “bomb” and neither Joe, nor Ryan, think to shoot the nutcase before dropping to the floor. That must have been very fast working stuff.
While the show was real “edge of the seat” viewing, the amazing thing is the realization that the self-centered Joe Carroll was planning everything to get Hardy’s attention. His motivator was not Claire, Emma or publicity, aka infamy, it was getting Ryan Hardy to chase him. A sort of twisted “kiss/chase” game between two highly educated men.
By the end of The Following with its revealing season 2 finale, bodies were everywhere, in the church at least, and the big reveal was not Ryan’s guilt or Mike Weston and Max Hardy’s feelings for each other, or even the knowledge that Ryan and Claire would not be together now that Joe was in jail. The big reveal was that Carroll was influenced by his bromance with Hardy and probably had been since the first time the two men met in season one. A brilliant finish to a brilliant season, rock on season 3.
By Michael Smith