Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “The Following” Pilot

Dear Frank,

poster-the-followingOh, ugh, she said in advance. What have I signed up for?

Tonight’s viewing of The Following‘s pilot comes by reader request, and even though she immediately regretted making that request, I remain a slave to our loyal readers. It’s only 44 minutes long, Frank! How bad could it be?

Sigh. Time for gross serial killer drama seen fit to be aired on a major broadcast network!

We start off in prison. Not so fun (despite what Orange is the New Black might have you think) especially after a whole bunch of guards get murdered! Poor guards.

And now poor Kevin Bacon, who’s living in Brooklyn (WHAT A HIPSTER) and guzzling water in the morning because he is a druuuuunnnnnk because he is TORTURED by that time he totes caught James Purefoy being a crazypants murderer. (And he wrote a book about it! That apparently matters for some reason.)

A note about James Purefoy: James Purefoy belongs to an illustrious group that I refer to as The Amorphous Blob of Handsome British Actors. These actors are the Kryptonite to my super-power (memorizing IMDB listings): Basically, no matter how I try, I cannot tell these actors apart and/or remember their names. Literally, in the first draft of this post, Frank, I referred to James Purefoy as “XXXXXX” — I went back and looked his name up later.

Point is, Kevin Bacon’s back on the case after James Purefoy escapes from prison, though Kevin does pack his trusty vodka in a water bottle because he is TORTURED, Frank, I don’t know if I can be more clear about this.

Also tortured is Maggie Grace from Lost! She got stabbed by James Purefoy in 2004, and is now under guard. Another person who is under guard is James Purefoy’s ex-wife, who (spoiler alert for I’m guessing twenty minutes from now) was fucking Kevin Bacon back in the day. IRONY! She has a son. I bet he’s Kevin Bacon’s secret son, because nothing about this show feels particularly unpredictable.

Now that things have stopped happening so fast and characters are no longer being introduced, I’m pretty bored. Oh, wait, we just learned that Kevin Bacon is on disability because he has a pacemaker because that’s a treatment you might receive for a stab wound to the chest (sure).

I’d been told that this show was full of awful violence stuff, but we’re 13 minutes in and nothing particularly awful has happened– OH WAIT, this groupie of James Purefoy’s just got naked (save for underpants, because broadcast television) and her body is covered with quotes from stuff and she has a knife and YIKES she just stabbed herself in the head. For reasons.

Kevin Bacon chugs some vodka from his water bottle. I cannot honestly blame him.

There’s a prison guard who’s under suspicion, and Kevin Bacon and the other cops break into the guard’s house to discover that the guard was being trained to be a serial killer by James Purefoy, which the guard acted out by killing his puppy dog–


Maggie Grace’s next door gay-bours are keeping her company, but she sends them home so that she can stare at the scars James Purefoy left behind when he totes tried to murder her. And now we have a flashback to said murder attempt! Boy, this show is FUN.

James Purefoy looks really tired, by the way. Not as handsome as other handsome men in The Amorphous Blob of Handsome British Actors. Alas.

But he still wants you to be his minion! I mean, friend. That's it. Friend.

But he still wants you to be his minion! I mean, friend. That’s it. Friend.

Kevin Bacon is now hanging out with James Purefoy’s ex-wife, and explaining that he didn’t deserve her and she deserved a new chance. I don’t know if we’ll get to Secret Son’s true parentage getting revealed in this episode, but DAMN that’s so clearly the case.

Kevin Bacon is also now convinced that Maggie Grace is about to get killed by James Purefoy, because he’ll want to “finish what he started.” I think Maggie Grace was listed as a series regular, so I think she’ll survive?

Wait, Kevin Bacon arrives at Maggie Grace’s place to find her missing and the FBI agent guarding her dead. That’s right, Frank, MAGGIE GRACE HAS BEEN TAKEN YOUR LIAM NEESON JOKE HERE.

By the way, in Taken Maggie Grace is playing a teenager. In The Following, she is playing a doctor. These two things are separated by a total of four years. Maybe Maggie Grace is a lady Doogie Howser? Or maybe Hollywood doesn’t understand the aging of the human body.

Not to totally digress again, but to be honest, Frank, I’d expected there to be a higher body count in this show. I guess it helps that most of the people who have died have died in really horrifying ways.

Oh, no, it’s revealed that Maggie Grace’s gay-bours live so close next door that someone used their house to break into Maggie Grace’s. Blood is everywhere! Sucks to be them! Sucks to be anyone on this show, flat-out.

Wait! The gay-bours weren’t really gay! They were working with James Purefoy to help him capture and kill Maggie Grace! This show, man. This show. Kevin Bacon throws a chair.

By the way, Frank, I haven’t been mentioning all of the Edgar Allen Poe references that this show incorporates, mostly because they’re all pretty dumb, surface Edgar Allen Poe references and life is short.

Oh, good, Kevin Bacon’s found James Purefoy, who is wearing a hoodie and beating the shit out of Kevin Bacon with a board. And Maggie Grace is now dead after James Purefoy cut out her eyes. (I guess I was wrong about the series regular thing.) Boy, this show is full of nice calming stuff.

But they nab James Purefoy and take him back to jail, though that probably won’t keep him from recruiting more crazy people to do his serial killing bidding. James Purefoy basically taunts Kevin Bacon with this fact, whilst James Purefoy’s minions kidnap James Purefoy’s I’m-still-pretty-sure-he’s-Kevin-Bacon’s-secret son.

Frank, here’s the problem I have with this show: I get that people are crazy, and that there are real-world examples of people getting obsessed with killers and whatnot, to the point of wanting to marry them or worship them or whatever. But… I guess, I just have to ask — why?

Oh, when I say “Why?” I don’t mean “Why do people worship crazy people?” (spoiler alert: it’s because people are crazy). I say, “Why make a TV show about them? What’s the point? What does it add to the betterment of humanity?”

Nothing, I’m pretty sure is the answer. Absolutely fucking nothing.

Season Two starts in just a few weeks, Frank!

I won’t be watching.


About Liz Shannon Miller

Liz Shannon Miller is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor, and has been talking about television on the Internet since the very beginnings of the Internet. She is currently Senior TV Editor at Collider, and her work has also been published by the New York Times, Vulture, Variety, the AV Club, the Hollywood Reporter, IGN, The Verge, and Thought Catalog. She is also a produced playwright, a host of podcasts, and a repository of "X-Files" trivia.

Posted on January 7, 2014, in All the Spoilers, TV and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I really liked the show and it gets better as you go on, but it is predictable

  2. I’m so sorry for doing this to you.
    I really hated the pilot. I mean, Maggie Grace’s character survived and tried to move on from the trauma of having some psycho carve her up. And then the cute gay neighbours (who were basically the first people she trusted and who she thought were her friends) deliver her into the hands of that slimy creep Joe Carroll and she gets murdered anyway. Ugh.
    The Poe references are indeed incredibly shallow and stupid. ‘Classic Poe’ = a punchline on the AV Club forums.
    I don’t know whether the son is really Kevin Bacon’s son, but I wouldn’t put it past this show.
    Again, I’m so, so sorry.

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