It's starting to feel like “The Following” will just become more and more over-the-top with each new episode. “Chapter Two,” which aired on Jan. 28, left me with a more confused feeling than I thought it would. It’s not a hard show to follow – it’s just that the writing is starting to become baffling and absurd in some parts.
Like the pilot episode, the viewer is pounded over the head with “Nevermore” being written on the walls of each building that is investigated. It’s as if the writers think people know nothing beyond “The Raven,” when it comes to Edgar Allan Poe. There is a reference to “The Cask of Amontillado” in this episode, but the viewer gets more “Raven” references than anything else.
“Chapter 2” did give us a little more background into the Emma/Denise character, which did have a few surprises. The viewer sees a flashback to when she started becoming a follower of Carroll. She meets him at a book reading of Carroll’s and has him sign her copy. The mother comes into the scene and says Carroll is too good-looking to be an author, which embarrasses Emma.
Later, it shows Emma visiting Carroll in prison, as she slowly starts to become one of his followers. Carroll says she has someone to introduce to her, and it turns out to be Will. When Emma brings Will over for dinner, her mother begins to act all flirtatious and embarrasses Emma again. Emma decides she has had enough of her mother’s ways, and she jams a knife into her back. The mother’s body would later be found in the wall of the abandoned house.
In present day, Jacob/Will and Paul/Billy are not actually a gay couple. It turns out that Jacob and Emma are still very much in love, and Paul seems to show a side of jealousy, but it doesn't exactly clarify at whom it’s directed. It seems like there will be a more developed scuffle as the season progresses.
Hardy is investigating the disappearance of Joey Matthews, Claire’s son. During this investigation, the viewer is introduced to FBI Specialist Debra Parker, who might be in on Carroll’s cult, too. It’s not entirely certain, but the ending with her giving Carroll a collection of Poe’s works is questionable. There’s also the fact that she hates it when Hardy uses the word “cult.”
A locked house has Hardy suspicious, so he breaks in to investigate – by himself, of course. As he’s searching the area, he comes across a wall of Poe masks. One of those masks is actually being worn by the person who will be the next follower the FBI will begin tracing. We only know him as “Rick.” This unknown follower later lights a guy on fire at the episode’s end.
Jordy completes his work at the sorority house and begins to make his way toward Claire. Since the local police are patrolling the perimeter, when one would think that it should be the FBI, Jordy is able to break into the house. He kills the one cop patrolling the second floor and catches Claire as she brushes her teeth. Hardy comes into the rescue, saying he is unarmed. Luckily, before the rest of the agents left him to handle the situation, one of them tucks a gun into Hardy’s waistline. Hardy is able to trick Jordy and take him down with one bullet.
During the many flashbacks used in tonight’s episode, the love story begins to slowly blossom between Hardy and Claire. They even share a kiss together. There are also scenes in the present that show the two getting close, and the new agent begins to take notice.
“The Following” used Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)” at the beginning and end of its premiere episode. This week, the producers used Deftones’ “Change (In the House of Flies)” and Sepultra’s “Angel.” These songs are good songs, but it’s slowly starting to become an overuse after two episodes.
Bacon and Purefoy are still compelling, but they’re the only ones who really bring anything interesting to the series. The rest of it feels like something one can only marginally like and not love. However, it doesn't seem like it will stay that way for the whole season.
Grade for “Chapter 2”: B-
“The Following” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Fox.