by Amy K. Bredemeyer
Because I didn't attend very many panels on the Saturday of Comic-Con, I've already shared the good stuff from the Q&A portion of the panel for The Following, but I didn't address the actual pilot. Now, I'll reiterate that I wasn't a big fan of the premise (a crime-solving procedural with an FBI agent "in the middle of a network of serial killers"), and, although seeing the pilot for Beauty and the Beast warmed me up to that show a little, the same cannot be said for The Following. In fact, it almost made it worse... when the panel ended I was a little astonished at just how much I disliked this first episode. Again, some changes may be made before the show actually debuts (which won't be until mid-season, according to FOX), but here is a recap with remarks for the series starter. If some things seem a little strange, it's because they are. It was a very odd show, and I'm under the impression that some things are meant to be better understood later on.
The Following "Pilot" (S01E01):
Here's a scary statistic: according to this episode, the FBI estimates that 300 serial killers are active on any given day! Now, we start in Waverly, VA and someone is pregnant. [Tell Tale Heart, anyone?] Joe Carroll, an inmate with the internet, managed to arrange a very elaborate scheme, so, of course, we need to see a number of flashbacks to get some background on him. Back in 2003, he was married to Claire and they had a little boy named Joey. He was a professor and snuck into the home of two young women one night. He killed one and was about to slit the throat of another when Hardy (Kevin Bacon's character) arrived and shot the guy before he could slit the girl's neck. [yeah... I'm serious. This is a very intense show!] Joe believes that eyes are the essence of identity, so he has a hobby of gouging them. [yeah, this guy is pretty messed up!]
Now, present day... a woman in public has Poe's The Raven written all over her body, and she kills herself. [only the creepiest of people would practice killing on German Shepherds!] As soon as it's revealed that Joe is on the loose with a mission, Hardy checks on Claire, with whom he once had an affair. [because you can't survive on being a thriller alone - you have to have that drama!] She's a bit troubled, but has a babysitter to watch her son while they all try to stay safe. Hardy figures that Joe wants to finish what he started, so he goes to see Sarah, the roommate. Well, Joe is a super-creep and planted two men to be her neighbors for years, acting as a gay couple. [I don't know how this guy just gets everyone to do whatever he pleases, but I guess that's the hook...] So, when Hardy gets there, he finds that Sarah has been taken through a secret crawl space in the closet and into the neighbor's home... where they find a dead officer in that garage. [it's a bloodbath on this show, by the way. so if you have a weak stomach, you might just want to give up now.] Because Joe has an unfinished book about a lighthouse, Hardy heads to the local lighthouse, where he immediately hears screams. He's too late - the cries were recorded from when Joe removed Sarah's eyes before killing her. [well, now. they just want to paint this guy in the very worst light ever, huh?] Hardy takes a bat to the face but manages to take down Joe. After being brought in, Joe will only talk to Hardy, and it looks like it's going to be a long relationship, as Claire's son has gone missing... and the viewers see that the kidnapper was none other than Babysitter Denise. [and cue the millions to develop a huge hatred for Joe Carroll!]