The serial killer show “The Following,” starring Kevin Bacon, got so terrible it was ridiculous. Boring, stupid characters who looked and acted like assholes stabbed people a lot. In our house we were hate-watching the show, yelling at the TV. “I don’t care about this,” we would say out loud over and over. “No one cares about you, stupid Jacob and Emma and Joey and Claire!” We get it, you pretended you were gay. We don’t care about your feelings. We want to watch Kevin Bacon get drunk and kill cult followers.
There was lots of that, but even Bacon seemed to lose steam toward the end. Cult leader Joe Carroll is his nemesis. Carroll is an Edgar Allen Poe obsessive once held students enraptured with brilliant lectures about killing as art. He was married with a young son, but he murdered people by night. We learn through flashbacks over the course of the show that there were many students so inspired by his death-centric teachings they pledged to kill for him.
He starts writing a book and lots of people get killed. “The Following” was great for at least the first four episodes, with horrific murders and all-out Bacon. But then Carroll busted out, and joined his flock. He turned out to be incredibly lazy. His top psycho sidekick was a killer named Roderick who went crazy with rage over Carroll’s refusal to do anything cool. I could relate.
It got so bad I felt guilty for watching, but something about Bacon is hypnotic. I had to see what happened.
The season finale of “The Following” was spectacular redemption. Unexpected, too. The final scene was so good it kept appearing in my mind throughout the next day. As fast as that, it went from awful to great. I hope it doesn’t come back next year.