A Killer Roundup

Would anyone hold it against if I turned this blog into one about serial killer shows? So much good material! I mean, come on, when you have stories about people that kill people, it’s usually because they have problems with sex and/or women. So I’ve decided to do a little roundup. Maybe it’ll be a regular thing.

The Following

Let’s start with a show we’ve discussed before, which ended it first season this week with a bang, and plenty of commentary on literature and story tropes. As the season was reaching its close, the formerly suave and menacing Joe Carroll was dissolving into a sniveling villain, desperate to have his perfect narrative. Unfortunately, he relies on tired clichés to do this, and the show’s hero, Ryan Hardy, and Claire, Carroll’s ex-wife, are not afraid to call him out on it.

Carroll faces a dilemma in his grand epic when he feels he no longer can understand Hardy’s motivation. He needs to jump start his narrative, and so he relies when of the oldest tricks in the book. Fridge stuffing. By killing Claire, who Hardy loves, Carroll believes Hardy will be “reborn.” This, of course, is a clever way to disguise the fact that Carroll’s efforts to make Claire love him again have extravagantly soured, culminating in her stabbing him. Even Claire can see through it. “It’s tired,” she says. Likewise, Hardy later tells him, “I am so bored of you.”

The Following lost a lot of steam as the season progressed, the complex world of killers vs killers went from intriguing and scary, to kind of ridiculous. However, this is one of the few things that show does right. It takes a metatextual approach to illuminating the depth of its characters. By presenting Joe Carroll’s quest as stereotypical, it reveals the true flaccidity of his conviction and villainy.

Unfortunately, there is an actual event of fridge-stuffing within the episode. Agent Parker, who so far has been a great, powerful female character, is killed when she’s buried alive by Carroll’s followers. The whole sequence frustrated me immensely. I thought it was unnecessary, and I hated the fact that a great character was turned into a device for Hardy to get the next clue in the puzzle. Not to mention, she was in a pine box and not even buried that deep. Kick with both legs, girl.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Following: Killers in Love

In case you didn’t know, Fox’s newest crime serial (yes, there is yet another show out there looking to steal your soul) has been tearing up Monday nights since January, and it’s well worth the investment. It is about the pursuit of convicted serial killer Joe Carroll and the collection of psychopaths and wannabes that have evolved around him. He calls them his friends. The FBI calls them a cult. They are united by their devotion to Carroll, who they believe has given purpose and guidance to their lives. Their goal so far is unclear, other than seriously distorting classical literature and driving Kevin Bacon’s character, Ryan Hardy, out of his mind.

thefollowing

The Following is about a lot of things. It’s about violence and victimization, about conspiracy and paranoia. I think principally, though, it’s about love. Between the killers and the heroes, there lies an intricate web of intimate bonds and tentative alliances. Faithful friends, loyal followers, and the unbridled passion of sworn enemies. The show seems to be asking how much can you trust the person next to you, and how much stronger are the bonds between people who know each other’s darkest secrets? In the process, The Following is bucking the common heteronormative ties that most shows focus on, and instead developing a web of relationships that are both sincere and pretty scary.

Continue reading