“The Following” Recap: It Came Upon a Midnight Claire

Somebody needs to call the Poe-Poe, because this show has broken every law of good television.

What started out as a fun, frothy, ghoulish melange of police procedural and serial killer fantasia has devolved into an absolute dumpster fire of a show. It’s not fun, it’s not clever, it’s not compelling, and it’s not remotely believable anymore – and this episode’s stupidity put the final nail into the coffin of the show that should, in the words of Edgar Allen Poe, be “Buried Alive”.

Still, because I am contractually obligated to cover this episode… and there may be a gay character tucked into a crawlspace somewhere, here we go:

Jacob (Nico Tortorella) wakes up to the sight of a supremely ripped, towel-clad (and somehow not-dead) Paul (Adan Canto) entering the room. Jacob then finds Emma (Valorie Curry) dead in the shower. Wait, is this Jacob’s dream sequence or mine? Paul tells Jacob: “I’m trying to get you up.” Mission accomplished.

Remember crazy Amanda, who went on a spear gun killing spree last week and whom Ryan managed to psychologically thunderdome into giving herself up? Well, forget about her, because despite the fact that the is clearly the Feds’ best lead right now, we’re probably never seeing her again.


We get pouty, soggy-diaper Joey (Don’tKnow Don’tCare) wandering about the mansion with Emma and Joe (James Purefoy), who pretends to not know how to make s’mores in order to gain Joey’s attention. They’re called “s’mores” because you want s’more. I want s’mout, at this point. Also, Joe? The singular of “s’mores” is “s’more”, just in case you want to entrap any other kids today.

Claire (Natalie Zea) is clutching her coffee at a Radisson somewhere until Ryan (Kevin Bacon) barges in to tell her that the Followingers have a militia blah blah blah they get her and then then don’t and FINALLY there’s somebody in this crazy-ass cult who’s heard of Kevlar. Seriously, with all the satellite phone-scrambling crap they’ve been up to, they haven’t been able to rustle up a SINGLE bullet-proof vest before now? For the love of Roderick.

Ryan takes Claire to Nowhere, Pennsylvania, where Angel Batista from Dexter (David Zayas) is waiting to fill one of the most underutilized guest spots in procedural history.

Back at Nut’s Landing, Joe tells Jacob to forgive Emma because he says so. Ghost Paul tells Jacob Emma is a selfish bitch. And the militia boys are revealed to have taken Facebook photos of themselves shirtless holding machine guns. Don’t bother learning their names, because there will not be a quiz.

There’s a super-hot moment where Emma is perched on an overstuffed divan doing a pencil-sketch of Joe from memory, but then Jacob walks in. It is almost bizarre enough to qualify as camp, but then the two of them start bickering about how much they want to marry, f*ck AND kill each other, and we’re back to square one.

We also flash back to Ryan making out with a girl named Molly, who was clearly Claire’s lighting stand-in who accidentally wound up in a scene. I’d say not to bother paying attention to her, but for no reason whatsoever this woman appears in the last 10 seconds of the episode and it’s supposed to be significant, so GO AHEAD AND PAY ATTENTION. Also, seeing Angel Batista without facial hair is like seeing a cat wearing pants. Highly disturbing.

In one of the most WTF plot points ever, Claire – in the middle of a scene – finds a GPS device in her sweater. Ever heard of “deus ex machina”? This is “deus ex Chico’s.” I seriously cannot BELIEVE what I am watching.

Claire tells Ryan she loves him, and then MOMENTS LATER surrenders to the Followingers after Angel Batista gets shot. Congrats, Claire – you’ve officially won the Hard-to-Get Olympics. You’re also an idiot.

As she speeds off in the back of Roderick’s car, she mouths “I LOVE YOU” to Ryan, and I seriously can’t tell if the show is kidding or not, at this point. Are we in on the joke? Is there a joke? Is Ghost Paul going to come back?

At the Fed Compound, they find a secret website that has a picture of a guy in an Edgar Allen Poe mask and – you know what? F*ck you, The Following. Now you’re basically just making fun of anyone who started watching this show because it looked like it might actually be different than every other damned cop show out there. Seriously, this is something that should have happened around, oh, Episode 1 – pulling it out now that the show has gone down a wildly different path in the last 9 episodes just highlights what a dull, uninspired path it is.

Oh, and thanks for coming to work, guys. Great to see our tax dollars are being used to recycle plot devices from early ’90s horror movies.


Jacob and Emma have sex, and then afterward, Jacob kills Paul – AGAIN – in the bathroom. Anyone keeping tally here? The gay guy has now been murdered TWICE by his boyfriend. Just so we’re all on the same page. Jacob tells Emma that he killed Paul – yes, he killed his “best friend” because of her, and she better watch her back.

Joe calls Ryan for another fireside chat – Joe is hoisting the biggest glass of red wine outside of Cougar Town. How does this passive-aggressive lush run such a tight cult ship?! Ryan tells Joe, “I’m done – I quit.” ATTA GIRL. A car pulls up and that random Molly chick runs into Joe’s arms. Wait, what? We’re really supposed to care? The show’s go-to move of simply plugging a new crazy person into the equation whenever they can’t figure out what else to do is beyond ridiculous. This isn’t Menudo, people.


What We Know

  • Claire is an idiot
  • Joey hates baloney
  • Ryan is a foul weather friend

What We Don’t Know

  • What the FBI does other than not protect, find, help, or arrest people
  • What Molly has to do with anything, or why we should care
  • How Roderick juggles being the sheriff of his town and running a summer camp for literary loonies with machine guns

Notably Dead: Nameless militia guy, nameless Feds

Notably Absent: Mike Weston, various other characters from the first two episodes

Notably Following: Emma, Jacob, Roderick, Molly (whoever the hell that is)

Notably Gay: Paul, the Ghost of Crazies Past

Ugh. I’m sorry to be such a negative Nancy this week, but this was just simply an hour of very bad television. At this point I’m starting to understand how the random lady in the premiere could be motivated to drive an icepick into her own eye socket: they clearly showed her the scripts for the second half of the season. I give it two out of ten That’s So Ravens – one for each of Adan Canto’s furry teats.


In 2003, Brian launched the world's first website devoted to horror film from a gay perspective (CampBlood.org), mining an untapped (and occasionally unintentional) source of entertainment and bringing together a huge and colorful population of gay horror fans and filmmakers. When he's not pulling skeletons out of closets, Brian writes reviews for horror megasite Bloody-Disgusting.com, general film site Freezedriedmovies.com, and can be found on the ever-informative RottenTomatoes.com. Brian is also a filmmaker, having produced, written, and directed two shorts (the dark romantic comedy An Apple a Day and the eerie suspense piece Two Story House) that have played at film festivals worldwide and left audiences generally uneasy. A born-and-bred Midwesterner, Brian studied Mass Media and Film at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (I know – crazy, right?) before fleeing the district for the warm and occasionally stinky shores of NYC. Brian is a proud member of the Online Film Critics Society, loving husband to illustrator Andy Swist, and benevolent overlord of their two cats.