TV Recap: Following The Following – ‘The Curse’

luke kalamar is cursed …

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Plot: Following their discovery of Joe Carroll’s (James Purefoy) armory, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and the FBI have a lead on who is supplying Carroll’s military grade weaponry. Both Debra Parker (Annie Parisse) and a newly revitalized but enraged Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) join Hardy as he follows the lead. Meanwhile, Carroll is starting to unravel in light of recent events while Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea) stands her ground.

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In last week’s episode “Whips & Regret,” we saw the FBI gain the upper hand against Carroll by finding his armory. Naturally this did not sit well with Carroll and he grew very enraged at Roderick’s (Warren Kole) inability to keep their plan together. This was also the first time Carroll was actually caught off guard without a solid plan all season, so it came as no surprise to me that this change in events took center stage in “The Curse.” It is this exact change up in power and a much deeper look into Hardy’s past that made this a top notch episode.

A lot of the entertainment this week came from watching Carroll stumble as he tries to regain the domineering control he once had. Right off the bat we watch him struggling to continue his book, and it all gets worse when the house’s location might be revealed to the FBI. This obviously is a complete slap in the face to his very carefully concocted plan. In terms of acting, Purefoy has done a stellar job so far portraying Carroll as this confident mastermind. However, it is tonight where his acting skills really shone as he changed up his role to a much more disheveled killer. We still got the sense that Carroll is a nearly all powerful human being, but now we saw how weak he can truly become. His fervent desire to find out what drives Hardy, anger at Roderick for his incompetence, and him almost hitting his precious wife all did a great job painting a killer who is slowly but surely losing his edge.

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Speaking of what drives Hardy, this episode did a fantastic job providing some great depth to this damaged FBI agent. First off, we got to learn about his father and where the now infamous curse came from. There was so much of that “everyone I love dies” in past weeks that it’s awesome to finally know where it originated. Not only that, but we got to see how similar Carroll and Hardy really are. For so long we saw Hardy as this damaged hero trying to stop Carroll and his murderous cult. Now we see that the two are driven by the same thing (death) and at times even have the same motive (revenge). This is the classic horror trope where the hero and villain are more similar than alike, and I welcome the concept. That ending scene showing how a teenage Hardy took out the man responsible for his father’s death was just the right amount of messed up to send your jaw to the floor. Honestly, I wonder if this will come up in later episodes. It really should because it’s too screwed up to simply ignore.

I was really glad to see Agent Weston again after so long, especially now that he’s going off the rails violence wise. It’s definitely expected for Weston to have some pent up rage towards Carroll and his followers because of Roderick’s attack on him. Even though Parker and Hardy didn’t exactly enjoy this new “kill everything” Weston, I really liked it solely because he wasn’t afraid to take immediate action. So much of what the FBI wants to do is delayed because they follow protocols that the followers clearly don’t conform by. A little off the rails action would probably be good once and a while and I’m glad that Weston is setting himself up to be that person. I just hope that he’s not turned off from doing this based on his brief entrapment by Carroll himself.

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The events back at the house did a great job showing Claire as a more take action person and Roderick’s growing displeasure with Carroll, but also really put Emma (Valorie Curry) down this path of an exceptionally annoying character. In regards to Claire, so much of the show revolved around people telling her what to do. If it’s not the FBI saying she can’t leave her house, its Carroll saying she can’t leave HIS house. Obvious “women should stay at home jokes” aside, her desire to now leave Carroll’s place with her son makes her that much more interesting. Her scene with Carroll near the end too displayed just how much power she can wield, especially with how easy it was for her to get under Carroll’s skin. Plus, I practically cheered when she grabbed Emma’s throat and threatened to kill her. New take-action Claire is awesome!

As for Roderick, this episode didn’t really do much but show that displeasure with Carroll is deepening. This is all well and good honestly and I believe putting this rift between these two leaders provides a very nice dramatic element to their side of the story. It also brings up the idea that perhaps Roderick’s decision to meet with Hardy as a mild-mannered Sherriff wasn’t part of Carroll’s plan. Roderick is a man who needs to prove himself now in light of his constant failures, and what better way to do that than use your day job to ruin their plans. I will be a bit shocked if his identity is kept secret from the FBI for more than an episode considering that Weston saw him way back when and they now have a sketch of his face, but we’ll see.

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With the exception of Claire going all angry Mother on Emma, the scenes with Emma were overall the worst of this entire episode. This isn’t because the story isn’t interesting mind you. It’s because Emma has become such a two-dimensional character as of late that it’s almost maddening. In the earlier episodes this season, while she, Jacob (Nico Tortorella), and Paul (Adan Canto) were in the farm house, Emma was interesting as she both tried to lead the trio while keeping her personal affairs in order. Now all she does is try to talk down to people like Jacob and Claire by pretending everything is fine (when it clearly isn’t) while also sleeping with Carroll on the side. She is quite simply the character that talks and screws. At least Jacob has grown into this much darker killer that is more like Carroll than ever before. Hopefully Emma can get some depth or at least change a bit before it’s too late.

“The Curse” showed the FBI getting the upper hand for the first time all season, and it lead to some very powerful moments and an overall fantastic episode. Purefoy excelled portraying Carroll’s slow unravel and the extra depth into who Hardy is was very welcomed. Claire becoming a much more assertive character was also really great to see. With all of this positive change, it’s a shame that Emma is getting so shafted. Let’s see that change soon please.

Rating: 9/10

1 COMMENT

  1. “The Curse” was a great episode, and I’m curious to see what Joe’s plans for Claire and Joey are in the long run. I was watching the show with some of my coworkers from my job at DISH so I’m definitely going to go back and re-watch, to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Since the show is on during primetime on one of the big four networks, my DISH Hopper records it, and I can re-watch it tonight after I get home from work!