luke kalamar looks at the finale of The Following …
Plot: The Final Chapter of Joe Carroll’s (James Purefoy) book is finally at hand. Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea) has been kidnapped and it is up to Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) to be the hero. Meanwhile, Debra Parker (Annie Parisse) is buried alive and the FBI has limited time to rescue her before she draws her last breath.
Man, the past several episodes of The Following have been one Hell of a ride. The intensity of this already thrilling show ramped up hardcore once Hardy started getting closer to Carroll. Everything came to a head in a big way this week with the two important women in Hardy’s life in danger and only so much time for him to rescue them both. Despite a pretty predictable cliffhanger, “The Final Chapter” was an incredibly riveting Season Finale that not only had a great payoff, but brought a brief side story completely full circle.
The best moment about this finale by far happened near the beginning when Hardy and Weston (Shawn Ashmore) went absolutely ape shit on Alex (Charlie Semine). Finally! It only took them an entire season to realize that following the law when you’re against a group of crazy people simply does not work. I loved it when Alex’s confidence completely vanished the moment a steel pole became friends with his legs while Hardy’s thumb did a little dance on his eye. It was a moment of pure brutality that perfectly portrayed how pissed off the FBI has become after so long.
Unfortunately, my excitement with the Hardy and Weston becoming aggressively violent quickly turned to sadness when it was revealed that they failed to rescue Parker. Even though Parker wasn’t super interesting to begin with, she really grew on me and I enjoyed the trio of her, Hardy, and Weston. It also doesn’t help that the FBI is probably as responsible for her death as Alex and Carroll. I mean, why would you keep talking to the woman who is rapidly running out of oxygen? Speaking full sentences into a phone is exactly the opposite of taking shallow breaths to conserve what little life giving air you have. Also, why was this extremely delicate situation left in the hands of only two people? You have an entire fucking department of capable FBI agents who should have already been in the area searching their asses off, and instead they were sitting at their computers hoping two guys can save their rapidly dying friend. I will really miss Parker and sincerely hope her death brings some deep reflection to that entire branch of law enforcement.
The scenes between Claire and Carroll were really great and did an excellent job showing just how gone Carroll is. There is absolutely no shred of humanity left in that guy. Claire blaming herself for everything Carroll has done was tragic, and it only got worse when Carroll brutally murders the man who lived at the lighthouse and yelled that he owns all the killing he has done. That moment was chilling and one of Purefoy’s best scenes.
The final showdown between Carroll and Hardy was exactly what I wanted as well. First off, Hardy being able to get under Carroll’s skin so well was incredible. It was a shining example of how Carroll is really just a troubled author at heart with a bit of a murderous side. Despite every horrible thing he has done, being called a second-rate author is still enough to ruin him. As for the actual physical altercation, that was a lot of fun to watch too. I would’ve liked it to go on a bit longer, but it was definitely an exciting showdown. The building exploding at the end was a great, albeit very predictable, conclusion to their battle. Carroll is naturally believed to be dead as well.
Now, let’s take a look at that once again. Carroll is believed to be dead. Both the dental records and early DNA show that the body found was his. However, this is television, and Carroll is the ruthless main villain. How often does the main villain actually die in the season ending explosion? The answer is never. Even Doctor Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), the protagonist of House M.D., faked his death in an explosion at the conclusion of that hit Fox series. It’s the simple rule that states that no body shown on screen usually means that the person didn’t actually die. So as a viewer, I’m definitely not convinced Carroll is gone for good, but his apparent death in the finale opens a huge door for Season 2. With everyone in the show believing he is dead, Carroll can do a whole lot of damage as a man who technically doesn’t exist.
The absolute final conclusion of “The Final Chapter” was epic, and ended Season 1 on a massive jaw dropping note. Remember several episodes ago when Molly (Jennifer Ferrin) was introduced as Hardy’s former girlfriend, lover, and current devout follower of Carroll? Well she got the last word and brought herself back into the picture in a big way: by stabbing Hardy in the stomach and Claire in the back. Holy shit! That was one hell of a way to end the season and perfectly sets Molly up as a huge antagonist for Season 2.
“The Final Chapter” was a very exciting episode with plenty of jaw dropping moments that ended this excellent first season in a big way. Despite yet another example to be angry at the FBI, I really enjoyed this episode and I already can’t wait for Season 2.